Iran: We have court order to seize Chevron tanker

Iran: We have court order to seize Chevron tanker
Above, a frame grab shows an Iranian naval vessel firing multiple long bursts of rounds from weapons during an attempt to seize the Bahamian-flagged Richmond Voyager off Oman. (US Department of Defense/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 06 July 2023
Follow

Iran: We have court order to seize Chevron tanker

Iran: We have court order to seize Chevron tanker
  • Iran says Richmond Voyager’s collision with an Iranian ship carrying seven crew members had injured five people and caused flooding on board, and that the tanker had not stopped after the incident

DUBAI: Iran said on Thursday it had a court order to seize a tanker in Gulf waters a day earlier after it collided with an Iranian vessel, one of two tankers the US Navy said it prevented Iran from commandeering.
The Richmond Voyager, a Bahamas-flagged oil tanker, had collided with an Iranian vessel and the Iranian navy had a court order to seize it, the Maritime Search and Rescue Center of Iran’s Hormozgan Province told the official IRINN news agency.
The US Navy said it sent guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul to respond to a distress call from the Richmond Voyager off the coast of Oman in international waters. It said Iranian authorities had asked the tanker to stop and had fired shots but the Iranian navy vessel departed when McFaul arrived.
Iran said the Richmond Voyager’s collision with an Iranian ship carrying seven crew members had injured five people and caused flooding on board, and that the tanker had not stopped after the incident. The Iranian ship’s owner then requested the tanker be seized, IRINN said.
US oil company Chevron, which manages the Richmond Voyager, said its crew were safe and the vessel was operating normally.
The US Navy had earlier responded to an incident involving the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker TRF Moss in the same region.
Iran seized two oil tankers in a week just over a month ago, the US Navy said.
Since 2019, there has been a series of attacks on shipping in strategic Gulf waters at times of tension between the United States and Iran.
About a fifth of the world’s supply of seaborne crude oil and oil products passes through the Strait of Hormuz, a chokepoint between Iran and Oman, according to data from analytics firm Vortexa.


Food supplies in southern Gaza at risk, says UN official

Food supplies in southern Gaza at risk, says UN official
Updated 59 min 15 sec ago
Follow

Food supplies in southern Gaza at risk, says UN official

Food supplies in southern Gaza at risk, says UN official
  • Israel has killed least 37,266 Palestinians in the territory during more than eight months of war
  • The sanitation situation is just terrible. We were driving through rivers of sewage

GAZA: Supplies of food to southern Gaza are at risk after Israel extended its military operations, and those displaced by the offensive there face a public health crisis, a senior UN official said on Friday.
While hunger and the risk of famine have been most acute in northern Gaza in recent months, the situation is now deteriorating in the south, said Carl Skau, deputy director of the UN World Food Programme.
The main pipeline for aid earlier in the eight-month-old war was from Egypt into southern Gaza, but this was largely cut off when Israel expanded its campaign in the city of Rafah, where much of Gaza’s population was sheltering, from early May.
“We had stocked up before the operation in Rafah so that we had put food into the hands of people, but that’s beginning to run out, and we don’t have the same access that we need, that we used to have,” Skau said after a two-day trip to Gaza.
When Israel advanced in Rafah, many of those who had taken refuge there were displaced again northward and toward an evacuation zone in Al-Mawasi, an area on the coast.
“It’s a displacement crisis that brings a protection catastrophe, that a million or so people who have been pushed out of Rafah are now really crammed into a small space along the beach,” said Skau.
“It’s hot. The sanitation situation is just terrible. We were driving through rivers of sewage. And it’s a public health crisis in the making.”
Distribution of aid has been hampered by military operations, delayed Israeli authorizations, and increasing lawlessness within Gaza.
Skau said that although more food was reaching northern Gaza, basic healthcare, water, and sanitation were needed to “turn the curve in the north on famine completely.” Israel needed to let more healthcare goods into Gaza, he said.
Israel says it puts no limit on humanitarian supplies for civilians in Gaza and has blamed the UN for slow or inefficient deliveries. The Health Ministry in Gaza said on Friday that at least 37,266 people had been killed in the territory during more than eight months of war.
The toll includes at least 34 deaths during the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that a total of 85,102 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war began on Oct. 7.
Israel’s response has left more than 37,000 Palestinians dead, according to Gaza health officials, and reduced much of the Hamas-ruled territory to ruins.
Skau said he was taken aback by the level of destruction and said Gazans had been worn down by conflict.
“When I was there in December, they were angry, frustrated. There was tension,” he said.
“Now I more felt that people were tired, they were fed up. They just want this to be over with.”

 


G7 says UNRWA, UN agencies must work unhindered in Gaza

G7 says UNRWA, UN agencies must work unhindered in Gaza
Updated 14 June 2024
Follow

G7 says UNRWA, UN agencies must work unhindered in Gaza

G7 says UNRWA, UN agencies must work unhindered in Gaza
  • UNRWA has been in crisis since January, when Israel accused about a dozen of its 13,000 Gaza employees of involvement in the unprecedented October 7 attack
  • Independent review of UNRWA found some “neutrality-related issues” but said Israel had yet to provide evidence for its main allegations

BARI, Italy: G7 leaders said Friday the UN Palestinian refugee agency must be allowed to work unhindered in war-torn Gaza, in a statement at the end of their talks in Italy.
“We agree it is critical that UNRWA and other UN organizations and agencies’ distribution networks be fully able to deliver aid to those who need it most, fulfilling their mandate effectively,” the Group of Seven nations said.
They called for all parties to facilitate “rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need” in Gaza, particularly women and children.
“Securing full, rapid, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access in all its forms — consistent with international humanitarian law, and through all relevant land crossing points, including the Rafah crossing, through maritime delivery routes, including through Ashdod Port — and throughout all of Gaza remains an absolute priority,” they said.
UNRWA, which coordinates nearly all aid to Gaza, has been in crisis since January, when Israel accused about a dozen of its 13,000 Gaza employees of involvement in the unprecedented October 7 Hamas attack that sparked the war.
That prompted many governments, including top donor the United States, to suspend funding to the agency, threatening its efforts to deliver aid in Gaza, although several have since resumed payments.
An independent review of UNRWA, led by French former foreign minister Catherine Colonna, found some “neutrality-related issues” but said Israel had yet to provide evidence for its main allegations.
In a draft statement, the G7 leaders repeated concern at the “unacceptable number of civilian casualties” in the Hamas-Israel war, now into its ninth month. They again endorsed a truce and hostage release deal.
The Gaza war began after Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.
Militants also seized 251 hostages. Of these, 116 remain in Gaza, although the army says 41 are dead.
Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 37,266 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-ruled territory’s health ministry.


Hezbollah intensifies attacks against Israel after women die in Jannata raid

Hezbollah intensifies attacks against Israel after women die in Jannata raid
Updated 14 June 2024
Follow

Hezbollah intensifies attacks against Israel after women die in Jannata raid

Hezbollah intensifies attacks against Israel after women die in Jannata raid
  • Israel’s phosphorus bombs hit villages in Tyre as Defense Minister Gallant resists diplomatic efforts to calm conflict
  • ‘Any assassination will face a fiery salvo with no geographic limits,’ Hezbollah warns Israel

BEIRUT: Hezbollah intensified its attacks on Friday after a Lebanese village was shaken by Thursday night’s Israeli strike that killed two civilian women in a house in Jannata, in Tyre.

Over 10 people, most of whom were children and women, were injured in the Jannata assault.

A security source in Lebanon described Hezbollah’s escalation in the past 48 hours as “a message to Israel stating that any assassination will be faced with a fiery salvo with no geographic limits.”

Hezbollah announced on Friday morning that “in response to the attack on Jannata in southern Lebanon, which killed and injured civilians, it bombed the Kiryat Shmona and Kfar Szold settlements with dozens of Katyusha and Falaq missiles.”

Hezbollah said it “targeted buildings used by soldiers in Metula with appropriate weapons, causing direct hits.”

In a series of statements, Hezbollah announced “targeting Al-Ramtha and Al-Semmaqah in the occupied Kfarshouba hills with missile weapons, as well as the Metula site with appropriate weapons.”

It also targeted in the afternoon “the spy systems in Misgav Am with appropriate weapons, which led to their destruction.”

Hezbollah’s attacks also reached and destroyed “the spy equipment in the Jal Al-Deir site.”

Israeli army spokesperson Avichay Adraee said that two soldiers were slightly injured after an anti-armor missile landed in an area in northern Israel.

They were transported to the hospital for medical treatment.

Meanwhile, Khiam, on the outskirts of Deir Mimas, Kfarkila, and Odaisseh, was subject to artillery shelling.

An Israeli shell landed in the square of the Taybeh village.

Israeli artillery shelling containing internationally prohibited white phosphorus caused a fire in a neighborhood in Mays Al-Jabal.

The Tallouseh village was also shelled using phosphorus bombs.

Two cases of suffocation were reported in Kfarkila due to the eruption of fire.

The outskirts of Aita Al-Shaab in Bint Jbeil were also subject to sporadic artillery shelling, while the outskirts of Houla over the Al-Slouqi valley were subject to phosphorus shelling.

The targeted area is the closest to the Litani Line and is included in the UN Resolution 1701, which called for Israeli forces to withdraw behind the line in the context of the 2006 Lebanon War.

Israeli reconnaissance planes were seen flying over the villages and towns of Tyre.

Israeli Army Radio reported severe damage to property and infrastructure as a result of seven rockets falling in Kiryat Shmona.

Diplomatic efforts are underway to contain the accelerating developments on the Lebanese southern front.

Israeli media said Israel had shown interest in a French-American initiative to reduce tension on the northern front with Lebanon.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, however, ruled out joining an initiative promoted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

France, the US, and Israel were set to form a contact group to work on defusing tensions on the border with Lebanon under the Macron initiative.

During the G7 summit, Macron said: “France, the US, and Israel will work within a trilateral framework on a French roadmap aimed at containing tension on the border between Israel and Lebanon.”

Gallant, however, accused France of “adopting anti-Israeli policies.”

He said: “Israel will not be a party in the trilateral framework suggested by France.”

Israeli Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi stressed: “The army is preparing to deal with Hezbollah.”

Former Israeli Chief of Staff Benny Gantz — a member who resigned from the war cabinet — said that “the best solution to end the war with Hezbollah on the northern front is a political solution.”

Gantz added: “If we can prevent a war with Lebanon through political pressure, we will do it, and if not, we will move forward.”

In his Friday sermon in Baalbak, Sheikh Mohammed Yazbek, the head of Hezbollah’s Shariah Council, said: “The resistance is bogging down the Israelis in Gaza’s mud, troubling it in the West Bank, and hitting it at its core by support fronts that have vowed to continue the path until the war on Gaza is stopped.”

 

 


US forces foil Houthi drone, missile, boat strikes on cargo ships

The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Laboon sails in the Red Sea on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Laboon sails in the Red Sea on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
Updated 14 June 2024
Follow

US forces foil Houthi drone, missile, boat strikes on cargo ships

The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Laboon sails in the Red Sea on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
  • US Central Command said its forces destroyed an air defense sensor in a Houthi-held area of Yemen, a remotely operated vessel and two patrol boats in the Red Sea

AL-MUKALLA: The US military said on Friday it had foiled a wave of drone, missile and boat strikes by Houthi militia in international trade channels off Yemen in the previous 24 hours.

The US Central Command said its forces destroyed an air defense sensor in a Houthi-held area of Yemen, a remotely operated vessel and two patrol boats in the Red Sea, all of which were regarded as dangers to international maritime commerce.

The Houthis also fired a drone and two anti-ship ballistic missiles into the Red Sea, it said. The drone was destroyed and the missiles failed to hit their targets.

“The Houthis claim to be acting on behalf of Palestinians in Gaza and yet they are targeting and threatening the lives of third-country nationals who have nothing to do with the conflict in Gaza,” the command said.

On Thursday, it said the Iran-backed militia targeted the Ukrainian-owned and Polish-operated bulk cargo tanker M/V Verbena as it was transiting the Gulf of Aden under the flag of Palau. A member of the crew was seriously injured in the strike but was evacuated by a US Navy ship.

The command said the vessel had nothing to do with Israel and was sailing from Malaysia to Italy carrying construction materials.

On Thursday night, the Houthis in Sanaa claimed responsibility for three strikes on ships in the previous 24 hours. Military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said in a televised statement that missiles and drones were fired at the Verbena, Seaguardian and Athina in the Red Sea after they violated their ban on visiting Israeli ports.

One of the strikes scored a direct hit on the Verbena, he said.

Since November, the Houthis have fired hundreds of ballistic missiles, drones and remotely operated boats against naval and commercial vessels, mostly in the Red Sea. One ship was sunk and another seized.

The militia have said repeatedly that they attack only vessels with links to or bound for Israel in a bid to get the country to end its war in Gaza.

The US labels the Houthis as a terrorist organization and leads a task force coalition to safeguard ships and conduct strikes on sites held by the group within Yemen.

On Thursday, a report by the US Defense Intelligence Agency said the attacks had led to a 90 percent decrease in shipping traffic in the Red Sea, affected 65 countries, including Egypt, Lebanon, the UAE, Qatar, Sudan and Oman, forced 29 energy and shipping companies to change their routes, and caused insurance and shipping costs to soar.

“As of mid-February, insurance premiums for Red Sea transits have risen to 0.7-1 percent of a ship’s total value, compared to less than 0.1 percent before December,” it said.

There had also been significant delays in the delivery of humanitarian supplies to aid-dependent nations like Yemen and Sudan, it said.


US and Turkiye target Daesh-linked smuggling network

US and Turkiye target Daesh-linked smuggling network
Updated 14 June 2024
Follow

US and Turkiye target Daesh-linked smuggling network

US and Turkiye target Daesh-linked smuggling network
  • The sanctions target three supporters of a human smuggling gang linked to the group
  • The men were based in countries including Uzbekistan and Georgia

WASHINGTON: The United States slapped sanctions Friday on four individuals with ties to the Daesh group following an investigation with Turkiye, the Treasury Department said.
The sanctions target three supporters of a human smuggling gang linked to the group, and one individual involved in establishing an Daesh militant training camp, the US Treasury said a statement.
The men were based in countries including Uzbekistan and Georgia, and least one individual supported Daesh members in Turkiye, according to the Treasury.
The coordinated action with Turkiye “demonstrates our continued commitment to the defense of the homeland against all terrorist threats, including Daesh,” US Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence Brin Nelson said in a statement.
Turkiye, which is a close US military partner and a NATO ally, is taking its own action against the Daesh-linked network, the Treasury Department said.