Free Syrian Army threatens to shell Hezbollah

Updated 21 February 2013
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Free Syrian Army threatens to shell Hezbollah

BEIRUT: Free Syrian Army threatened yesterday to shell positions of the Hezbollah militant group in neighboring Lebanon after accusing it of firing across the border into territory it controls.
“What is new in the past week is that Hezbollah has been shelling into villages around Qusayr from Lebanese territory, and that we cannot accept,” General Selim Idriss, the FSA’s chief of staff, told AFP, adding that the fighters have given Hezbollah a 48-hour deadline to stop the shelling.
Meanwhile, Syrian fighters downed a warplane over the Damascus provincial town of Hammuriyeh yesterday, shortly after an air strike killed at least 14 people and wounded dozens more there, a watchdog and activists said.
Amateur video shot by activists and distributed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights showed a warplane firing from the sky and then going down in flames after apparently being hit.
Lacking sophisticated weaponry, militants fighting the regime of Bashar Assad have frequently used heavy machineguns to shoot down warplanes deployed to strike insurgent enclaves across the country.
“The shelling and bombardment in Eastern Ghuta province yesterday was fierce,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Elsewhere, troops fought fighters around several air bases and the international airport in the northern city of Aleppo, the Observatory said. In the past week, fighters have captured air bases at Al-Jarrah, Hassel and Base 80, as well as an important checkpoint near the international airport.
Yesterday’s violence came a day after some 100 people were killed across Syria, according to the Observatory. The UN says more than 70,000 people have been killed in Syria’s nearly two-year war, most of them civilians.
Meanwhile, two mortars exploded next to a soccer stadium in central Damascus yesterday, killing one player and injuring several, Syria’s state-run news agency said.
The mortar attack was the second in as many days in the capital. On Tuesday, two mortars exploded near one of Assad’s palaces, causing material damage only.
But it was the first confirmed strike close to a presidential palace and another sign that the civil war is moving closer to the heart of Assad’s seat of power and into areas of the capital once considered safe.


Iranian navy mounts new defense system on warship

Updated 13 min 50 sec ago
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Iranian navy mounts new defense system on warship

  • The US military’s Central Command confirms it has seen increased Iranian naval activity
  • Iran has developed a large domestic weapons industry to achieve self-sufficiency

DUBAI: Iran’s navy has mounted a locally built advanced defensive weapons system on one of its warships for the first time, the Iranian navy chief was quoted as saying on Saturday, as tensions mount with the US military in the Gulf.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards confirmed earlier this month it held war games in the Gulf, saying they were aimed at “confronting possible threats” by enemies.
The US military’s Central Command confirmed it had seen increased Iranian naval activity, extending to the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway for oil shipments the Revolutionary Guards have threatened to block.
Iran has been furious over US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program and re-impose sanctions on Tehran.
Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi “reiterated that coastal and sea testing of the short range defense Kamand system were concluded successfully, and said this system was mounted ... on a warship and will be mounted on a second ship soon,” the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported,
The Kamand has been dubbed the “Iranian Phalanx” after an automated machine gun produced by US firm Raytheon whose heavy bullets shred incoming missiles.
Unable to import many weapons because of international sanctions and arms embargoes, Iran has developed a large domestic weapons industry to achieve self-sufficiency in producing military equipment, and often reports on its development of arms which it says are comparable with advanced Western systems.