Lebanese hunter shot at Syrian checkpoint

A Lebanese security police stands southern Lebanon, in this file photo taken on January 18, 2015. (Reuters)
Updated 27 May 2019
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Lebanese hunter shot at Syrian checkpoint

  • A Lebanese mediator from Arsal had contacted Syrian security forces and arranged for the body to be recovered

BEIRUT: A retired Lebanese soldier on a bird-hunting trip was shot dead at a Syrian military checkpoint in Arsal on the Syrian-Lebanese border, sparking anger and demands for an investigation into the killing.
Two other men were detained by Syrian security forces in the incident, the first of its kind since the July 2017 battles around the town between the Lebanese army and terror groups in the area.
Wissam Youssef Karnabi, Nayef Mahmoud Raed and Hussein Ali Al-Hujairi were partridge hunting with small nets in a security zone surrounding Arsal when the shooting took place.
Al-Hujairi is believed to have been shot by Syrian troops following a dispute at the checkpoint.
Future Movement MP Bakr Al-Hujairi, a relative of the dead man, said: “The three hunters were unarmed; all they carried were nets.” He told Arab News that his relative’s body had been recovered from Damascus on Saturday night, but the fate of the other two men remains unknown.
Bassel Al-Hujairi, the mayor of Arsal, said that the three hunters had been told by Syrian troops to approach the checkpoint, “but there seems to have been a dispute between the third hunter and the Syrian soldiers, so they shot him and arrested the other two.”  
“The killing in this manner is not acceptable. There is no reason for it as the hunters were unarmed,” he said. A Lebanese mediator from Arsal had contacted Syrian security forces and arranged for the body to be recovered.
“The Syrian authorities transferred the body to a hospital in the area before it was delivered to the Lebanese side on Saturday through the Masnaa border crossing,” Al-Hujairi said.
Lebanese General Security had been told about the shooting and is following up the matter, the mayor said. He said the two men detained by the Syrian security forces are in their forties. The mayor said that the shooting victim’s funeral procession in Arsal had “an atmosphere of tension and anxiety.”


US sanctions target Iranians’ access to food, medicine: foreign minister

Updated 13 min 32 sec ago

US sanctions target Iranians’ access to food, medicine: foreign minister

  • The United States on Friday imposed a new round of sanctions on Iran
  • Unconfirmed reports on social media said a number of Iranian websites were under a cyberattack

DUBAI: Iran’s foreign minister on Saturday denounced renewed US sanctions against its central bank as an attempt to deny ordinary Iranians access to food and medicine, and said the move was a sign of US desperation.
The United States on Friday imposed a new round of sanctions on Iran, some aimed at its central bank and sovereign wealth fund, following attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia that Riyadh and US officials have blamed on Iran.
Iran denies involvement in the attacks, which initially halved oil output from Saudi Arabia. Responsibility was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement, an Iranian-aligned group fighting a Saudi-led alliance in Yemen’s civil war.
“This is a sign of US desperation ... When they repeatedly sanction the same institution, this means their attempt at bringing the Iranian nation to its knees under ‘maximum pressure’ has failed,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in remarks shown on state television.
“But this is dangerous and unacceptable as an attempt at blocking ... the Iranian people’s access to food and medicine,” Zarif said, speaking after arriving in New York for the annual UN General Assembly next week.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports on social media said a number of Iranian websites — including those of some petrochemical firms — were under a cyberattack. There was no immediate official comment, and the websites of the main state oil company NIOC appeared to be functioning normally. Residents said their Internet access was not affected.
The fresh sanctions target the Central Bank of Iran, which was already under other US sanctions, the National Development Fund of Iran — the country’s sovereign wealth fund — and an Iranian company that US officials say is used to conceal financial transfers for Iranian military purchases.
Zarif said he would meet on Wednesday with foreign ministers of the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear accord, which was agreed with Britain, France, Germany China and Russia as well as the United States.
“As we have said before, the United States can only attend if it returns to the (nuclear accord) ... and ends its economic war against Iran,” Zarif said.
The United States withdrew from the accord last year and re-imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran.
“I hope the US government realizes that they are no longer the only economic superpower in the world and that there are many countries that want to benefit from the Iranian market,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, according to state media.