Three mortars land inside Baghdad’s green zone - Iraqi military statement

Three mortars have landed inside Baghdad's heavily fortified green zone. (Shutterstock)
Updated 07 September 2018
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Three mortars land inside Baghdad’s green zone - Iraqi military statement

  • The mortars landed on an “abandoned lot,” resulting in “no casualties or physical damage,” the statement said
  • No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack

BAGHDAD: Three mortar shells landed inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone just after midnight local time on Friday, the Iraqi military said in a statement.
The mortars landed on an “abandoned lot,” resulting in “no casualties or physical damage,” the statement said.
A security source inside the Green Zone said the mortars landed near the Egyptian embassy.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes after days of intensifying protests in Iraq’s southern oil hub city of Basra.
Hundreds of protesters, angry over the neglect of their city’s collapsing infrastructure, took to the streets for a fourth day on Thursday, setting fire to political party offices and government buildings.
The mortar attack is the first such one in several years on the Green Zone, which houses parliament, government buildings and many foreign embassies.
In May 2016, three mortars landed near the Green Zone. Anti-corruption protesters, led by populist Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr, breached the Green Zone twice that year, storming parliament and the cabinet office.
Sadr is now vying to form Iraq’s ruling coalition in an alliance with incumbent Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, his electoral bloc having come first in May’s national election.
The Green Zone was regularly targeted by mortars during the US occupation of Iraq that ended in 2011.


US sees Palestinian state on most of West Bank, some of East Jerusalem — Israeli TV

Updated 17 January 2019
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US sees Palestinian state on most of West Bank, some of East Jerusalem — Israeli TV

JERUSALEM: Israeli television said on Wednesday that US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan would propose a Palestinian state on as much as 90 percent of the occupied West Bank, with a capital in East Jerusalem — but not including its holy sites.
The White House, which has kept details of the plan under wraps and said its release could still be months away, dismissed the report by Israel’s Reshet 13 TV as inaccurate speculation.
Citing what it said was a source briefed by the Americans, the television report said the plan would entail Israel annexing Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank while isolated settlements would either be evacuated or their construction halted.
Trump wants the proposed Israeli moves to be supplemented by territorial swaps with the Palestinians, and for East Jerusalem’s walled Old City — site of major Jewish, Muslim and Christian shrines — to be under Israeli sovereignty but with the joint management of the Palestinians and Jordan, the report said.
It said “most Arab neighborhoods” in East Jerusalem would be under Palestinian sovereignty as a future capital.
Israel calls all of Jerusalem its “eternal and undivided capital,” a status not recognized internationally. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem, including the Al Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City, as capital of a future state.
The report made no mention of the fate of Palestinian refugees, another core dispute in the decades-old conflict, or of how the Gaza Strip, which is under the control of Hamas Islamists opposed to peace with Israel, might fit into the plan.
Israeli and Palestinian officials did not immediately respond to the Reshet 13 report.
Trump’s Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, a main architect of the plan along with the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, said in a message on Twitter the report “is not accurate.” He did not specify, however, what in the report was incorrect.
“Speculation about the content of the plan is not helpful Very few people on the planet know what is in it ... for now,” Greenblatt wrote. “Peddling false, distorted or biased stories to the media is irresponsible & harmful to the process.”
In separate remarks to reporters, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, predicted that the Trump plan would not be released before an Israeli election on April 9.
Opinion polls predict an easy win that would secure a fifth term for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a rightist whose US-sponsored peace talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stalled in 2014.
“From what we understand, it will not be presented before the election,” Danon said. “It’s a smart decision because we don’t want it to become the issue of the elections.”