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Ten killed in Israeli airstrikes in Syria in reply to rocket attack

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Israel has carried out airstrikes in Syria in response to rare rocket fire from the neighbouring country. A war monitor reported that 10 people were killed, including Syrian soldiers and foreign fighters.

Israel’s army said two rockets were fired from Syria at Mount Hermon, in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, late on Saturday and one was “located within Israeli territory”.

In response, the army attacked two Syrian artillery batteries, a number of observation and intelligence posts on the Golan Heights and an SA-2 aerial defence battery, it said.

The Israeli attack left three Syrian soldiers and seven foreign fighters dead, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

According to the UK-based monitor, they died in missile strikes close the capital, Damascus, where Syrian troops, Iranian forces and Hezbollah fighters are stationed. The observatory did not specify the nationality of the foreign fighters killed.

Syria’s official news agency Sana quoted a military source as saying anti-aircraft defences fired against “enemy missiles” from Israel targeting positions in south-west Damascus.

The Israeli army said its own aerial defence systems were activated due to the Syrian anti-aircraft fire, but none of the Syrian fire hit Israel.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria, most of them against what it says are Iranian and Hezbollah targets. Israel says it is determined to prevent its arch-foe Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where Tehran backs President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s eight-year war, which has killed more than 370,000 people.The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said he had ordered the strike. “We won’t tolerate fire at our territory and will respond forcefully to any aggression against us,” he said.

Israel insists it has the right to continue to target positions in Syria held by Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah out of self-defence.

On 27 May, Syria said Israel carried out a missile attack in Quneitra. The Israeli army said it was retaliation for anti-aircraft fire targeting one of its fighter jets.

Syrian air defence batteries intercepted projectiles from Israel and downed a number of them on 17 May, according to Sana.

The Syrian province of Quneitra includes the Golan Heights, most of which is occupied and annexed by Israel.

In January, Israel hit Iranian positions in Syria in response to missile fire. According to the observatory, 21 people, mainly Iranians, were killed in those raids.

The latest reported strike comes at a time of rising tensions between Iran and the US. The standoff has been simmering since the US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear treaty between Iran and world powers. In recent weeks the US has accused Iran of alleged threats and deployed an aircraft carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf.

 

Guardian UK

 

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U.S. strikes 2 targets in Syria in response to ‘continued attacks’

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The U.S. military struck two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in response to “continued attacks” against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon said on Sunday.

The strikes were conducted against a training facility in Abu Kamal and a safe house in Mayadin in the eastern governorate of Deir Ezzor, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a brief statement.

The U.S. struck similar targets in eastern Syria in October and earlier in November.

Pro-Iranian militias have intensified their attacks on U.S. military bases in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks as a response to the Israeli military campaign in Gaza.

The security situation in the entire region has been particularly tense since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants staged deadly attacks in southern Israel.

Israel is responding with an overwhelming air and ground offensive in Gaza.

As a deterrent, the U.S. has moved more weapons systems, warships and air squadrons to the Eastern Mediterranean, and is deploying several hundred troops to the Middle East to support US units there.

U.S. President Joe Biden had ordered Sunday’s action to make it clear that the U.S. was defending itself, its personnel, and its interests, Austin stressed.

The U.S. is prepared to take further necessary measures to protect its own people and interests.

  • dpa
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Russia writes off $23bn debt for Africa – Putin

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Russia sends almost 12m tons of grain to Africa says Putin

…Pledges additional $90 million***

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, says the Russian Government has written off $23 billion debt burden of African countries.

Putin spoke at the plenary session of the ongoing second Russia–Africa Summit 2023 held from July 27 to July 28.

He said Moscow would allocate an additional $90 million for these purposes.

Putin said Russia was advocating the expansion of representation of African countries in the UN Security Council and other UN structures.

“Russia and Africa strive to develop cooperation in all areas and strengthen ‘honest, open, constructive’ partnership.

“Russia will also assist in opening new African embassies and consulates in Russia,” he said.

According to him, the reopening of embassies in Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea is going as planned.

He said sovereignty was “not a one-time achieved state,” and it must be constantly protected.

Putin also offered assistance to Africa in countering threats such as terrorism, piracy, and transnational crimes adding that it would continue to train personnel from African countries.

He assured that Russian businesses have a lot to offer partners from Africa.

Putin said transition to national currencies and the establishment of transport and logistics chains would contribute to the increase in mutual trade turnover.

“Russia is ready to provide trade preferences to Africa, support the creation of modern production sectors, agricultural sector, and provide assistance through relevant international structures and agencies.

“Russia will always be a responsible international supplier of agricultural products,” he said.

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U.S. Coastguard Finds ‘debris field’ Near Missing Vessel

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A “debris field” has been discovered within the search area for the missing Titan submersible, the U.S. Coastguard (USCG) said on Thursday.

The agency said a remotely-operated vehicle made the discovery near the wreckage of the Titanic on Thursday.

The hunt for the missing deep-sea vessel is still an “active search and rescue” mission after it lost communication on Sunday.

The vessel was about 700 kilometres south of St John’s, Newfoundland, during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada.

Coastguard officials said they were “evaluating the information” following Thursday’s debris discovery.

A press conference will be held at the Coastguard base in Boston to “discuss the findings” at 8pm (1900 GMT).

Rear Admiral John Mauger, the first Coastguard district commander, and Captain Jamie Frederick, first Coastguard district response coordinator, will lead the press conference.

Founding member of the Board of Trustees of The Explorers Club, Hamish Harding, was on board the undersea craft, alongside UK-based businessman Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, and OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush, as well as French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

The USCG said the ROV that made the discovery was from the Canadian Horizon Arctic ship – with the debris being found on the sea floor near the Titanic wreckage.

Assistance from the Royal Air Force (RAF) is due to arrive in St John’s on Thursday after it confirmed a request was received overnight for help with the movement of additional commercial equipment.

Two RAF planes, a C-17 Globemaster and A400 Atlas, departed RAF Lossiemouth in north-east Scotland on Thursday.

A British submariner and equipment from a UK firm have been sent to help the search at the request of the U.S. Coastguard, Downing Street said.

Royal Navy submariner Lieutenant Commander Richard Kantharia, who was on exchange with the U.S. Navy, has been seconded to the search and rescue team.

OceanGate Expeditions estimated the oxygen supply on the 6.7 metre-long vessel would last 96 hours, giving rescuers a deadline of around midday on Thursday.

Experts said the chances of finding the sub and rescuing those inside were diminishing.

Former Royal Navy submarine captain Ryan Ramsey told the PA news agency: “The outlook is bleak, that’s the only word for it as this tragic event unfolds and almost the closing stages of where this changes from rescue to a salvage mission.”

The Titan is believed to be about 900 miles east and 400 miles south of Newfoundland.

It is not known how deep the vessel is, with the seabed being around 3,800 metres from the surface. 

– dpa

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