Israel dismisses ‘nonsense’ Iran charge it seeks to trick US into war

Israel dismisses ‘nonsense’ Iran charge it seeks to trick US into war
It was Israel that needed to be on alert for possible Iranian strikes on the anniversary of Soleimani’s assassination, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said. (File/AFP)
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Updated 03 January 2021

Israel dismisses ‘nonsense’ Iran charge it seeks to trick US into war

Israel dismisses ‘nonsense’ Iran charge it seeks to trick US into war
  • Steinitz: It is Israel that needs to be on alert for possible Iranian strikes on the anniversary of Soleimani’s assassination
  • He said Zarif's remarks on Twitter showed that Iran was under pressure in terms of national security

JERUSALEM: An Israeli official on Sunday dismissed as “nonsense” an allegation by the Iranian foreign minister that Israel was trying to trick the United States into waging war on Iran.
It was Israel that needed to be on alert for possible Iranian strikes on the one-year anniversary on Sunday of the assassination of Tehran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, in a US drone strike in Iraq, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Kan public radio.
Washington blames Iran-backed militia for regular rocket attacks on US facilities in Iraq, including near the US embassy. No known Iran-backed groups have claimed responsibility.
On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter: “New intelligence from Iraq indicate that Israeli agent-provocateurs are plotting attacks against Americans — putting an outgoing (President Donald) Trump in a bind with a fake casus belli.”
“Be careful of a trap, @realDonaldTrump. Any fireworks will backfire badly, particularly against your same BFFs,” Zarif wrote, in what appeared to be a veiled threat against Israel.
Steinitz said the remarks showed that Iran, after mounting US sanctions billed as curbing its nuclear program and involvement in regional conflict-zones, was “under pressure — economic pressure, and pressure in terms of national security.”
“We hear this nonsense by Zarif, that Israel would set off terrorist attacks against the United States — this really is total nonsense,” Steinitz told Kan public radio.
“But on the other hand it is a warning sign — a warning sign that Iran is taking aim at Israel, is looking for excuses to lash out at Israel, and therefore we need to have our finger on the pulse and be at the highest state of alert.”
The US military flew two nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the Middle East in a message of deterrence to Iran on Wednesday, but the bombers have since left the region.
Interviewed separately on Kan, Israeli Culture Minister Chili Tropper, who like Steinitz sits in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet, confirmed media reports that Israel was on heightened alert for the Soleimani anniversary.
Asked what possible Iranian reprisals Israel was anticipating, Tropper said: “I cannot comment.”


Death toll now 130 in tribal conflict in Darfur

Death toll now 130 in tribal conflict in Darfur
Updated 19 January 2021

Death toll now 130 in tribal conflict in Darfur

Death toll now 130 in tribal conflict in Darfur

JEDDAH: The death toll in a new tribal conflict in Sudan rose to 130 on Monday as clashes in West Darfur spread south.
At least 47 people were killed in South Darfur after 83 died and tens of thousands were displaced in West Darfur in the previous two days. It was the worst violence since a peace agreement last October raised hopes of an end to years of war.
Sudan has been undergoing a fragile transition since the removal from power of dictator Omar Bashir in April 2019 after mass protests against his rule.
The new bloodshed followed the end of the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur on Dec. 31.
The aid group Save the Children warned: “In the chaos, we fear many children will have been separated from their parents, and will now be at risk of exploitation.” Its Sudan country director Arshad Malik said the many wounded had overwhelmed health centers, and injured and dying people were lying on the floors and corridors of hospitals.
“We call on all parties to the violence in West Darfur to lay down their arms immediately, before the situation gets out of control,” he said.
Authorities in Khartoum said they had sent a delegation to contain the situation. The UN secretary-general’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric urged them to “bring an end to the fighting.”