Gunmen kill Iranian militia commander: state media

Members of Iran’s paramilitary Basij militia, holding national flags, parade in front of the former US embassy in Tehran to mark the national Basij week. (File/AFP)
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Updated 22 January 2020

Gunmen kill Iranian militia commander: state media

TEHRAN: A commander of Iran’s Basij militia was shot dead by unidentified assailants Wednesday in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, state news agency IRNA reported.
Abdolhossein Mojadami was killed by “two motorcyclists armed with a Kalashnikov and shotgun” outside his home in Darkhovin, about 70 kilometers (44 miles) south of provincial capital Ahvaz, Fars news agency said.
Fars, which is close to ultraconservatives, said Mojadami was a member of the Basij, a militia loyal to Iran’s establishment.
It published a picture of him in a uniform of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps with the rank of captain.
IRNA said Mojadami was among the “volunteers” who had been involved in the fight against Daesh in Syria or Iraq.
It said there was no claim of responsibility for the “terrorist act” that killed him.
One of Iran’s poorest oil-producing provinces, Khuzestan was one of the main centers of violent protests that swept across around 100 cities and towns in mid-November in response to fuel price hikes.
The London-based rights group Amnesty International said more than 300 people were killed in a crackdown on the unrest, including about 40 in Khuzestan.
Iran has rejected as “utter lies” unofficial death tolls given abroad.

Palestinian minister claims Israeli police physically abused him

Fadi Hidmi. (Supplied)
Updated 04 April 2020

Palestinian minister claims Israeli police physically abused him

  • East Jerusalem — with a population of 350,000 — has been all but ignored by the Israeli Ministry of Health in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic

AMMAN: Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Fadi Hidmi was released by Israeli police on Friday afternoon after being arrested for the fourth time without charge.

Ministry spokesman Awad Awad told Arab News that Hidmi had been “warned” not to “move around” or “do any work in” Jerusalem in accordance with measures being taken to minimize the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Awad also claimed that Hidmi had been physically abused by the police, saying that the minister was “punched in the face and forced to wear a mask with blood on it.”

CCTV at Hidmi’s Mount of Olives house show that he was manhandled by Israeli police during his arrest in the early hours of Friday.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed the arrest.

Rosenfeld told the Israeli press that Hidmi was arrested “on suspicion of Palestinian activities in Jerusalem.”

He said police searched Hidmi’s home and confiscated documents as well as “large sums of money. Israeli media said that the police had confiscated NIS10,000 ($2,750) found in the house.

Hidmi, a Jerusalem resident, was the director of the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce and Industry before accepting his current job in the Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh’s government.

Before Hidmi’s release on Friday, Shtayyeh wrote on social media: “Israel targets who work for #Jerusalem, even at such critical moments as we work to save our people's lives from #COVID19.”

East Jerusalem — with a population of 350,000 — has been all but ignored by the Israeli Ministry of Health in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Jamil Kousa, director of the St. Joseph hospital, told Palestine TV that he was only informed on March 25 that his hospital should be prepared to accept patients with COVID-19.

Ahmad Buderi, the coordinator of the Jerusalem Alliance — an organization launched to help combat COVID-19 — has said that people in the city are depending almost solely on local initiatives to deal with the pandemic.

Before his arrest, Hidmi launched the website to coordinate the distribution of urgenly needed food and medical supplies to the city’s residents.

Walid Nammour, secretary-general of the Jerusalem Hospital Network, estimates that the city’s six hospitals need $7 million to to deal with the potential spread of COVID-19 in East Jerusalem.

Nammour told Arab News that 300-400 ventilators are needed and that only 26 are available at present.