Heavy exchange of missiles between Hezbollah, Israeli army results in casualties on both sides

Heavy exchange of missiles between Hezbollah, Israeli army results in casualties on both sides
Smoke billows over the southern Lebanese village of Meiss El-Jabbal near the border with Israel following Israeli bombardment on December 26 (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 27 December 2023
Follow

Heavy exchange of missiles between Hezbollah, Israeli army results in casualties on both sides

Heavy exchange of missiles between Hezbollah, Israeli army results in casualties on both sides
  • Israel radio announces ‘Iranian-made drone — launched from Iraq’

BEIRUT: Hostilities between Hezbollah and the Israeli army on the southern Lebanese front were characterized on Wednesday by an abundance of rockets fired by both sides, causing deaths and injuries.

Israeli Army Radio announced that “an Iranian-made drone was intercepted over the Mediterranean off the coast of Beirut, launched from Iraq.”

Bassam Yassin, a retired Lebanese army brigadier general, ruled out the possibility of the drone being flown in Lebanese airspace.

Yassin told Arab News: “If the drone crosses Lebanese airspace, it will take a longer time. The shorter and logical route is through Syria, Jordan, and then Palestine.

“The drone that Israel spoke about is either from the Iraqi army or the Popular Mobilization Forces. No other group has such drones.”

A source who follows air traffic matters told Arab News: “The drone may have crossed Lebanese airspace, but no one can confirm (this) because following up on this matter is limited to the Lebanese army and no one has the right to deal with it.

“When drones cross European airspace, for example, they disrupt air traffic.

“Lebanon has been facing interference from Israel in terms of GPS maritime and air navigation since the conflict began with Hezbollah. However, Lebanon has alternative systems in place and there is no need to worry about aviation safety.”

Israeli strikes on Tuesday struck a residence located in the remote border town of Bint Jbeil. The house was completely demolished by the missiles, resulting in three fatalities. Among the victims were two brothers, Ali and Ibrahim Bazzi, along with Ibrahim’s wife, Shorouk Hammoud. Another member of the Bazzi family sustained injuries.

Ibrahim Bazzi had arrived in Lebanon recently after spending many years in Australia. His intention was to take his wife back to Australia with him so they could settle there. Ali Bazzi was a member of Hezbollah.

While their funerals took place on Wednesday, Hezbollah targeted Israeli military sites in the Shebaa Farms and Kfar Shuba Hills, using attack drones and more than 12 missiles, including Burkan missiles.

Israeli media reported that “missiles were launched from Lebanon towards an Israeli army position in Arab Al-Aramsha in Western Galilee.”

Hezbollah announced it had targeted “the Khirbet Maar site, its artillery positions, and the Israeli forces positioned around it with Burkan missiles, and they caused confirmed casualties.”

The Iran-backed group also announced that it had targeted “a tent of a special force of the Israeli enemy army south of the Al-Dhahira site with guided missiles, causing direct hits and leaving its members dead and wounded.”

Hezbollah also targeted a “new Israeli command position in the vicinity of the naval site with appropriate weapons.”

In addition, the group announced “a joint attack with assault drones on the enemy soldiers’ concentrations established behind its positions in the occupied Shebaa Farms, resulting in confirmed casualties.”

Israel’s Galilee Medical Center said that it had received “13 wounded people who were injured on the border with Lebanon, one of whom is in unstable condition as a result of the strikes by Hezbollah on various Israeli sites.”

Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee said in a post on X: “Hezbollah fired an anti-tank missile from Lebanon targeting a Greek Orthodox church in northern Israel, wounding two Israeli Christian citizens. When Israeli forces arrived to evacuate the wounded, Hezbollah fired another shell at the church, wounding nine of our soldiers.”

Meanwhile, Hezbollah has announced the death of two of its fighters: Hadi Hassan Awala, from the southern suburb of Beirut, and Ahmed Hassan Al-Dirani, from the town of Qsarnaba in the Bekaa.

An Israeli drone had targeted a car on the main road in Qlaileh on Tuesday night, killing those inside it.

Israeli attacks have targeted the outskirts of Shebaa, Rashaya, Aita al-Shaab, Kafr Kila, Jebbayn, Tayr Harfa, Yarin, and Wadi Hamul in Naqoura, while an Israeli drone hit the area between Al-Dahaira and Tayr Harfa.

Israeli warplanes have flown at medium altitude over Beirut, Mount Lebanon and other Lebanese regions, and have been noted at low altitude above Sidon and Zahrani.


UN Security Council demands halt to siege of Sudan city of 1.8 mln people

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday demanded a halt to the siege of Al-Fashir by the paramilitary RSF.
The United Nations Security Council on Thursday demanded a halt to the siege of Al-Fashir by the paramilitary RSF.
Updated 6 sec ago
Follow

UN Security Council demands halt to siege of Sudan city of 1.8 mln people

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday demanded a halt to the siege of Al-Fashir by the paramilitary RSF.
  • The 15-member council adopted a British-drafted resolution that also calls for the withdrawal of all fighters that threaten the safety and security of civilians in Al-Fashir

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Security Council on Thursday demanded a halt to the siege of Al-Fashir — a city of 1.8 million people in Sudan’s North Dafur region — by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and an immediate end to fighting in the area.
The 15-member council adopted a British-drafted resolution that also calls for the withdrawal of all fighters that threaten the safety and security of civilians in Al-Fashir, the last big city in the vast, western Darfur region not under RSF control.
War erupted in Sudan in April last year between the Sudanese army (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), creating the world’s largest displacement crisis. Top UN officials have warned that the worsening violence around Al-Fashir threatens to “unleash bloody intercommunal strife throughout Darfur.”


Israeli forces kill three Palestinians, seize weapons in West Bank raid

Israeli forces kill three Palestinians, seize weapons in West Bank raid
Updated 13 June 2024
Follow

Israeli forces kill three Palestinians, seize weapons in West Bank raid

Israeli forces kill three Palestinians, seize weapons in West Bank raid
  • The West Bank has seen a surge in violence since the outbreak of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza
  • Troops surrounded a building where two gunmen were holed up, exchanging fire with them, the army said

QABATIYA, West Bank: Israeli forces raided a town in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, killing three Palestinians and detaining several others in what the army described as an operation to pre-empt militant attacks.
The West Bank, among territories where Palestinians seek statehood, has seen a surge in violence since the outbreak of the war between Israel and the militant Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
During the raid in Qabatiya, troops surrounded a building where two gunmen were holed up, exchanging fire with them, the army said. The two Palestinians were killed and witnesses saw the body of one them being lifted out by an armored bulldozer.
A third Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli troops elsewhere in the town, medical officials said.
There was no immediate claim of the dead men by any armed Palestinian faction. The army described the two killed in the building as “senior terrorists” without elaborating, and added that weapons were seized in the raid.
Several Palestinians were detained by troops, who also “exposed explosives planted into roads which were intended to be used to attack the forces,” the army statement said.
A soldier was wounded during exchanges of fire, it added.


Iran expands nuclear capacities further: IAEA

Iran expands nuclear capacities further: IAEA
Updated 13 June 2024
Follow

Iran expands nuclear capacities further: IAEA

Iran expands nuclear capacities further: IAEA
  • Tehran is installing more cascades at the enrichment facilities in Natanz and Fordow
  • A cascade is a series of centrifuges, machines used in the process of enriching uranium

VIENNA: Iran is further expanding its nuclear capacities, the UN atomic watchdog said Thursday, one week after the agency’s board of governors passed a resolution criticizing Tehran’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA.
The International Atomic Energy Agency informed its members that Tehran told it that it was installing more cascades at the enrichment facilities in Natanz and Fordow, according to a statement sent to AFP.
A diplomatic source deemed this development as “moderate.”
A cascade is a series of centrifuges, machines used in the process of enriching uranium.
The motion brought by Britain, France and Germany — but opposed by China and Russia — at the IAEA’s 35-nation board last week was the first of its kind since November 2022.
The resolution — which Tehran slammed as “hasty and unwise” — came amid an impasse over Iran’s escalating nuclear activities and as Western powers fear Tehran may be seeking to develop a nuclear weapon, a claim Iran denies.
Although symbolic in nature at this stage, the censure motion aims to raise diplomatic pressure on Iran, with the option to potentially refer the issue to the UN Security Council.
In the past, similar resolutions have prompted Tehran to retaliate by removing surveillance cameras and other equipment from its nuclear facilities and ratcheting up its uranium enrichment activities.
According to the IAEA, Iran is the only non-nuclear weapon state to enrich uranium to the high level of 60 percent — just short of weapons-grade — while it keeps accumulating large uranium stockpiles.
The IAEA has said that Tehran has significantly ramped up its nuclear program and now has enough material to build several atomic bombs.
The Islamic republic has gradually broken away from its commitments under the nuclear deal it struck with world powers in 2015.
The landmark deal provided Iran with relief from Western sanctions in exchange for curbs on its atomic program, but it fell apart after the unilateral withdrawal of the United States under then-president Donald Trump in 2018.
Efforts to revive the deal have so far failed.


Houthi opening of Taiz road raises hopes of end to blockades

Houthi opening of Taiz road raises hopes of end to blockades
Updated 13 June 2024
Follow

Houthi opening of Taiz road raises hopes of end to blockades

Houthi opening of Taiz road raises hopes of end to blockades
  • Bus driver says the opening of Al-Houban road reminds him of the fall of the Berlin Wall
  • Yemeni government military officials urged the Houthis to unlock the seven city entrances that remain closed

AL-MUKALLA: The besieged Yemen city of Taiz was filled with jubilation on Thursday as people crossed into the city from Houthi-controlled areas for the first time in years.

In a surprise move, the Houthis opened a key road, raising hopes of an end to the militia’s blockade of Yemen’s main city after almost a decade.

The arrival of the first car from Al-Houban in Taiz sparked huge celebrations among hundreds of Yemenis, who crowded the government side of the city to wave the national flag and sing patriotic chants.

Abdul Kareem Shaiban, the head of the government’s delegation at talks with the Houthis, told Arab News that the opening of the Al-Houban-Taiz city road would alleviate over nine years of suffering for local residents. The move would connect the city to Taiz, Ibb, Sanaa, and other Yemeni centers, allow food and supplies to be delivered, and reduce travel costs.

“Today, we were relieved that our families, mothers, sisters and brothers arrived and exited Taiz after the opening of this road and that the family finally united after years of separation,” Shaiban said. He also called on the Houthis not to harass individuals who crossed into their area, to open the city’s remaining blocked exits, and to lift their siege altogether.

The Houthi militia laid siege to the city of Taiz in early 2015 after their forces were unable to seize control due to stiff opposition from Yemeni government troops and allied resistance fighters.

The group barricaded the city’s major exits, posted snipers and laid landmines to prevent civilians from leaving or entering. The blockade has forced more than two million civilians to use perilous dirt tracks to leave or enter the city.

Local and international relief and rights organizations have long chastised the Houthis for impeding the delivery of essential humanitarian supplies and products to the besieged city, driving people to starvation.

As well as the Al-Houban road, they have reopened a route connecting Marib with Sanaa via Al-Bayda and have committed to consider lifting blockades on additional restricted highways. 

Responding to the Houthi proposal, the Yemeni government in Taiz sent bulldozers to clear trees, dunes, and barriers, while deminers cleared landmines from its side of the route.

Abu Mohammed, a bus driver from Taiz, said the opening of the road reminded him of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He added that he could now travel to his mother and other relatives in the countryside in one hour instead of seven, the length of his journey while the road was closed.

“This is an extremely significant event. This year’s Eid (Al-Adha) will be very joyful since I’m bringing my family from the city to see my mother in the countryside,” he told Arab News joyfully.

Other Yemenis from Taiz residing overseas, including politicians, journalists, businesspeople, and activists, expressed similar excitement.

“Thanks to the productive efforts of all serious people, smiles returned today to brighten the faces of the residents of Taiz, with the reopening of the major artery,” Shawki Ahmed Hayel Saeed, a prominent businessman from Taiz, said on X.

At the same time, Yemeni government military officials urged the Houthis to unlock the seven city entrances that remain closed and allow large vehicles carrying food and other supplies to enter the city via the newly opened route.

“This is a partial lifting of the siege on Taiz because the militia only allowed small cars and pedestrians to enter or leave Taiz through this road and does not yet allow trucks or food supplies to enter the city,” Abdul Basit Al-Baher, a Yemeni military official in Taiz, told Arab News.


Short circuit caused fire in Kuwait building housing foreign workers: fire service

A picture shows a building which was engulfed by fire, in Kuwait City, on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
A picture shows a building which was engulfed by fire, in Kuwait City, on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
Updated 13 June 2024
Follow

Short circuit caused fire in Kuwait building housing foreign workers: fire service

A picture shows a building which was engulfed by fire, in Kuwait City, on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
  • Those killed were mostly Indians, and the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh was received by his Kuwaiti counterpart on Thursday

RIYADH: Kuwait’s fire service said on Thursday that an electrical short circuit caused the blaze that killed 50 people in a building housing foreign workers on Wednesday.

The fire broke out around dawn on Wednesday at the base of the block housing nearly 200 workers in the Mangaf area, south of Kuwait City.

Those killed were mostly Indians, and the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh was received by his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Fahad Yusuf Saud Al-Sabah on Thursday.

Sheikh Fahad expressed his condolences over the tragic incident and Singh thanked Kuwait and its Emir Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah for the help and support extended to the families of those killed and injured in the blaze. 

Kuwaiti authorities said earlier on Thursday that three people had been detained for suspected manslaughter over the fire.