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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.

A missile alert sparked panic among residents of Hawaii on January 13 before it was declared to be false.

Mobile phone users received a message saying: “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”

Hawaii Governor David Ige apologized to people, saying an employee had pressed the wrong button.

Meanwhile, the US government announced there would be a full investigation.

An alert system is in place because of the potential proximity of Hawaii to North Korean missiles.

Last month, Hawaii tested its nuclear warning siren for the first time since the end of the Cold War.

According to the Associated Press, a push alert was sent to people’s phones.

The phone message, all in capital letters, went out at 08:07 local time.

The message was corrected by email 18 minutes later but there was no follow-up mobile text for 38 minutes, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports.

Image source Flickr

Hawaii Activates Nuclear Attack Warning Siren for First Time since Cold War

In a tweet, Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency (EMA) said simply: “NO missile threat to Hawaii.”


TV and radio broadcasts across the state were also interrupted with a recorded emergency message: “Stay indoors!

“If you are outdoors seek immediate shelter in a building. Remain indoors well away from windows. If you are driving pull safely to the side of the road and seek shelter in a building while laying on the floor. We’ll announce when the threat has ended. This is not a drill!”

Matt Lopresti, a member of the Hawaiian House of Representatives, was at home when he received the emergency alert on his mobile phone.

He described how he and his family had sought shelter in a bath tub.

He told local broadcaster KGMB: “We got our children, grabbed our emergency supplies, put them in our most enclosed room in our house which is our bathroom.

“We put them in the bath tub, said our prayers, tried to find out what the Hell was going because we didn’t hear any alarms, any of the sirens.

“There’s not much else you can do in that situation. You know, we did what we could… and I am very angry right now because it shouldn’t be this easy to make such a big mistake.”

The US military confirmed no missile threat had been detected and the alert had been released in error.

Ajit Pai, chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission, announced an investigation.

He tweeted: “The @FCC is launching a full investigation into the false emergency alert that was sent to residents of Hawaii.”

North Korea’s missile and nuclear program is seen as a growing threat to America. Hawaii is one of the American states closest to North Korea.

In September, North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear test.

In December, the Star-Advertiser reported that a missile launched from North Korea could strike Hawaii within 20 minutes of launch.

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North Korea has accepted South Korea’s proposal to hold military talks to defuse border tension, after their first high-level meeting in two years.

It will also send a delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games taking place in South Korea in February.

According to the South Korean government, an agreement was also reached to reinstate a military hotline suspended two years ago.

However, the North Korean delegation was negative on the subject of denuclearization, South Korea added.

The US gave a cautious welcome to the meeting.

The state department said the United States remained in close consultations with South Korean officials who would ensure North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympics did not violate UN sanctions.

After a day of negotiations, both Koreas issued a joint statement which confirmed they had agreed to hold military talks on defusing military tension.

North Korea also agreed to send a National Olympic Committee delegation, athletes, cheerleaders, art performers, spectators, a taekwondo demonstration team and media to the games, while South Korea would provide the necessary amenities and facilities.

The statement also referred to exchanges in other, unspecified areas and other high-level talks to improve relations, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports.

Image source Wikipedia

North Korea Crisis: Kim Jong-un Offers Threats and Hopes in New Year Speech

UN Imposes New Sanctions on North Korea over Ballistic Missile Tests

South Korea asked North Korea to end any hostile acts that might raise tension, while the North agreed there was a need to guarantee a peaceful environment on the peninsula, a statement from the South’s government said.

The South also proposed that athletes from both Koreas march together at the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang as they did at the 2006 Winter Olympics. It also pushed for the reunion of family members separated by the Korean War – a highly emotional issue for both countries – to take place during the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls in the middle of the Games.

South Korea said it would consider temporarily lifting relevant sanctions, in co-ordination with the UN, to facilitate North Korea’s participation in the Olympics.

North Korea’s reaction to these proposals is not known.

In his opening remarks, the head of North Korea’s delegation, Ri Son-gwon, was fairly neutral. He said he hoped the talks would bring a “good gift” for the new year and that his country had a “serious and sincere stance”.

Talks were held in the Panmunjom “peace village” in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) at the border.

Five senior officials on each side attended and the leaders of both were said to have watched the talks via a CCTV feed.

In his New Year address, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had said he was considering sending a team to the Olympics. South Korea’s Olympics chief had said last year that North Korea’s athletes would be welcome.

Following Kim Jong-un’s overture, South Korea then proposed high-level talks to discuss North Korea’s participation, but the North only agreed to the talks after the US and the South agreed to delay their joint military exercises until after the Olympics. North Korea sees the annual drills as a rehearsal for war.

Some critics in the US see North Korea’s move as an attempt to divide the US-South Korea alliance.

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President Donald Trump has responded to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un saying his nuclear button is “much bigger” and “more powerful”.

In a tweet, the president warned: “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

President Trump’s tweet is the latest contribution to the bickering, increasingly personalized feud between the nuclear-armed leaders.

Earlier this week, Kim Jong-un threatened that his nuclear launch button was “always on my table”.

Photo AP

North Korea Crisis: Kim Jong-un Offers Threats and Hopes in New Year Speech

Donald Trump’s Tweet Calls Kim Jong-un Short and Fat

Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump’s unorthodox words sent social media into a frenzy.

It ended a quick-fire day of tweeting that included taking credit for a lack of airplane crashed, announcing awards for “corrupt media”, and threatening to pull aid from Palestinians who do not show “appreciation or respect”.

President Trump’s latest comment states the obvious: any US president has immediate access to the nuclear codes and the US has the world’s biggest nuclear arsenal.

Many people online have expressed alarm at the apparently light-hearted use of nuclear threats by world leaders.

However, Donald Trump’s supporters have defended him, saying his comments are both factually accurate and show American strength and resolve.

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump had a long-running spat with Marco Rubio over the size of his hands.

At the time, he insisted: “He referred to my hands – ‘if they are small, something else must be small’. I guarantee you there is no problem. I guarantee”.

This connection was not missed by social media users.

After three days of anti-government protests in Iran, demonstrators have been warned by the Revolutionary Guards that they will face the nation’s “iron fist” if political unrest continues.

The protests erupted over falling living standards.

However, a Revolutionary Guards commander said the protests had degenerated into people chanting political slogans and burning public property.

The recent protests are the biggest show of dissent since huge pro-reform rallies in 2009. There are reports of two deaths.

In the cities of Khoramabad, Zanjan and Ahvaz there were calls for the removal or death of Iran’s Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutions Guards Corp is a powerful force with ties to the country’s supreme leader, and is dedicated to preserving the country’s Islamic system.

Brigadier-General Esmail Kowsari told the ISNA news agency: “If people came into the streets over high prices, they should not have chanted those slogans and burned public property and cars.”

The interior minister has also warned the public that protesters will be held accountable.

Image source Wikimedia

Iran: Shootings at Parliament Building and Ayatollah Khomeini Shrine

Are We Safe? Key Facts About The Iran Nuclear Deal People Won’t Tell You

Protests began in the north-eastern city of Mashhad on December 28 and spread to other major cities on December 29.

A small demonstration in the capital Tehran grew to several thousand people on December 30, and students clashed with police. The protests also became violent in several other towns.

Iran is a key provider of military support to the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. It is also accused of providing arms to Houthi rebels fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, which it denies, and is an ally of Lebanon’s powerful Shia movement Hezbollah.

The Iranian authorities are blaming anti-revolutionaries and agents of foreign powers for the outbreak.

Also on December 30, thousands of pro-government demonstrators turned out for pre-arranged rallies to mark the eighth anniversary of the suppression of the 2009 street protests.

The US has led international support for the protesters.

President Donald Trump tweeted: “Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the Iranian people will face a choice. The world is watching!”

Iran’s foreign ministry called earlier comments from President Trump and other US officials “opportunistic and deceitful”.

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South Korea has seized a Hong Kong-registered ship last month suspected of supplying oil to North Korea in breach of international sanctions.

According to officials, the Lighthouse Winmore had secretly transferred 600 tonnes of refined oil to a North Korean ship.

A UN Security Council resolution bans ship-to-ship transfers of any goods destined for North Korea.

The revelations came as China denied claims by President Donald Trump it had allowed oil shipments to North Korea.

to The ship entered Yeosu port in South Korea on October 11 to load up with refined oil and left for Taiwan four days later, Yonhap news agency reported.

However, instead of going to Taiwan it transferred the oil to a North Korean ship and three other vessels in international waters on October 19, South Korean officials were quoted as saying.

This defies a UN Security Council resolution imposed on September 11.

Image source Flickr

UN Imposes New Sanctions on North Korea over Ballistic Missile Tests

North Korea Describes Latest UN Sanctions as “Act of War”

According to the New York Times, the transfer was captured in US satellite photo, released by the US Treasury in November, although the Lighthouse Winmore was not named by the Treasury.

According to South Korean officials, the Lighthouse Winmore was seized when it returned to Yeosu in November and remains in South Korea.

There is no evidence for this, as although the Lighthouse Winmore is Hong Kong-flagged, it was leased by a Taiwanese company, Billions Bunker Group Corp.

Taiwan’s Presidential Office said the company that chartered the ship was not incorporated in Taiwan, but did not say whether the firm’s owner or officials are Taiwanese.

The Chinese government said the accusations against it were “not consistent with the facts”.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said: “China has never allowed Chinese enterprises nor individuals to violate UN Security Council resolutions imposed on the DPRK.”

China handles about 90% of North Korea’s foreign trade.

There has been increasing suspicion in Washington that Chinese ships have been secretly transferring petroleum to North Korean vessels at sea.

China has continued to deny this, saying it fully enforces UN resolutions against North Korea.

On December 28, President Donald Trump tweeted he was “very disappointed” with China, which he said had been “caught red-handed”.

The tweet followed a report on the issue in South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo.

President Trump has previously threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it launches a nuclear attack. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has described President Trump as “mentally deranged”.

Nine people have been killed in Egypt during two attacks on Coptic Christians in Helwan district, south of Cairo, the interior ministry has said.

According to the interior ministry statement, 6 civilians and a policeman died when a gunman tried to storm a church but was intercepted and arrested.

It said the gunman had previously attacked a Coptic-owned shop in the same area, killing two brothers.

The interior ministry revised an earlier account given by the health ministry.

The initial report said 12 were dead, and suggested there were two attackers. It said one had been killed, and the other fled but was later captured.

More than 100 Christians have been killed in Egypt in 2017, with most attacks claimed by the local branch of ISIS.

Security forces have reinforced checkpoints in place around Cairo in response to the attacks.

Earlier this week, they announced plans to protect festivities around the New Year and, on January 7, Coptic Christmas. They include the deployment of rapid-reaction forces, combat troops and jamming equipment.

Image source Reuters

Egypt Church Attacks: President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi Declares Three-Month State of Emergency

Egypt bombs ISIS targets in Libya following killings of 21 Coptic Christians

According to the interior ministry statement, the first attack on December 29 took place at a household appliances shop. Then the attacker headed to the Saint Mina Coptic church, where he attempted “to trespass the church’s perimeter security”.

It said that seven people, including an auxiliary policeman, had been killed and four injured as the gunman opened fire at the church.

The attacker also had an explosive device, a machine gun and 150 rounds, it added.

The ministry suggested he was known to security services, saying he was “one of the most active terrorist elements and he carried out several terrorist attacks which resulted in the martyrdom of a number of policemen and civilians”.

However, the interior ministry account contradicts earlier ones from officials and witnesses, who spoke of a higher death toll and more than one attacker.

Video footage has also emerged appearing to show one gunman lying dead at the scene and another alleged attacker fleeing in a red car.

Egypt is a Muslim-majority country and its Christian minority – mostly members of the Coptic Orthodox Church – make up around 10% of the population.

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An explosion at a store in Sankt Petersburg, Russia, has injured at least ten people.

According to officials, one person was said to be in serious condition after the detonation of an improvised explosive device (IED).

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the explosion, at the Perekrestok supermarket chain on December 27, as a terrorist act.

No group has said it carried out the attack, which officials say produced a blast equivalent to 200g (7oz) of TNT.

Russia’s investigative committee said the home-made device was packed with lethal components.

Image source Wikipedia

St Petersburg Subway Explosion Kills 11

The explosion took place in an area of the supermarket that housed lockers for storing bags.

The property was quickly evacuated and there were no reports of a fire, but images circulating on social media in Russia showed extensive damage in an area of the store close to the tills.

President Putin commented on the explosion at a military awards ceremony on December 28. Officials had earlier suggested the attack was being treated as attempted murder.

Earlier this month, Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump spoke by phone after information provided by the CIA helped Russian security services foil an attack on St Petersburg’s Kazan cathedral.

At the time, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that a group had been planning attacks at a number of sites. Several people were reportedly detained.

In April, an explosion on the St Petersburg subway system killed at least 13 people and injured more than 50 others.

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The latest UN sanctions imposed on North Korea have been described by Pyongyang as an “act of war”.

A North Korea’s foreign ministry statement said the measures were tantamount to a total economic blockade, the official KCNA news agency reported.

The statement added that strengthening North Korea’s deterrence was the only way to frustrate the US.

On December 22, the UN Security Council imposed the new sanctions on North Korea in response to Pyongyang’s ballistic missile tests.

The US-drafted resolution – unanimously backed by all 15 Security Council members – includes measures to cut North Korea’s petrol imports by up to 90%.

North Korea is already subject to a raft of sanctions from the US, the UN and the EU.

Image source Wikimedia

UN Imposes New Sanctions on North Korea over Ballistic Missile Tests

Alleged North Korean Economic Agent Arrested in Australia

Characteristically bellicose, North Korea described the latest UN sanctions “as a violent breach of our republic’s sovereignty and an act of war that destroys the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and a wide region: “The United States, completely terrified at our accomplishment of the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, is getting more and more frenzied in the moves to impose the harshest-ever sanctions and pressure on our country.

“We will further consolidate our self-defensive nuclear deterrence aimed at fundamentally eradicating the US nuclear threats, blackmail and hostile moves by establishing the practical balance of force with the US.”

The US said it was seeking a diplomatic solution to the issue and drafted this new set of sanctions, including deliveries of petrol products will be capped at 500,000 barrels a year, and crude oil at four million barrels a year; all North Korean nationals working abroad will have to return home within 24 months under the proposals, restricting a vital source of foreign currency.

There will also be a ban on exports of North Korean goods, such as machinery and electrical equipment.

The UN sanctions came in response to North Korea’s November 28 firing of a ballistic missile, which the US said was its highest yet.

President Donald Trump has previously threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it launches a nuclear attack while North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has described the American president as “mentally deranged”.

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The UN Security Council has imposed tough new sanctions on North Korea in response to ballistic missile tests.

President Donald Trump praised the decision in a tweet: “The United Nations Security Council just voted 15-0 in favor of additional Sanctions on North Korea. The World wants Peace, not Death!”

The US-drafted resolution includes measures to cut North Korea’s petrol imports by up to 90%.

China and Russia, North Korea’s main trading partners, voted in favor of the resolution.

North Korea is already subject to a raft of sanctions from the US, the UN and the EU.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said the sanctions sent an “unambiguous message to Pyongyang that further defiance will invite further punishments and isolation”.

She described North Korea as “the most tragic example of evil in the modern world”.

Photo AP

US Urges World to Cut Diplomatic and Trade Ties with North Korea

US Declares North Korea A State Sponsor of Terrorism

The Chinese foreign ministry described the situation on the peninsula as “complex and sensitive” and called on all sides to “exercise restraint and make active efforts to ease tensions”.

The US said it was seeking a diplomatic solution to the issue and drafted this new set of sanctions, including: deliveries of petrol products will be capped at 500,000 barrels a year, and crude oil at four million barrels a year; all North Korean nationals working abroad will have to return home within 24 months under the proposals, restricting a vital source of foreign currency. There will also be a ban on exports of North Korean goods, such as machinery and electrical equipment.

Tensions have risen this year over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, which it has pursued despite pressure from world powers.

The UN sanctions came in response to North Korea’s November 28 firing of a ballistic missile, which the US said was its highest yet.

President Trump has previously threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if it launches a nuclear attack. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has described President Trump as “mentally deranged”.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has announced he will not accept any US plan for peace with Israel, after it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

President Abbas’ comments came after a UN General Assembly vote effectively repudiated President Donald Trump’s controversial declaration.

The US has for the past few months been drafting a new peace plan, though it has not divulged any details.

Meanwhile, two Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli troops amid fresh protests over Jerusalem’s status.

The men, both in their 20s, were shot dead in the east of the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Israel said it was investigating.

There have been violent confrontations on the border between Israel and Gaza, as well as across the occupied West Bank, for the past three Fridays.

Palestinians clashed with troops in places including Bethlehem as the city, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, prepared for Christmas.

Image source Wikimedia

Jerusalem Issue: UN Resolution Rejects Donald Trump’s Declaration

Jerusalem Issue: Donald Trump Threatens to Cut Financial Aid to UN Resolution Supporters

Mahmoud Abbas reiterated that he no longer accepted the US as a mediator in the peace process with Israel. He also rebuffed a new US framework for peace being developed by President Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jared Kushner, before it has been launched.

The Palestinian leader told a news conference in Paris: “The United States has proven to be a dishonest mediator in the peace process and we will no longer accept any plan from the United States.”

While the details of the US plan are not known, it has been devised for months and there has been an expectation it will be publicly launched in early 2018.

The last round of US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed amid acrimony in April 2014.

Mahmoud Abbas has been emboldened by the outcome of the vote at the UN, which rejected any changes to the status of Jerusalem.

Yesterday’s vote came three days after the US used its power of veto to block a similar resolution at the world body’s smaller, but more powerful, Security Council.

The US had warned countries not to support the latest resolution, threatening to cut off financial aid anyone who backed it.

However, the UN resolution still passed with a decisive majority, as most nations, including the US’ allies, voted in its favor.

At least 15 people have been injured, with several in a critical condition, after a car drove into a crowd in Melbourne, Australia.

The car “collided with a number of pedestrians” on Flinders Street, a busy junction in the center of the city, said Victoria Police.

Police have arrested two people and said it was a deliberate act but is too early to say whether it was terrorist-related.

“The motivations are unknown,” police commander Russell Barrett said.

The white SUV struck pedestrians just after 16:30 local time.

Victoria Ambulance said in a statement that a child of pre-school age with serious head injuries was among those taken to hospital.

Image source Wikimedia

Jerusalem car attack kills at least one person

Times Square Attack: One Dead and 22 Injured after Speeding Car Drove into Pedestrians

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that the investigations had begun, and sent “thoughts and prayers” to those affected.

He tweeted: “As our federal & state police & security agencies work together to secure the scene and investigate this shocking incident our thoughts & prayers are with the victims & the emergency & health workers who are treating them.”

In January, six people died when a man drove a car into pedestrians on Bourke Street.

Afterwards, Melbourne authorities installed concrete blocks in various locations – including on Flinders Street – hoping to prevent vehicle-based attacks.

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Australian authorities have arrested a man for allegedly acting as an economic agent for North Korea.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) said that Chan Han Choi, 59, has been charged with brokering illegal exports from the country and discussing the supply of weapons of mass destruction.

Police allege Chan Han Choi has broken both UN and Australian sanctions.

The case against Chan Han Choi, who has lived in Australia for more than 30 years, is the first of its kind in the country.

It is the first time anyone has been charged under Australia’s 1995 Weapons of Mass Destruction (Prevention of Proliferation) Act.

Police say there was evidence that Chan Han Choi had been in contact with “high ranking officials in North Korea”.

They allege he had brokered services related to North Korea’s weapons program, including the sale of specialist services including ballistic missile technology to foreign entities, in order to generate income for the North Korean regime.

Image source Public Domain Pictures

Charles Jenkins: US Army Sergeant Who Defected to North Korea Dies in Japan Aged 77

US Urges World to Cut Diplomatic and Trade Ties with North Korea

Chan Han Choi also was charged with brokering the sale of coal from North Korea to groups in Indonesia and Vietnam. He is facing six charges in total after being arrested at his Sydney home on December 16.

In a news conference, police confirmed the man was a naturalized Australian citizen of Korean origin who had been in the country for over 30 years.

They described him as a “loyal agent” who “believed he was acting to serve some higher patriotic purpose”.

However, police insisted Chan Han Choi’s actions did not pose any “direct risk” to Australians, with the actions occurring offshore.

“I know these charges sound alarming. Let me be clear we are not suggesting there are any weapons or missile component that ever came to Australian soil,” AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said.

“Any individual who attempts to fly in the face of sanctions cannot and will not go unnoticed in Australia.”

Chan Han Choi could face up to 10 years in prison and has been denied bail.

In October the Australian government said they had received a letter from North Korea urging Canberra to distance itself from the Trump administration.

North Korea had previously warned that Australia would “not be able to avoid a disaster” if it followed US policies towards Kim Jong-un’s regime.

Israel has targeted Hamas sites in Gaza in retaliation for rocket strikes.

According to Israel’s military, it hit weapons sites on December 9. Two people were killed, a Gaza hospital said, bringing the deaths in Israeli strikes and gunfire over the past day to four.

On December 8, three rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza.

Israeli-Palestinian tensions have risen since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The December 6 decision reversed decades of US neutrality on the matter.

Israel has always regarded the city of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel in the 1967 war – as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Image source Flickr

Donald Trump’s Jerusalem Announcement Sparks Outrage in Arab World

President Donald Trump to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Israel Settlements: Jerusalem Housing and Planning Committee Postpones Vote on Jewish Homes

Israel’s air force followed a number of raids on Hamas sites on December 8 with more air strikes on December 9, targeting weapons manufacturing sites, a weapons warehouse and a military compound, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Gaza’s Shifa hospital said that two bodies of Palestinians were found under the rubble of a Hamas military site bombed by Israeli planes overnight, bringing the death toll in the past 24 hours to four, with 160 injuries. The two other fatalities came when Israeli troops fired on crowds in Gaza during clashes on December 8.

Of the three rockets fired at Israel, its military said it had intercepted one with its Iron Dome defense system, one was found on wasteland and another landed in Sderot on December 8. No casualties were reported.

On December 8, Fathi Hammad, a senior Hamas leader, said anyone seeking to move their embassy to Jerusalem was “an enemy of the Palestinians”.

Speaking before the UN on December 8, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the United States “recognizes the obvious; that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel”.

Nikki Haley said the US continued to be “committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement”, and accused the UN of bias, saying it “has outrageously been one of the world’s foremost centers of hostility towards Israel”.

Israel had deployed extra battalions to the West Bank in anticipation of violence after Palestinian leaders called for protests after Friday prayers.

At least 217 Palestinians were wounded in confrontations in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Palestinian medics said.

On December 8, there were protests held elsewhere against President Trump’s announcement.

Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters held demonstrations in Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Tunisia and Iran.

Further afield, protesters rallied in Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indian-administered Kashmir and Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

At least sixteen Palestinians have been injured in clashes in the occupied West Bank, during protests against President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

According to local reports, the injuries are mostly from tear gas and rubber bullets, but at least one was hurt by live fire.

Israel has deployed hundreds of extra troops in the West Bank.

Donald Trump’s announcement – met with worldwide dismay – reversed decades of US policy on the sensitive issue.

Palestinians in the both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have gone on strike and taken to the streets in protest.

Many of the United States’ closest allies have said they disagree with the move, and both the UN Security Council and the Arab League will meet in the coming days to decide their response.

There are fears the announcement could lead to a renewed outbreak of violence. The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has already called for a new intifada, or uprising.

On December 6, President Trump said that he had “determined it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel”.

He said: “I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”

The president said he was directing the state department to begin preparations to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Image source Flickr

Donald Trump’s Jerusalem Announcement Sparks Outrage in Arab World

President Donald Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Despite warnings of regional unrest over any such move, the decision fulfills a campaign promise and appeals to Donald Trump’s right-wing base.

Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was “nothing more or less than a recognition of reality”, he added.

“It is also the right thing to do.”

President Trump said the US would support a two-state solution – shorthand for a final settlement that would see the creation of an independent Palestinian state within pre-1967 ceasefire lines in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, living peacefully alongside Israel – “if agreed to by both sides”.

He also refrained from using Israel’s description of Jerusalem as its “eternal and undivided capital”. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of any future Palestinian state.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was profoundly grateful to President Trump, who had “bound himself forever with the history of the capital”.

The prime minister also said Israel was “in touch with other countries to follow suit. I have no doubt other embassies will move to Jerusalem – the time has come”. He did not name any of these countries, although the Philippines and the Czech Republic have been mentioned in Israeli media.

The mood has been very different on the Palestinian side.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has called for a “day of rage” on December 8 and said it should “be the first day of the intifada against the occupier”.

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President Donald Trump will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, senior White House officials have said.

The president is due to announce the controversial decision in a speech later.

Donald Trump is also expected to approve moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but not for several years.

Israel welcomes the changes but the Palestinians and Arab leaders have warned they will jeopardize any Middle East peace process.

Pope Francis called for the “status quo” to be respected. Dialogue would only come through “recognizing the rights of all people” in the region, he said.

Saudi Arabia, an ally of the US, called the new policy “a flagrant provocation to Muslims”.

Israel has always regarded Jerusalem as its capital city, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

In recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the US becomes the first country to do so since the foundation of Israel in 1948.

The issue goes to the heart of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, who are backed by the Arab and wider Islamic world.

Jerusalem is home to key religious sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, especially in East Jerusalem.

Israel annexed the sector from Jordan after the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital.

According to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of talks.

Image source Wikimedia

Jordan Warns US over Jerusalem’s Recognition as Israel’s Capital

Israel Settlements: Jerusalem Housing and Planning Committee Postpones Vote on Jewish Homes

Israel-Jordan Deal on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif Holy Site

Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognized internationally and all countries maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv.

Since 1967, Israel has built a dozen settlements, home to about 200,000 Jews, in East Jerusalem. These are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

In recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the US could reinforce Israel’s position that settlements in the east are valid Israeli communities.

Trump administration officials said recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was seen as “a recognition of reality” by the US government.

However, specific boundaries of Jerusalem would remain subject to a final status agreement, the official said. The status of holy sites would not be affected.

President Trump would also direct the state department to begin the process of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem – but this could take several years as it still has to be designed and built and security concerns would need to be addressed.

Donald Trump originally promised the move to pro-Israel voters during his campaign for the presidency.

The White House officials added that the president would still sign a regular waiver blocking the embassy’s move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem until the new building was completed.

Successive presidents have signed waivers to get round the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which mandates moving the embassy. They have done this so that the US can be seen as neutral in Middle East peace negotiations.

Donald Trump has vowed to pursue a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, led by his son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner.

An administration official said the new US policy on Jerusalem was not designed to favor Israel in that process.

Ahead of his formal announcement, President Trump phoned several regional leaders to inform them of the embassy move.

Reacting to news of President Trump’s impending announcement, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman told him the relocation of the embassy or recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “would constitute a flagrant provocation of Muslims, all over the world”.

Meanwhile, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya called for protests on December 8 and Jordan’s King Abdullah said the decision would “undermine efforts to resume the peace process”.

Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi urged President Trump “not to complicate the situation in the region” while Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country could sever ties with Israel.

China also warned of an escalation in tensions in the Middle East.

France, the EU and the Arab League have also expressed concern.

US government employees and their families have been barred from personal travel in Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank for security reasons ahead of expected protests.

Israel’s intelligence minister Israel Katz told Army Radio that Israel was “preparing for every option”, including an outbreak of violence.

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The crew of a Cathay Pacific flight from San Franscisco to Hong Kong flying over Japan reported a suspected sighting of last week’s North Korean missile test.

On November 29, North Korea launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile it said could reach anywhere in the US.

The test-launch raised tension further with South Korea and the US, who on December 4 began their largest ever joint air exercise, which North Korea has branded an “all-out provocation”.

Described by North Korea as its “most powerful” missile, the November 29 launch ended up in Japanese waters but flew higher than any other the North had previously tested.

According to the South China Morning Post, Cathay Pacific’s general manager of operations Mark Hoey told staff in a message that “today the crew of CX893 reported, <<Be advised, we witnessed the DPRK missile blow up and fall apart near our current location>>”.

The launch was reportedly also witnessed by two South Korean aircraft en route to Seoul from the US.

Image source Wikimedia

North Korea Fires New Ballistic Missile

Hawaii Activates Nuclear Attack Warning Siren for First Time since Cold War

Unlike other countries, North Korea usually does not announce its missile tests which means they come without warning or known flight path, posing a potential risk to planes.

North Korea does have access to international civil aviation data so it can study the airspace before any launch.

While the risk of an incident remains very low, it is something that airlines are taking into consideration. In early August, Air France expanded their no-fly zone around North Korea after it transpired one of its planes flew close to a North Korean missile path.

The December 4 air exercise between the US and South Korea, called Vigilant Ace, will last for five days.

It will involve some 230 aircraft, including two dozen stealth jets, and tens of thousands of military personnel.

North Korea has condemned the drills, saying over the weekend that the US was “begging for nuclear war” and that it would “seriously consider” counter-measures to the exercises.

The Arab world is reacting to an expected announcement by President Donald Trump that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

According to recent reports, President Trump will make the statement this week but will further delay acting on a campaign pledge to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

The head of the Arab League, Jordan and the Palestinian president have warned of the consequences of a declaration.

Jerusalem’s fate is one of the thorniest issues between Israel and the Arabs.

A deadline for President Trump to sign a waiver delaying the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem expires on December 4.

Every president, including Donald Trump, has signed the waiver every six months since US Congress passed an act in 1995 calling for the embassy to be moved.

Donald Trump repeatedly pledged during his election campaign to move the embassy, and while he has said it was still his intention, he has not yet done so.

There are signs however the president will make a statement on December 6 announcing Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel while holding off moving the embassy.

Image source Wikimedia

Israel Settlements: Jerusalem Housing and Planning Committee Postpones Vote on Jewish Homes

Israel-Jordan Deal on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif Holy Site

Israel Sets up Checkpoints in East Jerusalem’s Arab Areas

The status of the city goes to the heart of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, who are backed by the rest of the Arab and wider Islamic world.

Jerusalem is home to key religious sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, especially in East Jerusalem.

Israel occupied the area in the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital. The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, and according to 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords its final status is meant to discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognized internationally, and all countries, including Israel’s closest ally the US, maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv, the country’s commercial capital.

Since 1967, Israel has built a dozen settlements, home to about 200,000 Jews, in East Jerusalem. These are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

If the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it will put it out-of-step with the rest of the international community and reinforce Israel’s position that settlements in the east are valid Israeli communities.

The move would also raise a question over how the US will treat resolutions dealing with East Jerusalem at the UN. The US has a power of veto and could use this to block future motions critical of Israeli policy in the east.

There is growing anger towards Washington among its allies in the Middle East.

Jordan, the custodian of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem, has warned of “grave consequences” if President Trump goes ahead, and has called for an emergency meeting of key regional and Islamic blocs the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to discuss the issue.

Arab League chief Abul Gheit warned such a move would “nourish fanaticism and violence”.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has contacted world leaders urging them to intervene, saying “such a US decision would destroy the peace process and drag the region into further instability”.

The US has brokered decades of on-off peace talks, and the Trump administration is formulating fresh peace proposals – but recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would compromise Washington’s neutrality in the eyes of the Palestinians.

It remains unclear though whether President Trump will recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.

The White House has neither confirmed nor denied the president’s intention, and in a rare public speech on December 3 his son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner refused to be drawn on the issue.

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Hawaii has tested a nuclear attack warning siren for the first time since the end of the Cold War.

The resumption of the monthly tests comes amid a growing threat from North Korea’s missile and nuclear program.

North Korea has tested a series of ballistic missiles and in September carried out its sixth nuclear test.

Hawaii already has a monthly test of sirens warning of natural disasters, including tsunamis.

The nuclear attack signal uses a different, wavering tone, warning residents and tourists to stay indoors and await further instructions.

The last time a nuclear attack warning siren was tested in the state was in the 1980s in the final years of the Cold War.

Image source Flickr

North Korea Fires New Ballistic Missile

However, it sounded again on December 1 and will be repeated on the first business day of every month.

Vern Miyagi, the head of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, said it was “critically important” for the public to understand what the different tones mean, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

A missile launched from North Korea could strike Hawaii within 20 minutes of launch, the publication added.

Hawaii hosts the US military headquarters for the Asia-Pacific region.

Pyongyang recently tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile which it claims can hit anywhere on the mainland United States.

Experts say the Hwasong-15 appears capable of transporting a nuclear warhead, although it is unclear if North Korea is yet capable of making a weapon small enough to be fitted on to a missile.

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The US has urged the world to cut diplomatic and trade ties with North Korea following its latest ballistic missile test.

Speaking at the UN Security Council, US envoy Nikki Haley said President Donald Trump had asked his Chinese counterpart to cut off oil supplies to Pyongyang.

Nikki Haley said the US did not seek conflict but that North Korea’s regime would be “utterly destroyed” if war broke out.

The warning came after North Korea tested its first missile in two months.

North Korea said the missile fired on November 29, which it said reached an altitude of about 2,780 miles – more than 10 times the height of the International Space Station – carried a warhead capable of re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

The claim was not proven and experts have cast doubt on North Korea’s ability to master such technology.

Image source Wikimedia

North Korea Fires New Ballistic Missile

US Declares North Korea A State Sponsor of Terrorism

However, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called the launch “impeccable” and a “breakthrough”.

The test – one of several this year – has been condemned by the international community and the UN Security Council called an emergency meeting.

Nikki Haley warned that “continued acts of aggression” were only serving to further destabilize the region.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said sanctions were exhausted.

He told reporters: “The Americans should explain to all of us what they are trying to do – if they want to find a pretext for destroying North Korea they should come clean about it, and the American leadership should confirm it.”

Earlier the Russian UN ambassador said North Korea should stop its missile and nuclear tests but also called on Washington to cancel military exercises with South Korea planned for December as it would “inflame an already explosive situation”.

China also suggested North Korea should stop the tests in return for a halt to US military exercises – a proposal Washington has rejected in the past.

Nikki Haley said on November 29: “We need China to do more.

“President Trump called President Xi this morning and told him that we’ve come to the point where China must cut off the oil for North Korea.

“We know the main driver of its nuclear production is oil,” she said. “The major supplier of that oil is China.”

China is a historic ally and North Korea’s most important trading partner and Pyongyang is thought to be dependent on China for much of its oil supplies.

Also in the day, the White House said that President Trump spoke to his counterpart, Xi Jinping, by phone, urging him to “use all available levers to convince North Korea to end its provocations and return to the path of denuclearization”.

Donald Trump tweeted: “Just spoke to President XI JINPING of China concerning the provocative actions of North Korea. Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!”

Speaking in Missouri, President Trump derided Kim Jong-un, describing him as a “sick puppy” and “little rocket man”.

Xi Jinping responded by telling Donald Trump it was Beijing’s “unswerving goal to maintain peace and stability in north-east Asia and denuclearize the Korean peninsula”, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

Experts say the height reached by the inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) indicates the US could be within range, although North Korea is yet to prove it has reached its aim of miniaturizing a nuclear warhead.

North Korea has launched a new ballistic missile, the latest in a series of launches that have raised tensions with its neighbors and the US.

According to the Pentagon, it was an intercontinental ballistic missile that flew for about 620 miles and fell into the Sea of Japan.

South Korean news agency Yonhap said that the missile was launched from Pyongsong, South Pyongan province.

Pyongyang’s last ballistic missile test was in September.

That came days after North Korea had conducted its sixth – and largest – nuclear test.

The US said the latest launch happened at about 03:30 local time.

Japan’s government said the missile travelled for about 50 minutes but did not fly over Japan, as some have done in the past.

US Declares North Korea A State Sponsor of Terrorism

President Donald Trump Urges North Korea to Discuss Giving Up Nuclear Weapons

President Donald Trump Urges North Korea to Discuss Giving Up Nuclear Weapons

President Donald Trump was briefed while the missile was still in the air, the White House has said. Afterwards the president said: “We will take care of it.”

South Korea’s military said it had responded to the launch with a missile exercise of its own.

North Korea is thought to be focusing efforts on building long-range missiles with the potential of reaching the mainland continental US.

North Korean officials said the first of the longer-range missiles it tested in July could hit “any part of the world”, but the US military called it an intermediate-range missile instead.

Its last nuclear test reportedly involved a miniaturized hydrogen bomb that could be loaded on to a long-range missile, raising tensions with the US even further.

Last week, President Donald Trump announced that the US was re-designating North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism because of its missile and nuclear program.

The US later imposed fresh sanctions against North Korea. The measures targeted North Korean shipping operations and Chinese companies that traded with Pyongyang.

At least 235 people have been killed after militants launched a bomb and gun attack on a mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai province, state media say.

The al-Rawda mosque in the town of Bir al-Abed was targeted during Friday prayers.

The attack is the deadliest of its kind since an Islamist insurgency in the peninsula was stepped up in 2013.

Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi vowed to respond with “brute force” after talks with security officials.

No group has yet claimed the attack, but militants affiliated with ISIS have been responsible for scores of deadly attacks in the province.

ISIS militants usually target security forces and Christian churches, and the bloody attack on a mosque associated with Sufi Muslims has shocked Egypt.

According to witnesses, dozens of gunmen arrived in off-road vehicles and bombed the packed mosque before opening fire on worshippers as they tried to flee.

The assailants are reported to have set parked vehicles on fire in the vicinity to block off access to the mosque.

Pictures from the scene show rows of bloodied victims inside the mosque. At least 100 people were wounded, reports say, overwhelming hospitals.

Image source Twitter

Sinai Plane Crash: Terrorist Act Downed Russian A321 Airliner in Egypt

Egypt: At least 10 soldiers killed in Sinai car bomb attack

Egypt fires missiles on suspected Islamist militants in Sinai peninsula

Bir al-Abed is about 130 miles from Cairo.

Locals are quoted as saying that followers of Sufism, a mystical branch of Sunni Islam, regularly gathered at the mosque.

Although Sufis are widely accepted across much of the Muslim world, some jihadist groups, including IS, see them as heretics.

The head of ISIS’ religious police in Sinai said last December that Sufis who did not “repent” would be killed, after the group beheaded two elderly men reported to be Sufi clerics.

The victim of the mosque attack also included military conscripts.

Militant Islamists have been waging an insurgency on the Sinai Peninsula in recent years, stepping up attacks after Egypt’s military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi after mass anti-government protests in July 2013.

Hundreds of police, soldiers and civilians have been killed since then, mostly in attacks carried out by Sinai Province group, which is affiliated to ISIS.

Sinai Province is thought to want to take control of the Sinai Peninsula in order to turn it into an Islamist province run by ISIS.

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President Donald Trump has announced that the US is re-designating North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, nine years after it was removed from the list.

In a cabinet meeting, President Trump said the move would trigger “very large” additional sanctions to be announced on November 21.

However, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later admitted that “the practical effects may be limited”.

President Trump blamed North Korea’s nuclear program, and support for what he called international acts of terrorism.

While announcing the decision at the White House, President Trump said it “should have happened a long time ago”.

In September, the US proposed a range of UN sanctions against North Korea, including an oil ban and a freeze on leader Kim Jong-un’s assets.

It followed North Korea’s sixth nuclear test and repeated missile launches.

North Korea joins Iran, Sudan and Syria on a list of countries that are deemed to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.

Photo AP

President Donald Trump Urges North Korea to Discuss Giving Up Nuclear Weapons

North Korea Crisis: US Flies Bombers over Korean Peninsula

US Denies War Declaration Against North Korea

It has been on the list before but was removed in 2008 by the administration of George W. Bush as part of negotiations on its nuclear program.

The campaign to reinstate it intensified after the American student Otto Warmbier died shortly after he was released from North Korean custody.

Speaking to reporters at a White House press briefing, Rex Tillerson said the designation was meant to hold North Korea accountable for recent actions it has taken “including assassinations outside of their country” and “using banned chemical weapons”.

The secretary of state admitted that given existing sanctions it was “very symbolic” but also said new measures could “disrupt and dissuade some third parties from undertaking certain activities with North Korea”.

“The practical effects may be limited but hopefully we’re closing off a few loopholes with this,” he said.

Kim Jong-un continues to pursue nuclear weapons and missile programs in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions.

The North Korean leader has made no secret of Pyongyang’s plans to develop a missile capable of reaching the US mainland and has claimed to have developed a hydrogen bomb.

Last month, Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the threat of nuclear attack from North Korea was increasing.

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Air Force Gen. John Hyten, the top nuclear commander in the US, says he would resist any “illegal” presidential order to launch a strike.

He said as head of the US Strategic Command he provided advice to a president and expected that a legal alternative would be found.

Gen. John Hyten’s comments come just days after senators discussed a president’s authority to launch a nuclear attack.

Some of them expressed concern that President Donald Trump might irresponsibly order such a strike.

Others though said a president must have the authority to act without meddling from lawyers. It was the first such hearing in more than 40 years.

Three months ago, President Trump vowed to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on North Korea if it threatened the US.

Image source Wikimedia

Gen Joseph Dunford: North Korea War Would Be Horrific

Donald Trump: “US Military Is Locked and Loaded to Deal with North Korea”

Last month, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Republican chairman, Senator Bob Corker, accused President Trump of setting the US “on a path to World War Three”.

Speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, Gen. John Hyten said: “We think about these things a lot. When you have this responsibility, how do you not think about it?”

As for the legality of a strike, Gen. Hyten said that he had studied US laws of armed conflict for many years which stipulates key criteria the president must consider:

  • Necessity
  • Distinction
  • Proportionality
  • Unnecessary suffering

While Senators and expert witnesses agree the US president has full authority to defend the nation, commentators have pointed out that because there is no all-encompassing definition of “imminent attack”, the president is not given an entirely free hand.

Gen. John Hyten also said: “I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do.

“And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I’m going to say: <<Mr. President, that’s illegal>>. And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, <<What would be legal?>> And we’ll come up with options, of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works.”

He added: “If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life.”

President Trump has not publicly commented on Gen. John Hyten’s remarks.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has been placed under house arrest in the capital Harare, South African President Jacob Zuma says.

Robert Mugabe told Jacob Zuma in a phone call that he was fine, the South African leader’s office said.

Troops are patrolling the capital after they seized state TV and said they were targeting “criminals”.

The move may be a bid to replace Robert Mugabe with his fired deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Emmerson Mnangagwa’s dismissal last week left Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace as the president’s likely successor.

Robert Mugabe, 93, has dominated Zimbabwe’s political scene since it gained independence from the UK in 1980.

Image source U.S. Navy

Zimbabwe Coup: President Robert Mugabe Detained as Army Takes Control of Country

Zimbabwe: Thousands Join Anti-Mugabe Protest in Harare

Robert Mugabe sacks Zimbabwe’s VP Joice Mujuru over murder plot

After days of tension and rumor, the army seized the state broadcaster ZBC on November 14.

A Zimbabwean army officer, Major General Sibusiso Moyo, went on air and denied there was a coup, but said the military was targeting “criminals” around President Robert Mugabe.

Maj. Gen. Sibusiso Moyo also said Robert Mugabe and his family were “safe and sound and their security is guaranteed”. It is not clear who is leading the military action.

Since then military vehicles have been out on the streets of Harare, while gunfire has been heard from northern suburbs where Robert Mugabe and a number of government officials live.

In a statement, Jacob Zuma’s office said: “President Zuma spoke to President Robert Mugabe earlier today who indicated that he was confined to his home but said that he was fine.”

At heart is a power struggle over who succeeds Robert Mugabe. The rivalry between Grace Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa has split the governing Zanu-PF.

Following a call from Grace Mugabe, Emmerson Mnangagwa was removed from the vice-presidency earlier this month.

Zimbabwe’s army has seized control in the African country but has said President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, is safe.

After seizing state TV, a military spokesman announced it was targeting people close to Robert Mugabe who had caused “social and economic suffering”.

The move came after Robert Mugabe fired his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, in favor of his wife, Grace.

On November 15, heavy gun and artillery fire could be heard in northern parts of the capital Harare.

A statement read out by a general on air denied it was a coup. There was no immediate word from the president himself.

Messages appeared on an unverified Twitter account associated with the ruling Zanu-PF party saying Robert Mugabe had been detained.

Robert Mugabe, 93, has dominated Zimbabwe’s political scene since independence from the UK.

South African President Jacob Zuma said he hoped events in Zimbabwe would not lead to “unconstitutional changes of government”.

The US embassy in Harare advised US citizens in Zimbabwe to “shelter in place” until further notice.

China, Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner, says it is closely watching the situation and hopes that the relevant parties can properly handle their internal affairs.

Image source U.S. Navy

Zimbabwe: Thousands Join Anti-Mugabe Protest in Harare

Robert Mugabe’s Deputy Submits Correct Speech to Zimbabwe Parliament

Robert Mugabe sacks Zimbabwe’s VP Joice Mujuru over murder plot

Troops in armored vehicles have been out in the streets of the capital Harare since November 14.

After soldiers overran the headquarters of the ZBC broadcaster, Maj. Gen. Sibusiso Moyo went on air to say the military wished to “assure the nation that his Excellency the president… and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed”.

“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes… that are causing social and economic suffering in the country,” the general said.

“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”

The statement also said that citizens should remain calm and limit unnecessary movement. The military assures the Zimbabwean judiciary that its independence is guaranteed. Security services should “co-operate for the good of our country” and any provocation would “be met with an appropriate response”. And all leave for the defense forces is canceled and personnel should return to barracks immediately.

It is not clear who is leading the military action.

Army chief Gen. Constantino Chiwenga, who visited China last week, said on November 13 the army was prepared to act to end purges within Zanu-PF.

Some staff at ZBC were manhandled when the soldiers moved in, sources told Reuters.

A government source told Reuters that Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo had been detained.

Ignatius Chombo is a leading member of a faction of Zanu-PF led by Grace Mugabe.

Zanu-PF had accused Gen. Constantino Chiwenga of “treasonable conduct” after he issued his warning that the army might intervene.

Robert Mugabe fired Emmerson Mnangagwa last week, amid a row over succession.

Emmerson Mnangagwa had previously been seen as a potential heir to the president, but First Lady Grace Mugabe had since become the clear front-runner.

Last month, Grace Mugabe accused allies of Emmerson Mnangagwa of planning a coup.

The rivalry between Grace Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa split Zanu-PF.

Gen. Constantino Chiwenga is a close ally of Emmerson Mnangagwa and both are veterans of the 1970s war which ended white minority rule.

The leader of the war veterans, Chris Mutsvangwa, welcomed the military move, telling Reuters: “This is a correction of a state that was careening off the cliff.

“It’s the end of a very painful and sad chapter in the history of a young nation, in which a dictator, as he became old, surrendered his court to a gang of thieves around his wife.”