Two rockets fall in Iraq’s Taji base, no casualties reported

Two Katyusha rockets fell in Iraq’s Taji base that hosts US-led coalition troops, with no casualties reported, the state news agency said on Saturday. (File/AFP)
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Updated 13 June 2020

Two rockets fall in Iraq’s Taji base, no casualties reported

  • A coalition official confirmed the projectiles fell outside the coalition’s segment of the base
  • It was the third attack in a week to target US troops or diplomats

BAGHDAD: A rocket attack late Saturday north of Baghdad hit an Iraqi base but missed US-led coalition troops stationed there, Iraq’s military and a coalition official said.
A statement from Iraq’s security forces said the rockets were launched north of Baghdad and did not cause any damage to the Taji base.
A coalition official confirmed the projectiles fell outside the coalition’s segment of the base.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
It was the third attack in a week to target US troops or diplomats.
Two rockets struck the grounds of the vast Baghdad airport complex on Monday and an unguided rocket hit close to the fortified US embassy two days later.
The attacks follow several weeks of relative respite from more than two dozen similar incidents in recent months.
Since October, at least 30 attacks have targeted American troops or diplomats, severely straining ties between Baghdad and Washington.
Tensions reached boiling point in January when the US killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis in a drone strike in Baghdad.
Washington has accused armed groups backed by Iran, Iraq’s powerful neighbor and the US’s top regional foe, for the repeated rocket attacks. But it also blamed the Iraqi government for not doing enough to protect US installations.
Washington and Baghdad are hoping for a reset after launching a strategic dialogue this week that aims to better define their military, economic and cultural relationship.
As part of the talks, the US pledged to continue reducing in-country troop levels, which numbered about 5,200 last year.
Iraq, meanwhile, vowed to “protect the military personnel” operating on its territory as part of the US-led coalition fighting remnants of Daesh.


Israeli police brace for rally against corona cash crisis

Updated 14 min 26 sec ago

Israeli police brace for rally against corona cash crisis

  • Organizers of the protests said they expected thousands of Israel’s self-employed to turn out
  • Student unions said they would also take part in the event at the city’s Rabin Square, to show their concern at the large numbers of young people made jobless by closures

JERUSALEM: Israeli police on Saturday said they had flooded central Tel Aviv with officers and closed main thoroughfares, ahead of a rally by critics of the government’s handling of the COVID 19 crisis.
“Hundreds of police will be deployed in a number of security cordons,” a police statement said. “The mission is protection of the participants and preservation of public order.”
Organizers of the protests said they expected thousands of Israel’s self-employed to turn out in protest at what they say is the government’s abandonment of them after forcing their businesses to close under coronavirus regulations.
Student unions said they would also take part in the event at the city’s Rabin Square, to show their concern at the large numbers of young people made jobless by closures.
Israel imposed a broad lockdown from the middle of March, allowing only staff deemed essential to go to work and banning public assembly.
Places of entertainment were closed, hitting the leisure industry hard.
Facing public and economic pressure, the government eased restrictions in late May.
Infection numbers mounted and rules were tightened again, including the closure of event venues, clubs, bars, gyms and public pools.
While salaried workers sent on furlough received unemployment benefits, the self-employed said that most had been waiting months for promised government aid to reach them.
“There is a very grave crisis of confidence between us and the government,” Shai Berman, one of the protest organizers told Israeli public radio.
“We are part of a very large public which is feeling growing distress and wants to demonstrate and simply does not believe the promises,” he added.
On Friday the health ministry announced the highest number of coronavirus infections over a 24-hour period, with nearly 1,500 new cases confirmed.
The country of roughly nine million has now registered more than 36,000 cases, including over 350 deaths.
No update had been published by Saturday afternoon.
Berman, head of the Bars and Restaurants association said that the evening rally would be non-partisan.
“Politicians will not be making speeches,” he said. “The only ones who will go up on the stage are those from the grassroots who will tell their stories.”