Air strikes kill 19 Iran-backed fighters in Syria

 Air strikes kill 19 Iran-backed fighters in Syria
A picture taken on November 25, 2020 shows Israeli soldiers and a tank near the Israel-Syria border, in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights. (AFP)
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Updated 26 November 2020

Air strikes kill 19 Iran-backed fighters in Syria

 Air strikes kill 19 Iran-backed fighters in Syria
  • The early morning strikes hit positions of Iran-backed militias outside the town of Albu Kamal in Deir Ezzor province
  • Mostly Pakistani fighters were killed in the strikes, the Observatory said

BEIRUT: Air strikes likely carried out by Israel killed at least 19 pro-Iran militia fighters in war-torn eastern Syria, a war monitor said Thursday.
The early morning strikes hit positions of Iran-backed militias outside the town of Albu Kamal in Deir Ezzor province, killing mostly Pakistani fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Syrian state media did not report the attack and Israel rarely acknowledges individual strikes, but the Observatory has accused the Jewish state of launching at least two other aerial attacks against pro-Iran forces in Syria since Saturday.
Early on Wednesday, at least eight Iran-backed fighters were killed in strikes near Damascus and in southern Syria, according to the war monitor, which is based in the UK but relies on a network of sources inside Syria.
On Saturday night, air strikes near Albu Kamal killed at least 14 pro-Iran militia fighters from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Observatory said.
Iran backs President Bashar Al-Assad's regime in Syria's civil war.
The latest strikes came after Israel's ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan called on the Security Council to take immediate action to remove Iranian forces from Syria.
"Israel ... demands a total rollback of Iran and its proxies from Syria and the removal of Iranian military infrastructure from Syrian territory," he said in a letter addressed to the head of the UN Security Council.
Israel has carried out hundreds of air and missile strikes on Syria since the country's civil war broke out in 2011, targeting Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces as well as Syrian government troops.
Syria's war has killed more than 380,000 people and displaced millions more since starting in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.


Israeli police prevent Dome of the Rock repairs

Israeli police prevent Dome of the Rock repairs
This picture shows the Dome of the Rock at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Jerusalem's Old City on July 27, 2018, after the site was reopened. (AFP)
Updated 25 January 2021

Israeli police prevent Dome of the Rock repairs

Israeli police prevent Dome of the Rock repairs
  • Council set to denounce action that is ‘violation of understandings’

AMMAN: Israeli police have stopped workers from the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf from renovating the Dome of the Rock for two consecutive days, raising tensions in the old city.

Azzam Khatib, director of the Jordanian Waqf department in Jerusalem, informed Jordan’s Ambassador in Tel Aviv Ghassan Majali and Minister of Waqf in Amman Mohammed Khalaileh of the news.

Israeli officials claim the decision was made after an individual tried to renovate the ceiling of the Bab Al-Rahmeh mosque, which Israel has demanded Muslims to vacate, without reason.

The Jerusalem Waqf Council is expected to issue a strong statement denouncing the Israeli action, calling it a violation of understandings.

Bassam Hallaq, the Waqf engineer in charge of the renovation, said that Israeli police stopped work on the gold-plated Dome of the Rock on Saturday and Sunday, and prevented urgent electric work, too.

Israel insists that any renovation or repair must be pre-approved. The renovation is not structural.

Arab News has learned that the Israeli actions on Saturday and Sunday followed the efforts of an unknown Palestinian whose face was covered, who climbed the roof of the Bab Al-Rahmeh mosque in order to apply cement to stop leaks.

Israel has forbidden any repair work on the mosque.

Hallaq said that all repair work in the entire Al-Aqsa compound has also been suspended by Israel.

The mosque’s engineer insists that the Waqf has no cement materials inside the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and that Friday was a holiday when staff did not work.

Sheikh Omar Kisswani, director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told reporters that repairs to the entire 144 dunum Haram Al-Sharif/Al-Aqsa mosque compound were the right of the Islamic Waqf and that the Israeli police have no right to interfere in their work.

A spokesman for the Israeli police told Arab News that the “subject isn’t under the responsibility of the Israeli police.”