Iran fighting claims 22 lives

An Iranian policeman takes cover during an attack on the Iranian parliament in central Tehran, Iran, in this photo taken on June 7, 2017. ((REUTERS)
Updated 11 June 2017

Iran fighting claims 22 lives

JEDDAH/LONDON: Fighting between rival tribesmen in southern Iran left 22 people dead Friday night, an Iranian lawmaker was quoted by the ILNA news agency as saying Saturday.
“The incident… in Ramhormoz county (in Khuzestan province) is rooted in an old tribal conflict,” lawmaker Hedayatollah Khademi said. “Unfortunately… advanced military weapons were used and 22 people were killed.”
But Harvard scholar and Iranian affairs expert Majid Rafizadeh said it was inaccurate to describe the fighting as tribal.
“Although the government claims the conflict is tribal, the root of the issue is anchored in other critical underlying reasons,” he told Arab News Saturday.
“Ramhormorz is located near Masjad Soleiman and east of the Arab region Ahvaz in Khuzestan province, which provides roughly 90 percent of Iran’s oil exports,” he said.
“Although the province is the wealthiest when it comes to natural resources, it is ranked at the bottom of Iran’s 31 provinces regarding health, standard of living, life expectancy, poverty, air pollution, employment and housing.”
Ramhormorz, like many other counties in Khuzestan, has long been neglected, Rafizadeh added.
“This region is one of the most deprived economically, and it is discriminated against socially, ethnically, religiously and politically,” he said. “Many habitants are from the religious and ethnic minorities of Arabs and Bakhtiaris.”
Rafizadeh said there have been protests recently in Ramhormorz because the government-backed Caspian Credit Institute did not return depositors’ and investors’ money. “These underlying issues have created deep grievances among people.”
— With input from Reuters

Netanyahu to cut US trip short after rocket attack near Tel Aviv

Updated 7 min 24 sec ago

Netanyahu to cut US trip short after rocket attack near Tel Aviv

  • Netanyahu said the incident will evoke a strong Israeli reaction
  • Palestinian rockets rarely reach an area at that distance from Gaza

MISHMERET/JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he is to cut short his trip to the United States after a rocket attack near Tel Aviv.

“In light of the security events I decided to cut short my visit to the US,” Netanyahu said, calling the attack a heinous crime that would draw a strong Israeli response.

He said he would meet with President Donald Trump in the coming hours and then fly back immediately.

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a house in a community north of Tel Aviv and caused it to catch fire, wounding seven Israelis, authorities and medics said.

Israel’s army said the rocket was fired from the Palestinian enclave run by Islamist movement Hamas, raising the risk of another escalation between the two sides just ahead of April 9 Israeli elections.

The house hit was located in the community of Mishmeret, police said. Medics said they were treating one Israeli with moderate wounds and four others injured lightly.

Mishmeret is more than 80 kilometers from the Gaza Strip and rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave at that distance is rare.

Monday’s incident comes after two rockets were fired from Gaza toward Tel Aviv — also rare — on March 14.

No damage or injuries were caused, but Israel responded to that and further rocket fire by hitting what it said were around 100 Hamas targets across the Gaza Strip.

Four Palestinians were reported wounded in those strikes.

Both Hamas and its ally Islamic Jihad denied they were behind the March 14 rocket fire toward Tel Aviv, raising the possibility they were launched by fringe groups.

Israel’s military said they were launched by Hamas, but later there were Israeli media reports that the army’s preliminary assessment was that they had been fired by mistake during maintenance work.

The reports were a sign that Israel was seeking to calm tensions. The military had refused to comment on the reports at the time.

Monday’s rocket comes just days ahead of the March 30 one-year anniversary of Palestinian protests and clashes along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel.

An informal truce between Hamas and Israel had led to relative calm along the border of the blockaded strip, but recent weeks have seen another uptick in violence.