Britain, US failed to cause Iran unrest, claims Khamenei

Protests in Iran spread to more than 80 cities. (Handout via Reuters)
Updated 09 January 2018
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Britain, US failed to cause Iran unrest, claims Khamenei

BEIRUT/LONDON: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed on Tuesday that Iran had foiled attempts by the US and Britain to create unrest during a wave of protests across more than 80 cities.
“The enemy now repeatedly makes moves and they are defeated each time,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by state media, according to Reuters. “It’s because of the resistance, because of the strong populist and national dam.”
Khamenei tweeted, “Once again, the nation tells the US, Britain, and those who seek to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran from abroad that ‘you’ve failed, and you will fail in the future, too’.” 
The protests were widely linked to the economic and political situation in Iran as well as its foreign policy.
A UK Foreign Office spokeswoman declined to comment on Khamenei's claim, referring to a previous statement by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Johnson said on Jan. 1 that there should be “meaningful debate about the legitimate and important issues the protesters are raising.”
He added: “People should be able to have freedom of expression and to demonstrate peacefully within the law. We regret the loss of life that has occurred in the protests in Iran, and call on all concerned to refrain from violence and for international obligations on human rights to be observed.”
Protests in Iran spread to more than 80 cities since late December and at least 21 people died.
An Iranian reformist lawmaker said Tuesday that some 3,700 people were arrested in the days of the protests, offering a far higher number than authorities previously released, according to AP.


Israel threatens to get tougher on Gaza after warplanes hit Hamas

The strikes targeting Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, were more intense than in previous sorties. AFP
Updated 47 min 24 sec ago
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Israel threatens to get tougher on Gaza after warplanes hit Hamas

  • Israeli planes initially targeted three Hamas military positions overnight in Gaza in response to kites and balloons carrying incendiary and explosive devices launched into Israel
  • The military wings of Hamas and allied militant group Islamic Jihad said they had “targeted seven Israeli military positions near Gaza

GAZA CITY: Israeli warplanes pounded Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday in a new flare-up of hostilities that saw dozens of rockets and mortar shells fired from the Palestinian enclave, the army said.
The strikes targeting Hamas’ military wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, were more intense than in previous sorties to convey the message “we will not allow this situation to continue,” Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told reporters.
The latest spike in tensions follows weeks of deadly protests and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border as well as the worst military escalation last month since a 2014 war.
It comes as US President Donald Trump’s special envoy Jason Greenblatt and adviser Jared Kushner visit the region to discuss issues including the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
Israeli planes initially targeted three Hamas military positions overnight in Gaza in response to kites and balloons carrying incendiary and explosive devices launched into Israel from the Palestinian territory, the army said.
“They may look like toys but I can assure they are not toys, they are weapons intended to kill and to inflict damage,” Conricus said.
He said that so far Israel had sought to warn off those launching the airborne devices but that could change.
“Hamas and other militants, but mainly Hamas” hit back after the first air raids with more than 45 rockets and mortar rounds fired from Gaza toward Israel, seven of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, he added.
Three more landed inside the Jewish state, he said, but did not account for the remainder.
In response, Israeli planes carried out more raids against 25 “terror objectives” including an underground training compound, according to the army.
Gaza medical sources said that five people were lightly injured in the strikes.
In a joint statement, the military wings of Hamas and allied militant group Islamic Jihad said they had “targeted seven Israeli military positions near Gaza... in response to continued Israeli aggression against resistance sites in Gaza.”
Conricus said that most of the 200,000 Israeli civilians who live within range of the short-range rockets fired from Gaza “spent the night in bomb shelters.”