Bus bombing kills 9 people, injures 6 near Iraqi city of Kerbala

Updated 20 September 2019

Bus bombing kills 9 people, injures 6 near Iraqi city of Kerbala

KERBALA, Iraq: A bus bombing killed at least nine people and wounded another six on Friday near Iraq's holy city of Kerbala, south of Baghdad, local police said.
An explosive device planted on the bus detonated at a northern entrance to the city, setting fire to the vehicle, two police spokesmen in the area said.
They said the wounded were rushed to hospital.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.
Such attacks in the mostly Shiite Muslim south of Iraq have been rare in recent years, especially after the territorial defeat of Daesh in Iraq in 2017 and the routing of its Al-Qaeda predecessors in the mid-2000s.
Daesh insurgents have continued to carry out regular attacks mostly against security forces in the north of the country, however.


Turkey sends armed drone to N.Cyprus amid gas dispute

Updated 49 sec ago

Turkey sends armed drone to N.Cyprus amid gas dispute

  • The breakaway northern Cyprus government approved the use of the airport for unmanned aerial vehicles
  • A recent agreement between Turkey and Libya claims extensive areas of sea for Turkey in the Mediterranean

FAMAGUSTA, Cyprus: A Turkish military drone was delivered to northern Cyprus on Monday amid growing tensions over Turkey’s deal with Libya that extended its claims to the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean.
The Bayraktar TB2 drone landed in Gecitkale Airport in Famagusta around 0700 GMT, an AFP correspondent said, after the breakaway northern Cyprus government approved the use of the airport for unmanned aerial vehicles.
It followed a deal signed last month between Libya and Turkey that could prove crucial in the scramble for recently discovered gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.
The agreement claimed extensive areas of the sea for Turkey, undercutting claims by Greece and the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, which runs the southern part of the island.
Analysts say Turkey was pushing back against rival efforts to claim exploration rights in the area after Cyprus, Greece, Egypt and Israel excluded Turkey from a new “East Mediterranean Gas Forum” that also includes Jordan, Italy and the Palestinian territories.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is only recognized by Turkey, said approval for the drone was given last week “in light of the latest developments in the eastern Mediterranean region” and “to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the TRNC and Turkey.”
The TRNC’s transport minister, Tolga Atakan, said Turkish drones were partly a response to the acquisition of Israeli drones by Cyprus in October to monitor its exclusive economic zone.
Cyprus has been divided since Turkish troops occupied the northern third of the island in 1974 in response to a coup sponsored by the Greek military junta.
Turkey already has two drilling vessels in the eastern Mediterranean despite the threat of European Union sanctions.
Ankara does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member, and says the TRNC has the right to explore around the entire island.