Iran reports 3,574 new coronavirus infections, its highest yet

Iranians, some wearing face masks, walk along a street in the capital Tehran on June 3, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis. (AFP)
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Updated 04 June 2020

Iran reports 3,574 new coronavirus infections, its highest yet

  • A health ministry spokesman said 59 people had died of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours
  • A total of 164,270 people have tested positive for the virus in Iran

TEHRAN: Iran announced 3,574 new coronavirus infections Thursday, its highest daily count since the outbreak began in February.
It was the fourth straight day that the daily caseload had topped 3,000. The previous high was 3,186, recorded on March 30, at the height of the initial outbreak.
Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said that the surge in new cases might be the result of wider testing rather than a second wave of infection.
He said that Iran had now conducted more than a million tests.
But the health ministry has been taking no chances and has stepped up a public health campaign in recent days reminding people to protect themselves and observe social distancing.
The ministry spokesman said 59 people had died of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, taking Iran’s overall official toll to 8,071.
A total of 164,270 people have tested positive for the virus.


Court testimony claims Turkish general killed after discovering Qatar extremist funding

Updated 04 August 2020

Court testimony claims Turkish general killed after discovering Qatar extremist funding

  • Explosive courtroom transcript says Brig. Gen. Semih Terzi was killed because he knew too much about Turkish general's murky dealings in Syria
  • Turkish officials accused of embezzling money sent from Qatar to arm Syrian militants

LONDON: A Turkish general killed during a failed coup was executed after he found out Qatar was funneling money to extremist groups in Syria through Turkey, according to explosive courtroom claims.

Brig. Gen. Semih Terzi was shot dead in July 2016 during an attempt by some military officers to overthrow the government of Recip Tayyip Erdogan. The alleged plotters were accused of being followers of the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen.

According to a courtroom transcript obtained by the anti-Erdogan Nordic Monitor website, Terzi’s killing was ordered by Lt. Gen. Zekai Aksakalli, the then head of Turkey’s Special Forces Command.

The website claims the testimony came from Col. Firat Alakus, who worked in the intelligence section of the Special Forces Command, during a hearing at the 17th High Criminal Court in Ankara in March, 2019.

Alakus said Terzi had discovered that Aksakalli was working secretly with the Turkish intelligence agency (MIT) in running illegal operations in Syria for personal gain.

“[Terzi] knew how much of the funding delivered [to Turkey] by Qatar for the purpose of purchasing weapons and ammunition for the opposition was actually used for that and how much of it was actually used by public officials, how much was embezzled,” Alakus said. 

He added that Terzi’s knowledge of Aksakalli’s murky dealings was the real reason Aksakalli ordered his execution.

Terzi was killed after Aksakalli ordered him back to Ankara from a border province as the failed coup attempt unfolded, Alakus said.

Other accounts say Terzi was one of the main coup plotters and was killed leading an attempt to capture the special forces headquarters in the capital.

Along with the Qatari claim, Alakus said Terzi also knew the details of Turkey’s involvement in oil smuggling from Syria and how government officials aided extremist militant commanders.

He also objected to Turkish intelligence supplying weapons and training to extremist Syrian factions who were passed off as moderate opposition fighters.

“[Terzi’s murder] had to do with a trap devised by Zekai Aksakalli, who did not want such facts to come out into the open,” Alakus said.

Alakus was jailed for life in June 2019 after being convicted for taking part in the coup.