US warns Iran it will respond to attacks by Tehran allies in Iraq

Iraqis demonstrate in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad. 3 mortar shells hit late the green zone, which houses the US Embassy. (AFP)
Updated 12 September 2018
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US warns Iran it will respond to attacks by Tehran allies in Iraq

  • The US will hold the regime in Tehran accountable if Americans injured in Iraq
  • Iran did not act to stop these attacks by its proxies in Iraq, the US said.

WASHINGTON: The US warned Iran on Tuesday it will “respond swiftly and decisively” to any attacks by Tehran’s allies in Iraq that result in injury to Americans or damage to US facilities.
The statement by the White House press secretary accused Iran of not preventing attacks in recent days on the US Consulate in Basra and the American Embassy compound in Baghdad.
“Iran did not act to stop these attacks by its proxies in Iraq, which it has supported with funding, training, and weapons,” the statement said.
“The United States will hold the regime in Tehran accountable for any attack that results in injury to our personnel or damage to United States Government facilities. America will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of American lives,” the statement said.
On Friday, three mortar bombs landed inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, where the US Embassy is located, but they caused no casualties or damage, the Iraqi military said.
The mortar attack was the first such one in several years on the Green Zone, which houses parliament, government buildings and many foreign embassies.
The US Consulate in Basra is near the airport, which was attacked by rockets on Saturday. No damage or casualties were reported.
Protesters in Basra angry over political corruption ransacked and torched Iraqi government buildings last week. The Iranian consulate was set alight by demonstrators shouting condemnation of what many see as Iran’s sway over Iraq’s affairs.


Israel strikes Hamas post after gunfire at troops

Updated 10 min 17 sec ago
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Israel strikes Hamas post after gunfire at troops

  • An informal truce between Hamas and Israel has brought relative calm to the border in recent weeks
  • Hamas is labelled a terrorist organization by the US and the EU, and banks are hesitant to make the transfer

GAZA CITY, Palestinian territories: An Israeli tank shelled a Hamas site in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday after gunfire at soldiers near the border fence, the army said.
There were no reports of injuries in either incident. Hamas said two of its military wing’s observation posts had been hit east of Beit Hanoun.
An informal truce between Hamas and Israel has brought relative calm to the border in recent weeks.
But there have been warnings of another escalation since Israel reportedly held up the latest cash transfer from Gulf state Qatar to Gaza, set to take place under the truce.
The payments are controversial in Israel, where they have sparked opposition from right-wing activists and politicians.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is campaigning for re-election in April 9 polls.
Qatar’s ambassador to Gaza said Monday that the $15 million (13 million euros) in cash, to pay the salaries of Hamas civil servants in the enclave, is expected to be delivered via Israel this week.
Israel’s government has not commented. Its permission is required since the cash must be delivered via Israeli territory.
Hamas is labelled a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, and banks are hesitant to make the transfer.
The payment would be the third of six planned tranches, totalling $90 million, in connection with the truce.
Israel has also allowed deliveries of Qatari-financed fuel to the blockaded enclave to help ease a severe electricity shortage.
Mass protests and clashes erupted on the Gaza-Israel border in March last year.
The weekly protests have been calling for Palestinian refugees in Gaza to be able to return to their former homes now inside Israel.
Israel accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover to carry out violence.
At least 243 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since March, the majority during protests and clashes. Others have died in airstrikes or shelling.
Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period, one by a Palestinian sniper and another during a botched special forces operation inside Gaza.
Israel and Islamist movement Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, have fought three wars since 2008.