Two rockets hit Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone — Iraqi state media

A handout picture received from the US Embassy in Iraq on December 31, 2019, shows a US army apache helicopter dropping flares over Baghdad's high-security Green Zone. (File/AFP)
A handout picture received from the US Embassy in Iraq on December 31, 2019, shows a US army apache helicopter dropping flares over Baghdad's high-security Green Zone. (File/AFP)
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Updated 19 December 2021

Two rockets hit Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone — Iraqi state media

Two rockets hit Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone — Iraqi state media
  • The first was shot down in the air by C-RAM defense batteries
  • The second fell in a square, damaging two vehicles:  Iraqi security forces

BAGHDAD: Two rockets targeted Baghdad’s ultra-secure Green Zone that houses the US embassy early Sunday, Iraq’s security forces said in a statement.

“The Green Zone in Baghdad was the target of two Katyusha rockets. The first was shot down in the air by C-RAM defense batteries, the second fell in a square, damaging two vehicles,” the statement said.
A security source told AFP that the shot down rocket fell near the US embassy, while the second came down roughly 500 meters (1640 ft) away.
Previously, the source told AFP that two rockets had been shot down near the US embassy.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack.
In recent months, dozens of rocket assaults or drone bomb attacks have targeted US troops and interests in Iraq.
The attacks are rarely claimed but are routinely pinned on pro-Iran factions in Iraq.
The latest rocket salvo comes after the country this week announced the end of the “combat mission” on its territory of the anti-jihadist coalition led by Washington.
But roughly 2,500 American soldiers and 1,000 coalition soldiers deployed in Iraq will remain in the nation to pursue a role of training, advice and assistance.
Pro-Iran factions in Iraq are calling for the departure of all US forces stationed in the country.
The attack also coincides with the 10th anniversary of the departure of US troops from Iraq on December 18, 2011, after the invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Washington then deployed its troops to the country to fight the Islamic State (IS) group, which had captured large swathes of the nation in a lightning offensive.
At the beginning of November, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi escaped unharmed from an unclaimed drone bomb attack, which targeted his official residence in the Green Zone.
In September, an “armed drone” attack targeted Irbil international airport in Iraqi Kurdistan, where there is a base hosting coalition troops.
 

 


Omani receives Italy’s highest civilian honor

Omani receives Italy’s highest civilian honor
Updated 24 sec ago

Omani receives Italy’s highest civilian honor

Omani receives Italy’s highest civilian honor
  • Award given to National Museum chief Jamal Hassan Al-Musawi

LONDON: Jamal Hassan Al-Musawi, secretary-general of Oman’s National Museum, has received the Star of Italy, the country’s highest civilian award.

President Sergio Mattarella bestowed the award via Italy’s Ambassador to Oman Federica Favi at a ceremony in Muscat.

Al-Musawi was recognized for his work in enhancing relations between the two countries, having collaborated with Italian experts on projects since 2011.

He told the Omani News Agency: “We benefited from recruiting Italian experts in the foundational phase of the National Museum, to contribute to restoring elements of the cultural heritage of Oman.”


Thousands attend funeral for slain Guard colonel in Iran

Thousands attend funeral for slain Guard colonel in Iran
Updated 24 min 51 sec ago

Thousands attend funeral for slain Guard colonel in Iran

Thousands attend funeral for slain Guard colonel in Iran
  • The killing on Sunday of Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei bore the hallmarks of previous deadly shooting attacks in Iran blamed on Israel
  • There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack

TEHRAN, Iran: Thousands of mourners poured into the streets of Tehran on Tuesday to pay their respects to a senior Revolutionary Guard member fatally shot by two gunmen on a motorcycle earlier this week, punching the air with their fists and chanting “Death to Israel.”
The killing on Sunday of Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei bore the hallmarks of previous deadly shooting attacks in Iran blamed on Israel, such as those targeting the country’s nuclear scientists.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack. Iranian officials have blamed “global arrogance,” which is code for the United States and Israel, for Khodaei’s killing.
The funeral procession snaked through the main Tehran cemetery as mourners shouted anti-US and anti-Israel slogans. A prominent poster hailed Khodaei as a martyr along with Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the top Iranian general killed in a US drone strike in 2020 in Iraq, and featured tattered Israeli, American and British flags.
“Iran is a victim of terrorism,” the banner declared, overlaid with the logos of the Mossad and Central Intelligence Agency.
Guard commander Gen. Hossein Salami as well as Gen. Esmail Ghaani, leader of Iran’s expeditionary Quds Force, attended the funeral.
Ghaani also offered condolences at Khodaei’s home on Monday night. Iran’s nuclear negotiator visited the crime scene, underscoring the government’s shock. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi vowed revenge. A street in Tehran has already been named after the colonel.
The 50-year-old Khodaei remains a shadowy figure, and Iran has yet to offer biographic detail beyond saying that he was a member of the elite Quds Force that oversees operations abroad through Iran’s allied militias across the Middle East. The Guard has described him as “defender of the shrine” — a reference to Iranians who support militias fighting the extremist Daesh group in Syria and Iraq.
The manner of the slaying evoked previous targeted attacks by Israel in Iran. In November 2020, a top Iranian nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was killed while traveling in a car outside Tehran.
Women in black chadors wailed and wept over Khodaei’s coffin, an ornate box covered with flowers and draped with the Iranian flag and mourning symbols of the Shiite faith.
“We want revenge only,” Moghtaderi, one of the mourners, told The Associated Press at the funeral. She gave only her last name. “Enemies must be aware that we are loyal to the martyrs and their blood is so precious to us.”
Iranian security forces are still pursuing the assailants, who escaped, state media reported. Authorities have yet to make any arrests over the killing.
The procession took place as a sandstorm blanketed Iran, shuttering schools and government offices in the capital.
Meanwhile in the country’s central desert, a fighter jet crashed during a training exercise, killing two pilots, state media reported. Reports did not identify the cause of the crash at the Anarak training site near the central city of Isfahan. An investigation was underway.
Iran’s air force has an assortment of US-made military aircraft purchased before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It also has Russian-made MiG and Sukhoi planes.
Decades of Western sanctions have made it hard to obtain spare parts and maintain the aging aircraft. Crashes occasionally happen among its faltering fleet. In February, a fighter jet plunged into a soccer pitch in the country’s northwestern city of Tabriz, killing both pilots and a civilian.
Iran is believed to have modeled its F-7 fighter after China’s jet J-7 that is considered a copy of the Soviet-era MiG-21. Beijing built the aircraft for export to countries including Pakistan, Iran, Sudan and North Korea. Iranian pilots for years have used the F-7 for training, with some mishaps.
Four years ago, an F-7 similarly crashed near Isfahan during an aerial exercise because of what was later described as a technical problem.


Two killed, 120 injured in Abu Dhabi gas explosion

Two killed, 120 injured in Abu Dhabi gas explosion
The blast on Monday set off a fire that damaged the facades of six buildings and a number of stores. (AP)
Updated 24 May 2022

Two killed, 120 injured in Abu Dhabi gas explosion

Two killed, 120 injured in Abu Dhabi gas explosion
  • Two people were killed and 120 injured in a gas cylinder explosion in a restaurant in Abu Dhabi
  • The blast on Monday set off a fire that damaged the facades of six buildings and a number of stores

ABU DHABI: Two people were killed and 120 injured in a gas cylinder explosion in a restaurant in the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi, police said.
Initial reports “showed that 64 people sustained minor injuries, 56 others were moderately wounded, and two people died,” police tweeted.
The blast on Monday set off a fire that damaged the facades of six buildings and a number of stores before being brought under control, they added.
Four of the damaged buildings were “safely” evacuated, with efforts underway to find their residents temporary housing “until the buildings are completely secured,” the police said.
Pictures released by Abu Dhabi police showed first responders tending to a person on a gurney, and debris and broken glass strewn across the pavement.
A witness told The National newspaper that he heard two explosions around lunchtime.
“The first sound was small and people started calling the fire and police,” said the man, who was not identified.
“Then soon, there was a big blast. It was a really big sound. The windows shook and in some offices, the windows shattered.”
The authorities gave no indication of foul play.
However, the UAE has been on heightened alert since a Houthi drone and missile attack killed three oil workers in Abu Dhabi on January 17.


Two Iranian pilots killed after F7 jet crashes - IRNA

Two Iranian pilots killed after F7 jet crashes - IRNA
Updated 24 May 2022

Two Iranian pilots killed after F7 jet crashes - IRNA

Two Iranian pilots killed after F7 jet crashes - IRNA

TEHRAN: A fighter jet crashed in the central desert of Iran on Tuesday, killing both the aircraft’s pilots, local media reported.
The aircraft crashed at the Anarak training site near the central city of Isfahan, Iran’s semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported. The agency, which is close to the country’s military, did not identify the cause of the crash, and said authorities were investigating.
Iran’s air force has an assortment of US-made military aircraft purchased before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It also has Russian-made MiG and Sukhoi planes. Decades of Western sanctions have made it hard to obtain spare parts and maintain the aging aircraft. Crashes occasionally happen among its faltering fleet. In February, a fighter jet plunged into a soccer pitch in the country’s northwestern city of Tabriz, killing both pilots and a civilian.
Iran is believed to have modeled its F-7 fighter after China’s jet J-7 that is considered a copy of the Soviet-era MiG-21. Beijing built the aircraft for export to countries including Pakistan, Iran, Sudan and North Korea. Iranian pilots for years have used the F-7 for training, with some mishaps.
Four years ago, an F-7 similarly crashed near Isfahan during an aerial exercise because of what was later described as a technical problem.


Death toll rises to 10 after building collapses in Iran’s Abadan city

Death toll rises to 10 after building collapses in Iran’s Abadan city
Updated 24 May 2022

Death toll rises to 10 after building collapses in Iran’s Abadan city

Death toll rises to 10 after building collapses in Iran’s Abadan city
  • The 10-story residential and commercial building partly collapsed on Monday

DUBAI: The death toll from a building collapse in the southern Iranian city of Abadan has reached 10, with some people still missing, the official IRNA news agency reported on Tuesday.
The 10-story residential and commercial building partly collapsed on Monday, leaving at least 80 people under the rubble, according to state TV.
“After hours of emergency efforts, 30 people trapped under the rubble were extracted alive and taken to hospital to treat their injuries,” a deputy governor of the Khuzestan province told IRNA.
The number of people still trapped under the rubble remains unclear.