‘No retreat,’ vows Hezbollah deputy amid renewed border clashes

This picture staken from the southern Lebanese village of Alma al-Shaab shows the Israeli military post of Hanita near the border on April 17, 2024, amid ongoing cross-border tensions as fighting continues between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. (AFP)
This picture staken from the southern Lebanese village of Alma al-Shaab shows the Israeli military post of Hanita near the border on April 17, 2024, amid ongoing cross-border tensions as fighting continues between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. (AFP)
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Updated 20 April 2024
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‘No retreat,’ vows Hezbollah deputy amid renewed border clashes

‘No retreat,’ vows Hezbollah deputy amid renewed border clashes
  • Naim Qassem promises ‘proportionate response’ to any escalation by Israel

BEIRUT: Hezbollah on Saturday launched a series of strikes against the Israeli army, targeting military sites near Lebanon’s southern border from Hermon to the coastal city of Naqoura.

The group said that it fired missiles at Israeli soldiers deployed near Har Addir mountain, opposite Rmaych, a mostly Christian village on the border.

It also targeted “spy equipment” in the Israeli outpost of Al-Raheb, opposite the Lebanese village of Aita Al-Shaab.

Hezbollah said that an operation targeting the Hadb Yarin outpost “with appropriate weapons” resulted in direct hits,” while Ruwaizat Al-Alam in the Kfar Shouba Hills was struck with with four missiles.

Sirens sounded in Even Menachem in western Galilee, and in the Shomera and Kiryat Shmona settlements in response to fears of a Hezbollah drone attack.

Israeli media later confirmed damage to farm property in Even Menachem caused by Hezbollah rockets.

Most residents have fled southern areas of Lebanon after 196 days of clashes between Hezbollah and Israel in the wake of the Gaza conflict.

Israeli airstrikes targeted a house in Kfarkela and the town of Aita Al-Shaab, while Israeli artillery shelled the town of Dhayra.

Reports said a person injured in the Kfarkela strike had been taken to hospital.

The Israeli army fired flares over villages in the western and central areas of the border region late on Friday. Reconnaissance aircraft flew throughout the night over border villages adjacent to the Blue Line, reaching the outskirts of Tyre.

Hezbollah officials said that “we will respond proportionately to any Israeli violation of the established ceiling in the confrontation.”

The group’s deputy, Naim Qassem, said: “If any escalation reaches a certain level, we will confront it as required.”

He added: “There is no withdrawal from the confrontation, and no retreat from support for and protection of Gaza.”

Fighting in southern Lebanon will continue until Israel halts its attacks on Gaza, Qassem said.

“This support is for Gaza and Lebanon as well because whoever sees what is happening in Gaza knows that if they remain silent, they will be next, and they know that if they allow the Israelis to be arrogant, the Israelis will believe they can do whatever they want,” he said.

Hezbollah Central Council member Hassan Al-Baghdadi said that Israel “has not had a worse time than now,” adding: “This can be observed from the reaction of its agents.”

 


Israeli strike on Syria kills army officer: state media

Israeli strike on Syria kills army officer: state media
Updated 59 min 6 sec ago
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Israeli strike on Syria kills army officer: state media

Israeli strike on Syria kills army officer: state media
  • News agency: Israel carried out aggression using drones against two military positions in the provinces of Quneitra and Daraa

DAMASCUS: A Syrian army officer was killed Wednesday in an Israeli air strike in the country’s south, the official SANA news agency reported, citing a military source.
“The Israeli enemy carried out an aggression using drones against two military positions of our armed forces in the provinces of Quneitra and Daraa,” the agency said, adding the attack resulted in the death of the officer and material damage.


No future US government can prevent Iran oil exports, minister says

No future US government can prevent Iran oil exports, minister says
Updated 19 June 2024
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No future US government can prevent Iran oil exports, minister says

No future US government can prevent Iran oil exports, minister says
  • In 2018, then-President Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear pact with Iran and re-imposed sanctions which hurt Iran’s oil sector
  • US President Joe Biden took office in 2021 and since then Iran has managed to raise output to 3.5 million bpd while tripling exports

DUBAI: Iranian oil exports will continue regardless of who is elected as the next US president, Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji said on Wednesday, amid concerns that a Donald Trump presidency could curb Iranian crude sales.
“Whatever government comes to power in the United States will not be able to prevent Iranian oil exports,” Owji said in comments quoted by Iran’s official news agency IRNA.
In 2018, then-President Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear pact with Iran and re-imposed sanctions which hurt Iran’s oil sector, with production dropping to 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd).
US President Joe Biden took office in 2021 and since then Iran has managed to raise output to 3.5 million bpd while tripling exports, according to Owji.
Iran has expanded oil trade with China.
Iran will elect a new president on June 28 following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash in May.
The US presidential election is scheduled for November 5.


Israel may have violated laws of war in Gaza campaign, UN rights office says

Israel may have violated laws of war in Gaza campaign, UN rights office says
Updated 19 June 2024
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Israel may have violated laws of war in Gaza campaign, UN rights office says

Israel may have violated laws of war in Gaza campaign, UN rights office says
  • Israel’s air and ground offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory

GENEVA: Israeli forces may have repeatedly violated fundamental principles of the laws of war and failed to distinguish between civilians and fighters in their Gaza Strip military campaign, the United Nations human rights office said on Wednesday.
In a report assessing six Israeli attacks that caused a high number of casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, the UN human rights office said Israeli forces “may have systematically violated the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precautions in attack.”
“The requirement to select means and methods of warfare that avoid or at the very least minimize to every extent civilian harm appears to have been consistently violated in Israel’s bombing campaign,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk.
Israel’s air and ground offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory, according to health authorities there.
Israel launched its assault after Hamas fighters stormed across the border into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking more than 250 people hostage, according to Israeli tallies.
Last week the UN human rights office said the killing of civilians during an Israeli operation to free four hostages could amount to war crimes, but so might Palestinian militants’ holding of captives in densely populated areas.


Ship attacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in fatal assault sinks in Red Sea in second-such sinking

Ship attacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in fatal assault sinks in Red Sea in second-such sinking
Updated 19 June 2024
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Ship attacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in fatal assault sinks in Red Sea in second-such sinking

Ship attacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in fatal assault sinks in Red Sea in second-such sinking
  • The Tutor came under attack about a week ago by a bomb-carrying Houthi drone boat in the Red Sea

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: A bulk carrier sank days after an attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels believed to have killed one mariner on board, authorities said early Wednesday, the second-such ship to be sunk in the rebel campaign.
The sinking of the Tutor in the Red Sea marks what appears to be a new escalation by the Iranian-backed Houthis in their campaign targeting shipping through the vital maritime corridor over the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.
The attack comes despite a monthslong US-led campaign in the region that has seen the Navy face its most-intense maritime fighting since World War II, with near-daily attacks targeting commercial vessels and warship.
The Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned-and-operated Tutor sank in the Red Sea, the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center said in a warning to sailors in the region.
“Military authorities report maritime debris and oil sighted in the last reported location,” the UKMTO said. “The vessel is believed to have sunk.”
The Houthis did not immediately acknowledge the sinking. The US military as well did not immediately acknowledge the sinking and did not respond to requests for comment.
The Tutor came under attack about a week ago by a bomb-carrying Houthi drone boat in the Red Sea. John Kirby, a White House national security spokesman, said Monday that the attack killed “a crew member who hailed from the Philippines.” The Philippines has yet to acknowledge the death, but the man who had been aboard the Tutor has been missing for over a week in the Red Sea, which faces intense summertime heat.
The use of a boat loaded with explosives raised the specter of 2000’s USS Cole attack, a suicide assault by Al-Qaeda on the warship when it was at port in Aden, killing 17 on board. The Cole is now part of a US Navy operation led by the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Red Sea to try and halt the Houthi attacks, though the rebels continue their assaults.
The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, killing four sailors. They’ve seized one vessel and sunk two since November, according to the US Maritime Administration. A US-led airstrike campaign has targeted the Houthis since January, with a series of strikes May 30 killing at least 16 people and wounding 42 others, the rebels say.
In March, the Belize-flagged Rubymar carried a load of fertilizer sank in the Red Sea after taking on water for days following a rebel attack.
The Houthis have maintained their attacks target ships linked to Israel, the US or the UK However, many of the ships they’ve attacked have little or no connection to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
The war in Gaza has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians there, while hundreds of others have been killed in Israeli operations in the West Bank. It began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostage.
A recent report by the US Defense Intelligence Agency acknowledged container shipping through Red Sea has declined by 90 percent since December over the attacks. As much as 15 percent of the world’s maritime traffic flows through that corridor.

 


UN says lawlessness in Gaza impedes aid via Kerem Shalom despite Israel’s military pause

UN says lawlessness in Gaza impedes aid via Kerem Shalom despite Israel’s military pause
Updated 19 June 2024
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UN says lawlessness in Gaza impedes aid via Kerem Shalom despite Israel’s military pause

UN says lawlessness in Gaza impedes aid via Kerem Shalom despite Israel’s military pause
  • The UN welcomed the move, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said on Tuesday

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations said on Tuesday it has been unable to distribute aid in the Gaza Strip from the Israel-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing because of lawlessness and panic among hungry people in the area, despite Israel’s daytime pause in military activity.
Israel’s military said on Sunday there would be a daily pause in its attacks from 0500 GMT until 1600 GMT until further notice along the road that leads from Israel via the Kerem Shalom crossing to the Salah Al-Din Road and northwards in Gaza.
The UN welcomed the move, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said on Tuesday, but added that “this has yet to translate into more aid reaching people in need.” He said the area between Kerem Shalom and the Salah Al-Din road was very dangerous.
“Fighting is not the only reason for being unable to pick up aid ... The lack of any police or rule of law in the area makes it very dangerous to move goods there,” he said.
“But we are ready to engage with all parties to ensure that aid reaches people in Gaza, and we’ll continue to work with the authorities and with security forces, trying to see what can be done to have security conditions,” Haq said.
“When aid gets to a place, people are starving, and they’re worried that this may be the last food that they see,” he said. “They have to be assured that there’s going to be a regular flow of goods so that there’s not a panic when we get to the area.”
The United Nations and aid groups have long complained of the dangers and obstacles to getting aid in and distributing it throughout Gaza, where the UN had warned a famine is looming.
Since the Israel-Hamas war began more than eight months ago, aid for 2.3 million Palestinians has primarily entered through two crossings into southern Gaza — the Rafah crossing from Egypt and the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel.
But deliveries were disrupted when Israel stepped up its military operations in Rafah last month with the stated aim of routing remaining units of Hamas fighters. Egypt closed the Rafah crossing due to the threat posed to humanitarian work and has routed a backlog of aid and fuel via Kerem Shalom.
Haq said on Tuesday that the Rafah crossing remained closed and there was limited access via Kerem Shalom. In Gaza’s north, he said the Erez crossing was not accessible due to an escalation of fighting, while the West Erez and Zikim crossings were operational.