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Syria war escalates: Russia strikes Idlib, Israel hits Hama and Tartus

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Syria war escalates: Russia strikes Idlib, Israel hits Hama and Tartus

Sergei Lavrov: US want to support Jabhat al-Nusra in Idlib

Despite US President Donald Trump’s warning not to attack Syria’s north-western Idlib province, Russian jets struck at least 23 destinations around the opposition held province on Tuesday while, in an obvious retaliatory action, Israeli missiles targeted, what Tel Aviv described as, Iranian military positions in Hama and Tartus provinces in Syria.

According to London based The Telegraph, the rebels said the Russian strikes had mostly targeted military positions of the Islamist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and the Turkistan Islamic Party in the Jisr al-Shughour district, killing at least three civilians.

On Monday US President had warned the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies against “recklessly” attacking Idlib. In his tweet, Trump warned of “a grave humanitarian mistake” in which hundreds of people could be killed.

Read More: US Warns Syria, Russia, Iran Not To Attack Idlib

Syrian government forces have been, for weeks, amassing around Idlib for an assault on the last remaining militant held territory.

Syrian government spokesperson was quoted on Tuesday saying, “The government plan was to give the maximum possible chance for reconciliation but unfortunately there was no progress in this regards. The radicals are in control in Idlib.”

According to AFP report from Beirut, Israeli strikes on Tuesday targeted Iranian military positions.

Syrian official SANA news agency also reported that its air defence systems downed several missiles launched from Israeli warplanes. “The air defence system responded to an Israeli aggression carried out by aircraft… that targeted some of our military positions in the provinces of Tartus and Hama,” it said. One person was reportedly dead and four were wounded in the missile attack.

London based opposition controlled Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) chief Rami Abdel Rahman said that missiles struck Wadi al-Oyoun in the central province of Hama, near a scientific research centre, which was targeted by Israeli forces in July this year and last year.

Read More: Military officials from Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria meet in Baghdad

Rahman further said that Iranian military positions in coastal region of Banias in Tartus province were also targeted. “There was material damage,” he added.

Syria war escalates: Russia strikes Idlib, Israel hits Hama and Tartus

Meanwhile, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has stressed on Tuesday that only the Syrians can decide the future of their country, noting that the US behaviour towards the situation in Idlib indicates that Washington wants to protect Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organisation.

While talking to Russian 1 TV, he affirmed that the de-escalation zone in Idlib is the only zone where thousands of terrorists are positioned led by Jabhat-al-Nusra.

Syria war escalates: Russia strikes Idlib, Israel hits Hama and Tartus

In another major development Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, while addressing a conference in Herzilia on Tuesday said that Tel Aviv has launched hundreds of strikes against various targets inside Syria during last two years.

He said, “Only just now it was published — in the name of military sources, so I can quote it too — that in the last two years Israel has taken military action more than 200 times within Syria itself.”

Katz claimed that most of the targets belonged to Iran, saying, “Understand the significance of this matter in terms of preserving the red line, preventing the things that Iran has done, is doing and is trying to do against Israel from Syria.”

Israel began carrying out military strikes in Syria in 2013.

Syria and Iran have repeatedly rejected Israeli claims that Iran has military bases in Syria. Tehran says that it has been offering military advisory support at the request of the Damascus government.

Iranian Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami was in Damascus last week when he signed an agreement for defence and technical cooperation to ensure the continued presence and Iranian participation during Syria’s reconstruction.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Muallem in a meeting in Damascus on Monday that the his country will continue to support Syria in its fight against terrorist groups.

Syria has been facing foreign-backed militancy, generally referred as civil war by western media, since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and it’s Western and regional allies are aiding the terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

In another development, Haaretz reports that Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman, on Monday signalled that Israel could attack suspected military assets in Iraq as it has done with scores of airstrikes in Syria.

Last week, Reuters, citing Iranian, Iraqi and Western sources, had reported that Iran had transferred short range ballistic missiles to Iraq in recent months. However, Tehran and Baghdad have denied of such development.

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Five news stations receive letter bombs in Ecuador, one explodes in journalist’s face

Minister says the bombs were sent as a clear message to silence journalists in violence-ridden Ecuador

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Police officials searching for bombs in a new station in Ecuador

Ecuadorean authorities have reported that a series of letter bombs were mailed to five different TV and radio new stations in Ecaudor. The explosive devices were delivered to journalists on Monday, March 20.

Interior Minister Juan Zapata informed that one of these letters exploded in Guayaquil’s Ecuavisa private TV station. The bomb burst in the middle of the newsroom in presenter Lenin Artieda’s face. He was injured but not severely. Lenin informed the police that the device was structured like a USB drive, and it exploded as he plugged it into his computer.

Zapata added that all the devices were similar and sent from the town of Quimsaloma, on the Los Rios coast. The Ecuadorean attorney-general’s department has begun their investigation on the letters as an act of terrorism. Journalists have said that the bombs were sent to intimidate the free press and silence the media.

 Zapata also said that the government condemns such attacks and freedom of expression is a right that must be respected. The other four explosives sent through post never exploded as they failed or were never opened.

Police officer Xavier Chango informed the USB drive sent to Artieda seemed to be loaded with a military-type explosive RDX.

Ecuador lies between Colombia and Peru, the world’s two largest cocaine producers, and has become a hub for global drug trade in the recent years. The increased violence is a result of competition and clashes between drug criminal gangs for territory and charge.

In 2022, the RTS TV station came under gunfire attack and in 2020, a bomb exploded at Teleamazonas. President Guillermo Lasso had declared war on the gangs controlling drug trade from prisons, and has led to the death of more than 400 inmates since 2021. Ecuador’s murder rate has jumped from 14 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021 to 25 per 100,000 in 2022.

Two local gangs, the Lobos and Los Tiguerones, working with Mexico’s Jalisco New Generation cartel, have been responsible for these deadly prison riots. The Jalisco cartel is considered one of the five most dangerous criminal organizations in the world and its leader, Nemesio Oseguera, aka El Mencho, is among the most wanted by both Mexican and U.S. authorities.

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Earthquake leaves 11 dead in Pakistan, tremors shake North India

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled parts of Northern India on Tuesday night, left at least 11 people dead and over 160 others wounded in neighboring Pakistan, reports said.

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Pakistan Earthquake

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled parts of Northern India on Tuesday night, left at least 11 people dead and over 160 others wounded in neighboring Pakistan, reports said.

According to reports by Pakistani media, tremors were felt in Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Peshawar, Kohat, Lakki Marwat, and other areas of the country. In a statement, Pakistan Meteorological Department said the epicenter of the quake—which hit at a depth of 180 kilometers, at a latitude of 36.09 and a longitude of 71.35. — was the seismically active Hindu Kush region in Afghanistan.

Reports said that tremors and aftershocks were also witnessed in Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Kot Momin, Madh Ranjha, Chakwal, Kohat and in Gilgit-Baltistan areas.

Pakistani news channels showed panicked citizens running out of their home and on the streets to seek refuge from the tremors.

According to a report by Pakistan-based Geo News, eleven people, including two women were killed while over 160 people were injured due to the earthquake.

Read Also: Delhi Police crackdown on anti-Modi posters, police arrest 4 including owner of printing press, 44 cases registered

The strong jolts also led to the collapse of several buildings in impacted regions while a stamped was witnessed in markets of Rawalpindi when the earthquake hit, according to The Express Tribune newspaper.

State-run Associated Press of Pakistan released a statement by Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who has directed disaster management authorities to remain vigilant to handle any situation while Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel declared an emergency in Islamabad hospitals.

A statement by the international seismological centre said that apart from Pakistan, tremors were also felt in India, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China and Kyrgyzstan.

Tremors of the earthquake, that hit at around 10:17 pm on Tuesday night, were felt across Northern India including Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh. However, no casualties were reported. However, reports of damages to buildings are coming in from different parts of North India.

6.6 magnitude earthquake hits Delhi-NCR

BJP MLA tears kurta in protest over Ram Navami restrictions, says Jharkhand ruled by Taliban

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Rupert Murdoch set to marry for 5th time at 92

Murdoch, who met 66-year-old Smith last September at an event held at Murdoch’s vineyard in California, is planning to marry her in the summer.

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Rupert Murdoch Smith

Rupert Murdoch, an Australian-born American business magnate, announced on Monday that he will be marrying for the fifth time at the age of 92. Murdoch is already engaged to former San Francisco police chaplain Ann Lesley Smith.

Talking about his fifth marriage, Murdoch, the 31st richest person in the United States, said he was very nervous, and dreaded falling in love, but he knew it would be his last. He said he is happy about it.

Murdoch, who met 66-year-old Smith last September at an event held at Murdoch’s vineyard in California, is planning to marry her in the summer. He said that they both are looking forward to spending the second half of their lives together. They will spend their time between California, the UK, Montana and New York, reports state.

Smith is the widow of an American country singer and media executive who died in 2008. Speaking about the relationship with Murdoch, Smith said the two bonded over their shared knowledge of the media business.

Read Also: Amritpal Singh crackdown: Khalistani leader’s uncle brought to Central Jail in Assam, internet suspension to continue till March 23 noon in Punjab

She said for both of them it’s a gift from God. She said she is a widow for 14 years. Smith went on to say that like Rupert, her husband was a businessman. Worked for local papers, developed radio and TV stations, and helped promote Univision. So she speaks Rupert’s language. They share the same beliefs, she added.

Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corp., has six children from his first three marriages. Prudence MacLeod, with his first wife Patricia Booker, then Elisabeth and sons Lachlan and James with his second wife Anna Mann. He has two more daughters, Grace and Chloe, with his third wife Wendi Deng.

Later, he married former supermodel Jerry Hall for the fourth time. But the couple decided to part ways eight months ago after being together for six years.

According to Forbes, Murdoch is believed to have a fortune of around $17 billion. His empire includes Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and a string of other media assets around the world.

Rahul Gandhi says he won’t be intimidated days after Delhi Police search his residence

Traffic chaos as rain lashes Delhi NCR, more showers forecast tomorrow

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