WASHINGTON, June 21 -- The Iranian leadership received an overnight warning from US President Donald Trump of a likely attack against Iran, Reuters quoted Iranian government sources as saying.
Trump reportedly demanded Iran should enter into negotiations with the United States within Washington’s deadline. In reply Iran warned the US of the risk of "regional and international consequences." Trump and Iran exchanged messages through Oman. "In his message, Trump said he was against any war with Iran and wanted to talk to Tehran about various issues... He gave a short period of time to get our response, but Iran's immediate response was that it is up to Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei to decide about this issue," one of the officials told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. A second Iranian official said: "We made it clear that the leader is against any talks, but the message will be conveyed to him to make a decision. However, we told the Omani official that any attack against Iran will have regional and international consequences."
DEN HAAG, June 20 -- Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Thursday slammed his Malaysian counterpart for creating "confusion" by criticising a decision to charge four people over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
Mahathir Mohamad had called the move by Dutch-led investigators to charge three Russians and a Ukrainian with murder for the 2014 disaster "ridiculous" and "politically motivated" against Moscow. "I can imagine that relatives must be very disappointed about it and also that it sows confusion," Rutte told reporters ahead of an EU summit in Brussels when asked about Mahathir's remarks. Rutte said the Dutch foreign ministry would contact the Malaysian government about Mahathir's comments, adding that he wanted "to await the results of this first before making further statements". The Boeing 777 was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was blown apart by a missile over part of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed rebels on July 17, 2014.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a Boeing-777 passenger plane traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down on July 17, 2014, over Ukraine’s eastern region of Donetsk. The crash killed all the 283 passengers, citizens of 10 countries, and 15 crew members. In spite of the active armed conflict on the ground, Kiev didn't close its airspace over the Donbass region to international passenger flights. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), consisting of representatives from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine, was set up to investigate the tragedy. In June 2017, the JIT countries made a decision that the hearing will be held in a Dutch court under the Dutch laws. The Netherlands’ prosecution heads the JIT and will be responsible for filing the case and presenting the details. In accordance with the decision of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security, the case will be heard at the Schiphol Judicial Complex in the town of Badhoevedorp. In May 2018, Australia and the Netherlands said that they would seek to hold Russia responsible for complicity in the plane crash on the grounds of the provisional report published by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) claiming that the missile system that was used to down Flight MH17 could have been transferred from Russia and be a part of the Russian 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile brigade near Kursk. Moscow rejects the JIT accusations. Particularly, the Russian Defense Ministry said that no Russian army missile system had ever crossed the Ukrainian border. Moreover, the defense ministry’s representatives reported that they had identified the missile that was launched to down the Boeing and established that it was transferred over to the Ukrainian troops back in 1986 and had never returned to Russia since.
MOSCOW, June 19 -- International terrorists are trying to obtain access to nuclear and biological weapons and also toxic chemicals to use them in their attacks, Russian Deputy Security Council Secretary Yuri Kokov told the tenth international meeting of high-level delegates overseeing security matters in Ufa.
"A number of tendencies in the tactics of international terrorist organizations’ steps deserve special attention and analysis," Kokov said. "First of all, this concerns the continued attempts to get access to data about the manufacturing of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, their increased attention to issues related to the use of pathogenic biological agents and toxic chemicals for terrorist purposes. "
"The increased use of modern high-tech technical means creates additional risks as terrorists seek to quickly acquire them and use in order to commit crimes," Kokov said. As an example, the deputy security chief cited the attacks on Russian military facilities in Syria carried out with the use of drones. This March, in order to prevent such attacks, Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces destroyed a depot belonging to the Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group in Syria’s Idlib, which stored combat unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
According to him, terrorists have started using suicide groups consisting of members of one family with minor children to penetrate protected facilities more actively. One of the new forms of terrorist activity was an attempt to attack coastal infrastructure using saboteur swimmers, who had been trained and had skills in mining seaports and capturing civilian vessels, primarily tankers and gas carriers.
CAIRO, June 18 -- Egypt's former President Mohamed Morsi was buried on Tuesday in eastern Cairo, his son said, a day after he collapsed in court and died shortly after.
Morsi was buried early in the morning alongside other senior figures of the Muslim Brotherhood, his son, Ahmed Morsi, said on his Facebook page. The burial was attended by members of the family in Cairo's Madinat Nasr after authorities refused to grant permission for a burial in Morsi's home province of Sharqiya in the Nile Delta, Ahmed Morsi said. "We washed his noble body at Tora prison hospital, read prayers for him at the prison hospital ... and the burial was at the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guides," Ahmed wrote. Morsi's lawyer, Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud, confirmed the burial took place early on Tuesday.
Morsi, who was a leading figure in the Brotherhood, became Egypt's first democratically elected president in 2012, one year after the Arab Spring uprising saw the end of President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule. He was deposed in July 2013 following mass protests and a military coup led by Egypt's current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, after which he was immediately arrested. He had been in detention ever since. The Brotherhood, which has since been outlawed, said Morsi's death was a "full-fledged murder" and called on Egyptians to gather for a mass funeral. In a statement on its website, the Brotherhood also called for crowds to gather outside Egyptian embassies around the world.
WASHINGTON, June 18 -- The United States is sending 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East after last week's attacks on the two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, US Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said in a statement on Monday.
"In response to a request from the US Central Command (CENTCOM) for additional forces, and with the advice of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and in consultation with the White House, I have authorized approximately 1,000 additional troops for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East," Shanahan said. "The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region," he added. "The United States does not seek conflict with Iran. The action today is being taken to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to protect our national interests," he noted. "We will continue to monitor the situation dilligently and make adjustments to force levels as necessary given intelligence reporting and credible threats," Shanahan concluded.
On June 13, two tankers caught fire in the Gulf of Oman after an attack. The crews, with Russian nationals among their members, were evacuated by the Iranian rescue services and taken to the port of Jask. US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that Iran is responsible for the attacks. Tehran has denied any involvement in the incident. The Kokuka Courageous tanker, registered in Panama and owned by a Japanese transport company, was carrying methanol from Saudi Arabia to Singapore. The Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair vessel, owned by Norway's Frontline, was sailing from the United Arab Emirates to Taiwan with petrochemical feedstock.
TOKYO, June 14 -- The Japanese operator of a tanker attacked near the Strait of Hormuz suggested Friday the vessel was hit by an incoming projectile, not by torpedo.
Some crew members of the Kokuka Courageous, which was attacked twice in the major shipping route Thursday, have said they "witnessed a flying object" at the moment of the second attack, said Yutaka Katada, president of the Tokyo-based operator Kokuka Sangyo Co., at a press conference. Katada said it is unlikely that the tanker was attacked "because the attacker thought it was a Japanese vessel," saying the ship was flying the national flag of Panama while sailing. The Kokuka Courageous was carrying 25,000 tons of methanol from Saudi Arabia to Singapore when it was attacked in the Gulf of Oman, near the Fujairah port of the United Arab Emirates, according to the company.
All 21 Filipino crew members of the ship escaped in life rafts and were rescued by a U.S. Navy vessel, but they have returned to the ship and restored the reserve power system. One of the crew was slightly injured but is improving, Katada said. The tanker, currently being towed to Khor Fakkan in the eastern part of the UAE, faces no danger of sinking or losing its freight or fuel, according to the company. The tanker had become unable to move on its own as its engine room became inoperable due to being filled with carbon dioxide, which crew members injected to prevent a fire before retreating, Katada said, adding the crew have already started discharging CO2. Katada said the company will "continue to operate" its vessels around the Persian Gulf "unless the sea route is blocked."
DEN HAAG, June 11 -- Two Dutch-Belgian orphans of Islamic State fighters were amongst a group of fourteen others to have been flown into Europe from Syria on Monday, according to reports.
A French military airplane carrying two Dutch-Belgian children and twelve French orphans landed in a Paris airport on Monday. The orphans lived in the Ain Issa refugee camp in Syria, close to the country’s Turkish border, and were said to be in a “particularly vulnerable” situation. The two orphans are thought to be the children of a late Antillean-Dutch woman and a now-deceased Belgian Islamic State (IS) fighter. Dutch authorities were present when the airplane landed in Paris, and will reportedly entrust both children to a Dutch guardian. The French orphans will be handed over to social security services in the country. Around 250 children are thought to be still living in refugee camps and other locations across Syria, according to Reuters. In May, a group of academics signed an open letter calling for Belgium to honour a 2017 commitment to repatriate the orphans of all jihadist fighters. That year, a court ruling had obliged Belgium to repatriate all orphans under the age of ten. With the recent repatriations, France has now brought back 17 IS orphans from Syria.
JAKARTA, June 4 -- A man was seriously injured when an explosive device he was carrying exploded at a police post in Indonesia's Central Java province, police said Tuesday.
Seven police officers were at the post at the time of the blast late Monday in Sukoharjo district but none was harmed, national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said. "The suicide bomber is currently being treated in the police hospital," he said, adding that police suspected the device was of low intensity. Photos circulating on social media showed a man lying by the side of the road in a pool of blood before being taken to hospital in a police van. The explosion occurred two days before Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim festival at the end of the Ramadan fasting month. Authorities have deployed more than 160,000 security personnel during the holiday season, with police saying last week that they were on increased alert for possible terrorist attacks.
NEW YORK, May 8. -- A shooting has been reported at a school in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, NBC reported on Tuesday.
Seven or eight people were injured in the attack. Two suspects were detained. Sheriff's office earlier said that two people were injured in the shooting.