UN expands civilian camps as Mosul airstrikes resume

A member of the Iraqi forces adjusts a mortar launcher at a position in western Mosul on Tuesday, during an offensive to retake the city from IS jihadists. (AFP)
Updated 05 April 2017
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UN expands civilian camps as Mosul airstrikes resume

IRBIL: The UN said on Tuesday it is expanding camps for displaced people around Mosul, as airstrikes resumed on Daesh positions in Iraq’s second largest city.
More than 300,000 people have fled Mosul since the start of the US-backed campaign in October, the office of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq said in a statement.
Mosul had a pre-campaign population of about a million and half, split more or less evenly between the sides lying east and west of the Tigris river that runs through the middle.
Iraqi forces captured the eastern side in January and in February launched a second phase to take the western side, with air and ground support from a US-led coalition.
They are now battling to take the northwestern part, but the civilian death toll has mounted in the densely populated Old City, where the militants are dug in among residents.
More people are expected to flee the fighting and camps for the displaced north and east of Mosul are expanding, the UN statement said.
Airstrikes on the city by the Iraqi air force resumed on Tuesday as the sky cleared after several days of bad weather, the Iraqi military said.
A number of Daesh commanders were killed in an airstrike on a position in Hay Al-Tanak, a stronghold of the group in the west of Mosul, the Iraqi military said in statement.
Among those killed were commanders in charge of booby traps, of Arab suicide fighters and child recruitment, the statement added, without identifying them by name.
Daesh media outlets did not mention the strike.
The improved weather should also allow ground forces to resume their advance toward the Grand Al-Nuri Mosque, where the militants’ leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, declared a “caliphate” nearly three years ago over parts of Iraq and Syria.
The current phase of the campaign is the most difficult as narrow alleyways in the densely populated old city limit the use of artillery, air power and armored vehicles.
An explosion in western Mosul last month killed between 60 and 240 people, according to various accounts.


Iranian official in surprise visit to Lebanon

Updated 18 July 2019
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Iranian official in surprise visit to Lebanon

  • Some of the threats made by the Zionist enemy are not in favor of the region’s security, Abdollahian says

BEIRUT: “Lebanon must be kept out of all regional crises,” said Iran’s Shoura Council assistant speaker for international affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, during a surprise visit to Beirut on Wednesday.

“We say at the top of our voice that Iran and its allies will not allow the Zionist entity and the US to damage the region’s security.”

Following his meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Abdollahian said that Tehran “is convinced that the security of Lebanon is the security of the region and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Abdollahian added that “some of the threats made by the Zionist enemy are not in favor of the region’s security.”

He described his talks with Berri as “good and constructive.”

“We will not allow Israel, US to interfere with regional security.”

Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iran’s Shoura Council official

Abdollahian said: “We have come today to reaffirm that Iran fully supports the people, army, resistance and government of Lebanon, and we look forward to developing relations between our two countries until they reach the highest levels.”

He said he believes that the statements of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are for “domestic consumption,” accusing him of “making some moves in the region that are not in his favor.”

Netanyahu responded to a message from Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday by threatening Hezbollah during Israel’s Cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu said: “Let me be clear that if Hezbollah dares to commit an act of stupidity and attack Israel, we will deal a crushing military blow on Lebanon. But unlike Nasrallah, I do not intend to detail our plans. It would be enough to recall that, for years, Nasrallah dug terror tunnels, and we demolished them within a few days.”