Tehran: A suicide car bombing on a Revolutionary Guards bus in southeastern Iran killed 27 troops , in one of the deadliest attacks on the elite forces in years.
The assault came as the troops were returning from a border patrol mission, the Guards said in a statement.
“In this terrorist attack 27 of Islam’s brave warriors were killed and 13 were wounded,” the statement read, accusing “world domination and Zionist intelligence agencies” of supporting the attackers.
Earlier the official IRNA news agency said, “The suicide attack on an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps personnel bus happened on the Khash-Zahedan road.”
A picture released by the semi-official Fars news agency showed a hulk of twisted metal lying by the side of a road, unrecognisable as a bus.
The attack happened when “a car filled with explosives blew up besides a bus”, the Guards said.
“Mercenaries of intelligence agencies of world arrogance and domination,” carried out the attack to counteract “the victory of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution”, they added.
Iran has been celebrating the 40th anniversary of the return to Tehran of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979 after more than 14 years in exile and the overthrow of the pro-Western Shah.
His arrival triggered the start of the Islamic Revolution and led to the creation of the Islamic Republic.
Wednesday’s attack took place in the volatile southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan which has a large, mainly Sunni Muslim ethnic Baluchi community straddling the border with Pakistan.
The SITE Intelligence Group reported that the attack was claimed by Jaish al-Adl, a group formed in 2012 as a successor to the extremist group Jundallah (Soldiers of God), which waged a deadly insurgency against Iranian targets over the past decade.
The Jaish al-Adl — blacklisted as a “terrorist group” in Iran — “announced its responsibility in a brief Persian message on February 13, 2019,” SITE reported.
The attack came on the same day as the United States gathered some 60 countries in Poland for a conference on the Middle East and Iran which they hoped would increase pressure on Tehran.
Two States only just solution for Israel-Palestine conflict: UN chief
United Nations: A “peaceful and just solution” to the longstanding Israel-Palestine conflict can only be achieved through creation of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said, asserting that there is no plan B.
In his address to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which was established by the UN General Assembly in 1975, Guterres said on Friday that “based on relevant UN resolutions, long-held principles, previous agreements and international law”, Jerusalem should be the capital of both States.
“Unfortunately, over this past year, the situation has not moved in that direction”, he rued, pointing to protests that began along the border fence with Gaza last year that left hundreds dead and thousands wounded by Israeli security forces.
He also cited “security incidents and provocations by Hamas and other militants in Gaza”, including the launching of rockets and incendiary kites that dangerously escalated the situation.
“Thanks to the UN and Egyptian mediation efforts, a major escalation was avoided”, he said, appealing to Hamas authorities in Gaza to “prevent provocations”.
The UN chief said under International Humanitarian Law Israel too has a responsibility to exercise “maximum restraint”, except as a last resort.
Guterres said he regretted Israel’s decision not to renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, saying “I hope an agreement can be found by the parties to preserve this long-standing and valuable arrangement”.
“Palestinians have endured more than a half-century of occupation and denial of their legitimate right to self-determination” with both sides continuously suffering from “deadly cycles of violence”, the Secretary-General said.
He indicated that leaders bore the responsibility to reverse this negative trajectory and pave the way toward peace, stability and reconciliation.
Guterres praised the Committee for keeping the focus on the ultimate objective of a “peaceful solution with two States coexisting in peace and security” as the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
“As I have said repeatedly, there is no Plan B,” Guterres said.
He underscored that the UN firmly supports Palestinian reconciliation and “the return of the legitimate Palestinian Government to Gaza” as “an integral part of a future Palestinian State”.
Noting that the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza must be immediately addressed, he detailed that some two million Palestinians remained mired in increasing poverty and unemployment, with limited access to adequate health, education, water and electricity, leaving young people with “little prospect of a better future”.
“I urge Israel to lift restrictions on the movement of people and goods, which also hamper the efforts of the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies, without naturally jeopardising legitimate security concerns,” Guterres said.
Lauding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for its “critical work” in Gaza, the occupied West Bank and across the region, he called on the international community to “significantly” increase efforts to revitalise Gaza’s economy.
Touching upon the risk of further unrest in the West Bank, the UN chief flagged that Israeli construction and settlement plans have expanded, including in East Jerusalem.
“Settlements are illegal under international law”, he asserted.
“They deepen the sense of mistrust and undermine the two-State solution”.
Five killed in US industrial park shooting
Washington: Five persons have been killed and several others injured after a gunman opened fire at an industrial park in the US state of Illinois, police said.
The gunman was also killed, a police spokesman said. He added that five police officers also sustained injuries after being hit by gunfire.
The attack took place in Aurora, a suburb about 65 km from Chicago, the BBC reported.
It comes a day after the first anniversary of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead.
The shooting is reported to have happened at Henry Pratt Company, a manufacturing firm that makes valves for large water pipes.
Police named the gunman as Gary Martin, 45, who they said was an employee at the industrial park.
Bill Donnell, an elected official in Aurora, told CNN that a number of civilians had been wounded in the shooting.
Chris Southwood of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police described the Aurora officers who attended and were shot at as “courageous”.
“(These) officers and their colleagues did not hesitate to literally put their lives on the line today to stop further bloodshed,” Southwood said in a statement.
An employee at nearby Capitol Printing told ABC7 they had hid in a closet when the shooting began.
Witness John Probst, who works at the plant, told ABC7 that he saw the attacker, whom he recognised as a colleague.
He said the man was carrying a handgun equipped with a laser sight, but this has yet to be confirmed by officials.
Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth said: “This is a scary, sad day for all Illinoisans and Americans.”
US President Donald Trump has been briefed on the incident, according to White House Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s first visit to Pak delayed
Islamabad: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s arrival in Pakistan on his first official visit to the country has been delayed by a day for “unknown reasons”. He was scheduled to reach Islamabad on Saturday but due to a slight change, he will arrive on Sunday, according to the Foreign Office.
However, the programmes of his stay in Pakistan will remain unchanged, it said. Prince Mohammad, who is also the deputy prime minister and minister of defence, will be conferred with Nishan-e-Pakistan – the highest civilian award — during his visit to the country, the Express Tribune reported.
A top official said that the arrival has been delayed by a day for “unknown reasons”. Preparations have been made to give an “unprecedented warm welcome” to the Saudi Prince who will be received personally by Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet members at the Nur Khan Airbase, the report said.
Abdul Razzak Dawood, Advisor to prime minister on trade, said investment deals worth USD 10-15 billion dollars would be signed during the trip. On the top of the list is an agreement to set up an oil refinery in Pakistan. Elaborate security arrangements have been planned during the visit of the powerful heir to the Saudi throne.
Inclement weather forecast: Kashmir colleges to remain closed until Feb 21
SRINAGAR, FEBRUARY 17: In view of the inclement weather forecast, the Divisional administration in Kashmir has ordered deferred reopening of...
Governor announces ex-gratia of Rs 20 lakh for the family of Naseer Ahmad
JAMMU FEBRUARY 17: Governor Satya Pal Malik has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 20 lakh to the next of...
Government withdraws security cover of separatist leaders in Kashmir
SRINAGAR, FEBUARY 17: The Government is issuing orders withdrawing all security and any government facilities provided to the separatist leaders-...