Rocket fired into Baghdad’s Green Zone, no casualties

Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone is home to Iraq's parliament and other government offices and the diplomatic quarter. (File/Getty)
Updated 20 May 2019
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Rocket fired into Baghdad’s Green Zone, no casualties

  • A blast was heard in central Baghdad on Sunday night
  • Rocket was fired into Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone

BAGHDAD: A Katyusha rocket was fired on Sunday into Baghdad’s Green Zone housing government offices and embassies including the US mission, days after the US evacuated staff from Iraq citing threats from Iran.

A blast was heard in central Baghdad on Sunday night, witnesses said, and two Baghdad-based diplomatic sources also said they heard the explosion.

“A Katyusha rocket fell in the middle of the Green Zone without causing any losses, details to come later,” the military said in a brief statement.

The Katyusha multiple rocket launcher is an inexpensive type of rocket artillery that can deliver explosives to a target quicker than conventional artillery, but is less
accurate.

The US Embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in the Iraqi Kurdish regional capital Irbil evacuated non-emergency staff this week.

“We don’t think that the target was the embassy as the range of the rocket and the place from were it was launched is far away,” a security source told Arab News.

“It is a Katyusha rocket that was launched from eastern Baghdad, so there is no way it could reach its goal. Anyone who has basic experience in this kind of weaponry would know this,” the source said.

President Donald Trump’s administration has said it sent additional forces to the region to counter what it called credible threats from Iran against US interests, including from militias it supports in Iraq.

Iran and the US have both said they do not want war as tensions between the two nations increase.

The US Embassy in Baghdad — its largest in the world — lies within the fortified neighborhood, also known as the International Zone, which is surrounded by concrete walls.

In September last year, assailants fired three mortar rounds into the Green Zone in a rare attack that did not cause casualties or damage. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.

That same month the US shut its consulate in Basra and ordered all but emergency staff to leave the southern port city hit by weeks of protests and relocate to Baghdad.

At the time, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iranian militants for “indirect fire” — which usually means rockets or artillery — against the US consulate.

 


Former Egyptian president Morsi buried in Cairo: lawyer

Updated 18 June 2019
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Former Egyptian president Morsi buried in Cairo: lawyer

  • Morsi, was suffering from a benign tumor, had continuous medical attention, says state TV
  • The former president died aged 67

CAIRO: Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi was buried on Tuesday in eastern Cairo, one of his lawyers said, a day after he collapsed in court and died.

“He was buried in Medinat Nasr, in eastern Cairo, with his family present. The funeral prayer was said in Tora prison hospital” where he was declared dead on Monday, his lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud said.

Egyptian state television announced that Morsi, 67, who was ousted by the military on July 3, 2013, had been attending a court session at his trial on charges of espionage and links with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

It was reported that he collapsed in the courtroom inside a glass cage he and others had been sharing, before his body was transferred to a local hospital.

Morsi died from a sudden heart attack, state television reported early on Tuesday, citing a medical source. The source said the former president, who was suffering from a benign tumor, had continuous medical attention.

Attorney-General Nabil Sadiq issued a statement saying: “The accused, Mohammed Morsi, in the presence of the other defendants inside the cage, fell unconscious, where he was immediately transferred to the hospital.

“The preliminary medical report stated that by external medical examination they found no pulse, no breathing, and his eyes were unresponsive to light. He died at 4:50 p.m. and no apparent injuries to the body were found.”

Sadiq added he had ordered the transfer of teams from the Supreme State Security Prosecution Office and the Southern Cairo Prosecution Office to conduct an investigation into Morsi’s death, and to examine surveillance footage from the courtroom and collect witness testimonies.

He also ordered that a senior forensic committee headed by the chief medical officer and the director of forensic medicine to prepare a forensic report on the cause of death.

Various outlets say that a state of high alert has been issued by the military and the Ministry of the Interior throughout the country following the news, for fear of riots or activity by the Muslim Brotherhood, in which Morsi was a prominent figure.

Morsi became president in June 2012 after the first democratic elections in the country following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak on Jan. 25, 2011. He was Egypt’s fifth president.

He was born to a family of farmers on Aug. 20, 1951, in the village of Al-Adwa in Sharkia province. He married in 1978 and leaves behind his wife, five children and three grandchildren.

Following his deposition and arrest, Morsi was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on Oct. 22, 2016, over bloody clashes that took place on Dec. 5, 2012 in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and opponents of Morsi rejecting a constitutional declaration issued in November of that year.

Other sentences meant his total incarceration could have been up to 48 years, with the ongoing espionage case potentially carrying a further maximum sentence of 25 years.

In Istanbul on Tuesday, hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters took to the streets, mourning former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi and some chanting slogans blaming Cairo authorities for his death.

* With AFP