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Roy Siemens

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Roy likes politics. Knowledge is power, Roy constantly says, so he spends nearly all day gathering information and writing articles about the latest events around the globe. He likes history and studying about war techniques, this is why he finds writing his articles a piece of cake. Another hobby of his is horse – riding.

The trial of 20 Saudi nationals accused of killing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has begun in absentia in Turkey.

Jamal Khashoggi, 59, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

Those being tried include two former top aides to Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Jamal Khashoggi was a vocal critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi Arabia carried out a separate trial over the killing that was heavily criticized as incomplete.

The trial in Istanbul follows an international outcry over the murder, which tarnished the prince’s reputation.

Turkish prosecutors accuse the former deputy head of Saudi intelligence, Ahmed al-Asiri, and the royal court’s media adviser Saud al-Qahtani of having led the operation and instructed a Saudi hit team.

The other 18 defendants are accused of having suffocated Jamal Khashoggi, whose remains have not been found. Turkish officials say his body was dismembered and removed to an unknown site.

Jamal Khashoggi, who was resident in the US, had entered the consulate seeking papers for his impending wedding.

The journalist’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz is attending the trial alongside the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Agnes Callamard, who has directly linked the crown prince to the killing, AFP news agency reports.

The Saudi authorities initially denied any involvement in the case, but later called it a “rogue operation”.

In December 2019, a court in Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death and three to jail for Jamal Khashoggi’s killing, but the trial was secretive and the defendants were not named.

Image source www.alaraby.co.uk

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The CIA and some Western governments believe the murder was ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – something he denies. The crown prince is de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia.

UN special rapporteur Callamard says Jamal Khashoggi was “the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible”.

At the time of his death Jamal Khashoggi worked for the Washington Post.

The prosecutors have charged Ahmed al-Asiri and Saud al-Qahtani with “instigating the deliberate and monstrous killing, causing torment”.

Hatice Cengiz is hoping that the trial will reveal significant new evidence and finally reveal what happened to Jamal Khashoggi’s remains.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has suspended plans for “military action” against South Korea, state news agency KCNA reported.

Recent weeks saw a rising tide of angry rhetoric from North Korea over activist plans to send leaflets with anti-North Korean messages over the border.

Last week, North Korea blew up the joint liaison office with South Korea and also threatened to send troops to the border area.

At a meeting chaired by leader Kim Jong-un, state media said the decision was taken to suspend military action.

The Central Military Commission made its decision after taking what it called the “prevailing situation” into consideration.

Image source Wikimedia

North Korea Bombs Joint Liaison Office with South Korea

North Korea Cuts All Official Communication Channels with South Korea

North Korea Fires Gunshots at South Korean Guard Post in DMZ

North Korea also began to dismantle loudspeakers it had erected only last week, traditionally used to blast anti-South Korean messages over the border, Yonhap reported.

The move represents a notable de-escalation in rhetoric after Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong’s orders to the army to “decisively carry out the next action” – in part because of what Pyongyang said was Seoul’s failure to stop activists floating balloons with anti-regime leaflets over the border.

The meeting also discussed documents outlining measures for “further bolstering the war deterrent of the country,” KCNA reported.

Tensions between North and South Korea appeared to be on the mend when in 2018, leaders of both countries met for the first time at the border.

The historic summit saw both sides pledge to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons – and in the months that followed, there were efforts to improve ties and maintain dialogue.

However, the relationship has been on a downward spiral after a failed summit between Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump.

And the past few weeks saw relations deteriorate especially rapidly – prompted by defector groups in South Korea sending propaganda across the border,

South Korean activists typically send balloons that carry objects like leaflets, USB sticks or DVDs with criticism of the Pyongyang regime, as well as South Korean news reports or even Korean dramas.

All of this is aimed at breaking North Korea’s control on domestic information with the hope that people might eventually topple the regime from within.

The South Korean government has already tried to stop groups sending leaflets across the border, arguing their actions put residents near the border at risk. The move prompted North Korea to renew threats of military action – and shortly afterwards it blew up a joint liaison office that it had established with South Korea in 2018.

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North Korea has blown up a joint liaison office with South Korea near the border town of Kaesong.

The incident comes just hours after North Korea renewed threats of military action at the Korean border.

The site was opened in 2018 to help the Koreas – officially in a state of war – to communicate. The joint liaison office had been empty since January due to Covid-19 restrictions.

In a statement, South Korea warned it would “respond strongly” if North Korea “continues to worsen the situation”.

The destruction of the office, the statement said, “abandons the hopes of everyone who wanted the development of inter-Korean relations and peace settlement in the Korean Peninsula”.

“The government makes it clear that all responsibility of this situation lies in the North.”

Image source Wikimedia

North Korea Cuts All Official Communication Channels with South Korea

North Korea Fires Gunshots at South Korean Guard Post in DMZ

Kim Jong-un Appears In Public After 20 Days of Absence

Russia expressed concern at the renewed tensions between the Koreas.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on June 16: “We call for restraint from all the sides.”

Tensions between North and South Korea have been escalating for weeks, prompted by defector groups in the South sending propaganda across the border.

Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong – considered a close and powerful ally – threatened at the weekend to demolish the office.

There were hopes for improved relations between North Korea and South Korea and its close ally the US after President Donald Trump met Kim Jong-un at the North-South border last June, but nothing materialized and the atmosphere has since deteriorated.

North Korea is under crippling US and UN economic sanctions over its militarized nuclear program. Washington has not yet commented on the North’s latest action.

In recent weeks, North Korea has repeatedly condemned South Korea for allowing propaganda into its territory.

Defector groups regularly send such material via balloons, or even drones, into North Korea.

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The Met Police clashed with demonstrators in London, where thousands, including some far-right activists, gathered despite warnings to avoid protests.

Groups gathered in the center of the capital on June 13, claiming they were protecting statues from anti-racism activists.

UK’s Home Secretary Priti Patel described the violence as “thoroughly unacceptable thuggery”.

Some anti-racism protests have taken place in London and across the UK.

The Met Police had placed restrictions on several groups intending to protest, including having to finish at 17:00 BST, following violent scenes last weekend.

However, several groups remained on the streets of central London after the official cut-off.

As of 17:00 BST, Scotland Yard said they had arrested five people for offences including violent disorder, assault on police, possession of an offensive weapon, being drunk and disorderly and possession of Class A drugs.

Image source Sky News

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As some protestors moved towards Waterloo Station around 18:00 BST, both the underground and mainline station were temporarily closed due to the protests – but later reopened.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan urged protesters to leave to prevent further violence and the spread of coronavirus in London.

Various groups from around the country, including some far-right activists, said they had come to London to protect symbols of British history.

Hundreds of mostly white men gathered around the Cenotaph war memorial in Whitehall and the boarded-up statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square.

There were a number of clashes with police in riot gear as crowds – chanting “England” and raising their arms – surged towards lines of officers.

Some protesters managed to break metal barriers around the Cenotaph on Whitehall while hurling flag poles, a smoke flare and a traffic cone towards police who were striking them back with batons.

Large groups of right-wing protesters then moved to Trafalgar Square, where fireworks were thrown across the crowds.

A statement from the London Ambulance Service said it had treated 15 patients, including two police officers, for injuries at the protests.

Police attempted to stop protesters getting to Hyde Park where an anti-racist demonstration, which had largely been peaceful, was taking place.

Organizers from the Black Lives Matter movement had urged people not to join any anti-racism rallies planned for the weekend over fears there could be clashes with far-right groups. One demonstration planned for June 13 in London was brought forward by a day.

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North Korea has announced it will cut off all official communication channels with South Korea, including a hotline between the two nations’ leaders.

It said this was the first in a series of actions, describing South Korea as “the enemy”.

Daily calls, which have been made to a liaison office located in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, will cease from June 9.

North and South Korea had set up the office to reduce tensions after talks in 2018.

Image source Flickr

The two states are technically still at war because no peace agreement was reached when the Korean War ended in 1953.

North Korea “will completely cut off and shut down the liaison line between the authorities of the North and the South, which has been maintained through the North-South joint liaison office… from 12:00 on 9 June 2020,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) report said.

Military communication channels will also be cut, it said.

North Korea Fires Gunshots at South Korean Guard Post in DMZ

Kim Jong-un Appears In Public After 20 Days of Absence

When the liaison office was temporarily closed in January because of Covid-19 restrictions, contact between the two states was maintained by phone.

North Korea and South Korea made two phone calls a day through the office, at 09:00 and 17:00. On June 8, the South said that for the first time in 21 months, its morning call had gone unanswered, although contact was made in the afternoon.

“We have reached a conclusion that there is no need to sit face-to-face with the South Korean authorities and there is no issue to discuss with them, as they have only aroused our dismay,” KNCA said.

Kim Yo-jong, Kim Jong-un’s sister, threatened last week to close the office unless South Korea stopped defector groups from sending leaflets into North Korea.

She said the leaflet campaign was a hostile act that violated the peace agreements made during the 2018 Panmunjom summit between South Krea’s Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un.

North Korean defectors occasionally send balloons carrying leaflets critical of the communist region into the North, sometimes with supplies to entice North Koreans to pick them up.

North Koreans can only get news from state-controlled media, and most do not have access to the internet.

Ties between North Korea and South Korea appeared to improve in 2018, when the leaders of both countries met three times. Such high-level meetings had not taken place in over a decade.

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North Korea and South Korea have exchanged gunfire in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which divides the two Asian countries.

Gunshots fired by North Korea at 07:41 AM local time hit a South Korean guard post in the central border town of Cheorwon, Seoul’s military said.

No casualties were reported on the South Korean side.

In response, South Korea fired “two rounds of gunfire and a warning announcement according to our manual”, the military statement said.

It is not clear what provoked the initial gunshots. The joint chiefs of staff (JCS) said that they were trying to contact North Korea through their military hotline to determine the cause of the incident.

Kim Jong-un Appears In Public After 20 Days of Absence

This is the first time in five years that North Korean troops have directly fired on South Korea. The last incident happened when a North Korean soldier made a dash across the military demarcation line to defect to South Korea.

The DMZ was set up after the Korean War in 1953 in order to create a buffer zone between the two countries.

For the past two years, the South Korean government has tried to turn the heavily fortified border into a peace zone.

Easing military tensions at the border was one of the agreements reached between the leaders of the two countries held a summit in Pyongyang in September 2018.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has appeared in public for the first time after 20 days of absence, North Korean state media says.

According to KCNA news agency, Kim Jong-un cut the ribbon at the opening of a fertilizer factory.

The agency adds that people at the factory “broke into thunderous cheers of hurrah” when he appeared on May 1st.

The reported appearance – Kim Jong-un’s first since an event on state media on April 12 – comes amid global speculation over his health.

However, the latest reports from North Korean media could not be independently confirmed.

State media later released images that it said showed Kim Jong-un cutting a ribbon outside a factory.

Asked about Kim Jong-un’s reported reappearance, President Donald Trump told reporters that he didn’t want to comment yet.

According to KCNA, Kim Jong-un was accompanied by several senior North Korean officials, including his sister Kim Yo-jong.

He cut a ribbon at a ceremony at the plant, in a region north of Pyongyang, and people who were attending the event “burst into thunderous cheers of ‘hurrah!’ for the Supreme Leader who is commanding the all-people general march for accomplishing the great cause of prosperity”, KCNA says.

Kim Jong-un said he was satisfied with the factory’s production system, and praised it for contributing to the progress of the country’s chemical industry and food production, the state news agency adds.

Speculation about Kim Jong-un’s health began after he missed the birth anniversary celebrations of his grandfather, state founder Kim Il-sung on April 15.

The anniversary is one of the biggest events in the North Korean calendar, and the North Korean usually marks it by visiting the mausoleum where his grandfather lies. Kim Jong-un had never missed this event.

Claims about Kim Jong-un’s ill-health then surfaced in a report for a website run by North Korean defectors.

An anonymous source told the Daily NK that they understood Kim Jong-un had been struggling with cardiovascular problems since last August “but it worsened after repeated visits to Mount Paektu”.

Image source: KCNA

Kim Jong-un Climbs Mount Paektu on Horseback

Kim Jong-un climbs Mount Paektu

This led to a chain of reporting by international media on a single-sourced story.

News agencies then began to run with that claim, and it was all they had until some reports emerged that intelligence agencies in South Korea and the US were monitoring the claim.

Then came a more sensational headline in US media that Kim Jong-un was in a critical condition after heart surgery.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to stoke the rumors on April 29, by saying US officials “hadn’t seen” Kim Jong-un recently.

However, a statement from the South Korean government, and sources at Chinese intelligence – speaking to the Reuters – said this was not true.

Kim Jong-un went missing for 40 days in September 2014, after attending a concert. He reappeared in mid-October, using a cane.

State media never explained where Kim Jong-un had been. However, South Korea’s intelligence agency said he probably had an operation on his left ankle stemming from problems with a cyst.

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China has observed a three-minute silence for the victims of the coronavirus outbreak.

A day of remembrance was declared in China on April 4 to honor the more than 3,300 people who died of Covid-19.

At 10:00 AM local time, people stood still nationwide for three minutes in tribute to the dead.

Cars, trains and ships then sounded their horns, air raid sirens rang as flags were flown at half-mast.

The first cases of coronavirus were detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province at the end of 2019.

Since then, the virus has swept the globe, infecting more than one million people and killing nearly 60,000 in 181 countries.

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In Wuhan, the epicenter of China’s outbreak, all traffic lights in urban areas were turned red at 10:00, ceasing traffic for three minutes.

The Chinese government said the event was a chance to pay respects to “martyrs”, a reference to the 14 medical workers who died battling the virus.

They include Li Wenliang, a doctor in Wuhan who died of Covid-19 after being reprimanded by the authorities for attempting to warn others about the disease.

Wearing white flowers pinned to their chest, China’s President Xi Jinping and other government officials paid silent tribute in Beijing.

The commemorations coincide with the annual Qingming festival, when millions of Chinese families pay respects to their ancestors.

China first informed the WHO about cases of pneumonia with unknown causes on December 31, 2019.

By January 18, 2020, the confirmed number of cases had risen to around 60 – but experts estimated the real figure was closer to 1,700.

Just two days later, as millions of people prepared to travel for the lunar new year, the number of cases more than tripled to more than 200 and the virus was detected in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

From that point, the virus began to spread rapidly in Asia and then Europe, eventually reaching every corner of the globe.

However, in the past few weeks, China has started to ease travel and social-distancing restrictions, believing it has brought the health emergency under control.

Last week, Wuhan partially re-opened after more than two months of isolation.

On April 4, China reported 19 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, down from 31 a day earlier. China’s health commission said 18 of those cases involved travelers arriving from abroad.

As it battles to control cases coming from abroad, China temporarily banned all foreign visitors, even if they have visas or residence permits.

As the coronavirus crisis in China abates, the rest of the world remains firmly in the grip of the disease.

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Image source Wikimedia

North Korea hailed a test of “super large” multiple rocket launchers after two short-range missiles had been fired, the latest in a flurry of tests this month.

Just hours before, South Korea condemned the North as “inappropriate” for pursing tests amid the global coronavirus outbreak.

North Korea generally ramps up missile tests in the spring and the global virus outbreak has not deterred it.

The country has reported no virus cases, but experts have cast doubt on this.

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The March 29 test was of two short-range ballistic missiles fired from the eastern city of Wonsan. They flew for 255 miles with a maximum altitude of around 30 miles before falling into the sea, the South Korean military said.

On March 30, North Korean state media outlet KCNA reported that it had successfully tested “super large” multiple rocket launchers.

By then South Korea had already condemned the North’s actions in a harshly-worded statement.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said: “In a situation where the entire world is experiencing difficulties due to Covid-19, this kind of military act by North Korea is very inappropriate and we call for an immediate halt.”

According to Reuters, the latest test marked the eighth and ninth missiles launched in four rounds of tests this month.

North Korea had earlier announced it would be holding a session of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the country’s parliament, on April 10. Analysts say the meeting will involve almost 700 of North Korea’s leaders in one spot.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic began, has partially re-opened after more than two months of isolation.

Crowds of passengers were pictured arriving at Wuhan train station on March 28.

According to reports, people are being allowed to enter but not leave.

Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, saw more than 50,000 coronavirus cases. At least 3,000 people in the province died from the disease.

However, numbers have fallen dramatically, according to China’s figures. On March 28, the state reported 54 new cases emerging the previous day – which it said were all imported.

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As it battles to control cases coming from abroad, China has announced a temporary ban on all foreign visitors, even if they have visas or residence permits. It is also limiting Chinese and foreign airlines to one flight per week, and flights must not be more than 75% full.

The new coronavirus is thought to have originated in a seafood market in Wuhan that “conducted illegal transactions of wild animals”.

Wuhan’s 11 million residents have been shut off from the rest of the world since the middle of January, with roadblocks around the outskirts and drastic restrictions on daily life.

However, roads reopened to incoming traffic late on March 27, according to Reuters.

State media said the subway was open from March 28 and trains would be able to arrive at the city’s 17 railway stations.

All arrivals in Wuhan have to show a green code on a mobile app to prove that they are healthy.

Officials say restrictions on people leaving Wuhan will be lifted on April 8, when domestic flights are also expected to restart.

The new coronavirus emerged in China in December 2019 and more than 3,300 people there have died from the infection – but both Italy and Spain now have higher death tolls.

It is now battling to control a wave of imported cases as infections soar abroad.

This so-called “second wave” of imported infections is also affecting countries like South Korea and Singapore, which had been successful in stopping the spread of disease in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, the virus continues to spread rapidly in other countries around the world.

Nearly 600,000 infections have been confirmed globally and almost 28,000 deaths, according to figures collated by Johns Hopkins University.

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According to South Korea’s military, North Korea has fired two projectiles into the Sea of Japan.

The projectiles appeared to be short-range ballistic missiles.

They were launched early on March 21 from Pyongan province towards the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan.

North Korea launched multiple missiles as part of firing drills earlier this month. The US and China have called on North Korea to return to talks on ending its nuclear and missile programs.

On March 21, South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff said it was monitoring the situation in case there are additional launches.

It described the actions as “extremely inappropriate” at a time when the world was dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Kim Jong-un Climbs Mount Paektu on Horseback

The projectiles flew for 255 miles with a maximum altitude of around 30 miles, the South Korean military said.

Japan’s coast guard confirmed a missile had landed outside the waters of its exclusive economic zone.

It comes as North Korea announced it would be holding a session of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the country’s parliament, on April 19. Analysts say the meeting will involve almost 700 of North Korea’s leaders in one spot.

There have been no reported cases of coronavirus in North Korea, though some experts have cast doubt on this.

North Korea borders China, where the virus emerged, and South Korea, where there has been a major outbreak.

A top US military official said last week he was “fairly certain” there were infections in North Korea.

However, North Korea quarantined around 380 foreigners – mostly diplomats and staff in Pyongyang – in their compounds for at least 30 days. The restrictions were lifted at the beginning of March. Around 80 foreigners, mainly diplomats, were flown out of Pyongyang on March 9.

The US and Taliban militants have signed a “comprehensive peace agreement” to end fighting in Afghanistan after more than 18 years of conflict.

The US and NATO allies have agreed to withdraw all troops within 14 months if the militants uphold the deal.

President Donald Trump said the US was “working to finally end America’s longest war and bring our troops back home”.

Talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are due to follow.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban leaders attended the signing ceremony in Doha in Qatar.

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Under the agreement, the Talibans also agreed not to allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in the areas they control.

The US invaded Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks in New York by the Afghanistan-based al-Qaeda group.

More than 2,400 US troops have been killed during the conflict. About 12,000 are still stationed in Afghanistan. President Donald Trump has promised to put an end to the conflict.

The deal was signed by US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar with Mike Pompeo as a witness.

In a speech, Mike Pompeo urged the militant group to “keep your promises to cut ties with al-Qaeda”.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar said he hoped Afghanistan could now emerge from four decades of conflict.

Meanwhile Defense Secretary Mark Esper was in the Afghan capital Kabul alongside Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani – whose government did not take part in the US-Taliban talks.

Mark Esper said: “This is a hopeful moment, but it is only the beginning. The road ahead will not be easy. Achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan will require patience and compromise among all parties.”

He said the US would continue to support the Afghan government.

President Ghani said Afghanistan was “looking forward to a full ceasefire”. The government said it was ready to negotiate with the Taliban.

Within the first 135 days of the deal the US will reduce its forces in Afghanistan to 8,600, with allies also drawing down their forces proportionately.

The move would allow President Donald Trump to show that he has brought troops home ahead of the US presidential election in November.

The deal also provides for a prisoner swap. Some 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 Afghan security force prisoners would be exchanged by March 10, when talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government are due to start.

The US will also lift sanctions against the Taliban and work with the UN to lift its separate sanctions against the group.

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Photo Getty Images

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says 18,000 refugees have crossed Turkish borders into Europe after his country “opened the doors” for them to travel.

He also said that the number is expected to hit 25,000 to 30,000 in the coming days.

However, President Erdogan added, Turkey could no longer deal with the amount of people fleeing Syria’s civil war.

Meanwhile, Greece says it has blocked thousands of migrants from entering “illegally” from Turkey.

Greek authorities fired tear gas to attempt to disperse the crowds.

Turkey’s decision followed a deadly attack on Turkish troops by Syrian government forces in northern Syria this week.

According to reports, at least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in a bombardment in Idlib, the last Syrian province where Syrian rebel groups hold significant territory.

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Syrian government forces, supported by Russia, have been trying to retake Idlib from jihadist groups and Turkish-backed rebel factions.

Turkey is hosting 3.7 million Syrian refugees, as well as migrants from other countries such as Afghanistan – but had previously stopped them from leaving for Europe under an aid-linked deal with the EU.

President Erdogan accused the EU of breaking promises.

He said in Istanbul on February 29: “We said months ago that if it goes on like this, we will have to open the doors. They did not believe us, but we opened the doors yesterday.”

The president said that some 18,000 refugees had “pressed on the gates and crossed” into Europe by February 29. He did not provide evidence of these numbers.

“We will not close these doors in the coming period and this will continue. Why? The European Union needs to keep its promises. We don’t have to take care of this many refugees, to feed them,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan added.

He also said that the EU had not given full financial aid agreed in the 2018 Turkey-EU refugee deal.

Greece announced that it had averted more than 4,000 attempts to cross into the country. There were further clashes between migrants and Greek police on February 29.

Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters: “The government will do whatever it takes to protect its borders.”

President Erdogan also said that he had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin – a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – to stand aside and let Turkey “do what is necessary” with the Syrian government by itself.

Turkey and Russia are backing opposing sides in the civil war. Turkey is opposed to the government of Bashar al-Assad and supports some rebel groups.

Egypt’s ousted President Hosni Mubarak has died in Cairo at the age of 91.

Hosni Mubarak spent three decades in office before being ousted by the military in 2011.

The former president was found guilty of complicity in the killing of protesters during the revolution. That conviction was overturned and was freed in March 2017.

Hosni Mubarak’s death was confirmed by Egyptian state news on February 25. Earlier in the day, the Al-Watan website reported that he died at a military hospital.

He underwent surgery in late January and was photographed with his grandson as he recovered.

On February 23, however, Hosni Mubarak’s son Alaa said that the former president remained in intensive care.

Born in 1928, Hosni Mubarak entered the air force as a teenager and went on to play a key role in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.

He became president less than a decade later, following the assassination of President Anwar Sadat, and played a key role in the Israel-Palestinian peace process.

However, despite the billions of dollars in military aid Egypt received during his time in office, unemployment, poverty and corruption continued to grow.

Discontent boiled over in January 2011, after similar protests in Tunisia led to the overthrow of the president there. Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down 18 days later.

Just over a year after Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow, Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist politician, won Egypt’s first democratic presidential election.

Mohamed Morsi lasted less than a year in office. Amid mass protests, he was ousted in a military coup led by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

General Sisi went on to win two presidential elections. Mohamed Morsi died in prison in 2019.

In 2012, Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life imprisonment over the deaths of some of the 900 protesters who were killed by security forces during the uprising a year earlier.

He and his two sons were also convicted of corruption.

However, the more serious charges against Hosni Mubarak were later overturned and he was released in 2017.

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Image source Wikimedia

A Saudi Tornado warplane fighting in Yemen has crashed in the northern province of al-Jawf.

According to Saudi Arabia’s state news agency SPA, a Saudi-led coalition spokesman confirmed that the fighter jet had “fallen” while carrying out a support mission near Yemeni army units.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed they shot down the plane.

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The coalition has been battling the rebel Houthi movement since 2015.

It intervened after the Houthis ousted the internationally-recognized government from power in the capital Sanaa.

The Houthi rebels said they used ground-to-air missiles to down the warplane on February 14. They also accused the coalition of killing 30 people in retaliatory airstrikes in al-Jawf on the next day.

Saudi Arabia has not provided details of any casualties from the crash, or what caused it.

Yemen has been at war since 2015, when President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and his cabinet were forced to flee the capital Sanaa by the Houthis.

Saudi Arabia backs President Hadi, and has led a coalition of regional countries in air strikes against the rebels.

The coalition carries out air strikes almost every day, while the Houthis often fire missiles into Saudi Arabia.

Yemen civil war has triggered the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, with an estimated 80% of the population – more than 24 million people – requiring humanitarian assistance or protection. Tens of thousands of people have died n Yemen as a result of the conflict.

Image source Wikimedia

President Donald Trump’s new Middle East peace plan has been dismissed by Palestinians as a “conspiracy”.

The peace plan envisages a Palestinian state and the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over West Bank settlements.

President Trump said Jerusalem would remain Israel’s “undivided” capital, but the Palestinian capital would “include areas of East Jerusalem”.

Reacting to January 28 announcement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Jerusalem was “not for sale”.

He added: “All our rights are not for sale and are not for bargain.”

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Thousands of Palestinian protesters held a “day of rage” in the Gaza Strip on January 28, while the Israeli military deployed reinforcements in the occupied West Bank.

The blueprint, which aims to solve one of the world’s longest-running conflicts, was drafted under the stewardship of Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Standing alongside Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Tuesday, President Trump said his proposals “could be the last opportunity” for Palestinians.

Reports said Benjamin Netanyahu was planning to press ahead with annexing 30% of the occupied West Bank, with a cabinet vote due on February 2.

Israel has settled about 400,000 Jews in West Bank settlements, with another 200,000 living in East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.

Speaking on Tuesday, President Mahmoud Abbas said it was “impossible for any Palestinian, Arab, Muslim or Christian child to accept” a Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital.

He said: “We say a thousand times, no, no, no.

“We rejected this deal from the start and our stance was correct.”

The militant Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, also rejected the deal which it said aimed “to liquidate the Palestinian national project”.

The UN said it remained committed to a two-state solution based on the boundaries in place before the 1967 war, when Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu described President Trump’s plan as the “deal of the century”.

Israel “will not miss this opportunity”, he said.

“May God bless us all with security, prosperity and peace!” the Israeli prime minister added.

Image source: Wikipedia

Iran has arrested the person who filmed the footage showing the Ukrainian passenger plane being shot down by a missile.

It is believed the person being detained will face charges related to national security.

Flight PS752 was brought down after it took off from Tehran on January 8, killing all 176 people on board.

Iran has said it was shot down unintentionally and announced the arrest of several people over the incident.

President Hassan Rouhani said his country’s investigation would be overseen by a “special court”.

He said in a speech: “This will not be a regular and usual case. The whole world will be watching this court.”

President Rouhani also stressed that the “tragic event” should not be blamed on one individual.

He said: “It’s not only the person who pulled the trigger, but also others who are responsible.”

Flight PS752: Iran Admits It “Unintentionally” Shot Down Ukraine Passenger Plane

Ukraine Plane Crashes in Iran Killing 176

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Iran initially denied that the passenger jet was hit by a missile, but later conceded that the aircraft was hit by its air defense systems.

When the video was shared on social media, it led analysts to say it showed the plane was hit by a missile.

Iranian media reported that the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards had taken a person who posted a video last week of the missile striking the plane into custody.

However, an Iranian journalist based in London who initially posted the footage has insisted that his source is safe, and that the Iranian authorities have arrested the wrong person.

On January 14, Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said that several people had been detained over the downing of the plane.

He added that about 30 people had been arrested for “taking part in illegal gatherings” – an apparent reference to recent anti-government protests.

Separately the New York Times said security camera footage showed two missiles were fired at the plane, more than 20 seconds apart.

The paper said this would explain why the plane’s transponder seemed to have stopped working before the missile strike – it had been disabled by the first missile.

Photo AFP

About 1,000 of protesters have taken to the streets in Iran’s capital, Tehran, to vent anger at officials, calling them liars for having denied shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane.

Protests took place outside at least two universities, with tear gas reportedly fired.

President Donald Trump tweeted support for the “inspiring” protests.

On January 11, Iran admitted downing the jet “unintentionally”, three days after the crash that killed 176 people.

Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752, en route to Kyiv, was shot down on January 8 near Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran shortly after take-off, and only hours after Iran had fired missiles at two air bases housing US forces in Iraq.

Those attacks were Iran’s response to the US killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad on January 3.

Dozens of Iranians and Canadians, as well as nationals from Ukraine, the UK, Afghanistan and Germany died on the plane.

According to local reports, students gathered outside at least two universities, Sharif and Amir Kabir, initially to pay respect to the victims. Protests turned angry in the evening.

Flight PS752: Iran Admits It “Unintentionally” Shot Down Ukraine Passenger Plane

Ukraine Plane Crashes in Iran Killing 176

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The semi-official Fars news agency carried a rare report of the unrest, saying up to 1,000 people had chanted slogans against leaders and tore up pictures of Qasem Soleimani.

The students called for those responsible for the downing the plane, and those they said had covered up the action, to be prosecuted.

Chants included “commander-in-chief resign”, referring to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and “death to liars”.

According to Fars, police had “dispersed” the protesters, who were blocking roads. Social media footage appeared to show tear gas being fired.

Social media users also vented anger at the government’s actions.

The protests were, however, far smaller than the mass demonstrations across Iran in support of Qasem Soleimani after he was killed.

President Trump tweeted in both English and Farsi, saying: “To the brave and suffering Iranian people: I have stood with you since the beginning of my presidency and my government will continue to stand with you.

“We are following your protests closely. Your courage is inspiring.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted video of the protests in Iran, saying: “The voice of the Iranian people is clear. They are fed up with the regime’s lies, corruption, ineptitude, and brutality of the IRGC [Revolutionary Guards] under Khamenei’s kleptocracy. We stand with the Iranian people who deserve a better future.”

For three days, Iran had denied reports its missiles had brought down the Ukraine jet, with one spokesman accusing Western nations of “lying and engaging in psychological warfare”.

However, on January 11, a statement read on state TV accepted the plane had been shot down.

Brig-Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace commander, explained what happened.

The general said a missile operator had acted independently and alone, mistaking the plane for a “cruise missile” as there had been reports that such missiles had been fired at Iran.

Image source: Wikipedia

In a statement read on state TV on January 11, Iran has admitted it “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet.

According to the statement, the flight PS752 had turned towards a “sensitive military center” of the Revolutionary Guards, the force set up to defend Iran’s Islamic system, and had a “flying posture and altitude of an enemy target”.

The plane was shot down on January 8, hours after Iran had struck two air bases housing US forces in Iraq.

Those missile strikes were Iran’s response to the US killing of senior Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani. He died in a drone strike in Baghdad on January 3.

Iran had initially denied reports its missiles had brought down the plane, with one spokesman accusing Western nations of “lying and engaging in psychological warfare”.

Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752, en route to Kyiv, came down near Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran shortly after take-off. Victims included dozens of Iranians and Canadians, as well as nationals from Ukraine, the UK, Afghanistan and Germany.

Ukraine Plane Crashes in Iran Killing 176

Iran Launches Ballistic Missile Attack on US Air Bases in Iraq

Brig-Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace commander, said a missile operator had acted independently and alone, mistaking the plane for a “cruise missile” as there had been reports that such missiles had been fired at Iran.

He said: “He had 10 seconds to decide. He could have decided to strike or not to strike and under such circumstances he took the wrong decision.

“He was obliged to make contact and get verification. But apparently, his communications system had some disruptions.”

General Hajizadeh said the military would upgrade its systems to prevent such “mistakes” in the future.

He said he had “wished he was dead” after being told of the missile strike.

The general also said a request had been made for a no-fly zone in the area before the incident but, for reasons that are unclear, this was rejected.

He said he had informed the authorities about what had happened on January 8, raising questions about why Iran had denied involvement for so long.

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky has demanded Iran “bring the guilty to the courts”, repatriate the remains of the victims, pay compensation, give total access to Ukrainian officials and issue an apology through diplomatic channels.

Meanwhile, Ayatollah Khamenei said there was “proof of human error” and that he had asked “relevant authorities to take necessary measures to prevent” such an incident happening again.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said: “Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake.”

The president vowed to prosecute those responsible.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif apologized to the families of the victims but laid part of the blame on the US. “Human error at a time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to [this] disaster,” he said.

Some video footage on social media has shown protests in central Tehran, with people calling for resignations and accusing officials of dishonesty.

Protests were reported at the Sharif and Amir Kabir universities.

Some demonstrators chanted for the resignation of the commander in chief – Ayatollah Khamenei.

The semi-official Fars news agency carried a rare report of the anti-government unrest, saying up to 1,000 people had gathered, chanting slogans against leaders and tearing up pictures of Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

A number of social media users asked why Iranian officials had not accepted responsibility earlier, appearing only to do so after international pressure.

In retaliation for the US killing of General Qasem Soleimani, Iran has carried out a ballistic missile attack on air bases housing US forces in Iraq.

More than a dozen missiles launched from Iran struck two air bases in Irbil and Al Asad, west of Baghdad.

At this moment, it is unclear if there have been any casualties.

The initial response from Washington has been muted.

President Donald Trump tweeted: “All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.”

Two Iraqi bases housing US and coalition troops were targeted, one at Al Asad and one in Irbil, at about 02:00 local time on January 8. It came just hours after the burial of Qasem Soleimani, who controlled Iran’s proxy forces across the Middle East.

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said the attack was “a slap in the face” for the US and called for an end to their presence in the Middle East.

Echoing him, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran’s “final answer” to Qasem Soleimani’s assassination would be to “kick all US forces out of the region”.

Iraq’s PM Adel Abdul Mahdi said Iran warned him that an attack was imminent and only areas with US troops would be targeted. There were no reports of Iraqi casualties, he said.

Just hours after the missile strikes a Ukrainian airliner crashed in Iran shortly after take-off. There is no evidence that the two incidents are linked.

Several airlines have announced they are avoiding both Iranian and Iraqi airspace amid the rising tension.

This is the most direct assault by Iran on the US since the seizing of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said the attack was in retaliation for the death of Qasem Soleimani on Friday – killed in a missile strike outside Baghdad airport on the orders of President Trump – and warned US allies that their bases could also be targeted.

Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami said his country’s response to any US retaliation would be proportional to the US action.

However, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the attack was self-defense and denied seeking to escalate the situation into war.

He tweeted: “Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.

We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”

At least 50 people have been killed and more than 200 injured in a stampede as Iranians gathered for the funeral procession of General Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad last week.

The deaths in the top military commander’s hometown of Kerman led to the burial ceremony being delayed.

Qasem Soleimani’s burial is the last in a series of funeral events that have brought millions on to the streets in Iran.

His killing has raised fears of a conflict between the US and Iran.

Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Quds force, was tasked with defending and projecting Iranian interests abroad, and was hailed as a hero by many in his home country. Immediately after his death, Iran threatened retaliation.

To the US, Qasem Soleimani was a terrorist, and in explaining why he ordered the strike, President Donald Trump said he was acting on an “imminent” threat.

The crush in Kerman happened at the start of a funeral procession that had drawn vast numbers of people on January 7, ahead of the planned burial.

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According to officials, quoted on Iran’s Isna news agency, the death toll at 50, with those injured numbering more than 200.

Video online showed people on the ground with their faces covered by clothing.

Iranian media later reported that the burial had resumed. Video footage showed the procession of Qasem Soleimani’s casket. People threw items of clothing which officials touched against the casket before returning them.

Top Iranian officials renewed their threats of revenge. “The martyr Qasem Soleimani is more powerful… now that he is dead,” the Revolutionary Guards’ top general, Maj. Gen, Hossein Salami, told crowds in Kerman.

The Guards were set up to defend Iran’s Islamic system and are a major political and military force. The Quds Force is its overseas operations arm.

According to local reports, mourners in Kerman chanted “death to America” and “death to Trump”.

Image source Wikipedia

President Donald Trump has threatened Iraq with severe sanctions after its parliament called on US troops to leave the country.

The president told reporters: “We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.”

Tensions are high after the US assassinated Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad last week.

Meanwhile, Iran has vowed “severe revenge”.

The 62-year-old general spearheaded Iranian military operations in the Middle East and was regarded as a terrorist by the US.

Qasem Soleimani’s remains have now returned to Iran, where mourners packed the streets of Tehran on January 6.

Esmail Qaani, the new head of Iran’s Quds force – which Qasem Soleimani led – has vowed to expel the US from the Middle East.

Iran’s state radio quoted Esmail Qaani as saying: “We promise to continue martyr Soleimani’s path with the same force… and the only compensation for us would be to remove America from the region.”

The air strike that killed Qasem Soleimani also claimed the life of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a top Iraqi military figure who commanded the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah group.

Speaking from the presidential plane, President Trump said that if Iraq asked US forces to depart on an unfriendly basis, “we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before, ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame”.

Some 5,000 US soldiers are in Iraq as part of the international coalition against the ISIS group.

On January 5, the coalition paused its operations against ISIS in Iraq, and Iraqi lawmakers passed a non-binding resolution calling for foreign troops to leave.

The resolution was pushed through by the parliament’s Shia Muslim bloc – which is close to Iran.

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Meanwhile, Iran has announced it will no longer abide by restrictions imposed by the 2015 nuclear deal, under which it agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.

President Trump abandoned the deal in 2018, saying he wanted to force Iran to negotiate a new deal that would place indefinite curbs on its nuclear program and also halt its development of ballistic missiles.

However, Iran refused and had since been gradually rolling back its commitments under the deal.

In a statement, Iran said it would no longer observe limitations on its capacity for enrichment, the level of enrichment, the stock of enriched material, or research and development.

European leaders, from Germany, France and the UK – which were all signatories to the 2015 deal, alongside China and Russia – responded with a joint statement urging Iran to refrain from “further violent action or proliferation”.

Thousands of Iranians have gathered in the city of Ahvaz, southwest of Iran, on January 5 to receive the remains of General Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US airstrike in Baghdad.

The mourners beat their chests and chanted “death to America”.

Qasem Soleimani was the architect of Iran’s sphere of influence across the Middle East and he was considered to be the country’s second most powerful man.

The assassination of the top military commander marked a significant escalation between Iran and the US.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who had a close personal relationship with Qasem Soleimani, warned of “severe revenge” for the attack.

President Donald Trump, who authorized the attack on Qasem Soleimani on January 3 – an option refused by both Presidents Bush and Obama as too risky – said in a tweet that the US was ready to strike 52 sites “important to Iran & the Iranian culture”.

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In a series of tweets likely to raise concerns about a path to war between the two countries, President Trump said the US would strike Iran “VERY FAST AND VERY HARD” if Iran targeted American bases or troops.

He said the 52 targets identified by the US represented 52 Americans who were held hostage in Iran for more than a year from late 1979 after they were taken from the US embassy in Tehran.

President Trump warned: “The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation!”

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded on Twitter, saying that the killing of Qasem Soleimani was a breach of international law and that any targeting of cultural sites would be constitute a war crime.

Thousands of black-clad mourners gathered early on Sunday morning in the streets in Ahvaz, where Qasem Soleimani’s body had arrived before dawn.

The Irib state news agency showed footage of Qasem Soleimani’s casket, wrapped in an Iranian flag, being unloaded from a plane as a military band played, before it was flown on to Ahvaz.

The channel showed crowds gathered in the city’s Mollavi Square, waving flags and holding aloft portraits of Qasem Soleimani, who is seen by many in Iran as a hero because of his role as a soldier in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s and his closeness to the supreme leader.

In the capital Tehran, members of parliament chanted “death to America” for a few minutes during a session of the house, the ISNA news agency reported.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Iran’s military commander Qasem Soleimani was killed by an air strike at Baghdad airport on January 3 ordered by President Donald Trump, the Pentagon has confirmed.

The 62-year-old general spearheaded Iran’s Middle East operations as head of the elite Quds Force.

President Trump said the US took its action to stop, not start, a war. However, the killing marks a major escalation in tensions.

According to US officials, 3,000 additional troops will be sent to the Middle East as a precaution.

Qasem Soleimani was widely seen as the second most powerful figure in Iran, behind Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Quds Force, an elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), reported directly to the ayatollah and Qasem Soleimani was hailed as a heroic national figure.

Under his 21-year leadership of the Quds Force, Iran bolstered Hezbollah and other pro-Iranian militant groups in Lebanon; expanded its military presence in Iraq and Syria; and orchestrated Syria’s offensive against rebel groups in that country’s long civil war.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US wanted to de-escalate the situation, but that the strike was “lawful” and “saved lives”.

Later he thanked Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Saudi Arabia’s “steadfast support” and “for recognizing aggressive threats posed by Iran’s Quds force”, the state department said.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Iranians have been holding rallies in Tehran and other cities, denouncing what they call US crimes.

Meanwhile, global oil price rose sharply in the wake of the attack.

Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei said “severe revenge awaits the criminals” behind the attack. Qasem Soleimani’s death would double “resistance” against the US and Israel, he added.

The ayatollah also announced three days of national mourning. He would lead prayers at a funeral ceremony for the general in Tehran on January 5, Iranian media quoted Qasem Soleimani’s family as saying.

Later, the Supreme National Security Council, Iran’s top security body, said the US would be held responsible for its “criminal adventurism”.

It said in a statement: “This was the biggest US strategic blunder in the West Asia region, and America will not easily escape its consequences.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called the attack an “act of international terrorism”.

Image source: Reuters

The US embassy compound in Baghdad has been attacked by protesters angered by recent deadly US air strikes targeting an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia.

US troops fired tear gas to disperse a crowd that breached the outer wall of the embassy, which is in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.

A guard post on the street nearby was also set alight.

President Donald Trump accused Iran of “orchestrating” the attack and said it would be “held fully responsible”.

At least 25 fighters died when the US bombed bases associated with the Kataib Hezbollah militia in western Iraq and eastern Syria on December 29.

The US said it was retaliating for a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk on December 20 that killed an American civilian contractor.

Iraq’s PM Adel Abdul Mahdi said on December 30 that the strikes had violated his country’s sovereignty and would force it to review its relations with the US.

Kataib Hezbollah’s commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, warned that the militia’s response “would be very tough on the American forces in Iraq”.

Iran described the attacks as a “clear example of terrorism”.

The protest took place on December 31 after funerals were held in Baghdad for the militia fighters who were killed in the US strikes.

Thousands of mourners – including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and several other senior militia and paramilitary leaders – marched towards the Green Zone, where many Iraqi government offices and foreign embassies are located.

They were allowed by Iraqi security forces to enter the zone and gather on a street outside the US embassy compound.

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Waving Kataib Hezbollah and other militia flags, and chanting anti-American slogans, the protesters threw stones at the compound’s main gate, pulled down security cameras, attacked empty guard posts, and started several fires.

The situation later escalated when the embassy’s wall was breached.

The Associated Press reported that a gate used by cars was smashed open and that dozens of people pushed about 16ft into a corridor leading to the main embassy building before being forced to retreat by tear gas fired by US troops.

Iraqi soldiers and riot police were reportedly later deployed in the area, and PM Adel Abdul Mahdi told the protesters to leave the compound immediately.

He added: “Any aggression or harassment of foreign embassies will be firmly prohibited by the security forces.”

The Popular Mobilization, a paramilitary force dominated by Iran-backed Shia militias, reported that 20 protesters were wounded by live rounds and tear-gas canisters.

According to Al-Sumaria website, Kataib Hezbollah meanwhile called for protest in front of the embassy until it was closed and the ambassador was expelled from Iraq.

President Trump tweeted: “Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!”

There was no immediate response from the Iranian government.

It was not clear whether civilian staff were inside the compound during the attack.

There were reports that the US ambassador, Matthew Tueller, had been evacuated.