Iran may attack Israel if US standoff escalates: Israeli minister

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said that, in the Gulf, “things are heating up.” (File/AFP)
Updated 12 May 2019

Iran may attack Israel if US standoff escalates: Israeli minister

  • The US has increased economic and military pressure on Iran
  • Donald Trump urged its leaders to talk to him about giving up Iran's nuclear program

JERUSALEM: An Israeli cabinet minister warned on Sunday of possible direct or proxy Iranian attacks on Israel should the stand-off between Tehran and Washington escalate.
The United States has increased economic and military pressure on Iran, with President Donald Trump on Thursday urging its leaders to talk to him about giving up their nuclear program and saying he could not rule out an armed confrontation.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, which supports Trump’s hard tack against its arch-foe, has largely been reticent about the spiralling tensions.
Parting with the silence, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said that, in the Gulf, “things are heating up.”
“If there’s some sort of conflagration between Iran and the United States, between Iran and its neighbors, I’m not ruling out that they will activate Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad from Gaza, or even that they will try to fire missiles from Iran at the State of Israel,” Steinitz, a member of Netanyahu’s security cabinet, told Israel’s Ynet TV.
Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad are Iranian-sponsored guerrilla groups on Israel’s borders, the former active in Syria as well as Lebanon and the latter in the Palestinian territories.
The Israeli military declined to comment when asked if it was making any preparations for possible threats linked to the Iran-US standoff.
Israel has traded blows with Iranian forces in Syria, as well as with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Palestinian militants. But it has not fought an open war with Iran, a country on the other side of the Middle East.


10,000 homeless after fire razes Bangladesh slum

Updated 20 min 53 sec ago

10,000 homeless after fire razes Bangladesh slum

  • The fire broke out at in Dhaka’s Mirpur neighborhood late on Friday and razed around 2,000 mostly tin shacks
  • Experts say fires are frequent in Dhaka due to lax safety measures

DHAKA: At least 10,000 people are homeless after a massive fire swept through a crowded slum in the Bangladesh capital and destroyed thousands of shanties, officials said Sunday.
The fire broke out at in Dhaka’s Mirpur neighborhood late on Friday and razed around 2,000 mostly tin shacks, fire services official Ershad Hossain said.
“I could not salvage a single thing. I don’t know what will I do,” 58-year-old Abdul Hamid, who ran a tea stall inside the slum, said as he broke down in tears.
Authorities eventually got the blaze under control and no-one was killed, although several people had minor injuries, firefighters said.
Many residents — largely low-income garment factory workers — were not in the slum as they had left their homes to celebrate the Muslim Eid Al-Adha holiday with their families.
“Otherwise, the damage would have been bigger,” local police chief Golam Rabbani said.
Around 10,000 people have taken refuge in crammed camps at nearby schools closed for the weeklong holiday, according to Hossain.
“We are providing them with food, water, mobile toilets, and electricity supply,” municipal official Shafiul Azam said, adding that authorities were trying to find permanent accommodation.
Some families have erected tarpaulins to shelter them from bouts of rain during the monsoon season, but the wet conditions have turned the fields muddy.
Experts say fires are frequent in Dhaka due to lax safety measures.
At least 100 people have been killed so far this year in building fires across the densely populated metropolitan city.
In 2012, a fire swept through a nine-story garment factory near Dhaka killing 111 workers. An investigation found it was caused by sabotage and that managers at the plant had prevented victims from escaping.
A 2010 fire in Nimtoli, one of the most densely populated districts of the capital, killed 123 people.