Tuesday, October 26

Arab world

Israeli airstrikes topple media tower and hit home of Hamas leader
Arab world, Featured

Israeli airstrikes topple media tower and hit home of Hamas leader

Tensions in Gaza have escalated further after an Israeli bombardment destroyed a high-rise building used by foreign press, followed up by the targeting of the home of one of Hamas's leaders. Israel's airstrike on the 12-storey tower block - an hour after people were told to evacuate the building - came as fighting raged despite international calls for a ceasefire. The al Jalaa Tower in Gaza City, which houses Al Jazeera and the Associated Press (AP) news agency, among others, was hit twice by an Israeli bombardment at about 1.15pm on Saturday. There were no reports of fatalities and an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was very satisfied that no journalists were hurt. A spokesperson for the Israeli Defence Forces said: The building contained civilian media o...
Pro-Palestinian protestors in Lebanon and Jordan storm Israel border
Arab world, Featured

Pro-Palestinian protestors in Lebanon and Jordan storm Israel border

Dozens of people from Lebanon stormed border fences and briefly entered Israel, as hundreds in Jordan attempted the same along the country’s eastern frontier in another escalation of the crisis engulfing the region. Extraordinary footage broadcast live on social media platforms showed crowds, make for the Israel’s northern and eastern borders fences waving Palestinian flags. The Israeli army said that its tanks fired warning shots towards a number of what it called “rioters” who crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory. The suspects sabotaged the fence and set a fire in the area before returning to Lebanese territory. Israeli media said there were dozens in the crowds. At the same time Jordanian riot forcibly dispersed hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters trying to do the same alo...
Iran’s top nuclear scientist shot dead
Arab world, Featured

Iran’s top nuclear scientist shot dead

    Iran has vowed retaliation after the architect of its nuclear programme was assassinated on a highway near Tehran, in a major escalation of tensions that risks placing the Middle East on a new war footing. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was ambushed with explosives and machine gun fire in the town of Absard, 70km (44 miles) east of Tehran. Efforts to resuscitate him in hospital failed. His bodyguard and family members were also wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Iranian foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said Israel was likely to blame, and an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed retaliation. We will strike as thunder at the killers of this oppressed martyr and will make them regret their action, tweeted Hossein Dehgh...
Saudi Arabia abolishes flogging
Arab world, Featured

Saudi Arabia abolishes flogging

    Saudi Arabia has abolished flogging as a punishment, the state human rights commission said on Saturday hailing a "major step forward" in the reform programme launched by the king and his powerful son, days after a human rights activist died in custody. Court-ordered floggings in Saudi Arabia - sometimes extending to hundreds of lashes - have long drawn condemnation from human rights groups. But they say the headline legal reforms overseen by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have brought no let-up in the conservative Islamic kingdom's crushing of dissent, including through the use of the death penalty. The state human rights commission said that the latest reform, which was reported by Saudi media including the pro-government Okaz newspaper, would ensure that no mo...
A 40 stone IS terrorist has been arrested
Arab world, Featured

A 40 stone IS terrorist has been arrested

     A 40-stone Islamic State terrorist has been arrested in Iraq by a SWAT team, security officials have said. Abu Abdul Bari, also known as Shifa al-Nima, was taken away on the back of a truck after his arrest in Mosul as the extremist, who weighs an estimated 40-stone (254kg), could not be transported in a car. Pictures of Bari, who Iraqi police consider to be one of IS's senior figures, on the vehicle wedged against a mounted machine gun have appeared online. He is also pictured at home. It is unclear how he was removed from his hiding place. Bari is an IS mufti, or expert in religious law, who issued fatwas that led to the deaths of scholars and clerics who refused to pledge allegiance to the terrorist group when it occupied the city, officials said. During the g...
US officials believe Ukrainian airliner shot down
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US officials believe Ukrainian airliner shot down

    US officials say it's highly likely Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner that crashed in Iran, killing all 176 people on board. Donald Trump has said he had a terrible feeling that it may have been shot by mistake. US officials told various local media and news agencies on Thursday that they believed a Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed near Tehran on Wednesday morning was likely brought down accidentally by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile. Speaking to reporters at the White House, US President Donald Trump said he had suspicions that somebody could have made a mistake, without going into detail. Some people say it was mechanical. I personally don't think that's even a question, Trump said, adding that something very terrible happened. All 176 people on board ...
Seven theories about what caused Iran plane crash
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Seven theories about what caused Iran plane crash

    The two black boxes, which record cockpit conversations and flight data, have been recovered following the crash of a Ukrainian passenger aircraft shortly after taking off in Tehran. There has been speculation that the three-year-old plane, in which all 176 people on board were killed including three Britons, could have been downed by a missile, similar to what happened to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in July 2014. As Ukrainian envoys work at the crash site outside Tehran, what could be some of the possible causes of Wednesday's disaster? Tony Cable is a former senior inspector at the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and offers some potential theories. He told Sky News: "I've seen a few photos of the crash site. The wreckage shows a high ...
Iran appoints new military leader
Arab world, Featured

Iran appoints new military leader

    A replacement for Iran's top general has been announced after his predecessor was killed in a targeted US airstrike. Esmail Ghaani, 62, has taken over from Major General Qassem Soleimani, after he was killed along with nine others when the US hit his motorcade just outside Baghdad's international airport on Friday morning. The new commander of Iran's elite Quds Force, part of the 125,000-strong Revolutionary Guard, was Maj Gen Soleimani's deputy and will now answer only to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Announcing General Ghaani's new role, the ayatollah called him one of the most prominent commanders in Iran. He said the Quds Force will be unchanged from the time of his predecessor, according to Iran's state-run IRNA news agency. Like Maj Gen Sole...
Khashoggi murder death sentences
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Khashoggi murder death sentences

    Five people have been sentenced to death over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor says. Three more have been given jail terms totalling 24 years after the murder inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October last year. Saudi Arabia has carried out the trials of the accused in near total secrecy after Saudi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman drew international condemnation for the killing because several Saudi agents who worked directly for him were involved. Saudi Arabia offered a number of different explanations for what had happened in the weeks after Mr Khashoggi's death, but eventually settled on blaming 11 rogue officials during a brawl in the consulate who were put on trial. The crown prince's former top advi...
Saudi becomes latest country to issue golden visas
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Saudi becomes latest country to issue golden visas

    Seventy-three more people can now live in Saudi Arabia for as long as they like, as of Monday, when the Middle Eastern country launched its new “premium” residency program. The recipients, selected from thousands of applicants, will pay 800,000 riyals (£170,723) for the right to permanent residency, or 100,000 riyals (£21,340) for a renewable one-year permit. The visa allows these extra-special investors, doctors, engineers, and financiers to purchase property and do business freely in the kingdom, as part of the country’s long-term attempts to diversify away from oil. “Golden visas,” as they’re sometimes known, are becoming more and more common. The world’s borders may be closed to most migrants and refugees, but they’re wide open for those with the ability to pay...