• 22 Mar 2017 10:27 Iraqi Popular Forces Warn to Target US Forces after Expulsion of ISIL

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    Spokesman and a senior commander of Iraq’s Kata’ib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Battalions) popular forces Jafar al-Hosseini warned that the group will target the US forces if they don’t leave the Iraqi territories after annihilation of the ISIL terrorists.

    “If the US forces refrain from leaving the Iraqi territories after annihilation of the ISIL terrorist group, the Islamic resistance of Iraq will target them,” al-Hosseini told the Islamic republic news agency on Tuesday.

    Noting that the US forces are protecting rather than fighting against the ISIL terrorists in Iraq, he said that the Americans have increased their activities in Iraq in recent days through their military advisors the number of their flights and want to open some space for themselves in the anti-ISIL campaign to be able to render more support to the terrorist group.

    Al-Hosseini described the ISIL and the US as two sides of the same coin, and said the Americans’ presence in Mosul is not aimed at uprooting ISIL as they plan to make sure of their deployment in the region after expulsion of the ISIL.

    He said that the ISIL has been created and nurtured by the US, and added that Washington wants to fool the world again and introduce itself as a partner in the anti-ISIL war.

    His remarks came after a senior Hashd al-Shaabi (Iraqi volunteer forces) commander disclosed that the US troops have helped ISIL chief commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi escape the western part of the city of Mosul in Northern Iraq.

    “The US forces have paved the way for ISIL leader (Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi) to flee from Western Mosul to al-Qayravan region,” the Arabic-language al-Sumeria TV quoted Javad al-Tayebavi as saying earlier this month.

    “Our intelligence unit has confirmed that al-Baghdadi is moving between al-Qayravan and al-Hazar region in Southern Mosul,” he added.

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  • 22 Mar 2017 10:26 Imam Ali Khamenei: Massive Turnout in Local Elections “Top Priority”

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    Leader of the Islamic Revolution Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei said the issue of economy is a priority for Iran, adding that the enemies seek to undermine the trust of the Iranian nation in the Islamic establishment through mounting economic pressure.

    “To succeed in realizing their objectives against Iran, the Iranians and the Islamic Republic, the enemies of the Islamic Republic are looking for economic strategies and in better words, seek to deal economic blows to the Iranian nation,” the Leader said in an address to a huge gathering of pilgrims in the holy Iranian city of Mashhad on Tuesday on the first day of the Persian New Year.

    Leader of the Islamic Revolution Imam Sayyed Ali Khameneidescribed the new Persian calendar year as “important” for the country, both in terms of the need for more economic mobility and the upcoming presidential and city councils elections.

    Supreme Leader said the Iranians must also show their national unity in the New Year and prove their commitment to the Islamic establishment and the revolution, and flaunt their allegiance to the enemies.

    Economic woes unrelated to Islamic foundations

    The Leader said the enemy seeks to attribute the existing economic issues to Islam and blame the Islamic foundations of the country for the economic woes.

    Leader of the Islamic Revolution Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei acknowledged the existence of weaknesses in the country, adding, however, that these shortcomings stem from management flaws.

    The Islamic establishment and the Islamic Republic have offered “prominent and remarkable” services to Iran and the Iranians, the Leader said.

    Leader of the Islamic Revolution Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei said the services are incomparable to those provided in the era before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

    The Leader said the population of the country has grown two-fold since the Revolution, but the services provided, including in infrastructure, have increased by “a very eye-catching” and much greater rate.

    Figures indicating Iran’s progress in the military and economy are very remarkable, Ayatollah Khamenei said, adding that the number of university students, as one example, has increased 25 times the pre-revolution figures.

    There has been a six-fold increase in the length of roads built in the country, while electricity generation has grown 14 times and non-oil exports have risen 57-fold, the Leader said.

    Elections very important for Iran

    Elsewhere, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei described as “very important” the issue of elections in the Islamic Republic, whether it be the presidential, parliamentary or city council polls.

    “Elections are one of the two pillars of religious democracy,” the Leader said, adding, “We boast to the world courtesy of our elections and the enemies ignore our elections in order to deal a blow to the Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic.”

    Leader of the Islamic Revolution Imam Sayyed Ali Khameneisaid a massive turnout in the elections is a top priority, adding, “The Iranian nation must shine in the elections.”

    Supreme Leader also said the law must be observed to the letter in the elections. “Whatever the result of the elections by the nation, it is credible and lawful.”

    The Leader said he would not interfere in the elections and has never recommended any candidate in any polls but would take action if anyone seeks to stand against the vote of the people and disrupt the elections.

    “If anyone seeks to defy the result of the nation’s vote, I will stand against him,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

    In his televised message to the nation on Monday on the occasion of the New Year, Ayatollah Khamenei stressed the importance of domestic production and employment, especially for Iranian youths.

    “These are the main and key sectors. If we manage to focus on these two sectors and plan and categorize our affairs on this basis, I believe that the task will move forward to a great extent and impressive and tangible achievements will be made,” the Leader said.

    The Leader designated the new Iranian calendar year of 1396 as the “Year of Resistance Economy: Production and Employment.”

    Source: Press TV

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  • 22 Mar 2017 10:26 Combat footage shows Syrian Army military operations in Palmyra

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    Having completely recaptured Palmyra from the self-proclaimed Islamic State early this month, the Syrian forces – backed by Russian Air Force – continue to expand control on territories to the east of the ancient city.

    Led by the Russian-trained 5th Legion, the government forces were capable – last Sunday – to expel the Islamic State militants from Talialh Mountains, located nearly 20 km to the southwest of Palmyra.

    Video footage released by the Syrian Ministry of Defense shows Syrian and Russian attack helicopters conducting heavy airstrikes on ISIS positions.

    Dozens of jihadi fighters have been killed in the process, their vehicles destroyed.

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  • 22 Mar 2017 10:25 Netanyahu tells Putin that Israeli airstrikes in Syria will continue

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    Zionist Israeli PM Netanyahu said that he has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israeli forces will continue airstrikes in Syria if they deem it necessary, RT reported.

    “If there is feasibility from an intelligence and military standpoint – we attack and so it will continue,” Netanyahu said during a visit to China, adding that he had informed Putin of Israel’s intentions.

    The Israeli PM dismissed Russia’s insistence that Israel stops its airstrikes in Syria, according to the Jerusalem Post.

    Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Israeli ambassador to Moscow, Gary Koren, to demand explanations for the airstrikes Israel conducted near the Syrian city of Palmyra on Friday morning. Israeli Defence Force (IDF) warplanes hit several targets near Palmyra, allegedly destroying advanced arms provided to the Lebanese militant movement Hezbollah, the RT report continued.

    Syria’s air defense force fired anti-aircraft missiles at the Israeli planes in response with the Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatening afterwards that “next time, if the Syrian aerial defense apparatus acts against our planes, we will destroy it.”

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  • 22 Mar 2017 10:24 Over 3,300 former militants granted amnesty in Aleppo

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    Over 3,300 former militants have been granted amnesty by the Syrian Government, Interfax News Agency reported last night.

    Another 3,000 other militants were found guilty of crimes against the Syrian people; they will remain in the custody of the Syrian Government, the report added.

    Most of these militants had surrendered to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) during the latter’s east Aleppo offensive that took place in December of 2016.

    The Syrian Government had offered an amnesty hearing to the thousands of militants in the eastern sector of Aleppo last year; this prompted many to surrender their weapons to the army.

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  • 22 Mar 2017 10:23 President: Lebanon will continue to support the Palestinian cause

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    Lebanese president Michel Aoun has affirmed his country’s unwavering support for the just and legitimate Palestinian cause, pledging to continue defending it and the Palestinian people’s rights.

    This came during his meeting with a delegation from al-Quds International Foundation before heading for the Jordanian capital Amman to participate in the 18th Arab Summit.

    The delegation was led by former Lebanese MP Bishara Merhaj, deputy head of the foundation’s board of trustees.

    President Aoun welcomed members of the delegation and applauded the foundation for the efforts it makes to rally support for Jerusalem and defend the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Palestine.

    “We believed that racism had ended in the middle of the last century, but Israel practices racism once again against the Palestinians, so the international community must protect them against the occupation’s crimes,” the president stated.

    He also stressed the need for real Arab action protecting the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Palestine.

     

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  • 22 Mar 2017 10:22 Iran, Iraq to lead Middle East oil growth

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    Speculations are growing that oil field development plans in Iran and Iraq would drive the largest production growth in the Middle East over the next four years.

    According to research consultancy Rystad Energy that studies the member countries of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in the Middle East, Iran and Iraq are on track to meet production targets and are expected to specifically contribute to a rise in production in the region from the second half of 2017.

    “Iraq and Iran are the countries where oil production is expected to see the highest growth over the next decade … [they] are also among the countries that are leading in terms of the capital investment increase in the years to come,” an analyst at Rystad said as quoted by breakbulk.com energy news website.

    In Iraq, production growth is expected to be underpinned by the launch of the second development phase of the Lukoil-operated Qurna West-2 field, the Nahr bin Umar field, the second phase of the Majnoon and the third phase of the Halfayah developments, it added.

    In Iran, the first phase of the South Azadegan project is expected to contribute to oil production growth over the next five years, reaching a plateau of 255,000 barrels of day from 2021.

    Iran announced in January that its production of oil has reached around 4 million barrels per day (mb/d) – a yet another indication that the country is regaining its crude production abilities after multiple years of sanctions.

    Gholam-Reza Manouchehri, the deputy for development and engineering affairs of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), told the domestic media that Iran was already on the way to make a stronger oil market recovery, emphasizing that this would be expedited through the development of several key projects such as South Azadegan within the next few years.

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  • 22 Mar 2017 10:21 Israeli artillery fire kills one Palestinian, injures two in Gaza

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    A Palestinian teenager has been killed and two others injured after the Israeli military fired artillery shells into the blockaded Gaza Strip, local officials say.

    Achraf al-Qodra, the spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, said the artillery shells hit a gathering of Palestinian youths in Nahdha neighborhood to the east of Rafah City in southern Gaza before dawn.

    “Youssef Abou Azra, 18, was killed and two other Palestinians injured by artillery fire by the occupier (Israel),” said the Palestinian official.

    A spokesperson for the Israeli military claimed the soldiers had spotted three men “close to the security fence and opened fire in their direction,” without giving further details.


    An Israeli artillery fires a shell towards the Gaza Strip on July 24, 2014. (File photo)

     

    From time to time, Israel carries out attacks on the Palestinian coastal sliver, which has been under a crippling siege from 2007.

    In the latest such raids, Israeli military aircraft launched three airstrikes in the northwestern part of the Gaza Strip on March 18 only hours after the regime’s battle tanks shelled the Palestinian strip.

    Israel has also launched several wars on the Palestinian enclave, the last of which began in early July 2014. The Israeli military aggression, which ended on August 26, 2014, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians. Over 11,100 others were also wounded in the war.

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  • 22 Mar 2017 10:20 Yemeni forces fire new indigenous ballistic missiles at Saudi base

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    Yemeni army forces and allied fighters from Popular Committees have reportedly launched three locally designed and manufactured ballistic missiles toward an area deep inside Saudi Arabia in response to the Riyadh regime’s atrocious campaign against the crisis-hit Arab country.

    Yemeni soldiers and their allies fired three short-range Asif-1 (Typhoon-1) missiles toward Rajla military base in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern border region of Najran, located about 844 kilometers (524 miles) south of the capital, Riyadh, on Tuesday evening, Arabic-language Ansarollah website reported.

    There were no immediate reports on casualty numbers in the attack.

    On February 26, Yemeni army forces unveiled four indigenous drones to collect information on the positions and movements of militiamen loyal to resigned President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi as well as Saudi troops and carry out aerial attacks against them.

    The sole unveiled combat aircraft, code-named Qasef-1 (Striker-1), has a wingspan of three meters and a hull length of 2.5 meters.


    This file photo provided by the media bureau of the operations command in Yemen shows Qasef-1 (Striker-1) combat drone.

     

    The drone has a flight endurance of 120 minutes, and is capable of carrying a payload of 30 kilograms.

    Earlier this year, Yemeni army forces launched a locally designed and manufactured ballistic missile toward a military base on the outskirts of Riyadh.

    The media bureau of the operations command in Yemen published a series of photos of the missile shortly afterwards.


    This photo provided by the media bureau of Yemen’s operations command shows solid propellant and Scud-type Borkan-2 (Volcano-2) missile.

     

    On September 2, 2016, Yemeni forces fired a Borkan-2 (Volcano-2) 1 missile against a stationary target in the Saudi city of Ta’if, located more than 700 kilometers southeast of the Saudi capital.

    According to the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, the Saudi military campaign has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 Yemenis and left 40,000 others wounded. McGoldrick told reporters in Sana’a earlier this year that the figure was based on casualty counts given by health facilities and that the actual number might be higher.

    Local Yemeni sources have already put the death toll from the Saudi war at over 12,000, including many women and children.

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  • 22 Mar 2017 10:19 Iraqi forces gain more ground against Daesh in Mosul

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    Iraqi government forces have made more territorial gains in Mosul as they are battling in joint operations with allied fighters to flush Daesh Takfiri militants out of their last urban stronghold in the crisis-hit Arab country.

    Commander of Nineveh Liberation Operation, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah, said on Tuesday that Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) forces had wrested full control over al-Resala neighborhood in the western part of the city, located some 400 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad, Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network reported.

    CTS members also killed a large number of Daesh extremists and inflicted heavy material damage on their positions, before recapturing the area.

    Iraqi forces raised the national flag over several buildings there afterward.

    Meanwhile, pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units – commonly known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi – have killed at least 77 Daesh Takifirs during operations in Talal Badush region, located some 15 kilometers northwest of Mosul.

    Iraqi Defense Ministry also announced in a statement that its F-16 and Aero L-159 ALCA fighter jets had struck the so-called Daesh military police headquarters in the al-Ba’aj district.


    A member of the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) patrols a position during the advance towards al-Resala neighborhood in west Mosul on March 21, 2017, as part of the ongoing offensive to retake the city from Takfiri Daesh militants. (Photo by AFP)

    The statement added that Iraqi military aircraft also pounded a position of Daesh bombers in al-Hadar village, destroying the hideout, a workshop for building improvised explosive devices, an arms depot as well as a storage for trinitrotoluene and C-4 explosive compounds.

    Elsewhere in the western province of Anbar, Iraqi Air Force warplanes killed 15 Daesh terrorists in Karablah and Rawa districts.

    Additionally, Naji al-Mariani, a Hashd al-Sha’abi commander, said his forces had shelled the road linking Duluiyah, located some 75 kilometers north of Baghdad, to Mutabijah, killing 13 Daesh extremists in the process. Three high-ranking militant commanders were among the slain Takfiris.

    Iraqi army soldiers and Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters launched their offensive to retake Mosul last October and since then they have made sweeping gains against Takfiri elements.

    Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.

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