Did the drone strike on the Iranian site – conducted while Israel’s army chief is in Washington – surprise the Americans?
Did the drone strike on the Iranian site – conducted while Israel’s army chief is in Washington – surprise the Americans?
Our correspondent, who had been invited aboard the ship before the incident happened, describes more than 20 aircraft in the skies above the British ship – and says two Russian coastguard boats shadowed the vessel, at times just 100 yards away.
Russia claims the illegally-annexed peninsula and its waters are its territory, but Britain says its ship was passing through Ukrainian waters.
The heads of the national security committees on both sides had agreed to this, as well as compliance with a ceasefire, on Saturday.
Both countries’ presidents have also spoken over the phone and agreed to meet, though it was left open as to when exactly it would happen.
The incident happened days before the Biden administration was to begin indirect talks with Iran on reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement, set for Tuesday in Vienna. Former President Trump pulled the United States from the pact, after which Tehran resumed the development of its nuclear program.
A series of widely reported attacks on targets in Iran and Iranian ships that were attributed to Israel reached a peak with the explosion at the nuclear facility in Natanz. Iran’s response was not slow to come this time. Tehran announced that it had begun enriching uranium to a purity of 60 percent, triple its previous level and approaching the level needed to produce a nuclear bomb. That, at a time when U.S. President Joe Biden is putting great effort into indirect negotiations aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement.
The naval attacks had not been reported before Thursday.
Signatories in Support of the Statement of Concern:
José Bustani, Ambassador of Brazil, first Director General of the OPCW and former Ambassador to the United Kingdom and France.
Professor Noam Chomsky, Laureate Professor U. of Arizona and Institute Professor (em), MIT.
Andrew Cockburn, Washington editor, Harper’s Magazine.
Daniel Ellsberg, PERI Distinguished Research Fellow, UMass Amherst. Former Defense and State Department official. Former official of Defense Department (GS-18) and State Department (FSR-1).
Professor Richard Falk, Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University.
Tulsi Gabbard, former Presidential candidate and Member of the US House of Representatives (2013-2021).
Professor Dr. Ulrich Gottstein, on behalf of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW-Germany).
Katharine Gun, former GCHQ (UKGOV), whistleblower.
Denis J. Halliday, UN Assistant Secretary-General (1994-98).
Professor Pervez Houdbhoy, Quaid-e-Azam University and ex Pugwash.
Kristinn Hrafnnson, Editor in Chief, Wikileaks.
Dr. Sabine Krüger, Analytical Chemist, Former OPCW Inspector 1997-2009.
Ray McGovern, ex-CIA Presidential Briefer; co-founder, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence (rtd); member, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.
Professor Götz Neuneck, Pugwash Council and German Pugwash Chair.
Dirk van Niekerk, former OPCW Inspection Team Leader, Head of OPCW Special Mission to Iraq
John Pilger, Emmy and Bafta winning journalist and film maker.
Professor Theodore A. Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Antonius Roof, former OPCW Inspection Team Leader and Head Industry Inspections.
Professor John Avery Scales, Professor, Pugwash Council and Danish Pugwash Chair.
Hans von Sponeck, former UN Assistant Secretary General and UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator (Iraq).
Alan Steadman, Chemical Weapons Munitions Specialist, Former OPCW Inspection Team Leader and UNSCOM Inspector.
Jonathan Steele, journalist and author.
Roger Waters, Musician and Activist.
Lord West of Spithead, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff 2002-06.
Oliver Stone, Film Director, Producer and Writer.
Colonel (ret.) Lawrence B. Wilkerson, U.S. Army, Visiting Professor at William and Mary College and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell.
The following points summarize key procedural and scientific flaws that have been identified and which are now in the public domain regarding the OPCW FFM Investigation of the Alleged Chemical Attack in Douma, April 7, 2018.
– Multiple rockets hit Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq’s Anbar province on Wednesday
– Attack was launched from a site around five miles from the base, sources said
– It is the latest in a series of attacks on US forces in Iraq, and comes after Joe Biden launched his administration’s first strike on Iran-backed militants in Syria
– Attack also comes just two days before Pope Francis is due to visit the country
Speculation strike was response to what is believed to be an Iranian attack on an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Friday accused Iran of “persistent impunity for human rights violations” in regions including Sistan-Baluchestan.
“In Iran, an apparently coordinated campaign has been targeting minority groups since December, including in Sistan and Baluchestan, Khuzestan, and in the Kurdish provinces,” Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
A ship owned by an Israeli firm, the MV HELIOS RAY, was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and a maritime security firm said on Friday. The current assessment in Israel is that the explosion was a targeted attempt against an Israeli-owned ship by Iran.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday expressed his great concern over the latest Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, calling on both sides to immediately stop fighting.
To ease heightened tensions in Transcaucasia, Lavrov held separate phone talks with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Azeri Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
The news about renewed massive clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia along the entire line of conflict do alert me. There are already reports of civilian casualties on both sides. I call on the parties to the conflict to immediately stop all acts of fighting and especially the shelling of villages and cities.
Turkey has strongly condemned and reacted to Armenia’s military offensive against civilian targets on Azerbaijani territories, pledging full support with all its means to its regional ally in using its right to self-defense.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed Ankara’s full support to Baku in a phone conversation with Azeri President İlham Aliyev.
He presented evidence supporting his statement, notably that simultaneously with the operations the Azerbaijani news media have started publishing misinformation claiming Armenian side has carried our provocation and they are responding.
“Our experts and partners have presented numerous facts that days earlier there were various materials in the Azerbaijani news media about planned operations. Another evidence on this being pre-planned are the reports on the air communication between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Today in the morning, just minutes after the attacks began the Azerbaijani and Turkish news media were intensively working right at the combat operations scene, and then the Azerbaijani official news release was made falsely claiming that they are starting a large-sale counterattack. This proves that the adversary had pre-planned these operations in detail,” he said.
The command of the Azerbaijani Army decided to launch a counter-offensive operation of Azerbaijani troops along the entire front to suppress the combat activity of the Armenian armed forces and ensure the safety of the civilian population.
“Today, from early morning, Artsakh was subjected to the aggression of the armed forces of Azerbaijan. The civilian population of Artsakh, the capital Stepanakert, and civilian infrastructures are being bombed. At the moment, there are casualties and wounded, including among the civilian population. Using heavy weapons, the enemy is attacking the positions of the Defense Army in all directions,” he said.
In a formal notice sent to the South, the North conveyed Kim’s message that he feels „very sorry“ for greatly „disappointing“ President Moon Jae-in and other South Koreans with the occurrence of the „unsavory“ case in its waters, instead of helping them amid their suffering from the new coronavirus, according to Suh Hoon, director of national security at Cheong Wa Dae.
The Russian armed forces have received notice that militants from the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham group (formerly known as the Nusra Front, banned in Russia), are planning the provocative attacks.
“In the coming days, terrorists plan to stage attacks in the settlements of Ariha and Basames in order to accuse the Syrian government forces of using chemical weapons against civilians. According to the available information, activists of the White Helmets pseudo-human rights organization are directly involved in the preparation of the sites for the attacks, including staging for capturing video,” Rear Adm. Grinkevich remarked.
The think tank warned in its report that this practice increases the danger to actual civilian aircraft in the region, risking misidentification. The SCSPI said the US has a record of changing transponder numbers when it flies reconnaissance in places like Iran and Venezuela.
According to Tobar, the lawyers have warned that this case cannot be processed in the military criminal justice. Instead, the case has to be judged by the ordinary court since there is a risk that if judged by a military justice system, the police members who killed the lawyer Javier Ordóñez may be unpunished, as it has happened before.
The military struck Hezbollah targets in Lebanon after troops were fired upon from across the border, the military said early Wednesday, after announcing a „security incident“ at the border late Tuesday evening.
No soldiers were hurt, the army said.
Ceofanb also pointed out that the plane started to fly at low altitude and perform evasive maneuvers. Then, after being persecuted by a Bolivarian military aircraft, it lost control and crashed.
A group of 20 men evacuated from Benghazi, Libya and suspected of having been contracted to lend support to General Khalifa Haftar’s forces, were held under arrest in Malta for two days before being released without charge.
Multiple law enforcement sources speaking to this newspaper say the police are still investigating the incident, almost a year on since the arrival of the men on two RHIBs (rigid-hull inflatable boats) at the Valletta seaport in June 2019.
The abortive mercenary expedition last summer was organized and financed by a network of secretive companies in the United Arab Emirates, according to a confidential report submitted to the United Nations Security Council in February. The companies are controlled or part-owned by Christiaan Durrant, an Australian businessman and former fighter pilot who is a close associate of Erik Prince, America’s most famous mercenary entrepreneur.
Opus and Lancaster 6 financed and directed an operation to provide Haftar’s forces with helicopters, drones and cyber capabilities through a complex web of shell companies, according to two diplomats who briefed Bloomberg on the contents of the UN Panel of Experts report shared with the Security Council’s sanctions committee in February. The diplomats also shared excerpts of the report with Bloomberg.
An Iranian missile fired during a training exercise in the Gulf of Oman struck a support vessel near its target, killing at least 19 sailors and wounding 15 others, Iran’s navy said in a statement on Monday.
The friendly fire incident happened Sunday near the port of Jask, some 1,270 kilometers (790 miles) southeast of Tehran on the Gulf of Oman, state TV reported Monday.
Ethiopia on Saturday admitted it was behind the shooting down of a privately owned Kenyan plane in Somalia earlier this week, resulting in the deaths of all six people on board.
They say the aircraft disappeared after taking off from a Canadian frigate as part of a military exercise.
A group of returning Bolivian citizens confronted the Bolivian forces at the border with Chile this week. The Bolivian nationals attempted to go into their homeland after a departure from Chilean territory due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Citing two unnamed US officials, Reuters reported that based on preliminary information, about a dozen coalition members had also been injured in the Wednesday attack against Iraq’s Taji military camp, located some 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) north of Baghdad.
Earlier, the Iraqi Interior Ministry’s Security Media Cell announced in a statement that the incident took place in the evening when 10 rockets landed on Camp Taji, located some 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) north of Baghdad.
An annual report by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force said 55 separate incidents were being investigated as part of a years-long probe into allegations Australian soldiers committed war crimes while serving in Afghanistan.
A civilian was martyred and other was injured when American Occupation forces opened fire on locals of the villages of Khirbet Ammo and Hamou in eastern Qamishli after they gathered near a Syrian Arab Army post while the Army was preventing American occupation vehicles from crossing.
Five aircrew were rescued and are in stable condition Saturday after an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter went down in the Philippine Sea, according to the Navy’s 7th Fleet.
In testimony before the United Nations Security Council, former OPCW inspection team leader and engineering expert Ian Henderson stated that their investigation had suggested no chemical attack took place in Douma, Syria, but their findings were suppressed. His appearance punched a gaping hole in the narrative the US and UK used to justify military action.
Video and a transcript of former OPCW engineer and dissenter Ian Henderson’s UN testimony appears at the end of this report.
Distinguished Mr. Chairman,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our meeting is dedicated to the final report of the OPCW Fact Finding Mission in Syria (FFM) regarding the incident in Douma, on April 7, 2018.
This matter is being discussed by the UN Security Council members due to the fact that the relevant events directly affect issues of peace and international security, and, therefore, fall within the competence of the Security Council.
Many of those present in this room probably remember the disturbing ambiance early April 2018. The United States was preparing to launch its, as they claimed, „smart missiles“ against Syria, and the Russian military warned that they were ready to destroy not only these missiles, but also their launchers if the Russian troops invited by the legitimate Syrian authorities were under threat. Older people unintentionally recalled in this regard the charged atmosphere of the Cuban Missile crisis.
The Defense Ministry filed a civil suit this week for about 100,000 shekels ($29,000) against a Bedouin cowherd whose cows entered a firing zone near the Tze’elim army base in the Negev, forcing the army to stop training. According to the Southern District prosecution, which represents the Defense Ministry, this is the first time the state has sued for financial compensation over such an incident.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi previously said Iran sent Iraq an official verbal message that an attack „had begun or would begin shortly,“ on unspecified US military locations.
An Arab diplomatic source also told CNN that Iraq gave advance warning to the US on „which bases would be hit“ after Iranian officials passed on the information.
Tehran may have carried out a limited strike that specifically targeted hangars, not barracks or other buildings more likely to contain U.S. or coalition troops in the predawn hours Wednesday. No casualties were reported after the attack.
“If they were going for a body count, they went the wrong way about it,” said David Joseph Schmerler, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
Ballistic missile strike: Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases that house US troops, after a US killing of its top military commander last week.
No casualties: US and Iraqi sources said there were no known casualties as a result of the strikes.
Trump says „All is well!“: US President Donald Trump has yet to address the nation Wednesday morning US time, but on Twitter he said that „all is well!“
Taiwan’s top military chief was killed in a helicopter crash on Thursday (Jan 2), the defence ministry said, just days before the island goes to polls to elect a new president.
The chief of the general staff, Shen Yi-ming, was among eight senior officers – including three major generals – who died when their Black Hawk helicopter smashed into mountains near Taipei.
he global chemical weapons watchdog is facing renewed questions after fresh details emerged about how it suppressed the findings of its own inspectors who raised serious doubts about an alleged poison gas attack in Syria.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that a senior official at the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) demanded the ‘removal of all traces’ of a document which undermined claims that gas cylinders had been dropped from the air – a key element of the ‘evidence’ that the Syrian regime was responsible.
27 December, 2019
Today WikiLeaks releases more internal documents from the OPCW regarding the investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Douma in April 2018.
One of the documents is an e-mail exchange dated 27 and 28 February between members of the fact finding mission (FFM) deployed to Douma and the senior officials of the OPCW. It includes an e-mail from Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW, where he instructs that an engineering report from Ian Henderson should be removed from the secure registry of the organisation:
“Please get this document out of DRA [Documents Registry Archive]… And please remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever in DRA”.
The main finding of Henderson, who inspected the sites in Douma and two cylinders that were found on the site of the alleged attack, was that they were more likely manually placed there than dropped from a plane or helicopter from considerable heights. His findings were omitted from the official final OPCW report on the Douma incident.
This is getting really, really, really weird.
WikiLeaks has published yet another set of leaked internal documents from within the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) adding even more material to the mountain of evidence that we’ve been lied to about an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria last year which resulted in airstrikes upon that nation from the US, UK and France.
This new WikiLeaks drop includes an email from the OPCW Chief of Cabinet Sebastien Braha (who is reportedly so detested by organisation inspectors that they code named him “Voldemort”) throwing a fit over the Ian Henderson Engineering Assessment which found that the Douma incident was likely a staged event. Braha is seen ordering OPCW staff to “remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever” from the organisation’s secure registry.
According to whistleblower testimony and leaked documents, OPCW officials raised alarm about the suppression of critical findings that undermine the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. Haddad’s editors at Newsweek rejected his attempts to cover the story. “If I don’t find another position in journalism because of this, I’m perfectly happy to accept that consequence,” Haddad says. “It’s not desirable. But there is no way I could have continued in that job knowing that I couldn’t report something like this.”
Guest: Tareq Haddad, journalist who recently resigned from Newsweek over its refusal to cover the OPCW’s Syria scandal.
14 December, 2019
Today WikiLeaks releases more documents showing internal disagreement within the OPCW about how facts were misrepresented in a redacted version of a report on an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018.
Amongst these is a memorandum written in protest by one of the scientists sent on a fact finding mission (FFM) to investigate the attack. It is dated 14 March 2019 and is addressed to Fernando Arias, Director General of the organisation. This was exactly two weeks after the organisation published its final report on the Douma investigation.
WikiLeaks is also releasing the original preliminary report for the first time along with the redacted version (that was released by the OPCW) for comparison. Additionally, we are publishing a detailed comparison of the original interim report with the redacted interim report and the final report along with relevant comments from a member of the original fact finding mission. These documents should help clarify the series of changes that the report went through, which skewed the facts and introduced bias according to statements made by the members of the FFM.
„At this time, [the UN] is unable to independently corroborate that the cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles used in these attacks are of Iranian origin,“ Mr Guterres wrote in the report, seen by Reuters and AFP news agencies.
An RAF spokesperson said: „Two Typhoon fighter aircraft from RAF Coningsby were scrambled at 0409 this morning, as part of the UK’s Quick Reaction Alert procedures, after an aircraft lost communications in UK airspace.
„The aircraft was intercepted and its communications were subsequently re-established.
„I wouldn’t discount anything from Iran,” he said. “When a nation behaves that irresponsibly, you have to be very cautious when you evaluate what they might do in the future.”
McKenzie noted that Iran increased its military spending from its recent low in 2014 to $27.3 billion, or six percent of GDP, in 2018.
The general’s trip comes as part of a series of visits by several high ranking military chiefs including the head of the US Air Force Gen. David Goldfien, USAFE (United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa) Commander Gen. Jeffery L. Harrigian and the Commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) Gen. Kenneth McKenzie.
The part that fell in the woman’s garden, described by Gloucestershire Live as “a huge chunk of yellow metal,” was a wing tip gear door, a spokesman for the Air Force’s U.K.-based 501st Combat Support Wing said.
WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson took part in the panel to review the testimony and documents from the OPCW whistleblower. He says: “The panel was presented with evidence that casts doubt on the integrity of the OPCW. Although the whistleblower was not ready to step forward and/or present documents to the public, WikiLeaks believes it is now of utmost interest for the public to see everything that was collected by the Fact Finding Mission on Douma and all scientific reports written in relation to the investigation.
We call out to people within the OPCW to leak these documents securely to us via wikileaks.org/#submit” One of the Panel members was Dr José Bustani, the first Director-General of the OPCW, who concluded that: “The convincing evidence of irregular behaviour in the OPCW investigation of the alleged Douma chemical attack confirms doubts and suspicions I already had. I could make no sense of what I was reading in the international press. Even official reports of investigations seemed incoherent at best. The picture is certainly clearer now, although very disturbing”
“If anyone thinks that seizing tankers and attacking oil infrastructure can in any way affect cooperation between Russia and our Arab friends, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, that they can undermine or break down our cooperation with OPEC+, then they are profoundly wrong,” said Putin, addressing a question on regional security.
“On the contrary, we will forge ever closer ties because our main goal is to stabilize global energy markets,” he added, saying that Russia remained committed to the initiatives of the OPEC+ group of oil producers driven by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Turkish Defense Ministry said the artillery fire was not aimed at the Americans but at nearby Kurdish fighters.
„Earlier today, Turkish border outposts south of Suruç came under Dochka and mortar fire from the hills located approximately 1,000 meters southwest of a U.S. observation post. In self-defense, reciprocal fire was opened on the terrorist positions of the attack. Turkey did not open fire at the U.S. observation post in any way. All precautions were taken prior to opening fire in order to prevent any harm to the U.S. base,“ the ministry said.
The explosions have hit the vessel’s hull, causing heavy damages to the vessel’s two main tanks, which has resulted in an oil spill in the Red Sea. The spill is currently stopped, according to officials.
Technical experts are currently investigating the cause of the explosion. They believe it was a „terrorist attack“, unnamed sourced told the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA).
An oil tanker belonging to the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) was hit and damaged by two missiles on Friday, Iranian state news IRNA reported.
The missiles were „possibly“ fired from Saudi soil, Saheb Sadeghi, head of the public relations of the National Iranian Tanker Company, told state-run Press TV.
He elaborated that no „fancy“ systems are needed for this and that the quite simple and battle-proven Russian Pantsir S1 (NATO reporting name SA-22 Greyhound) systems with dual 2A38M 30 millimetre automatic cannons equipped with infrared direction finders would do the trick. Russia has been successfully using Pantsirs to repel frequent massive drone attacks on its Hmeymim base in Syria carried out by local militant groups.
Next month, President Vladimir Putin is set to visit Saudi and the Gulf, a chance to deepen cooperation on energy and oil, drum up investment and promote Russia’s Pantsir group of anti-UAV weaponry, the arms systems the state export company will put on display at the Dubai Airshow in November.
Al-Shabab launched a „daring raid on the US military base“, the group said in a statement.
„After breaching the perimeters of the heavily fortified base, the mujahideen [holy warriors] stormed the military complex, engaging the crusaders in an intense firefight.“
This entire narrative stinks. Seems to me that Trump’s continued refusal to start a unilateral military attack against Iran (despite implied Saudi urging) has stumped MBS (Saudi Defense Minister), and the whole war scenario now seems to be de-escalating.
„Oil supplies will be disrupted and oil prices will jump to unimaginably high numbers that we haven’t seen in our lifetimes,“ in the event of greater conflict with Iran, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS 60 Minutes.
The warning comes two weeks after a drone and missile attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities that Riyadh and Washington blame on Iran.
Rohani added that he will offer a regional peace plan during his visit to the UN this week. Fears of a wider regional conflagration have grown, as tensions between Iran and the U.S. remain high over Tehran’s failing 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Recently, Iran has broken the deal’s limits on enrichment, uranium stockpiles and the use of advanced centrifuges, as ot seeks to pressure Europe to offer it a way to sell its crude oil on the international market despite U.S. sanctions.
President Trump is sending a modest deployment of American troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, along with air and missile defense systems, in response to the attacks on Saudi oil facilities, which the administration blames on Iran.
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper called the decision, which came on Friday during a White House meeting with top national security officials, “defensive in nature.”
Russia is set to be a major winner after an attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities slashed production and ramped up tensions in the Middle East, analysts predict.
In a frantic day for the world’s markets, oil prices climbed by almost 15% Monday following the drone attacks on Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia’s largest oil refinery, which pumps around 5% of the world’s oil supply.
“These kinds of systems are capable of defending any kind of infrastructure in Saudi Arabia from any kind of attack,” he added.
Mr. Rouhani, seated next to Mr. Putin, laughed visibly. The broadcast on the state-owned Russian television network RT captured the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, chuckling to himself in the audience.
Paoli and his brother also found the ship’s log for the French Navy’s Suffren missile launching ship, which was in the waters near Nice at the time, but discovered that the entry for Sept 11, 1968, had been torn out.
Ceremonies marking the disaster are scheduled in both Nice and Ajaccio this week.
BEIRUT: An Israeli drone went down over Beirut’s southern suburbs, and another exploded in the air overnight Sunday near Hezbollah’s media offices, a source from the party told The Daily Star.
Throughout the morning, following the incident, Israeli reconnaissance hovered over south Lebanon and the capital’s southern suburbs – a Hezbollah stronghold.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah is expected to comment on the issue in a speech scheduled for late afternoon.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt discussed the incident with Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas.
After the dramatic hijacking of the Stena Impero oil tanker carrying 23 crew by Iranian Special Forces, top brass were last night devising a list of options for a rapid military response.
It is understood they will seek the green light to deploy Royal Marines on British vessels travelling through the Strait of Hormuz to act as a deterrent to further aggression.
Gibraltar said the Iranian vessel, seized by marines in a daring landing in darkness off the coast of the British territory on July 4, was suspected of smuggling oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to announce a range of measures targeting the Iranian regime following the seizure of the Stena Impero on Friday Afternoon.
Mr Hunt is expected to urge the European Union to support British calls for a host of diplomatic and economic sanctions to target Iran- including reimposing restrictions which were lifted after Tehran signed the 2016 nuclear deal.
– The Stena Impero was seized in the Strait of Hormuz at 4pm yesterday by Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces
– British-registered tanker was ordered to turn to the north and was taken into Iranian territorial waters
– Warship HMS Montrose, which was patrolling the Persian Gulf, did a U-turn and raced to help captured ship
– A second vessel, the British-operated Mesdar was seized by Iran but was released after being inspected
– Following an emergency COBRA meeting, Iran was warned it faces ’serious consequences‘ for their actions
The HMS Montrose was dispatched while the Stena Impero was in Omani waters but the warship arrived after the tanker had entered the Strait of Hormuz.
A defence source told the Times the Iranians appeared to be taking a „very aggressive stance“ and were viewed as having been „ready to engage“ HMS Montrose.
Defence secretary Penny Mordaunt has said the UK-registered oil tanker seized by Iran was intercepted in Omani waters, describing the incident as a “hostile act”.
The Stena Impero, a British-flagged ship carrying crude oil, was boarded and captured by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Friday.
„It is essential that freedom of navigation is maintained and that all ships can move safely and freely in the region,“ Hunt said late Friday, ahead of an emergency government meeting. He subsequently told British media that „we’re looking at a diplomatic way to resolve the situation, but we are very clear that it must be resolved.“
In seizing a foreign tanker which it accuses of „violating international regulations,“ Tehran has resorted to a form of piracy in international waters.
At a time when Iran might have begun to win friends and influence people in the world’s corridors of power, it’s showing that it really could be the force of dangerous instability that its most ardent enemies have claimed.
“We’re going to be speaking with the U.K., and this only goes to show what I’m saying about Iran: trouble, nothing but trouble,” Trump told reporters while departing the White House.
Trump did not say whether the incident would prompt a response, saying, “Let’s see what happens.“
– Lord West slammed UK for not anticipating retaliation from Iranian forces in Gulf
– Found it ‚bizarre‘ British vessels passing through Strait of Hormuz unguarded
– Two ships were captured by Iran last night, days after UK seized Iranian oil tanker
The IRGC’s Public Relations Department said in a statement on Friday that the vessel named “Stena Impero” had been confiscated “at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organization when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules.”
A British-flagged oil tanker has been seized in the Gulf by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Iran media say.
„We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else. I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) by mistake!,“ Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said on Twitter.
Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted military spokesman Gen. Abolfazl Shekari as saying that „all Iranian drones that are in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, including the one which the U.S. president mentioned, after carrying out scheduled identification and control missions, have returned to their bases.“
A U.S. naval ship downed an Iranian drone that flew too close and ignored multiple calls to turn away, President Trump said Thursday, as tensions between the United States and Iran appeared to be rising once again in the Persian Gulf region.
Speaking at the White House, Trump said the drone came within 1,000 yards of the USS Boxer in the Strait of Hormuz before the crew “took defensive action” and “immediately destroyed” it.
Early on Thursday, two American officials, who were speaking to Reuters on the condition of anonymity, claimed that five boats believed to belong to the IRGC had approached the tanker British Heritage at the northern entrance of the Strait of Hormuz and ordered it to stop.
Three Iranian ships unsuccessfully tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf Wednesday, the UK government has confirmed.
Five Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps gunboats tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf Wednesday but backed off after a British warship approached, a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News.
It was not clear whether Mr. Trump simply changed his mind on the strikes or whether the administration altered course because of logistics or strategy. It was also not clear whether the attacks might still go forward.
Asked about the plans for a strike and the decision to hold back, the White House declined to comment, as did Pentagon officials. No government officials asked The New York Times to withhold the article.
U.S. President Donald Trump approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for downing of American global hawk drone but pulled back after planes were in the air and ships were in position, according to a report by the New York Times citing administration officials.
The report claimed the order to halt attacks on Iranian radar and missile batteries came after intense debate at the White House among top security officials and congressional leaders.
From the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898 to the U.S.S. Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, maritime incidents, shrouded in the fog of uncertainty, have lured the United States into wars on foreign shoals. Which is why cooler heads must prevail — and Congress must be consulted — as American and Iranian forces inch closer to open conflict in and around the Strait of Hormuz.
Pompeo, who arrived in Tampa on Monday, met with Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command respectively, to align the Government’s efforts in the Middle East, according to Central Command.
The meeting focused on deterrence plans against Iran after U.S. officials blamed the country for two recent oil tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman.
The Trump administration’s claims Iran attacked oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman were quickly debunked, with the ship’s crew saying it “was hit by a flying object.” But the US disrupted important Iranian diplomatic efforts at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Fox News military analyst Col. David Hunt and former State Dept. official David Tafuri on how the U.S. should handle escalating tension with Iran.
In the hours before the attack on the two tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, the Iranians spotted a US drone flying overhead and launched a surface-to-air missile at the unmanned aircraft, a US official told CNN.
The missile missed the drone and fell into the water, the official said.
„We received reports that something flew towards the ship,“ Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo, said at a press conference Friday. „I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship,“ he said, adding that a projectile landed above the waterline. (…)
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
The UAE along with Saudi Arabia and Norway presented the preliminary findings during a private briefing to members of the UN security council, which will also receive the final results of the inquiry and consider a possible response.
The US has accused Iran of almost certainly being behind the attacks on the four oil tankers off the Emirati coast, but the brief report, while providing evidence of the sophistication of the attack, goes nowhere near identifying the culprit.
The US and Russian navies are at odds over an apparent near-collision in the Philippine Sea, with both sides blaming each other.
Admiral Vinogradov came within 50 to 100 feet (15m-30m) of the USS Chancellorsville in the Philippine Sea, the US said.
The Russian Pacific Fleet meanwhile said the incident took place in the southeast of the East China Sea, and added they had sent a message of protest to the US ship’s commanders.
Iterating that war is not a solution, Khan said, “If it (tensions between the two countries) escalates, it will no longer be in my control or in Modi’s”. “All wars are miscalculated, and no one knows where they lead to. World War I was supposed to end in weeks, it took six years. Similarly, the war on terrorism was not supposed to last 17 years. I ask India: with the weapons you have and the weapons we have, can we really afford a miscalculation?” asked the prime minister.
The announcement came after the nation’s army said its air force shot down two Indian warplanes and captured two pilots after they crossed the boundary in the disputed territory of Kashmir.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt issued a video appeal for restraint, echoing a message delivered by Prime Minister Theresa May at the start of PMQs in the House of Commons.
The Pakistan Army has also released a video that shows a blindfolded man claiming that he is an officer of the Indian Air Force.
The Indian defence establishment has not commented on the video. Defence sources had earlier told PTI, “There are no reports of any Indian Air Force jet suffering damage in action by India’s adversaries.”
Pakistan Military spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said Indian Air Force (IAF) crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and two of their aircraft were shot down by PAF inside Pakistani airspace.
„One of the aircraft fell inside AJK while other fell inside IoK. One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area,“ Director Gneral of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor said.