IRAN’S Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has issued a stern warning to Israel following a retaliatory missile strike on the ‘strategic centre of Zionist conspiracy and evil’ in the northern Iraqi Kurdistan city of Erbil.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the IRGC said its operation was in response to an Israeli airstrike on the Syrian capital of Damascus last Monday, in which two IRGC officers were killed.
The IRGC last week identified the two dead officers as colonels Ehsan Karbalairpour and Morteza Saeidnejad, and warned then that Israel would ‘pay for this crime’.
‘Following the recent crimes of the fake Zionist regime and the previous announcement that the crimes and evils of this infamous regime will not go unanswered, the strategic centre for conspiracy and evil of the Zionists was targeted by powerful and pinpoint missiles of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps,’ it said.
Iraqi media and military sources say scores of ballistic missiles hit bases belonging to Israel’s Mossad spy agency in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, killing a number of Mossad officers.
A dozen ballistic missiles hit secret Mossad bases in Erbil, reportedly leaving several Israeli operatives dead.
Citing security sources, Iraq’s Sabereen News reported that two Mossad training centres were targeted by ballistic missiles in the early hours of Sunday.
Al-Mayadeen said a Mossad base on the Masif-Saladin street in Erbil was ‘fully razed to the ground and a number of Israeli mercenaries were killed or injured’.
On Thursday, prior to their retaliatory strike, Iran’s permanent mission to the United Nations had already written to the UN secretary general and the Security Council, saying that Tehran ‘reserves its inherent right to self-defence, under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, to respond to such criminal acts whenever it deems appropriate.’
Iran ‘recognises that the Israeli regime is fully responsible for all the consequences of these criminal acts, and seriously warns the regime about taking further adventuristic and malevolent measures,’ it said.
The Sunday statement by the IRGC said: ‘Once again, we warn the criminal Zionist regime that the repetition of any evil will face harsh, decisive and destructive responses.
‘We also assure the great nation of Iran that the security and peace of the Islamic homeland is the red line of the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran and they will not allow anyone to threaten or attack it.’
- A new report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says Israeli forces have killed eight Palestinians and injured 140 others, including 20 children, in the occupied Palestinian territories in a span of two weeks.
The latest data was released in the bi-weekly Protection of Civilians report on Saturday. It covered the period between February 22 and March 9th, Palestine’s official Wafa news agency reported.
According to the United Nations report, a 23-year-old Palestinian man who was shot by Israeli forces near the West Bank village of Burqa, north of Nablus, on March 2nd, succumbed to his wounds a week later.
And on March 1st, a 19-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed near the town of Beit Fajjar, south of Bethlehem, and two others were killed by Israeli forces in the Jenin refugee camp on the same day.
The UN report went on that a 15-year-old Palestinian boy was shot in the village of Abu Dis in East Jerusalem al-Quds on March 6th, while two Palestinians of 19 and 22 years of age were shot and killed in the Jerusalem’s Old City after they allegedly stabbed and injured three Israeli policemen. A 13-year-old boy was also shot and killed near the town of al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, on February 22.
The report said virtually half of the injuries occurred during protests against Israeli settlements, as well as in solidarity with Palestinian families facing forced eviction in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Israeli forces have suppressed several protests staged by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank against the Tel Aviv regime’s policies.
Sheikh Jarrah has been the scene of frequent crackdowns by Israeli forces on the Palestinians protesting against the threatened expulsion of dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in favour of Israeli settler groups.
Since Israel seized East al-Quds in the 1967 war, Israeli settler organisations have claimed ownership of land in Sheikh Jarrah and have filed multiple lawsuits to evict Palestinians from the area.
The UN report said that Israeli forces also demolished 29 Palestinian-owned buildings, two of them punitively, displacing 62 people, including 28 children.
Israeli forces have carried out 82 search-and-arrest operations and arrested 183 Palestinians during the said two-week period. Israeli settlers have also injured two Palestinians and damaged Palestinian property in 20 instances in the same time period.
Israel routinely demolishes Palestinian houses in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds, claiming that the structures have been built without permits, which are almost impossible to obtain.
Israeli authorities also sometimes order Palestinian owners to demolish their own homes.
The Tel Aviv regime plans to force out Palestinian families from different neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem al-Quds in an attempt to replace them with settlers.
Nearly 700,000 Israelis live in settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds, and an Israeli committee has recently approved a plan for another 1,500 new settler units there.
The UN Security Council has, in several resolutions, condemned Tel Aviv’s settlement projects on occupied Palestinian land.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in these negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion.
All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land.
- Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Riyad al-Maliki, says the Palestinian leadership is the considering the United Nations Security Council’s action against Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories, especially after the Tel Aviv regime announced it is set to build 730 new settler units in East Jerusalem.
Maliki told the Arabic-language Voice of Palestine radio station that Palestine is going to urge the world body to assume its responsibilities concerning Israeli policies of land expropriation and settlements expansions, particularly the UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which was adopted on December 23, 2016, and calls on world states to distinguish in their dealings between Israeli communities and Palestinian lands occupied by Israel.
He added that Palestinian diplomats continue to draw the international community’s attention to the Israeli regime’s occupation and violation of Palestinian rights at the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly, the UN Human Rights Council and all relevant institutions.
‘The rise in settlement construction activities by the Israeli regime is a very dangerous sign. We have discussed the matter with the United States administration as well as authorities from various countries,’ the Palestinian foreign minister pointed out.
The Israeli regime is set to build another 730 new settler units in occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds, as part of its illegal settlement expansion activities across the Palestinian territories.
He went on to say that the Palestinian initiatives at the third meeting of the Arab ministerial committee in Jordan regarding the development of an Arab plan to save Jerusalem al-Quds were approved.
Maliki expressed hope that the plan will also be approved at the forthcoming foreign ministerial meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Pakistan to confront Israel’s attempts to Judaise Jerusalem al-Quds.
Moreover, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the decision of Israeli authorities to build 730 new units in the illegal settlement of Pesgat Ze’ev in occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
‘The measure is a proof that the Israeli regime insists on ignoring international resolutions on the illegality of settlements. Israeli officials are seeking to sabotage all efforts aimed at the establishment of regional and global peace and stability,’ Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in a statement.
He urged ‘the international community to pressure Israel to stop its unilateral measures that will drag the region into more tensions,” stressing that “Al-Quds, with its Islamic and Christian holy sites and neighbourhoods, is an untouchable red line.’
Abu Rudeineh warned that Israel is ‘exploiting the international community’s preoccupation with the Russo-Ukrainian crisis to advance its settlement projects and steal more Palestinian land.’