Category: Middle East

EGYPT – IS flags carried by gunmen, say officials

Egyptian officials investigating the massacre of worshippers at a mosque in Sinai say the attackers were carrying the flag of the Islamic State group. At least 305 people died in the assault, which was launched during Friday prayers and has not yet been claimed by any group. Egypt’s public prosecutor said there were up to […]

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LEBANON – PM Hariri resigns, saying he fears assassination plot

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri has resigned, saying in a televised broadcast from Saudi Arabia that he feared for his life, while also fiercely criticising Iran. He accused Iran of sowing “fear and destruction” in several countries, including Lebanon. Hariri’s father, former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, was assassinated in 2005. The Hariri family is close […]

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ISRAEL – Thousands of worshippers surge into Al-Aqsa mosque, 113 injured

JERUSALEM – Thousands of Muslim worshippers surged into Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday and at least 113 were hurt in scuffles with police after Israel lifted security measures imposed at the sacred site in the face of days of violent protests. Chaotic scenes unfolded as Israeli police used stun grenades to try to control crowds […]

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PAKISTAN – Fuel tanker inferno death toll tops 200

ISLAMABAD – The death toll from a lorry fire in Pakistan last week has risen sharply, with more than 200 people killed. The tanker carrying fuel burst into flames near Ahmedpur East on June 25. Villagers had gathered, reportedly to collect fuel leaking from the crashed tanker, when it caught fire. Dozens are being treated […]

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IRAQ – Ruins retaken

MOSUL –– Iraqi security forces have recaptured the site of the destroyed Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul after driving back militants from so-called Islamic State. A BBC reporter who is embedded with troops says the complex is still exposed to sniper and mortar fire. Militants blew up the mosque and its landmark leaning minaret […]

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IRAN – ‘US created ISIS’

TEHRAN –– Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has blamed the US for creating ISIS and fostering instability in the Middle East amid an ongoing crisis in the region. “That [the] US arms a terrorist group is what causes instability,” Khameini wrote on Twitter Monday. “Who created ISIS? The US!” He added that while US President […]

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SYRIA – US-backed force launches assault on Raqqa

HUKOUMIYA – The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Tuesday it had launched an operation to capture Raqqa, Islamic State’s de facto Syrian capital, piling pressure on the jihadists whose self-declared caliphate is in retreat across Syria and Iraq. SDF spokesman Talal Silo told Reuters the battle started on Monday and the fighting would […]

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AFGHANISTAN – Deadly bomb blast

KABUL –– A powerful bomb hidden in a sewage tanker exploded in the morning rush hour in the centre of the Afghan capital on Wednesday, police said, killing at least 80 people, wounding hundreds and damaging embassy buildings. The victims appeared mainly to have been Afghan civilians. The bomb, one of the deadliest in Kabul and […]

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ISRAEL – Israelis on edge

JERUSALEM – Only days before President Donald Trump visits Jerusalem, Israeli politicians describe an atmosphere of “nervousness” and “confusion.” One politician put it more bluntly. “No one has any idea what the plan is.” A changing schedule and shifting locations have made planning for the visit difficult. Trump was scheduled to give his keynote address […]

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IRAN – Coal mine explosion traps up to forty miners

TEHRAN – Up to 40 miners remain trapped after an explosion in a coal mine in northern Iran, state television has reported. The IRTV1 channel said that there had been no news about the miners’ health. They are believed to be 1,800m underground at the Zemestan-Yurt mine, near Azadshahr in the northern province of Golestan. […]

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Egypt’s Coptic churches hit by deadly blasts on Palm Sunday

Source: BBC Two blasts targeting Coptic Christians in Egypt on Palm Sunday have killed at least 45 people, officials say. In Alexandria, an explosion outside St Mark’s Coptic church killed 16 people. Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Church, had been attending Mass inside and was unhurt, state media reported. An earlier blast at […]

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SYRIA – Damascus attaches conditions to UN inquiry

DAMASCUS – The Syrian foreign minister has set out conditions for any UN investigation into the deaths of dozens of people from a chemical agent on Tuesday. Walid Muallem told the BBC it would have to be non-political, involve “many countries” and “start from Damascus” before his government could accept. He denied Syria had dropped […]

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SYRIA – Gas attack kills dozens

BEIRUT –– A chemical weapons attack in an opposition-held town in northern Syria killed dozens of people on Tuesday, leaving residents gasping for breath and convulsing in the streets and overcrowded hospitals. The Trump administration blamed the Syrian government for the attack, one of the deadliest in years, and said Syria’s patrons, Russia and Iran, bore […]

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IRAQ – Deadly airstrikes

MOSUL – At least 112 bodies have been pulled from the site of a US-led coalition airstrike in Mosul, senior Iraqi health official Ahmed Dubardani said Monday. The deaths have sparked renewed concerns about civilian casualties from coalition airstrikes targeting ISIS fighters in the city. A senior Iraqi military officer said a March 17 coalition […]

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DUBAI – Driverless flying taxi set to launch

ABU DHABI – Dubai has announced yet another pioneering initiative, but this time it’s not the world’s first rotating skyscraper or 3D printed office. It’s a fleet of flying taxis. Small enough to fit into a car parking space when folded up, the one-seater passenger drones made by Chinese company Ehang are set to start […]

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SYRIA – Suicide bombers strike Damascus

DAMASCUS – Suicide bombers hit the main judicial building and a restaurant in Damascus on Wednesday, killing at least 30 people, according to state media, spreading fear across Syria’s capital as the country’s civil war enters its seventh year. The first attacker struck inside the Justice Palace, located near the famous and crowded Hamidiyeh market. […]

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652 children dead last year in Syrian conflict

DAMASCUS – More Syrian children were killed in 2016 than in any other year of the six-year conflict, making last year the worst on record for children in the war-torn nation, according to children’s charity UNICEF. At least 652 children died in the last 12 months, a 20 per cent increase on 2015, the organization […]

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