Israel reinforces Lebanon border after Hezbollah threats

The Israeli military said Thursday it was reinforcing the country’s northern border with infantry troops “in accordance with the situational assessment.” (File/AFP)
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Updated 23 July 2020

Israel reinforces Lebanon border after Hezbollah threats

  • Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group threatened to retaliate for a strike earlier this week
  • Israel did not comment on this week’s strike and generally refrains from discussing its activities in neighboring Syria

JERUSALEM: The Israeli military said Thursday it was reinforcing the country’s northern border with infantry troops “in accordance with the situational assessment.”
The announcement comes after Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group threatened to retaliate for a strike earlier this week that killed one of its fighters near Damascus International Airport. The airstrike, which also killed four other foreign fighters, was widely attributed to Israel.
Iran-backed Hezbollah has vowed in the past to retaliate for any fighter that Israel kills in Syria. The group fired a barrage of anti-tank missiles into Israel on Sept. 1 last year after two of its fighters were killed in an Israeli airstrike near Damascus days earlier.
That prompted a reprisal of heavy Israeli artillery fire in a rare burst of fighting between the bitter enemies. Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war in 2006 that ended in a draw.
Israel did not comment on this week’s strike and generally refrains from discussing its activities in neighboring Syria. But it is believed to have carried out hundreds of strikes against pro-Iranian forces during the nearly decade-long civil war.
Tehran has sent thousands of Iran-backed fighters in the past years to fight alongside Syrian government forces.
Israel views Iran as a regional menace and has vowed to prevent any permanent Iranian military buildup in Syria, particularly near its frontier.


Turkey to arrest 82 including mayor over pro-Kurdish protests

Updated 25 September 2020

Turkey to arrest 82 including mayor over pro-Kurdish protests

ANKARA: Turkish authorities on Friday issued arrest warrants for 82 people, including a mayor, over pro-Kurdish protests six years ago, officials and local media said.
The warrants relate to October 2014 protests in Turkey sparked by the seizure by Islamic State (IS) jihadists of the mainly Kurdish Syrian town of Kobane.
Police were on the hunt for the 82 suspects in the Turkish capital and six other provinces, the Ankara chief public prosecutor's office said in a statement.
The prosecutor's office did not specify what offences the 82 are alleged to have committed.
But it said crimes committed during the protests included murder, attempted murder, theft, damaging property, looting, burning the Turkish flag and injuring 326 security officials and 435 citizens.
There was also a warrant for the mayor of the eastern city of Kars, Ayhan Bilgen, Hurriyet daily reported.
Bilgen won the city in 2019 local elections representing the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which is Turkey's second-largest opposition group in the parliament.
Of a total of 65 HDP mayors returned in those elections, 47 have now been replaced by unelected officials, with some detained on terror charges, the party said last month.
The Turkish government accuses the HDP of being a political front for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party -- which has waged an insurgency against the state since 1984 -- but the party denies this.
Former HDP co-leaders, Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas, were named in the investigation but both have been in jail since 2016 pending multiple trials.
The government accused the HDP of urging people to take part in the protests across Turkey that left 37 dead.
But the HDP blames Turkish police for the violence.