Israel carries out nearly 20 air raids in Syria: War monitor

Israeli night raids which hit arms depots and military positions in eastern Syria killed at least five soldiers and 11 allied fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Wednesday. The Israeli air force carried out more than 18 attacks against multiple targets in an area stretching from the eastern town of Deir Az Zor to the al-Bukamal desert at the Syrian-Iraqi border, according to the Britain-based war monitor. The raids killed five Syrian soldiers and 11 allied fighters belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Lebanese Hezbollah and the Fatemiyoun Division which includes pro-Iranian Afghan fighters, the Observatory said, … Continue reading Israel carries out nearly 20 air raids in Syria: War monitor

28 people killed in ambush on bus in Syria

A bus has been attacked in eastern Syria, killing at least 28 people, reportedly soldiers. Syrian state media said the bus was targeted on Wednesday in the restive Deir al-Zour province, saying it was “citizens” killed, but other sources including a monitoring group said soldiers were on board, giving a higher death toll. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) attributed the attack to the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, saying 37 soldiers died. Citing sources, the SOHR said the attack was a “well-planned ambush by Islamic state members, targeting … Continue reading 28 people killed in ambush on bus in Syria

Climbers die in blizzards and avalanche in Iran

At least 10 climbers in Iran have died in mountains north of Tehran in an avalanche and blizzards, officials say. The Alborz mountain range that towers over the capital city is popular with climbers and skiers but the past few days have seen treacherous weather. The Red Crescent has deployed 20 teams who have rescued 14 climbers – but at least seven others are missing, the search operation had to be halted at nightfall, and is now expected to resume on Sunday morning. Among those who died are a political activist, an academic, a doctor and a mountaineering instructor. At … Continue reading Climbers die in blizzards and avalanche in Iran

UAE halts new visas to citizens of 13 mostly Muslim states

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has stopped issuing new visas to citizens of 13 mostly Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Turkey, Syria and Somalia, according to a document issued by a state-owned business park. The document, which was sent to companies operating in the park and was seen by the Reuters news agency, cited an immigration circular that came into effect on November 18. It said applications for new employment and visit visas were suspended until further notice for nationals outside the UAE from countries including Afghanistan, Libya, and Yemen. The visa ban also applies to citizens of Algeria, Kenya, Iraq, … Continue reading UAE halts new visas to citizens of 13 mostly Muslim states

Trial of jailed Saudi women’s rights activist to resume

The family of the jailed Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul say they hope she will be freed as her trial resumes in Riyadh on Wednesday, Ms Hathloul, who was arrested in 2018, went on hunger strike a month ago in protest at her conditions in detention. Her sister Lina told reporters that their parents had received no information about her health since then, Ms Hathloul and 12 other activists are accused of conspiring with foreign organisations hostile to the kingdom, last weekend’s G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia was overshadowed by calls from international human rights groups to free … Continue reading Trial of jailed Saudi women’s rights activist to resume

Update: Saudi Arabia denies meeting between MBS and Israeli officials

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has denied reports that a meeting took place between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Israeli officials on Sunday. “I have seen press reports about a purported meeting between HRH the Crown Prince and Israeli officials during the recent visit by @SecPompeo, no such meeting occurred, the only officials present were American and Saudi,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud wrote on Twitter on Monday. Israeli media reported earlier that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held secret talks in Saudi Arabia on Sunday with Crown Prince Mohammed, also known as MBS, the reports by Israeli public broadcaster KAN and … Continue reading Update: Saudi Arabia denies meeting between MBS and Israeli officials

Israel PM flew to Saudi Arabia for secret talks with crown prince

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly flew to Saudi Arabia on Sunday to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli media report. Flight-tracking data showed a business jet previously used by Mr Netanyahu travelled to the city of Neom, where the prince and Mr Pompeo held talks, there was no official confirmation. It would be the first known meeting between leaders of the historical foes, who the US wants to normalize ties. President Donald Trump has recently brokered deals establishing diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. Saudi … Continue reading Israel PM flew to Saudi Arabia for secret talks with crown prince

Israeli air raids in Syria kill three soldiers, hit Iranian sites

Israel has launched air raids on Syria, killing three soldiers and wounding another, in what the Israeli army called a retaliatory attack after it found explosive devices along it’s northern border. In a statement on Wednesday, the Israeli military said its fighter jets hit “military targets belonging to the Iranian Quds force and the Syrian Armed Forces” in the overnight strikes. The targets included “storage facilities, headquarters and military compounds” as well as “Syrian surface-to-air missile batteries”. The Syrian state news agency SANA reported that three military personnel were killed and one was wounded in the “Israeli aggression”. Israel has … Continue reading Israeli air raids in Syria kill three soldiers, hit Iranian sites

Several wounded in Saudi Arabia blast at WWI memorial in Jeddah

Officials have said at least three people were wounded when an explosive device hit an international ceremony commemorating the end of World War I at a cemetery in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, several countries had representatives at Wednesday’s event, which was held at a cemetery for non-Muslim dead and was attended by foreign diplomats. Hours after the incident, local authorities said a Greek national and a Saudi security officer were wounded in what they described as a “cowardly” attack, the British government said one UK national also suffered minor injuries. The Saudi statement carried by state news agency … Continue reading Several wounded in Saudi Arabia blast at WWI memorial in Jeddah

The UAE takes huge steps towards modernization

The United Arab Emirates announced on Saturday that it had decriminalized alcohol and suicide and scrapped so-called “honor crime” provisions. The United Arab Emirates has introduced a slew of reforms on personal status and penal laws as part of a years-long bid to modernize the Gulf state and promote a progressive brand of Islam. Over the weekend, the oil-rich country announced it had decriminalized alcohol and suicide and scrapped so-called “honor crime” provisions that gave men lighter sentences if they assaulted female relatives to protect a family’s reputation. Official news reporting about the series of decrees states that the country … Continue reading The UAE takes huge steps towards modernization

Israeli warplanes attack Hamas positions in Gaza Strip

Israeli warplanes have carried out an air raid targeting Hamas positions in the besieged Gaza Strip, according to the Israeli army. Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee said on Twitter that the raids late on Tuesday hit a purported tunnel belonging to the Palestinian group Hamas, adding that the attack had been carried out in response to rocket fire from Gaza. However, Palestinian witnesses on the ground said two agricultural areas in Khan Younis and Deir al-Balah were hit by three missiles, earlier, the Israeli army said a rocket fired from the Khan Younis area had been “intercepted by the Iron … Continue reading Israeli warplanes attack Hamas positions in Gaza Strip

Jordan’s monarch dissolves parliament ahead of November election

Jordan’s King Abdullah has dissolved parliament, paving the way for an election in November. Under constitutional rules, the government must resign within a week. In July, Jordan’s electoral commission set November 10 as the date for a parliamentary election after the monarch called for countrywide polls to be held at the end of the parliament’s four-year term. The king issued a royal edict ordering the dissolution of parliament effective on Sunday. The assembly comprises 130 legislators, mainly pro-government tribal officials, businessmen and ex-security officials. The move is likely to be followed by a wider government shake-up to ward off popular … Continue reading Jordan’s monarch dissolves parliament ahead of November election