Russia’s military ties with Iran ‘will withstand geopolitical pressure’

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. (AFP file photo)
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 26 August 2023
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Russia’s military ties with Iran ‘will withstand geopolitical pressure’

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. (AFP file photo)
  • Russia began using the Iranian-made Shahed drones to attack deep inside Ukraine last year

MOSCOW: Russia’s military cooperation with Iran will not succumb to geopolitical pressure, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, following a report that Washington has asked Tehran to stop selling drones to Moscow.
“There are no changes, and cooperation with Iran will continue,” Ryabkov said, according to a report on Saturday from Russian state news agency RIA.
“We are independent states and do not succumb to the dictates of the US and its satellites.”
The US is pressing Iran to stop selling the armed drones, which Russia is using in the war in Ukraine, the Financial Times reported this month, citing an Iranian official and another person familiar with the talks. Iran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia but said in the past they were sent before Russia’s February 2022 intervention in Ukraine.
Moscow has denied its forces used Iranian drones in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Iranian Defense Ministry spokesperson Reza Talaei-Nik said: “None of the transactions (regarding drones) that we have had ... with other countries, such as Russia, have been canceled,” Iranian state media reported on Saturday.
Talaei-Nik also said several unnamed “Western and European countries” were interested in acquiring Iranian drones.
Russia began using the Iranian-made Shahed drones to attack deep inside Ukraine last year.
The so-called kamikaze unmanned drones do not need a runway to launch and explode on impact.
A White House official said in June that Iran had transferred several hundred drones to Russia since August 2022.
Also on Saturday, Iran’s judiciary said a court in Tehran had ordered the US government to pay $330 million in damages for “planning a coup” against the newly established republic in 1980,
A year after the US-backed shah was toppled in Iran, a group of mostly army officers tried to overthrow the new government.
State news agency IRNA said the “insurgents” were led by Saeed Mahdiyoun, a former Iranian air force commander, and had their headquarters in Nojeh, an air base in the western Hamedan province.
Several people were killed in clashes between the coup plotters and government forces, and scores of others were arrested.
“Their objective was to seize control of military bases across the country and target strategic centers and residences of the revolution’s leaders. However, their efforts were thwarted,” IRNA said.
Last year, relatives of those killed in the coup filed a legal petition with Iran’s International Court demanding damages, the judiciary’s Mizan Online website said.
They specifically accused the US of “planning and executing” the coup, Mizan said.
The court ruled in their favor, ordering “the American government to pay the plaintiffs 30 million dollars in material and moral damages, and 300 million dollars in punitive damages,” it added.
Tehran and Washington have had no diplomatic relations since the aftermath of the 1979 revolution.

 


Hamas says offered to hand over remains of hostage baby, family

Hamas says offered to hand over remains of hostage baby, family
Updated 51 min 57 sec ago
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Hamas says offered to hand over remains of hostage baby, family

Hamas says offered to hand over remains of hostage baby, family
  • “Throughout the night, indirect negotiations unfolded to extend the truce,” the Palestinian militant group said
  • “Hamas also offered to transfer the Bibas family’s bodies and release their father for their burial, along with two Zionist detainees”

JERUSALEM: Hamas on Friday said it had offered to hand over the bodies of a mother and her two sons — one of them a baby — in talks to extend a now-expired truce.
Shiri Bibas, her 10-month-old son Kfir and his four-year-old brother Ariel, along with their father Yarden, have become emblematic of the October 7 attacks due to the age of baby Kfir.
Earlier this week, Hamas’s armed wing announced that Shiri, Kfir and Ariel had been killed in an Israeli bombing before the now-lapsed truce went into effect — a claim Israel’s military has said it is investigating, but has yet to confirm.
Combat between Israel and Hamas resumed in the Gaza Strip Friday morning after an agreement could not be reached on prolonging the seven-day pause in fighting.
Under the terms of the temporary truce, Hamas had returned scores of Israeli hostages in exchange for the release of more than 200 Palestinian prisoners.
“Throughout the night, indirect negotiations unfolded to extend the truce,” the Palestinian militant group said in a statement Friday.
“Hamas also offered to transfer the Bibas family’s bodies and release their father for their burial, along with two Zionist detainees,” it added.
Israeli authorities “remained unresponsive,” it said.
The Israeli prime minister’s office meanwhile told AFP “Israel will not address propaganda-based reports coming from Hamas.”
As of Thursday, reports of the deaths of the three Bibas family members remained unconfirmed, according to army spokesman Daniel Hagari.
The army has previously said “Hamas is wholly responsible for the security of all hostages.”
Government spokesman Eylon Levy on Friday blamed Hamas for the collapse of the truce, accusing it of “having failed to provide a list of more hostages for release.”
He said Hamas was still holding 137 hostages taken on October 7, including the Bibas family.
The family were among the roughly 240 hostages dragged back to Gaza after militants streamed into Israel in an attack that left 1,200 people dead, most of them civilians, according to Israeli officials.
Israel’s ensuing war against the group has killed more than 15,000 people, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run government in Gaza.


UN chief ‘deeply regrets’ collapse of Gaza truce

UN chief ‘deeply regrets’ collapse of Gaza truce
Updated 01 December 2023
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UN chief ‘deeply regrets’ collapse of Gaza truce

UN chief ‘deeply regrets’ collapse of Gaza truce

GENEVA: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday he regretted that military operations had resumed in Gaza after the collapse of a week-long truce between Israel and Hamas.
“I deeply regret that military operations have started again in Gaza,” Guterres wrote on the X social media platform.
“The return to hostilities only shows how important it is to have a true humanitarian cease-fire.”


Israel resumes combat as truce expires, accuses Hamas of violation

Israel resumes combat as truce expires, accuses Hamas of violation
Updated 01 December 2023
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Israel resumes combat as truce expires, accuses Hamas of violation

Israel resumes combat as truce expires, accuses Hamas of violation
  • Seven-day pause began on Nov. 24 and was extended twice
  • Qatar, Egypt have been making intensive efforts to extend truce

GAZA/TEL AVIV: Israel’s military said it had resumed combat against Hamas in Gaza on Friday after accusing the Palestinian militant group of violating a seven-day temporary truce by firing toward Israeli territory.
The seven-day pause, which began on Nov. 24 and was extended twice, had allowed for the exchange of dozens of hostages held in Gaza for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and facilitated the entry of humanitarian aid into the shattered coastal strip.
In the hour before the truce was set to end at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT), Israel said it intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza.
Further sirens warning of rockets sounded again in Israeli areas near Gaza just minutes before the deadline, the Israeli military said.
Palestinian media reported Israeli air and artillery strikes across the enclave after the truce expired.
There was no immediate comment from Hamas or claim of responsibility for the launches.
Qatar and Egypt have been making intensive efforts to extend the truce following the exchange on Thursday of the latest batch of eight hostages and 30 Palestinian prisoners.
Israel had previously set the release of 10 hostages a day as the minimum it would accept to pause its ground assault and bombardment.
“We’re ready for all possibilities.... Without that, we’re going back to the combat,” Mark Regev, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on CNN ahead of the expiry of the truce.
Israel has sworn to annihilate Hamas, which rules Gaza, in response to the Oct. 7 rampage by the militant group, when Israel says gunmen killed 1,200 people and took 240 hostages.
Israel retaliated with intense bombardment and a ground invasion. Palestinian health authorities deemed reliable by the United Nations say more than 15,000 Gazans have been confirmed killed.

These children are pictured in the courtyard of a government school in Gaza’s Rafa. The UN estimates that 1.7 million of Gaza’s 2.4 million people have been displaced by the fighting. (AFP)

Hostages head home
Thursday’s releases brought the totals freed during the truce to 105 hostages and 240 Palestinian prisoners.
Among those released were six women aged 21 to 40 including one Mexican-Israeli dual national and 21-year-old Mia Schem, who holds both French and Israeli citizenship.
Photos released by the Israeli prime minister’s office showed Schem, who was captured by Hamas along with others at an outdoor music festival in southern Israel on Oct. 7, embracing her mother and brother after they were reunited at Hatzerim military base in Israel.
The other two newly released hostages were a brother and sister, Belal and Aisha Al-Ziadna, aged 18 and 17 respectively, according to the Israeli prime minister’s office. They are Bedouin Arab citizens of Israel and among four members of their family taken hostage while they were milking cows on a farm.
One of Qatar’s lead negotiators, career diplomat Abdullah Al Sulaiti, who helped broker the truce through marathon shuttle negotiations, acknowledged in a recent Reuters interview the uncertain odds of keeping the guns silent.
“At the beginning I thought achieving an agreement would be the most difficult step,” he said in an article that detailed the behind-the-scenes efforts for the first time. “I’ve discovered that sustaining the agreement itself is equally challenging.”
 

The warring sides had agreed a further extension to the pause in fighting, but soon after that ended Israeli troops resumed their attacks. (FILE/AFP)

Israel agrees to protect civilians Blinken says
The truce had allowed some humanitarian aid into Gaza after much of the coastal territory of 2.3 million people was reduced to wasteland in the Israeli assault.
More fuel and 56 trucks of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza on Thursday, Israel’s defense ministry and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said.
But deliveries of food, water, medical supplies and fuel remain far below what is needed, aid workers say.
At an emergency meeting in Amman, Jordan’s King Abdullah on Thursday urged UN officials and international groups to pressure Israel to allow more aid into the beleaguered enclave, according to delegates.
When the cease-fire first came into effect a week ago, Israel was preparing to turn the focus of its operation to southern Gaza after its seven-week assault to the north.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Israel during his third visit to the Middle East since the war began, said he told Netanyahu that Israel cannot repeat in south Gaza the massive civilian casualties and displacement of residents it inflicted in the north.
“We discussed the details of Israel’s ongoing planning and I underscored the imperative for the United States that the massive loss of civilian life and displacement of the scale that we saw in northern Gaza not be repeated in the south,” Blinken told reporters in Tel Aviv.
“And the Israeli Government agreed with that approach,” he said. This would include concrete measures to avoid damaging critical infrastructure such as hospitals and water facilities and clearly designating safe zones, he said.


Israel dismissed advance warning of Hamas attack — NYT

Israel dismissed advance warning of Hamas attack — NYT
Updated 01 December 2023
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Israel dismissed advance warning of Hamas attack — NYT

Israel dismissed advance warning of Hamas attack — NYT
  • The warnings did not suggest that Hamas was likely to carry out the plan imminently
  • A military assessment last year determined it was too soon to say the plan had been approved by Hamas

NEW YORK: Israeli officials had intelligence that Palestinian militant group Hamas was preparing a wide-ranging attack before its October 7 assault but dismissed the reports, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The newspaper said a document obtained by Israeli authorities “outlined, point by point, exactly the kind of devastating invasion that led to the deaths of about 1,200 people.”
The document, which was reviewed by the newspaper, did not specify when the attack might happen, but provided a blueprint that Hamas appears to have followed: an initial rocket barrage, efforts to knock out surveillance, and waves of gunmen crossing into Israel by land and air.
The Times said the document, which included sensitive security information about Israeli military capacity and locations, circulated widely among the country’s military and intelligence leaders, though it was not clear if it was reviewed by senior politicians.
But a military assessment last year determined it was too soon to say the plan had been approved by Hamas, and when an analyst with the country’s signals intelligence warned the group had carried out a training exercise in line with the plan, she was dismissed.
She warned it was a “plan designed to start a war,” the newspaper said, but a colonel reviewing her assessment suggested: “let’s wait patiently.”
The warnings did not suggest that Hamas was likely to carry out the plan imminently, and the intelligence community continued to believe that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar was not pursuing war with Israel, the Times said, likening the intelligence failure to those in the United States before the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The Hamas attack killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and saw around 240 people taken hostage, according to Israeli officials.
Israel’s retaliatory ground and air offensive in Gaza has killed more than 15,000 people, also mostly civilians, according to Hamas authorities.


Israel dismissed advance warning of Hamas attack: NYT

Israel dismissed advance warning of Hamas attack: NYT
Updated 01 December 2023
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Israel dismissed advance warning of Hamas attack: NYT

Israel dismissed advance warning of Hamas attack: NYT
  • The warnings did not suggest that Hamas was likely to carry out the plan imminently
  • A military assessment last year determined it was too soon to say the plan had been approved by Hamas

NEW YORK: Israeli officials had intelligence that Palestinian militant group Hamas was preparing a wide-ranging attack before its October 7 assault but dismissed the reports, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The newspaper said a document obtained by Israeli authorities “outlined, point by point, exactly the kind of devastating invasion that led to the deaths of about 1,200 people.”
The document, which was reviewed by the newspaper, did not specify when the attack might happen, but provided a blueprint that Hamas appears to have followed: an initial rocket barrage, efforts to knock out surveillance, and waves of gunmen crossing into Israel by land and air.
The Times said the document, which included sensitive security information about Israeli military capacity and locations, circulated widely among the country’s military and intelligence leaders, though it was not clear if it was reviewed by senior politicians.
But a military assessment last year determined it was too soon to say the plan had been approved by Hamas, and when an analyst with the country’s signals intelligence warned the group had carried out a training exercise in line with the plan, she was dismissed.
She warned it was a “plan designed to start a war,” the newspaper said, but a colonel reviewing her assessment suggested: “let’s wait patiently.”
The warnings did not suggest that Hamas was likely to carry out the plan imminently, and the intelligence community continued to believe that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar was not pursuing war with Israel, the Times said, likening the intelligence failure to those in the United States before the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The Hamas attack killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and saw around 240 people taken hostage, according to Israeli officials.
Israel’s retaliatory ground and air offensive in Gaza has killed more than 15,000 people, also mostly civilians, according to Hamas authorities.