Kurdish party said 27 Iranian Revolutionary Guards killed or injured in clashes near Iraq’s border

File photo showing Iranian border guards. (AFP)
Updated 10 June 2018

Kurdish party said 27 Iranian Revolutionary Guards killed or injured in clashes near Iraq’s border

  • Kurdistan Democratic party announced Sunday that more than 27 Iranian Revolutionary Guards fell in skirmishes close to Iraq-Iran border.
  • The Iranian authorities have acknowledged that 3 incidents with armed militants took place close to the border with Iraq

IRAQI KURDISTAN: The Kurdistan Democratic party military wing announced Sunday that more than 27 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards fell in skirmishes close to the Iraqi-Iranian border.

The party’s statement added that clashes between the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and its Peshmerga fighters resulted in 9 dead and 18 injured near the town of ‘Shno’ close to the border with Iran.

The Iranian authorities acknowledged that 3 incidents with armed militants took place Sunday close to the border with Iraq.
“In recent days we have been witnessing some movements and efforts by anti-revolutionary bandits and terrorists in west and northwest border areas with the aim of deep infiltration,” said Brig.-General Mohammad Pakpour, ground forces commander of the Guards.Mohammad Bakour, the commander of Iran Revolutionary Guard ground forces said that ‘ clashes were recorded in the last few days near our western and north western clashes without naming the groups responded for the incursions. 

Kurdish Iranian parties headquarters are based close to the Iran-Iraq border, and Iranian troops cross the border from time to time to pursue the Iranian Kurdish fighters based there. 

 

 


US contractor told Lebanese port official of chemicals risk

Updated 41 min 34 sec ago

US contractor told Lebanese port official of chemicals risk

  • Concerns about the ammonium nitrate were known within the Lebanese government before the deadly blast
  • The thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate had been stored in the warehouse for more than six years

WASHINGTON: About four years before the Beirut port explosion that killed dozens of people and injured thousands, a US government contractor expressed concern to a Lebanese port official about unsafe storage there of the volatile chemicals that fueled last week’s devastating blast, American officials said Tuesday.
There is no indication the contractor communicated his concerns to anyone in the US government.
His assessment was noted briefly in a four-page State Department cable first reported by The New York Times.
The cable, labeled sensitive but unclassified, dealt largely with the Lebanese responses to the blast and the origins and disposition of the ammonium nitrate, which ignited to create an enormous explosion. But it also noted that after the Aug. 4 explosion, a person who had advised the Lebanese navy under a US Army contract from 2013 to 2016 told the State Department that he had “conducted a port facility inspection on security measures during which he reported to port officials on the unsafe storage of ammonium nitrate.”
Concerns about the ammonium nitrate were known within the Lebanese government before the deadly blast, officials said.
The contractor, who was not identified by name and is now a State Department employee based in Ukraine, was in Lebanon to provide instruction to members of the Lebanese navy. While there, he made a brief, impromptu inspection of physical security at the facility in 2015 or 2016 at the request of a port official, US officials said. The contractor was not identified.
The contractor, who has a background in port and maritime security, noted weaknesses in security camera coverage and other aspects of port management but was not assessing safety issues, according to the US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of a planned public statement.
While inside the warehouse where ammonium nitrate was stored, the contractor saw problems such as poor ventilation and inadequate physical security, which he noted to the port official accompanying him, the officials said. It is unclear whether the port official reported this concern to his superiors.
The thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate had been stored in the warehouse for more than six years, apparently with the knowledge of top political and security officials. The catastrophic explosion one week ago Tuesday killed at least 171 peoples and plunged Lebanon into a deeper political crisis.
The contractor was working for the US Army’s Security Assistance Training Management Organization, headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He provided instruction to members of the Lebanese armed forces in naval vessel traffic systems and small boat operations. His class was visiting the Beirut port as part of that instruction program when the port official asked him for the inspection, which US officials said lasted about 45 minutes.
The United States has a close security relationship with Lebanon. According to the State Department, the US government has provided Lebanon with more than $1.7 billion in security assistance since 2006. The assistance is designed to support the Lebanese armed forces’ ability to secure the country’s borders, counter internal threats, and defend national territory.
Last September a US Navy ship, the guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage, visited Beirut. It was the first time in 36 years an American warship had made a port visit there, according to the US military at the time.