Lebanese cleric holds prayer in gas station amid fuel shortages

Lebanese cleric holds prayer in gas station amid fuel shortages
Residents gather in a gas station in southern Lebanon during Friday prayers. (HO)
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Updated 03 September 2021

Lebanese cleric holds prayer in gas station amid fuel shortages

Lebanese cleric holds prayer in gas station amid fuel shortages
  • The fuel shortages have yet to ease as the cash-strapped country struggles to pay importers

BEIRUT: A cleric performed Friday prayers in front of a gas station in the coastal town of Jiyeh south of Beirut, as the country continues grappling with suffocating fuel shortages. 

Dozens of motorists, who were lining up to fill up their cars, listened to the cleric's sermon 30km south of the capital.  

The fuel shortages have yet to ease as the cash-strapped country struggles to pay importers. 

Clashes between angry residents are an almost daily occurrence. 

 


UN: Syria civilian death toll over 306,000 since 2011

UN: Syria civilian death toll over 306,000 since 2011
Updated 5 sec ago

UN: Syria civilian death toll over 306,000 since 2011

UN: Syria civilian death toll over 306,000 since 2011
  • Toll includes those killed as a direct result of war operations and not those who died from lack of access to basic needs
GENEVA: The UN human rights office said on Tuesday that 306,887 civilians had been killed in Syria during the conflict since March 2011 in what it said was the highest estimate yet.
UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said this analysis would give a “clearer sense of the severity and scale of the conflict.”
The toll included those killed as a direct result of war operations and not those who died from lack of health care or access to food or clean water.

US drone strike kills militant leader in Syria

US drone strike kills militant leader in Syria
Updated 41 min 42 sec ago

US drone strike kills militant leader in Syria

US drone strike kills militant leader in Syria
  • The strike took out a man described as a leader of the Hurras Al-Deen group
  • Hurras Al-Deen is a relatively small but powerful armed group led by Al-Qaeda loyalists

IDLIB, Syria: A US drone strike in northwestern Syria killed a Yemeni leader of a local militant group affiliated to Al-Qaeda, the US military and a Syrian war monitor said.
The strike, carried out on Monday just before midnight (2100 GMT) on the eastern edge of the city of Idlib, took out a man described as a leader of the Hurras Al-Deen group.
“Abu Hamzah Al-Yemeni was traveling alone on a motorcycle at the time of the strike,” US Central Command said in a statement, adding that an “initial review indicates no civilian casualties.”
The US is “highly confident” that the strike, carried out from a drone, killed Abu Hamzah Al-Yemeni, a US official with knowledge of the operation told CNN, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a wide network of sources inside Syria, confirmed on Tuesday that Yemeni was killed in the attack, saying it was the second such attempt to neutralize him after a similar strike last year.
An AFP correspondent in Idlib said that members of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), a rival militant group that dominates the area, gathered at the scene of the strike shortly after it happened and took away Yemeni’s charred remains.
HTS, whose leadership includes many ex-members of Al-Qaeda’s former Syria franchise, has tried to cast itself as a credible political force in the Idlib region.
Since a 2020 cease-fire agreement reached by Moscow and Turkey, the main foreign broker in northern Syria, HTS has come under pressure to crack down on the myriad of other militant factions still present in the Idlib region.
Monday’s strike was the second US operation in June to target a senior militant in Syria.
US forces captured Hani Ahmed Al-Kurdi, a leader of the Daesh group, on June 16 during a raid in Aleppo province.
They also killed Daesh leader Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi during an operation in Atme, a region of Idlib province, on February 3.
Hurras Al-Deen is a relatively small but powerful armed group led by Al-Qaeda loyalists.
It is estimated to have 2,000 to 2,500 fighters in rebel-held Syria, according to the UN.


First flight of Hajj pilgrims from Dubai departs on Thursday

First flight of Hajj pilgrims from Dubai departs on Thursday
Updated 28 June 2022

First flight of Hajj pilgrims from Dubai departs on Thursday

First flight of Hajj pilgrims from Dubai departs on Thursday

DUBAI: The Dubai Airports’ Hajj Committee said the first flight carrying Hajj pilgrims is scheduled to depart Dubai for Madinah on Thursday, an official statement said. 

The Hajj Committee at Dubai Airports announced that it finalized preparations that would ensure a “smooth and seamless airport experience” for pilgrims traveling to Saudi Arabia. 

The Committee said the operator has earmarked dedicated counters at check-in, immigration, and security, while special departure gates have been arranged to accommodate passengers traveling on Hajj flights.

Mohammad Al Marzouqi, Head of the Hajj Committee at Dubai Airports, urged pilgrims to arrive at the airport four hours before their scheduled departure to ensure they have adequate time to complete travel procedures. 

The travelers must make sure they have their passport, Emirates ID, vaccinations cards and Hajj Permit ready before they arrive at the airport, Al Marzouqi added.

The Saudia airline will operate the first official Hajj flight from Dubai, departing from DXB with a Dubai government delegation for Madinah on June 30.


Israeli parliament votes to dissolve, hold new elections

Israeli parliament votes to dissolve, hold new elections
Updated 28 June 2022

Israeli parliament votes to dissolve, hold new elections

Israeli parliament votes to dissolve, hold new elections
  • The opposition’s readiness to dissolve parliament suggested that Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to form a new government had stalled

JERUSALEM: The Israeli parliament unanimously approved early Tuesday a draft bill to dissolve parliament, a key legislative step that pushes the country closer toward its fifth election in less than four years.
Members of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s outgoing coalition and the opposition led by ex-premier Benjamin Netanyahu have been sparring in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, since last week over a dissolution bill.
The coalition said it wanted quick approval of the law after Bennett announced last week that his year-old, ideologically divided eight-party alliance was no longer tenable.
But Netanyahu and his allies have been holding talks seeking to form a new Netanyahu-led government within the current parliament, which would avert new elections.
The sides have traded legislative jabs but finally agreed late Monday to advance a bill that would be finalized as law by the end of Wednesday.
The opposition’s readiness to dissolve parliament suggested that Netanyahu’s efforts to form a new government had stalled.
Early Tuesday, the Knesset House committee approved the bill. It was then brought to the plenum for its first reading, which it passed 53-0.
According to the bill, parliament would dissolve, with new elections to be held on October 25 or November 1, with the date to be set after further negotiations.
The bill must then be approved in two further full Knesset votes.
At midnight after the bill’s secures final approval, Bennett will hand power to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, in accordance with the power-sharing deal they agreed following inconclusive elections last year.
The Bennett coalition, a motley alliance of religious nationalists, secular hawks, centrists, doves and Arab Islamists, was imperilled by its ideological divides from its outset.
The final straw, according to the premier, was a failure to renew a measure that ensures Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank live under Israeli law.
Bennett, the former head of a settler lobby group, said the measure’s expiration on June 30 would have brought security risks and “constitutional chaos.”
Dissolving parliament before the expiration date means the so-called West Bank law will remain in force until a new government takes office.


US strike targets leader of Al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria: Centcom

US strike targets leader of Al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria: Centcom
Updated 28 June 2022

US strike targets leader of Al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria: Centcom

US strike targets leader of Al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria: Centcom
  • Initial review indicates no civilian casualties
  • The US “highly confident” the strike killed Abu Hamzah al Yemeni, says US official

WASHINGTON: The US military said it carried out a “kinetic strike” targeting a leader of the Hurras Al-Din jihadist group, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, in the Syrian province of Idlib on Monday.
“Abu Hamzah al Yemeni was traveling alone on a motorcycle at the time of the strike,” US Central Command said in a statement, adding that an “initial review indicates no civilian casualties.”
“The removal of this senior leader will disrupt Al-Qaeda’s ability to carry out attacks against US citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians around the world,” Centcom said.
The US is “highly confident” that the strike, carried out from a drone, killed Abu Hamzah al Yemeni, a US official with knowledge of the operation told CNN, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The strike was the second US operation in June to target a senior jihadist in Syria.
US forces captured Hani Ahmed Al-Kurdi, a leader of Daesh group, on June 16 during a raid in Aleppo province.
They also killed Daesh leader Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi during an operation in Atme, a region of Idlib province, on February 3.