Key Hezbollah financier pleads guilty in US

Hezbollah has been a US designated terrorist group since 1997 and fights alongside the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the country’s civil war. (File/AFP)
Updated 07 December 2018
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Key Hezbollah financier pleads guilty in US

  • Lebanese businessman Kassim Tajideen pleaded guilty and faces five years in prison and a forfeiture of $50 million if his deal with prosecutors is accepted
  • “We are going to keep targeting Hezbollah and other terrorist groups and their supporters, and we are going to keep winning”

WASHINGTON: Lebanese businessman Kassim Tajideen, designated by US authorities as an important financial supporter of Hezbollah, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges related to evading sanctions against him, a Justice Department statement said.
Tajideen, 63, pleaded guilty before a Washington court and faces five years in prison and a forfeiture of $50 million if his deal with prosecutors is accepted.
He was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in May 2009 by the Treasury Department over his links to Hezbollah, a Shiite political party and militant group in Lebanon.
Tajideen has been detained since extradition to the United States in March 2017 after his arrest overseas, the statement added.
“We are going to keep targeting Hezbollah and other terrorist groups and their supporters, and we are going to keep winning,” said Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who hailed the guilty plea.
Hezbollah has been a US designated terrorist group since 1997 and fights alongside the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the country’s civil war.


Syria media says no attack on airport after reported air defense fire

Syrian pro-government forces hold a position near the village of al-Malihah, in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor, on September 9, 2017, during the ongoing battle against Daesh group. (AFP)
Updated 10 December 2018
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Syria media says no attack on airport after reported air defense fire

  • The accidental downing of a Russian transport aircraft by Syrian ground batteries during an Israel air strike on September 17 killed 15 service personnel

DAMASCUS: Syrian state media said Sunday that air defenses had opened fire near Damascus airport, before withdrawing the report after what appeared to be a false alarm.
“Our air defenses engaged hostile aerial targets in the vicinity of Damascus International Airport,” the official SANA news agency said, without providing more details.
But the report was later withdrawn by both SANA and state television without explanation.
SANA then quoted sources at the airport as saying that “there was no aggression” and that “traffic was normal.”
A well-informed source told AFP that “there was evidently a false alarm.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the sound of explosions rocked an area close to the airport and fire from air defenses was also heard.
The latest incident comes just over a week after Syria accused Israel of striking south of the capital.
The Britain-based Observatory said those were the first missiles to hit Syria since an air defense upgrade after the downing of a Russian plane in September.
Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in neighboring Syria against what it says are Iranian targets, many of them in the area south of Damascus.
Iran and Russia are the government’s key allies in the civil war that has raged Syria since 2011, and Moscow’s intervention in 2015 dramatically turned the tables against the rebels.
The accidental downing of a Russian transport aircraft by Syrian ground batteries during an Israel air strike on September 17 killed 15 service personnel.
Moscow pinned responsibility for the downing on Israel, saying its fighter jet used the larger Russian one for cover, an allegation Israel disputed.
Russia subsequently upgraded Syrian air defenses with the delivery of the advanced S-300 system, which Damascus insisted would make Israel “think carefully” before carrying out further air raids.
The move raised fears in Israel that its ability to rein in its arch foe Iran’s military presence in Syria would be sharply reduced.
But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russia that Israel would continue to hit hostile targets, while also maintaining “security coordination” with Moscow.