Daesh militants claim Iran suicide bombings that killed 84

Update Daesh militants claim Iran suicide bombings that killed 84
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The commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Esmail Qaani, speaks during a commemoration ceremony marking the anniversary of the 2020 killing of Guards general Qasem Soleimani (on screen) in Tehran on January 3, 2024. (AFP)
Update Daesh militants claim Iran suicide bombings that killed 84
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People injured in two explosions that struck a crowd marking the anniversary of the 2020 killing of Guards general Qasem Soleimani, are helped outside a hospital in the southern Iranian city of Kerman on January 3, 2024. (AFP/File)
Update Daesh militants claim Iran suicide bombings that killed 84
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People gather near a body lying on the ground at the scene of explosions during a ceremony held to mark the death of late Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, in Kerman, Iran, on January 3, 2024. (West Asia News Agency via REUTERS)
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Updated 04 January 2024
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Daesh militants claim Iran suicide bombings that killed 84

Daesh militants claim Iran suicide bombings that killed 84
  • Claim from terror group came as Iran observed day of national mourning for those killed in blasts
  • Crowds had come to honor Qassem Soleimani on the anniversary of his death in targeted US drone strike

TEHRAN: Daesh said Thursday that it carried out twin bombings which killed at least 84 people at a memorial ceremony in Iran for slain Revolutionary Guards general Qasem Soleimani.
The claim from Daesh came as Iran observed a day of national mourning for those killed in Wednesday’s blasts.
In a statement on Telegram, Daesh said two of its members “activated their explosives vests” among the crowds who had come to honor Soleimani on the anniversary of his death in a targeted US drone strike in Baghdad four years ago.
Iranian investigators had already confirmed that the first blast at least was the work of a “suicide bomber” and believed the trigger for the second was “very probably another suicide bomber,” the official IRNA news agency reported earlier, citing an “informed source.”
Soleimani, who headed the Guards’ foreign operations arm the Quds Force, was a staunch enemy of Daesh, a Sunni extremist group which has carried out previous attacks in majority-Shiite Iran.
The death toll was revised down from around 100 the day after what Iranian authorities labelled a “terrorist attack” that also wounded hundreds near Soleimani’s tomb in the southern city of Kerman.

Iran has suffered deadly attacks in the past from jihadists and other militants as well as targeted killings of officials and nuclear scientists blamed on arch foe Israel.
On Thursday, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi spoke to ISNA news agency about bolstering security over its porous borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan.
He said authorities have identified “priority points to block along the border” with the two countries, which has long been a key access point for militant groups, drug smugglers and irregular migrants.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday blamed “evil and criminal enemies” of the Islamic republic, without naming them, and vowed a “harsh response.”
Regional tensions have surged amid the Gaza war sparked when Palestinian militant group Hamas launched their deadly October 7 attack on Israel, which Tehran welcomed while denying any involvement.
President Ebrahim Raisi’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, Mohammad Jamshidi, charged on social media platform X that “the responsibility for this crime lies with the US and Zionist (Israeli) regimes, and terrorism is just a tool.”
The United States rejected any suggestion that it or its ally Israel were behind the bombings, while Israel declined to comment.
“The United States was not involved in any way, and any suggestion to the contrary is ridiculous,” said State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.
“We have no reason to believe that Israel was involved in this explosion,” he added, expressing sympathies to the victims of the “horrific” explosions and their families.




People injured in two explosions that struck a crowd marking the anniversary of the 2020 killing of Guards general Qasem Soleimani, are helped outside a hospital in the southern Iranian city of Kerman on January 3, 2024. (AFP/File)

Regional tensions have surged since the Gaza war erupted, drawing in Iran-backed armed groups in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
Hamas fighters infiltrated Israel on October 7, killing around 1,140 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.
In response, Israel launched a relentless offensive that has reduced vast swathes of Gaza to rubble and killed more than 22,300 people, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.
Iranian authorities called for mass protests again the Kerman blasts after weekly prayers on Friday, when officials have said those killed will be laid to rest.
Revising down the death toll, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi told IRNA “the number of martyrs... has been announced as 84 so far.”
Iran’s emergency services chief Jafar Miadfar pointed to difficulties identifying dismembered bodies and said some victims were mistakenly counted “several times.”
He said 284 people were wounded and “195 are still hospitalized.”
Revered by many Iranians, Soleimani oversaw Iranian military operations across the Middle East, and millions came to his funeral in 2020.
Current Quds Force commander Esmail Qaani suggested the Kerman crowd was “attacked by bloodthirsty people supplied by the United States and the Zionist regime.”
He pointed to two recent killings widely blamed on Israel — a Beirut strike on Hamas deputy leader Saleh Al-Aruri, and the killing near Damascus of senior Guards commander Razi Moussavi in December.
“The killing of Aruri and people like Razi Moussavi and the crime in Kerman show how desperate the enemy is,” Qaani said.
Iran regularly accuses its arch foes Israel and the United States of inciting unrest, and authorities last month executed five people convicted of collaborating with Israel.
In July, Iran’s intelligence ministry said it had disbanded a network “linked to Israel’s spy organization” that it said had been plotting “terrorist operations” across Iran.
In September, the Fars news agency reported that an Daesh-affiliated key “operative,” in charge of carrying out “terrorist operations,” had been arrested in Kerman.


Netanyahu rival Lapid says Israel lost ‘deterrence’ against Iran

Netanyahu rival Lapid says Israel lost ‘deterrence’ against Iran
Updated 18 min 59 sec ago
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Netanyahu rival Lapid says Israel lost ‘deterrence’ against Iran

Netanyahu rival Lapid says Israel lost ‘deterrence’ against Iran
  • Former PM says ‘Jewish terrorist violence’ against Palestinians in West Bank was ‘out of control’ under Netanyahu
  • Israeli settlers torched Palestinian homes, cars over weekend in West Bank, where violence has soared since Oct. 7

JERUSALEM: Israel’s opposition leader Yair Lapid on Monday accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government of leading to a “total loss of Israeli deterrence” in the wake of an unprecedented Iranian attack.
In a scathing criticism posted on X, former premier Lapid also said that under Netanyahu, “Jewish terrorist violence” against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank was “out of control.”
Netanyahu, who returned to power in late 2022 at the helm of a coalition with far-right parties, has brought “heaps of destruction from Beeri to Kiryat Shmona,” Lapid said, calling for early elections.
Beeri, a kibbutz community near the Gaza border, came under attack when Hamas militants stormed the area on October 7, triggering the ongoing war, while the northern town of Kiryat Shmona has suffered during months of cross-border fire between Israeli forces and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
Lapid’s remarks came two days after Iran — which backs both Hamas and Hezbollah — launched more than 300 missiles and drones at Israel in retaliation for a deadly strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus.
Israel, the United States and other allies intercepted nearly all launches in the late Saturday aerial attack — the first direct Iranian military action against arch foe Israel.
Netanyahu’s cabinet has weighed Israel’s response to the Iranian attack, but the prime minister has not made any public comments.
In the West Bank, where violence has soared since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, Israeli settlers torched Palestinian homes and cars over the weekend, killing at least two people, after an Israeli teen was “murdered in a suspected terrorist attack,” according to the Israeli military.
Pointing to surging “terrorist” settler attacks, Lapid said: “If we don’t move this government, it will bring destruction upon us.”
The government, which includes hard-line settlers, has prioritized Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank, occupied by Israel since 1967.
Netanyahu has faced in recent months mass protests over the fate of hostages held in Gaza and pressure from a resurgent anti-government movement.
The prime minister’s Likud party responded to Lapid in a statement stressing Netanyahu’s part in “the global campaign” to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons — which Tehran denies it is seeking.


US destroys about 90 Iranian and Houthi drones, missiles in two days

US destroys about 90 Iranian and Houthi drones, missiles in two days
Updated 5 sec ago
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US destroys about 90 Iranian and Houthi drones, missiles in two days

US destroys about 90 Iranian and Houthi drones, missiles in two days
  • Iran’s ‘continued unprecedented, malign, and reckless behavior endangers regional stability and safety of US and coalition forces,’ CENTCOM says
  • Houthi media said on Sunday that the US and UK had launched strikes on an area under their control in the southern province of Taiz

AL-MUKALLA: More than 90 ballistic missiles and drones fired by Iran and the Houthis in Yemen at Israel and international shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden were intercepted by US military and navy forces, supported by ships from European Command, on Saturday and Sunday, according to two US military statements on Monday.

The US Central Command, or CENTCOM, said in a statement on Monday afternoon that its troops destroyed four drones fired by the Houthis from controlled areas in Yemen between 4:00 a.m. and 9:15 p.m. on Sunday.

On Saturday, the Houthis fired one anti-ship ballistic missile against US Navy and commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden.

“There were no injuries or damage reported by US, coalition, or commercial ships,” CENTCOM said.

In a separate statement issued early on Monday, CENTCOM stated that its forces, backed by US European Command ships, destroyed more than 80 drones and at least six ballistic missiles launched by Iran and the Houthis in Yemen at Israel on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The intercepted volley of drones and missiles includes a ballistic missile destroyed on its launcher vehicles, as well as seven drones destroyed in Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen before launch.

“Iran’s continued unprecedented, malign, and reckless behavior endangers regional stability and the safety of US and coalition forces,” CENTCOM said.

“CENTCOM remains postured to support Israel’s defense against these dangerous actions by Iran. We will continue to work with all our regional partners to increase regional security,” the military said in the second statement.

Iran blasted hundreds of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones toward Israel on Saturday night in retaliation for a purported Israeli airstrike in Damascus that killed senior Revolutionary Guards leaders.

The Houthis have not formally confirmed their participation in Iran’s retaliatory strike, despite reports from the US Central Command that missiles and drones launched by the Yemeni militia at Israel were intercepted.

Ambrey, a UK marine security company, also said that the Houthis launched drones at Israel during the Iran strike.

Since November, the Houthis have shot hundreds of ballistic missiles and drones toward Israel and ships in the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandab Strait and the Gulf of Aden, claiming that their acts are in support of the Palestinian people.

The Houthis claim that they want to put an end to Israel’s heavy shelling of the Palestinian Gaza Strip while also allowing humanitarian aid to reach the territory. 

The US and UK have launched strikes against Houthi sites in Yemen since mid-January, attempting to force the Yemeni group to cease their attacks on ships.

Houthi media said on Sunday that the US and UK had launched strikes on an area under their control in the southern province of Taiz.

Meanwhile, deputy foreign minister Hussein Al-Ezzi has threatened to strike a recently built airport in the Red Sea town of Mokha to prevent what he calls “hostile” countries, such as the US as well as Israel, from using the airport as a platform for operations against them.

“We will not allow any Americans, Israelis or hostile parties to use Mokha Airport,” Al-Ezzi said on X. 

Yemen’s Aviation and Metrology Authority in Aden announced earlier this month that the Mokha Airport in Taiz province was ready for flights into and out of Yemen. 

Sadiq Dwaid, a spokesman for the National Resistance Forces, a military unit commanded by Presidential Leadership Council member Tareq Saleh, refuted the Houthi charges that the airport was open to Americans and Israelis.

“Mokha Airport is a civilian airport built to serve civilians and is not utilized for military operations. Any attempts to target the airport will be met with severe retribution,” Dwaid said on X.


Iraq’s deputy prime minister, in US meeting, calls for regional restraint

Iraq’s deputy prime minister, in US meeting, calls for regional restraint
Updated 20 min 31 sec ago
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Iraq’s deputy prime minister, in US meeting, calls for regional restraint

Iraq’s deputy prime minister, in US meeting, calls for regional restraint
  • “The government of Iraq is warning about escalation in the area to be dragged into a wider war," Tamim says

WASHINGTON: Iraq called on all parties to show restraint amid soaring tensions between neighboring Iran and Israel, Deputy Prime Minister Muhammad Ali Tamim said on Monday as he met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“The government of Iraq is warning about escalation in the area to be dragged into a wider war that will threaten international security and safety,” he said at the start of a meeting of the US-Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee in Washington.
“And therefore we call on all parties for self restraint and respect the rules of diplomatic works and also international laws.”


Sudden heavy rains in Oman kill at least 17 including schoolchildren

Sudden heavy rains in Oman kill at least 17 including schoolchildren
Updated 32 min 39 sec ago
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Sudden heavy rains in Oman kill at least 17 including schoolchildren

Sudden heavy rains in Oman kill at least 17 including schoolchildren
  • Civil defense officials gave the death toll for the rains, which saw Oman’s North Al Sharqiyah province hardest hit
  • Heavy rains also were expected over Dubai in the neighboring UAE and other regions of the Arabian Peninsula

DUBAI: Heavy rainfall caused flash flooding in Oman on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, killing at least 17 people as rescuers searched for survivors, authorities said Monday. In one incident, a group of school children and a driver died when their vehicle was overtaken, authorities said.
Heavy rains also were expected over Dubai in the neighboring United Arab Emirates and other regions of the Arabian Peninsula.
Civil defense officials gave the death toll for the rains, which saw Oman’s North Al Sharqiyah province hardest hit. The Royal Oman Police and the Omani military deployed to the province to transport citizens out of flooded areas, Oman News Agency reported.
Heavy rainfall often causes flash flooding in the sultanate, drawing the curious from their homes to nearby dry riverbeds, known in Arabic as “wadi.” In flooding, they can quickly fill and wash away people and vehicles.
In Dubai, authorities expected heavy rains to begin Monday night and last into Tuesday morning. The Emirates’ National Center of Meteorology warned of thunder, lightning, rain and possibly hail, with winds reaching up to 70 kph (43 mph). Government schools announced they would hold classes remotely Tuesday and Wednesday.


Israeli military official says four Israeli soldiers wounded in blast inside Lebanon

Israeli military official says four Israeli soldiers wounded in blast inside Lebanon
Updated 15 April 2024
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Israeli military official says four Israeli soldiers wounded in blast inside Lebanon

Israeli military official says four Israeli soldiers wounded in blast inside Lebanon
  • Injuries as a result of an explosion of an unknown source during activity along the northern border

JERUSALEM: Four Israeli soldiers were wounded in an explosion hundreds of meters inside Lebanese territory, an Israeli military official said on Monday.
Earlier, the military said four soldiers were injured overnight, one severely, as a result of an explosion of an unknown source during activity along the northern border and that the incident was under review.