Israeli security fears heightened in wake of Daesh killing of 2 policemen

Mourners gather around the flag-draped coffin of Druze Israeli border police officer Yezen Falah, 19, during his funeral in the village of Kisra-Sumei, northern Israel, Monday, March 28, 2022. (AP)
Mourners gather around the flag-draped coffin of Druze Israeli border police officer Yezen Falah, 19, during his funeral in the village of Kisra-Sumei, northern Israel, Monday, March 28, 2022. (AP)
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Updated 28 March 2022

Israeli security fears heightened in wake of Daesh killing of 2 policemen

Mourners gather around the flag-draped coffin of Druze Israeli border police officer Yezen Falah, 19, during his funeral in the village of Kisra-Sumei, northern Israel, Monday, March 28, 2022. (AP)
  • Talks aim to prevent escalation of violence in Palestine during Ramadan

GAZA CITY: Security fears were on Monday heightened in the wake of Sunday’s killing by Daesh gunmen of two Israeli policemen in the city of Hadera just hours ahead of a key meeting of foreign ministers.

The two assailants involved in the shooting were shot dead at the scene.

The incident followed stabbings last week in Beersheba that left four Israelis dead. Daesh has claimed responsibility for both terror attacks which have rocked security services working to ease tensions in Palestine.

On Monday, the foreign ministers of Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, Israel, and the US held a summit in Israel to discuss the Palestinian issue and other regional matters. The same day, Jordan’s King Abdullah visited the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Political leaders recently discussed the beefing-up of security measures in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in preparation for the month of Ramadan.

The Israeli government also agreed to increase from 10,000 to 20,000 the number of Palestinian workers from Gaza allowed to enter Israel, while easing import restrictions on certain goods.

Israeli army radio said that Israel’s government coordinator in the Palestinian territories, Ghassan Alyan, had recently travelled to Cairo for security talks with Egyptian officials, and Israel was also reportedly set to press ahead with pre-coronavirus pandemic plans to allow Palestinians in the West Bank to visit Jerusalem.

Events last year in Jerusalem and the city’s eastern Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood led to violence and contributed toward a fourth conflict between Gaza and Israel and security talks are aimed at avoiding a repeat of tensions this year.

Mostafa Ibrahim, a writer on Israeli affairs, told Arab News that Israel currently wanted to avoid any confrontations with the Palestinians. “It is clear that there is an Israeli desire, backed by American pressure, to calm the situation in the Middle East in light of the Russian-Ukrainian war,” he said.

The Hebrew newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, said that the Israeli security system faced a number of challenges in the run-up to the month of Ramadan, adding there were real fears in Israel of an escalation of violence in the Palestinian territories.

Ramadan coincides with the revival of Land Day on March 30, Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on April 17, the anniversary of the Great March of Return, and in May the first anniversary of last year’s Gaza conflict, and Nakba Day on May 15. All the events had the potential to spark confrontations.

And the newspaper claimed that Hamas was attempting to destabilize security and calm in the West Bank and Jerusalem, while maintaining them in the Gaza Strip.

“Hamas realizes that the escalation creates a security problem for Israel at the tactical level. At the strategic level, it threatens and undermines the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority,” it reported.

However, despite underlying tensions, it did not predict any fresh flare ups in Gaza, Sheikh Jarrah, or at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Ibrahim said recent international visits and dialogue would help contribute toward maintaining calm.

“The recent Israeli facilities — despite their limitations — and the various international pressures, the desire of Arab countries to focus on the global crisis following the war in Ukraine, and negotiations with Iran, have contributed to pushing the Palestinian areas to maintain calm,” he added.


Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah reappointed as Kuwait’s prime minister

Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah reappointed as Kuwait’s prime minister
Updated 5 min 16 sec ago

Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah reappointed as Kuwait’s prime minister

Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah reappointed as Kuwait’s prime minister

KUWAIT: Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah has been reappointed as Kuwait’s prime minister under an Emiri order issued on Wednesday, state news agency (KUNA) reported.


American-Iranian citizen Baquer Namazi leaves Iran

American-Iranian citizen Baquer Namazi leaves Iran
Updated 11 sec ago

American-Iranian citizen Baquer Namazi leaves Iran

American-Iranian citizen Baquer Namazi leaves Iran
  • Baquer Namazi, a former UNICEF official, was detained in 2016 when he went to Iran to press for the release of his son Siamak
  • The US has been pressing for the release of these two men and two other Americans

DUBAI: US citizen Baquer Namazi has left Iran, said a semi-official Iranian website, Khabaronline, on Wednesday, publishing a video showing him boarding a private plane accompanied by a man in Omani traditional dress.
Oman on Tuesday thanked Iran for handing over US citizen Namazi, the Iranian foreign ministry said on its website.
Namazi, 85, a former UN official, holds both US and Iranian citizenship and is one of four Iranian-Americans, including his son Siamak, who had been detained in Iran or barred from leaving the country. 
The United States has been pressing for the release of these two men and two other Americans amid efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major Western powers.
“Wrongfully detained US citizen Baquer Namazi has been permitted to depart Iran, and his son Siamak, also wrongfully detained, has been granted furlough from prison,” a State Department spokesperson told AFP.
It added that the older Namazi “was unjustly detained in Iran and then not permitted to leave the county after serving his sentence, despite his repeated requirement for urgent medical attention.”
“We understand that the lifting of the travel ban and his son’s furlough were related to his medical requirement.”
The United Nations said last week that the pair had been allowed to leave Iran, after an appeal from its Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Both were convicted of espionage in October 2016 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Baquer Namazi was released on medical leave in 2018 and had been serving his sentence under house arrest.
At least two other American citizens are currently held in Iran.
Businessman Emad Sharqi was sentenced last year to 10 years in prison for espionage, and environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, who is also a British national, was arrested in 2018 and released on bail in July.
A drive to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal resumed in late November last year, after talks were suspended in June as Iran elected ultra-conservative President Ebrahim Raisi.
The 2015 deal — agreed by Iran, the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany — offered Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
But the United States unilaterally withdrew in 2018 under president Donald Trump and reimposed biting economic sanctions, prompting Tehran to begin rolling back on its commitments.
On Sunday, the United States rejected Iranian reports that Tehran’s release of US citizens would lead to the unfreezing of Iranian funds abroad.
“With the finalization of negotiations between Iran and the United States to release the prisoners of both countries, $7 billion of Iran’s blocked resources will be released,” the state news agency IRNA said.
But the State Department dismissed any such link as “categorically false.”
Billions of dollars in Iranian funds have been frozen in a number of countries — notably China, South Korea and Japan — since the US reimposed sanctions.


Iran judiciary opens probe into death of teenage girl

Iran judiciary opens probe into death of teenage girl
Updated 41 min 42 sec ago

Iran judiciary opens probe into death of teenage girl

Iran judiciary opens probe into death of teenage girl
  • The street violence has led to the deaths of dozens of people

TEHRAN: Iran’s judiciary has opened an investigation into the death of a teenage girl, who was reportedly killed during protests over the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
A wave of unrest has rocked Iran since Amini died on September 16 after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly failing to observe the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.
The street violence has led to the deaths of dozens of people — mostly protesters but also members of the security forces.
“A case has been filed in the criminal court to investigate the cause of Nika Shakrami’s death,” Tehran prosecutor Ali Salehi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency late Tuesday.
“An order to investigate the case has been issued and necessary measures are being taken in this regard,” he added.
Earlier, the prosecutor said 400 protesters were released from prison “on condition of not repeating their actions.”
He stressed, however, that those “who acted against national security” will be dealt with “decisively, seriously and without leniency.”


Lebanese MP Cynthia Zarazir enters Byblos Bank north of Beirut to demand frozen savings

Lebanese MP Cynthia Zarazir enters Byblos Bank north of Beirut to demand frozen savings
Updated 05 October 2022

Lebanese MP Cynthia Zarazir enters Byblos Bank north of Beirut to demand frozen savings

Lebanese MP Cynthia Zarazir enters Byblos Bank north of Beirut to demand frozen savings
  • First-time parliamentarian enters bank unarmed and demands $8,500 in cash
  • Bank offers a rate of 8,000 pounds to the dollar, an 80 percent cut on the value of her funds

A Lebanese member of parliament entered a branch of Byblos Bank north of Beirut on Wednesday with a group of associates to demand access to her frozen savings to pay for surgery.

Cynthia Zarazir, a first-time parliamentarian who was elected in May to represent Beirut, entered the bank unarmed and demanded $8,500 in cash, she said.

“We’ve spent a few days going back and forth to the bank and bringing my (medical) reports and they don’t answer us. I can’t delay this any more. I came to take my money,” Zarazir said by telephone from the bank.

“Today, I came as a I don’t care what my colleagues in the parliament will think. I see right from wrong,” she said.

 

 

A citizen also opened fire on a Bank of Beirut branch in Jbeil after guards prevented him from getting into the bank without a prior appointment, the Lebanese State Agency reported.

The man reportedly pulled out a machine gun from his car and opened fire on the bank, causing damage to the glass door. Security forces arrested him on the scene for further investigations.

Cases of bank hold-ups and protests have snowballed across Lebanon recently as depositors have grown exasperated over informal capital controls that banks have imposed since an economic downturn began in 2019.

Depositors can only withdraw limited amounts in US dollars or the Lebanese pound, which has lost more than 95 percent of its value since the crisis began.

The bank branch shut down after Zarazir entered and a spokesperson for Byblos Bank at its headquarters was not immediately available for comment.

Zarazir said she had rejected an offer from the bank to withdraw an unlimited amount in Lebanese pounds at a rate of 8,000 pounds to the dollar — which would represent a roughly 80 percent haircut on the value of her funds.

“She has not broken the law in any way. She went into her bank to ask for her money. She didn’t even shut the bank down — the management did that,” said Fouad Debs, her lawyer and a founder of the Depositors’ Union advocacy group.

He accompanied Zarazir and spoke to Reuters from the bank, saying the sit-in would continue until the lawmaker had access to her funds.

Tuesday saw four hold-ups across Lebanon, two of them involving armed men demanding their deposits.

Another incident took place on Monday.

Separately, an unidentified assailant fired shots at a Beirut Bank branch in the northern town of Byblos on Wednesday, a security source said.

There were no injuries and the assailant fled, the source said.

Lebanon’s banking association has expressed outrage over the hold-ups. A similar surge last month prompted banks to close for about a week.


Newest Hindu temple officially opens its doors to UAE residents

Newest Hindu temple officially opens its doors to UAE residents
Updated 05 October 2022

Newest Hindu temple officially opens its doors to UAE residents

Newest Hindu temple officially opens its doors to UAE residents

DUBAI: The newest Hindu temple in Dubai opened its doors to worshippers on Tuesday following an official ceremony. 
The new Hindu House of Worship officially welcomed worshippers for the first time following its inaugural by the UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence. 
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al-Nahyan inaugurated the temple by lighting a lantern in the temple’s multi-purpose hall on the ground floor, Al-Khaleej Times reported. 

People visit the newly inaugurated Hindu Temple in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, October 4, 2022. (Reuters)


The new temple in Jebel Ali is the latest addition to what is locally known as “village of worship” which already houses nine religious shrines, including seven churches, the Guru Nanak Darbar and Sikh Gurudwara. 
The ceremony was also attended by the Indian ambassador to UAE and over 200 dignitaries, including officials, faith leaders, and members of the Indian community in UAE.