Iran backs Iraqi call to end presence of US-led force

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani attends a military parade to celebrate the 103rd anniversary of the founding of the Iraqi army at the Green Zone in Baghdad. (File/Reuters)
Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani attends a military parade to celebrate the 103rd anniversary of the founding of the Iraqi army at the Green Zone in Baghdad. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 08 January 2024
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Iran backs Iraqi call to end presence of US-led force

Iran backs Iraqi call to end presence of US-led force
  • A US drone strike on Thursday killed a military commander and another member of Harakat Al-Nujaba, a faction of Hashd Al-Shaabi — a collection of mainly pro-Iran former paramilitary units now integrated into Iraq’s armed forces

TEHRAN: Iran on Monday threw its weight behind calls from Iraq to oust the US-led anti-Daesh coalition from its territory after a US strike killed a militia commander in Baghdad.
“Regarding Iraq and the actions that the American government took recently, the Iraqi government has clearly announced its position,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani told a press conference.
Iran is confident that its neighbor has “the ability, strength, and authority necessary to maintain security” on its territory alone, Kanani said.
“We have repeatedly expressed our views to the authorities of the countries of the region, including Iraq, and declared that the presence of American forces in any form whatsoever ... would not help to maintain stability and peace,” he said.
A US drone strike on Thursday killed a military commander and another member of Harakat Al-Nujaba, a faction of Hashd Al-Shaabi — a collection of mainly pro-Iran former paramilitary units now integrated into Iraq’s armed forces.
Washington called the attack in Baghdad an act of self-defense, but Prime Minister Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani’s government decried it as an act of “blatant aggression” by the US-led coalition.
Al-Sudani said on Friday he was determined to “put an end” to the anti-Daesh coalition.
His government relies on support from Tehran-aligned parties, and he has repeatedly said in recent weeks he would like to see foreign troops leave Iraq.
Regional tensions are soaring, with the repercussions of the Israel-Hamas war being increasingly felt in Iraq and across the Middle East.
The US and other coalition forces in Iraq, deployed since 2014 in the fight against Daesh, have come under regular attack since the fighting erupted on Oct. 7 between Israel and Hamas.
Washington says there have been more than 100 attacks on its forces in Iraq and Syria since mid-October.
Most have been claimed by a loose alliance of Iran-linked armed groups that oppose American support for Israel in the Gaza war.
The US has around 2,500 troops in Iraq and 900 in Syria as part of the multinational coalition set up at the height of IS’s territorial gains.
Other coalition partners include France, Spain, and Britain.
In late 2017, Iraq declared victory over Daesh, but remaining Daesh cells in remote northern areas continue to launch sporadic attacks.

 


Cyprus says maritime aid shipments to Gaza ‘on track’

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Cyprus says maritime aid shipments to Gaza ‘on track’

Cyprus says maritime aid shipments to Gaza ‘on track’
1,000 tons of aid were shipped from Cyprus to the besieged Palestinian territory between Friday and Sunday
The vessels were shuttling between Gaza and the east Mediterranean island

NICOSIA: Four ships from the United States and France are transporting aid from Larnaca port to the Gaza Strip amid the spiralling humanitarian crisis there, the Cyprus presidency said on Tuesday.
Victor Papadopoulos from the presidential press office told state radio 1,000 tons of aid were shipped from Cyprus to the besieged Palestinian territory between Friday and Sunday.
He said the vessels were shuttling between Gaza and the east Mediterranean island, a distance of about 360 kilometers (225 miles).
Large quantities of aid from Britain, Romania, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and other countries have accumulated at Larnaca port.
Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides told reporters on Tuesday the maritime aid effort was “on track.”
“We have substantial assistance from third countries that want to contribute to this effort,” he said.
The aid shipped from Cyprus is entering Gaza via a temporary US-built floating pier, where the shipments are offloaded for distribution.
The United Nations has warned of famine as Gaza’s 2.4 million people face shortages of food, safe water, medicines and fuel amid the Israel-Hamas war that has devastated the coastal territory.
Aid deliveries by truck have slowed to a trickle since Israeli forces took control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing with Egypt in early May.
The war in Gaza broke out after Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.
Two days after the war broke out, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a “complete siege” on the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s retaliatory offensive against Hamas has killed at least 35,647 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to figures provided by the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

Daesh attack in Syria kills three soldiers: war monitor

Daesh attack in Syria kills three soldiers: war monitor
Updated 21 May 2024
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Daesh attack in Syria kills three soldiers: war monitor

Daesh attack in Syria kills three soldiers: war monitor
  • The militants “attacked a site where... regime forces were stationed“
  • The Syrian army had sent forces to the area, where Daesh attacks are common

BEIRUT: Daesh group militants killed three Syrian soldiers in an attack Tuesday on an army position in the Badia desert, a war monitor said.
The militants “attacked a site where... regime forces were stationed,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that a lieutenant colonel and two soldiers died.
The Syrian army had sent forces to the area, where Daesh attacks are common, ahead of an expected wider sweep, said the Britain-based Observatory which has a network of sources inside the country.
In an attack on May 3, Daesh fighters killed at least 15 Syrian pro-government fighters when they targeted three military positions in the desert, the Observatory had reported.
Daesh overran large swathes of Syria and Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a so-called caliphate and launching a reign of terror.
It was defeated territorially in Syria in 2019, but its remnants still carry out deadly attacks, particularly against pro-government forces and Kurdish-led fighters in Badia desert.
Syria’s war has claimed more than half a million lives and displaced millions more since it erupted in March 2011 with Damascus’s brutal repression of anti-government protests.


At least 9 Egyptian women and children die when vehicle slides off ferry and plunges into Nile River

At least 9 Egyptian women and children die when vehicle slides off ferry and plunges into Nile River
Updated 21 May 2024
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At least 9 Egyptian women and children die when vehicle slides off ferry and plunges into Nile River

At least 9 Egyptian women and children die when vehicle slides off ferry and plunges into Nile River
  • The accident, which happened in Monshat el-Kanater town in Giza province, also injured nine other passengers

CAIRO: At least nine Egyptian women and children died Tuesday when a small bus carrying about two dozen people slid off a ferry and plunged into the Nile River just outside Cairo, health authorities said.
The accident, which happened in Monshat el-Kanater town in Giza province, injured nine other passengers, the Health Ministry said in a statement. Giza is one of three provinces forming Greater Cairo.
Six of the injured were treated at the site while three others were transferred to hospitals. The ministry didn’t elaborate on their injuries.
A list of the nine dead obtained by The Associated Press showed four were minors.
Giza provincial Gov. Ahmed Rashed said the bus was retrieved from the river and rescue efforts were still underway as of midday Tuesday.
The cause of the accident was not immediately clear.
According to the state-owned Akhbar daily, about two dozen passengers, mostly women, were in the vehicle heading to work when the accident occurred. It said security forces detained the vehicle driver.
Ferry, railway and road accidents are common in Egypt, mainly because of poor maintenance and lack of regulations. In February, a ferry carrying day laborers sank in the Nile in Giza, killing at least 10 of the 15 people on board.


Syrian first lady Asma Assad has leukemia, presidency says

Syrian first lady Asma Assad has leukemia, presidency says
Updated 21 May 2024
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Syrian first lady Asma Assad has leukemia, presidency says

Syrian first lady Asma Assad has leukemia, presidency says
  • Statement stated that Asma would undergo a special treatment protocol that would require her to isolate

DUBAI: Syria’s first lady, Asma Assad, has been diagnosed with leukemia, the Syrian presidency said on Tuesday, almost five years after she announced she had fully recovered from breast cancer.
The statement said Asma, 48, would undergo a special treatment protocol that would require her to isolate, and that she would step away from public engagements as a result.
In August 2019, Asma said she had fully recovered from breast cancer that she said had been discovered early.
Since Syria plunged into war in 2011, the British-born former investment banker has taken on the public role of leading charity efforts and meeting families of killed soldiers, but has also become hated by the opposition.
She runs the Syria Trust for Development, a large NGO that acts as an umbrella organization for many of the aid and development operations in Syria.
Last year, she accompanied her husband, President Bashar Assad ,on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, her first known official trip abroad with him since 2011. She met Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the Emirati president’s mother, during a trip seen as a public signal of her growing role in public affairs.


Yemen’s Houthis say they downed US drone over Al-Bayda province

Yemen’s Houthis say they downed US drone over Al-Bayda province
Updated 21 May 2024
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Yemen’s Houthis say they downed US drone over Al-Bayda province

Yemen’s Houthis say they downed US drone over Al-Bayda province
  • The Houthis said last Friday they downed another US MQ9 drone over the southeastern province of Maareb

DUBAI: Yemen’s Houthis downed a US MQ9 drone over Al-Bayda province in southern Yemen, the Iran-aligned group’s military spokesperson said in a televised statement on Tuesday.

Yahya Saree said the drone was targeted with a locally made surface-to-air missile and that videos to support the claim would be released.

The Houthis said last Friday they downed another US MQ9 drone over the southeastern province of Maareb.

The group, which controls Yemen’s capital and most populous areas of the Arabian Peninsula state, has attacked international shipping in the Red Sea since November in solidarity with the Palestinians in the war between Israel and Hamas militants, drawing US and British retaliatory strikes since February.