Iran: Biden White House also ‘responsible’ for Qassem Soleimani killing

Iran: Biden White House also ‘responsible’ for Qassem Soleimani killing
Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad ordered by Trump, along with his Iraqi lieutenant Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, infuriating Iran and its allies. (AFP)
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Updated 31 December 2021

Iran: Biden White House also ‘responsible’ for Qassem Soleimani killing

Iran: Biden White House also ‘responsible’ for Qassem Soleimani killing
  • Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad ordered by Donald Trump

TEHRAN: Iran said Friday the current US administration is also “responsible” for the assassination two years ago of its revered commander Qassem Soleimani, as the Islamic republic started commemorations to mark his death.
Former US president Donald Trump sent shock waves through the region on January 3, 2020 with the targeted killing of General Soleimani, who was commander of the Quds Force, the foreign operation’s arm of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
He was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad ordered by Trump, along with his Iraqi lieutenant Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, infuriating Iran and its allies.
“The US government bears definitive international responsibility for this crime,” Iran’s foreign ministry said in a statement posted on Twitter to mark the second anniversary of Soleimani’s killing.
“Undoubtedly, the criminal act of the United States in martyring general #Soleimani is a clear manifestation of a ‘terrorist attack’ that was orchestrated and carried out in an organized manner by the then US government for which the White House is now responsible,” it said, in reference to President Joe Biden’s administration.
Five days after Soleimani’s killing, Iran retaliated by firing missiles at a US air base in Ain Assad housing American troops in Iraq, and another near Irbil in the north.
No US troops were killed in those strikes but Washington said dozens suffered traumatic brain injuries from the explosions.
Trump said at the time that the drone strike came in response to a wave of attacks on US interests in Iraq, warning he would hold Iran responsible if such assaults continued.
The foreign ministry’s statement came as Iran prepared Friday to launch week-long activities to commemorate Soleimani’s killing.
Authorities said the main event of the remembrance will be held on Monday, without elaborating.
They added that on January 7 a display of “Iran’s missile capabilities” will be held.
Iranian officials have pledged repeatedly that Soleimani will be avenged.
On the first anniversary of his killing then judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi — who is now Iran’s president — warned that even Trump was not “immune from justice” and that Soleimani’s killers would “not be safe anywhere in the world.”
During the former US president’s term in office, tensions between Washington and Tehran were at an all-time high.
In 2018, Trump walked away from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
The two countries were also on the brink of direct military confrontations on at least two occasions.


Russia sends reinforcements to northern Syria

Russia sends reinforcements to northern Syria
Updated 57 min 52 sec ago

Russia sends reinforcements to northern Syria

Russia sends reinforcements to northern Syria
  • The move by Damascus ally Moscow comes after Ankara launched air strikes on Kurdish targets in Syria and Iraq on November 20
  • Residents of Tal Rifaat, a Kurdish-held pocket north of Aleppo, told AFP that Russian troop reinforcements had reached the city

QAMISHLI, Syria: Russia deployed troop reinforcements Wednesday to an area of northern Syria controlled by Kurdish fighters and government troops, residents and a war monitor said, amid fears of a Turkish ground incursion.
The move by Damascus ally Moscow comes after Ankara launched air strikes on Kurdish targets in Syria and Iraq on November 20, a week after a deadly Istanbul bombing that it blamed on Kurdish militants, who have denied responsibility.
Residents of Tal Rifaat, a Kurdish-held pocket north of Aleppo, told AFP that Russian troop reinforcements had reached the city.
Tal Rifaat lies 15 kilometers (nine miles) south of the border with Turkiye. Kurdish forces control the city and surrounding villages, and Russian troops were already present in the area.
Residents said Russian forces had set up roadblocks at a nearby village separating it from positions under the control of Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel proxies.
Turkish proxies control areas surrounding Tal Rifaat from the north, while Russian-backed Syrian troops control zones mostly to the south.
After carrying out a series of air strikes, Turkiye has threatened to launch a ground incursion into northern Syria, including the Tal Rifaat pocket as well as Kobani and Manbij further east.
Kobani and Manbij are under the control of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which include the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), one of the groups Turkiye accuses of being behind the Istanbul bombing.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said Russia was also reinforcing its troops at a government-controlled air base near Tal Rifaat.
The reinforcements could be an attempt “to stop or put off the Turkish operation,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria have called on Russia to dissuade Turkiye from launching a ground offensive against them, their commander said on Tuesday.
The Observatory said Russian reinforcements had also reached the outskirts of the border city of Kobani.
Russian troops deployed in some Kurdish-controlled border areas of northern Syria following a 2019 agreement that sought to avert a previous Turkish incursion threat.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that Turkiye was more determined than ever to secure its border with Syria from attacks by Kurdish fighters, threatening a ground operation “at the most convenient time.”
Since 2016, Turkiye has carried out successive operations against Kurdish forces in northern Syria that have installed its proxies in several areas along the border.


Earthquake of magnitude 5.6 strikes southern Iran; felt in UAE — EMSC

Earthquake of magnitude 5.6 strikes southern Iran; felt in UAE — EMSC
Updated 30 November 2022

Earthquake of magnitude 5.6 strikes southern Iran; felt in UAE — EMSC

Earthquake of magnitude 5.6 strikes southern Iran; felt in UAE — EMSC
  • Iranian state TV reported that rescue teams were dispatched to the quake-hit area and added there were no casualties

DUBAI: An Earthquake of magnitude 5.6 struck southern Iran on Wednesday and was felt in the United Arab Emirates, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) said.
Iranian state TV reported that rescue teams were dispatched to the quake-hit area and added there were no casualties.
The quake was at a depth of 10 km (6 miles) and about 88 km northwest of Ras Al Khaimah City in the UAE, EMSC added.


Daesh announces death of leader

Daesh announces death of leader
Updated 30 November 2022

Daesh announces death of leader

Daesh announces death of leader
  • Speaking in an audio message, the spokesman identified the group’s new leader as Abu Al-Hussein Al-Husseini Al-Qurashi
  • The White House welcomed the news that the leader was killed

BEIRUT: Daesh said Wednesday that its leader Abu Hasan Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi has been killed in battle and announced a replacement.
A spokesman for the group said Hashimi, an Iraqi, was killed “in combat with enemies of God,” without elaborating on the date of his death or the circumstances.
Speaking in an audio message, the spokesman identified the group’s new leader as Abu Al-Hussein Al-Husseini Al-Qurashi.

The White House welcomed the news that the leader was killed, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
“We’re still working our way through that,” Kirby said, when asked about reports of the leader’s death. “We welcome the announcement that another leader of Daesh is no longer walking the face of the Earth.”
After a meteoric rise in Iraq and Syria in 2014 that saw it conquer vast swathes of territory, Daesh saw its self-proclaimed “caliphate” collapse under a wave of offensives.
It was defeated in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria two years later, but sleeper cells of the Sunni Muslim extremist group still carry out attacks in both countries and claim attacks elsewhere in the world.
The group’s previous leader, Abu Ibrahim Al-Qurashi, was killed earlier this year in a US raid in Idlib province in northern Syria.
His predecessor Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was killed, also in Idlib, in October 2019.


Egypt expresses support for Palestinians on international solidarity day

Egypt expresses support for Palestinians on international solidarity day
Updated 30 November 2022

Egypt expresses support for Palestinians on international solidarity day

Egypt expresses support for Palestinians on international solidarity day
  • Aboul Gheit criticized the international community’s inaction over continued Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people
  • The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country stands with Palestine on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

CAIRO: The Arab League celebrated on Nov. 29 the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People with a high-level diplomatic and cultural event in Cairo.
The event was attended by many representatives of Arab countries and foreign diplomats in Cairo as well as a number of public figures.
Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the bloc, delivered an opening speech at the event, which also witnessed speeches by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki, and representatives of the UN, Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and the Egyptian Church.
Aboul Gheit criticized the international community’s inaction over continued Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people, including the killing of civilians by the occupation forces, the recent incursions and the unjust siege Israel has imposed on more than 2 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip for 15 years.
He specifically thanked the new Australian government for its reversal of a previous government’s decision to relocate the Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem.
He warned of the consequences of countries transferring their embassies to occupied Jerusalem and urged those that did to retract their decision, just like Australia.
Aboul Gheit called on the countries of the world to recognize the Palestinian state in order for it to obtain full membership in the UN.
He also appealed to the international community to support Palestinian diplomatic efforts to present the issue of occupation at the International Court of Justice, stressing that this path is what gives Palestinians hope that the world has not abandoned them.
Meanwhile, Al-Maliki gave a presentation on the dangers associated with the formation of a right-wing government in Israel and the negative repercussions this entails for the two-state vision.
Aboul Gheit emphasized the need to put the recent Algiers summit decisions into action by backing the Palestinians and confronting the Israeli extreme right.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country stands with Palestine on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and will always support the Palestinian cause as the central issue of the Arab world.
The ministry stressed that Egypt’s position with regard to the Palestinian issue has not changed and will not change.
It is not conceivable that regional stability will be achieved in the Middle East without a just and comprehensive settlement of the issue on the basis of the two-state solution, it added.
Egypt stressed the need to put an end to the cycle of violence in the occupied Palestinian territories and to stop taking unilateral measures, foremost of which are illegal settlement activities, policies of eviction of Palestinians in Jerusalem, changes to the demographic character of the city and the division of Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings, the statement said.
Egypt said it will, with the help of the international community, keep making unceasing and earnest efforts to restart the peace process and persuade parties to come together for negotiations.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discussed with Al-Maliki the coordination of efforts at the regional and international levels to put the Palestinian cause back under the spotlight.
Shoukry expressed Egypt’s deep concern about developments in the occupied territories.
He said Egypt will always support the right of the Palestinian people to establish their own independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
In 1977, the UN General Assembly declared Nov. 29 the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.


Rights group: 47 children among at least 378 killed in Iran protest crackdown

Rights group: 47 children among at least 378 killed in Iran protest crackdown
Updated 30 November 2022

Rights group: 47 children among at least 378 killed in Iran protest crackdown

Rights group: 47 children among at least 378 killed in Iran protest crackdown
  • The Islamic republic has been gripped by protests that erupted over Amini’s death on September 16
PARIS: Iranian security forces have killed at least 378 people — including 47 children — in a crackdown on protests sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death, a rights group said in an updated toll Saturday.
The Islamic republic has been gripped by protests that erupted over Amini’s death on September 16, three days after her arrest for an alleged breach of the country’s strict dress code for women.
The protests were fanned by fury over the dress rules for women, but have grown into a broad movement against the theocracy that has ruled Iran since the 1979 revolution.
“At least 378 protesters, including 47 children, have been killed by the oppressive forces since September 16,” Iran Human Rights director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said.
The figure represents an increase of 36 since the Norway-based group issued its previous toll on Wednesday.
It includes at least 123 people killed in the province of Sistan-Baluchistan, on Iran’s southeastern border with Pakistan, 40 in both Kurdistan and Tehran provinces and 39 in West Azerbaijan province.
Iran Human Rights warned that the regime had been mounting a “campaign of spreading lies” ahead of a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council next week.
“They have two goals by attributing the killing of the protesters to terrorist groups like Daesh,” Amiry-Moghaddam said, referring to the Daesh group.
“They want to use it as an excuse for more widespread use of live ammunition,” he said.
“And they also want to influence countries in the UN Human Rights Council who will gather on November 24 in a special session considering establishing an independent investigation and accountability mechanism” over the crackdown in Iran, he added.