US-led coalition disowns air strike on Shiite mosque in Iraq

Smoke rises at Daesh positions in the town of Naweran, near Mosul, Iraq, on Sunday. An air strike on a Shiite mosque outside of Mosul last Friday was reported to have killed 15 worshippers and wounded dozens more. (REUTERS/Azad Lashkari)
Updated 23 October 2016
0

US-led coalition disowns air strike on Shiite mosque in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq: The US-led coalition on Sunday denied carrying out an air strike that killed 15 women at a Shiite place of worship in northern Iraq this week.
Russia pointed an accusatory finger at the coalition a day after Friday’s incident, in which local officials said women at a shrine in the town of Daquq were killed by an air strike.
The coalition “has determined definitively that we did not conduct the airstrike w/reported civilian casualties in Daquq,” spokesman Col. John Dorrian said on social media.
The local council chief and medics in Daquq, which lies south of Kirkuk and about 200 kilometers (120 miles) north of Baghdad, said the deadly incident was caused by an air raid.
If the coalition did not carry it out, the other aircraft most likely to have operated in the area are from the Iraqi air force or army aviation.
Neither have made any comment yet but the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said it ordered an investigation into the incident.
“The results will be announced as soon as it is completed,” a statement said.
Turkish jets have also routinely conducted air strikes in Iraq but they usually target Kurdish rebel positions in areas far removed from Daquq.
Recent incidents and discoveries in workshops used by the Daesh group suggest the jihadists have been trying to develop weaponized drones.
The Conflict Armament Research group said it had documented earlier this year a drone manufactured by Daesh forces and used in the Daquq area but described it as “too light to carry explosives or other weapons.”


Retired Lebanese soldiers in tense standoff with army during benefit cuts protest

Updated 19 July 2019
0

Retired Lebanese soldiers in tense standoff with army during benefit cuts protest

  • Dressed in military uniforms, large numbers of veterans attempted to force their way through barricades set up to stop demonstrators reaching the city’s parliament building where a final vote on a controversial draft austerity budget was taking place
  • The meeting to vote on the 2019 draft budget came after a marathon three days of discussions

BEIRUT: Retired Lebanese soldiers on Friday came close to clashing with the country’s army when weeks of protests over planned benefit cuts reached boiling point in the capital Beirut.
Dressed in military uniforms, large numbers of veterans attempted to force their way through barricades set up to stop demonstrators reaching the city’s parliament building where a final vote on a controversial draft austerity budget was taking place.
A military source told Arab News that the Lebanese army leadership had decided to block access to Najma Square, in Beirut’s Central District, where Parliament members were sitting.
But former soldiers, joined by the parents of army martyrs and activists from the Sabaa and Communist parties, surrounded the building in nearby streets before attempting to push through barbed wire, concrete and metal barriers erected by the Lebanese army and the Internal Security Forces.
The protesters, waving Lebanese and army flags, got as far as the entrance to Maarad Street, on which Parliament is located, putting them in direct confrontation with the Lebanese troops.
Ten brigades of reinforcements were drafted in to help push back the veterans before protest leaders eased tensions by calling for a retreat to a nearby square to avoid any further clashes.
The meeting to vote on the 2019 draft budget came after a marathon three days of discussions. Before entering the parliamentary session, Lebanese Minister of Defense Elias Bou Saab said that “misleading the retired soldiers” would be “harmful to the image and demands of the protesters” and called on them to carry out “peaceful demonstrations.” He added that there had been mixed and confused messages regarding benefit cuts.
However, retired Brig. Gen. Georges Nader had vowed that protesters would not back off until the vote on their benefits was dropped.
Discussing the protests in Parliament, Samy Gemayel, president of the Phalange party, objected to the reduction in the army budget, to which Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said: “This has been concluded on the bases of an understanding with the army and the military establishment.”
MP Paula Yacoubian said that “retired soldiers are trying to storm Parliament,” to which Berri said: “Those who want to storm Parliament have not yet been born.”
The row had centered on a controversial article concerning amendments to the country’s income tax act, and Lebanese Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil insisted on defending it. He said: “It does not cost the retired soldiers, for instance, more than 3,000 Lebanese pounds ($2) per month. This amount rises to 400,000 pounds for brigadiers.” He added: “Which country in the world gives a retiree 85 percent of his salary?”
After a meeting between the minister and Nader in Parliament, the retired brigadier general went out to reassure the veterans that cuts from their salaries in respect of medicine and income tax would be reduced. Less intense protests continued for more than three hours before Parliament approved the relevant article in the budget.
Meanwhile, Berri had started the Parliament session by reading a resignation submitted by Hezbollah MP Nawaf Musawi.