Gaza bomb suspect, two Hamas security officers killed in raid

Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas ride a pickup truck during an operation to arrest the main suspect in an assassination attempt against Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, in the central Gaza Strip Mar. 22, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 22 March 2018
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Gaza bomb suspect, two Hamas security officers killed in raid

NUSEIRAT: The main suspect in a recent bomb attack against the Palestinian prime minister in the Gaza Strip was killed in an arrest raid on Thursday that also left two members of the Hamas security forces dead.
One of the suspect’s alleged accomplices was also killed in the raid after Hamas, the extremist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, launched a manhunt.
The interior ministry in the Gaza Strip announced the deaths. The two suspects were earlier said to have been arrested, but the ministry issued a statement later saying they had died from their wounds.
A third suspect was under arrest.
The members of the security forces were named as Hammad Abu Swerah and Ziad Al-Howajri, with the interior ministry saying they “died while carrying out their national duty in a security operation this morning.”
A clash with an exchange of fire had erupted earlier in the day in Nuseirat, south of Gaza City, a day after Hamas named Anas Abu Koussa, born in 1993, as the lead suspect.
Dozens of new checkpoints had been erected throughout the Palestinian enclave and armed security forces were searching cars, an AFP correspondent said.
Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah was unhurt by the roadside bomb that struck his convoy on March 13, in what Palestinian officials have called an assassination attempt as he entered Gaza on a rare visit.
Palestinian Authority intelligence chief Majid Faraj, who was accompanying Hamdallah, also escaped injury.
The roadside bomb, believed to have weighed around 15 kilogrammes (33 pounds), exploded a few hundred meters (yards) from the border with Israel, shortly after Hamdallah’s convoy entered the territory.
A second bomb failed to explode, officials said.
Hamas did not give a possible motive for the attack on Hamdallah, head of government in president Mahmud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority.
On Wednesday, a Hamas security source said investigators had arrested and were questioning three people, including two members of the PA-run intelligence services.
On Monday, Abbas accused Hamas of being behind the blast and said he would take new measures in response, without specifying details.
Abbas has previously taken a series of measures, including reducing electricity payments for Gaza’s two million residents, in what analysts said was an attempt to punish Hamas.

 


Pentagon plans to send 5,000 more troops to Middle East amid Iran threat: US officials

Updated 23 May 2019
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Pentagon plans to send 5,000 more troops to Middle East amid Iran threat: US officials

  • Tehran and Washington have this month been escalating rhetoric against each other
  • The US military deployed a carrier strike group, bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East earlier this month

WASHINGTON: The US Department of Defense is considering a US military request to send about 5,000 additional troops to the Middle East amid increasing tensions with Iran, two US officials told Reuters on Wednesday.
Tehran and Washington have this month been escalating rhetoric against each other, following US President Donald Trump’s decision to try to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero and beef up the US military presence in the Gulf in response to what he said were Iranian threats.
The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the request had been made by US Central Command, but added that it was not clear whether the Pentagon would approve the request.
The Pentagon regularly receives — and declines — requests for additional resources from US combatant commands throughout the world.
One of the officials said the requested troops would be defensive in nature.
This appeared to be the latest request for additional resources in the face of what US officials have said are credible threats from Iran against US forces and American interests in the Middle East.
The Pentagon declined to comment on future plans.
“As a matter of longstanding policy, we are not going to discuss or speculate on potential future plans and requests for forces,” Commander Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said on Wednesday.
Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Tuesday that while threats from Iran in the Middle East remained high, deterrence measures taken by the Pentagon had “put on hold” the potential for attacks on Americans.
The US military deployed a carrier strike group, bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East earlier this month in response to what Washington said were troubling indications of possible preparations for an attack by Iran.
Trump had warned on Monday that Iran would be met with “great force” if it attacked US interests in the Middle East.