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Iraqi civilians were often caught in the crossfire as pro-regime forces fought jihadists for control of east Mosul in November 2016 AFP/File Some 350,000 children are trapped in western Mosul, Save the Children warned on Sunday as Iraqi forces launched an offensive on jihadists in the city. “Iraqi forces and their allies, including the US and UK, must do everything in their power to protect children and their families from harm, and avoid civilian buildings like schools and hospitals as they push deeper into the city,” said the London-based charity’s Iraq country director, Maurizio Crivellaro.
MUNICH Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Sunday rejected Iranian calls for dialogue saying Tehran was the main sponsor of terrorism in the world, a destabilising force in the Middle East and wanted to “destroy us.” “Iran remains the single main sponsor of terrorism in the world,” Adel al-Jubeir told delegates at the Munich Security Conference. “It’s determined to upend the order in Middle East … (and) until and unless Iran changes its behaviour it would be very difficult to deal with a country like this.” Al-Jubeir said Iran was propping up the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, funding the Houthi separatists in Yemen and violent groups across the region. He said the international community needed to set clear “red lines”
ANKARA: Hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallied across Iran on Friday to swear allegiance to the clerical establishment following US President Donald Trump’s warning that he had put the Islamic Republic “on notice,” state TV reported. Carrying “Death to America” banners and effigies of Trump, Iranians in Tehran marched toward the Azadi (Freedom) Square to commemorate the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the US-backed shah. Iran’s most powerful authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had on Tuesday called Iranians to take part in the demonstrations to show Iran was not frightened of American “threats.” “America and Trump cannot do a damn thing. We are ready to sacrifice our lives for our leader Khamenei,” a young Iranian man told state
DUBAI: US President Donald Trump has shown America’s “real face” by proving Iranian allegations about American government corruption, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said today in his first speech following Trump’s inauguration. “We are thankful to for making our life easy as he showed the real face of America,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by his website in a meeting with military commanders in Tehran. “During his election campaign and after that, he confirmed what we have been saying for more than 30 years about the political, economic, moral and social corruption in the US ruling system,” he added.
Syria’s military said Thursday it had captured a string of towns and part of a key highway from the Islamic State group in the northern province of Aleppo. Since launching a broad offensive against the jihadists nearly three weeks ago, the army has taken around 250 square kilometres (100 square miles) of territory, it said in a statement carried by official news agency SANA. The army said the advances form “a launching pad for developing military operations against Daesh,” using an Arabic acronym for IS. Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have steadily advanced in Syria’s north since announcing they had retaken full control over Aleppo city in late December. It was the biggest blow to Syria’s rebel movement since the uprising against Assad erupted in March
TEHRAN: Iran on Friday banned U.S. wrestlers from participating in the Freestyle World Cup competition this month in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order forbidding visas for Iranians, the official IRNA news agency reported. A senior Iranian cleric vowed, meanwhile, that his country would continue its missile program, despite threats from the Trump administration that it was preparing to levy new sanctions. IRNA quoted Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying a special committee reviewed the case of the U.S. wrestling team and “Eventually the visit by the U.S. freestyle wrestling team was opposed.” The decision marks the first action taken by Iran in response to Trump’s executive order banning visas for seven Muslim countries.
TEHRAN: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday warned the United States against “creating new tensions” with Tehran over ballistic missile tests. “We hope that Iran’s defense program is not used by the new US administration… as a pretext to create new tensions,” Zarif said in a televised press conference with visiting French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault. Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, condemned Iran on Monday and said he would work with other lawmakers and the Trump administration to hold Iran accountable. Zarif spelled out Tehran’s stance after a US official said Iran on Sunday test-launched a medium-range ballistic missile that exploded after 630 miles (1,010 km). Ayrault told reporters France had voiced its
Jeddah: The Palestinian Authority has urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to speed up rulings on key issues including Israeli settlements, an official has told Arab News. The authority asked ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to expedite rulings on three Palestinian files in order to open a judicial inquiry into the Israeli government’s violations of international law, said Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). This comes as Israel’s Parliament is expected to vote today on a bill retroactively legalizing about 4,000 settler homes built on privately owned Palestinian land, a measure the Israeli attorney-general has said is unconstitutional. “Upon meeting with the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, we told
Iraqi forces on Sunday retook two neighbourhoods from the Islamic State group in Mosul, the last central areas on the Tigris River’s east bank not under their control. They recaptured “Al-Milayeen neighbourhood and Al-Binaa al-Jahiz area and raised the Iraqi flag over the buildings”, the military said in a statement. “These are the last neighbourhoods of the centre of the city (on) the left bank,” the statement said, referring to eastern Mosul. He also said that federal forces had retaken control of the road linking Mosul, Iraq’s second city, to Dohuk, a provincial capital in the west of the autonomous region of Kurdistan. The latest progress effectively seals the Iraqi forces’ control over the east bank, with only the neighbourhood of Rashidiyah, on
Beirut: A car bomb blast killed at least seven civilians at a camp for displaced Syrians by the border with Jordan on Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor told. The Britain-based group said the dead included a family of four, with the father, mother and two children killed in the blast on the outskirts of the Rukban camp. It said other civilians had been injured and the toll could rise because several were in serious condition. Jordan’s official Petra news agency, citing a military source, also reported the blast at the isolated makeshift camp, which houses around 85,000 Syrians according to the United Nations. The source said 14 wounded people had been taken to a clinic in the border area for treatment, adding that no decision had been taken yet on whether they would
Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif brings up Kashmir issue in meeting with UN Chief, gets no positive response
Nawaz Sharif the Pakistan Prime Minister on Thursday in his first meeting with the new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres bought up the Kashmir issue but got no positive response in return from the UN Chief to his request for the world body’s intervention in the issue. Sharif, who met Guterres on the sidelines of World Economic Forum at Davos, said that Kashmir required consideration of the UN, the Prime Minister’s Office said here in an announcement. “A supported discourse prepare on every single remarkable issue, including Jammu and Kashmir is basic to gain ground. It was in this soul that we welcomed India for discourses on the determination of the Kashmir question, as per the pertinent resolutions of the UN Security Council and goals of the Kashmiri individuals,” Sharif said
Iraqis walk down a street while smoke rises in the background following a car bomb explosion in eastern Mosul, January 15, 2017. Two car bombs have targeted the Tal Yabes district of eastern Mosul, killing 14 civilians and one soldier.The bombings, which occurred on Tuesday, also wounded 12 people. Mosul is the last urban area in Iraq that is still controlled by Daesh. Large-scale operations are underway by the Iraqi military from several fronts to liberate the city. Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) recently announced that around 90 percent of eastern Mosul had already been purged of Daesh. Daesh has been attempting to slow the progress of the advancing Iraqi forces by planting car bombs on their way. Just days earlier, Iraqi troops were targeted with at least three car bombs in Mosul’s
Pakistan will soon be recognised as a “minorities-friendly country”, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Wednesday as he ordered renovation of Katas Raj complex, one the most sacred places of Hindus in the Muslim-majority country. Pakistan is pursuing policies to establish the country’s identity as a minority-friendly country and followers of all religions have equal rights in the country, Sharif said speaking at the Katas Raj Temples Complex in Chakwal. “The day is not far when Pakistan will be recognised as a minorities-friendly country due to steps being undertaken to better the lives of minority groups,” he was quoted as saying by the state-run APP news agency. The Prime Minister said he has advised government officials to spare no efforts in hosting pilgrims
Irbil: A top Iraqi commander told The Associated Press that the operation to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group could be complete in three months or less. “It’s possible” that Mosul will be liberated in that time frame, Lt. Gen. Talib Shakti said in an interview with the AP last evening. However, he warned it is difficult to give an accurate estimate of how long the operation will take because it is not a conventional fight.“There are many variables,” he said, describing the combat as “guerrilla warfare.” Today, Iraqi forces announced that three more neighbourhoods in eastern Mosul had been retaken from IS fighters. Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil of Iraq’s special forces estimated about 85 per cent of eastern Mosul was now under Iraqi control.The massive offensive
BAGHDAD: Elite Iraqi troops advanced against Islamic State militants in eastern Mosul in their first night-time raid in the city, a spokesman said on Friday, in a U.S.-backed operation which officials say is gaining momentum. Counter-terrorism service (CTS) forces pushed across a tributary of the Tigris river shortly after midnight and drove back Islamic State fighters in the Muthanna district, CTS spokesman Sabah al-Numan said. “We used special equipment and had the element of surprise – the enemy did not expect us to mount a night offensive because all previous offensives were during the day,” he said. U.S. coalition warplanes carried out 19 air strikes in support of the assault, which killed dozens of militants, he said. A second phase of the nearly 12-week campaign to
BAGHDAD/TIKRIT, Iraq: A Daeshcar bomb killed 24 people in a busy square in Baghdad’s sprawling Sadr City district on Monday, and the militants cut a key road north from the capital to Mosul, their last major stronghold in the country. An online statement distributed by Amaq news agency, which supports the Daesh group, said the ultra-hard-line Sunni group had targeted a gathering of Shiites. Sixty-seven people were wounded in the blast. US-backed Iraqi forces are currently fighting to push Daesh from the northern city of Mosul, but are facing fierce resistance. The group has lost most of the territory it seized in a blitz across northern and western Iraq in 2014. The recapture of Mosul would probably spell the end for its self-styled caliphate, but the militants would still be capable of fighting
Beirut: The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Saturday supporting efforts by Russia and Turkey to end the nearly six-year conflict in Syria and jump-start peace negotiations, as a fragile country-wide cease-fire wavered. The resolution also calls for the “rapid, safe and unhindered” delivery of humanitarian aid throughout Syria. And it anticipates a meeting of the Syrian regime and opposition representative in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana in late January. The resolution’s final text dropped an endorsement of the Syria cease-fire agreement reached Thursday, simply taking note of it but welcoming and supporting Russian-Turkish efforts to end the violence. Western members of the council sought the last-minute changes to the draft resolution to clarify the UN’s role
The two hijackers – said to be Gadaffi supporters – took over the plane in while it was in mid-air during a flight within Libya. It was redirected and landed in Malta. Joseph Muscat posted on Twitter: “Informed of potential hijack situation of a #Libya internal flight diverted to #Malta. Security and emergency operations standing by.” The Airbus A320 was flying inside Libya for state-owned airline Afriqiyah Airways when the hijacking occurred. The two hijackers have said they are willing to let passengers – but not crew – go free if their demands are met. However, their specifics of their demands are not yet known, The Times of Malta reported. The local airport authority said all emergency teams had been dispatched to the site of what it called an “unlawful interference” on
BEIRUT: The Syrian city of Aleppo returned to regime control Thursday after the last remaining opposition fighters and civilians evacuated, ending a four-year opposition hold over parts of the country. It came as the conflict has killed more than 312,000 people, uprooted over half the population and left much of the country in ruins since it erupted almost six years ago. The announcement of Aleppo’s fall was made through an army statement broadcast on Syrian regime’s TV shortly after the last four buses carrying fighters left through the Ramousse crossing. Western Aleppo erupted in celebratory gunfire seen on Syrian TV. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has recorded the deaths of 312,001 people since the conflict began with anti-regime protests in March 2011. Those killed included
AMMAN: Four Jordanian policemen were killed in clashes with radical militants during a raid on a village near the southern Jordanian city of Karak on Tuesday, said Mohammad Momani, minister of state for media affairs and government spokesman. The violence occurred just two days after a shootout between police and gunmen, holed up in the Crusader castle near Karak, 130 km south of Amman, left 14 people dead — 10 civilians including a Canadian tourist and four terrorists. Daesh claimed responsibility for the strike. Momani said the security agencies arrested a suspect related to the terrorists involved in Sunday’s attack, who confessed to hiding weapons in his apartment. “The police escorted him to his house; he ran inside and started shooting at the police personnel killing one of them.