4 arrested over $15.8m UAE drug-smuggling bid

4 arrested over $15.8m UAE drug-smuggling bid
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Dubai Police arrested 4 Arab men for attempting to smuggle more than 1.1 million Captagon pills with an estimated street value of 58 million Emirati dirhams into the UAE. (Dubai Police)
4 arrested over $15.8m UAE drug-smuggling bid
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The suspects had tried to sneak 1,160,500 tablets into the country inside plastic containers made to look like lemons. (Dubai Police)
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Updated 23 December 2021

4 arrested over $15.8m UAE drug-smuggling bid

4 arrested over $15.8m UAE drug-smuggling bid
  • Dubai Police seize more than 1.1m Captagon tablets hidden in plastic lemons

DUBAI: Four Arab men have been arrested for attempting to smuggle more than 1.1 million Captagon pills with an estimated street value of 58 million Emirati dirhams ($15.8 million) into the UAE.

Dubai Police on Thursday said a team from its anti-narcotics department made the arrests after monitoring the suspects in an operation codenamed 66.

The men under surveillance had tried to sneak 1,160,500 tablets into the country inside plastic containers made to look like lemons and stored in a refrigerated container.

Lt. Gen. Abdullah Khalifa Al-Marri, commander-in-chief of Dubai Police, noted that the force was committed to “combating organized crime and protecting society against all harms, especially drugs.”

Maj. Gen. Khalil Ibrahim Al-Mansouri, assistant commander-in-chief for criminal investigation affairs, said all tip-offs were taken seriously, especially when they were in the interests of protecting the UAE’s safety and security.


COP27 will launch plans to fulfill climate pledges: Egypt FM

COP27 will launch plans to fulfill climate pledges: Egypt FM
Updated 24 May 2022

COP27 will launch plans to fulfill climate pledges: Egypt FM

COP27 will launch plans to fulfill climate pledges: Egypt FM
  • Sameh Shoukry is Egypt’s foreign minister and designated president of the summit at the World Economic Forum in Davos

CAIRO: COP27 will witness the launch of initiatives in partnership with various parties with the aim of fulfilling climate pledges, Egypt’s foreign minister and designated president of the summit said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Sameh Shoukry said Egypt’s vision for COP27, which the country will host in November, is based on the need to focus on effective and rapid implementation of countries’ climate pledges in a way that maintains the goal of reducing global temperatures by 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“This vision also includes the importance that international climate action be based on the latest scientific facts and data regarding the phenomenon of climate change away from any politicization, as well as the need to work with all parties and partners concerned with climate action, including the private sector, which plays an important role in this regard along with governments,” he added.


Omani receives Italy’s highest civilian honor

Omani receives Italy’s highest civilian honor
Updated 24 May 2022

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 May 2022

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.