The United States of America has ranked Algeria in category 2 of the countries in which US citizens must not go. The US State Department has issued a list of high-risk countries for its nationals. This list ranks Algeria in category 2, where the degree of the terrorist threat is high. “Most attacks take place in rural areas, but attacks in urban areas are possible despite a high and active police presence”, the US State Department adds, adding that “the US government has limited resources to provide emergency services outside the wilaya of Algiers because of travel restrictions imposed by the Algerian government on US officials”.
At least 21 militants, including Pakistani nationals, have been killed in the latest airstrikes carried out in the western Farah province of Afghanistan, near Khak-e-Safid district. Heavy and light weapons have been discovered and seized and three vehicles belonging to the militants were also destroyed in the airstrikes. No insurgent group has commented on the incident so far.
The Israeli army took office in the city of Nablus and neighboring villages in the West Bank on Wednesday, establishing roadblocks at all entrances and exits after a terrorist attack in the area led to the killing of an Israeli man on Tuesday night, the rabbi 35-year-old Raziel Shevach. The Israeli defense forces said an armed man opened fire on his car. The army searched the villages in the area overnight in search of the terrorists behind the attack and reinforcements were sent to the area to watch the operations. On Wednesday night, together with the Shin Bet security service and the Israeli police, the IDF arrested 11 Palestinians from the West Bank and the Jordan Valley for their suspected role in other cases of terror and disorder. During one of the arrests in the city of Jericho, the Palestinians set fire to rubbish bins and tires, also threw bricks and stones to the forces leading the army to shoot at the main rioters. The Shin Bet then declared that the “funds of terror” worth thousands of shekels were confiscated.
For the second time in two months, the Ministry of Defense has canceled the test of the latest Arrow-3 system. Moshe Patel, director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, said the Arrow-3 test – a joint project by the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the American Missile Defense Agency – was discontinued after a problem in data transfer was recognized from the ground system. The interceptor missile was never launched and so Patel emphasizes that we should not talk about a failed test, but rather borrow the name given to it by test engineers: “No test”. In December, a system test was stopped after a fault was discovered in a target missile, where the missile simulator was fired – which was supposed to simulate a ballistic missile fired at Israel. According to Boaz Levy, executive director and executive vice president of Systems, Missiles & Space Group of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the problem detected during the December test was resolved and was not related to the Wednesday defect. It is believed that the latest generation of the Arrow-3 system has better interception capabilities, capable of intercepting ballistic missiles even when they are still outside the Earth’s atmosphere and is considered one of the best in the world thanks to its revolutionary technological capabilities that allow him to perform at a much higher altitude and much further from Israeli soil.
Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Wednesday, Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, denounced US allegations against Iran over deaths in the recent riots, saying that the US are themselves a symbol of oppression of people, having a long record of barbarism and crimes against humanity, and have no right to accuse a nation whose officials are elected by the people. He stressed that in the riots over the past weeks, none of the security forces carried combat weapons to deal with the demonstrators. Major General Baqeri also warned of enemy plots to blame the government for the deaths in recent riots, most of which, he said, occurred in suspicious circumstances: most cases of the deaths in the riots are suspicious because those killed have been shot from behind and the shootings have taken place in unknown areas. Security forces say many rioters arrested in the recent unrest have been trained by the MKO terrorists or had links with the Takfiri terrorist groups.
The Syrian military said Israel carried out an attack on a military base in the city of al-Qutayfah outside of Damascus early Tuesday morning, which appears to have been used as a weapon depot, and in particular long-range missiles radius. The pro-regime al-Mayadeen media reported that the bombing occurred over several hours – 2:40, 3:04 and 4:15 – and was carried out by both aircraft and ground-to-ground missiles. The target was a base belonging to the 155th Syrian Military Artillery Regiment. It is assumed that the air attack is due to the will to defend itself against the Iranian expansion in the region. It is no secret that Israel is worried by the Iranian military presence in Syria, in fact, the government of Netanyahu has long been embarking on diplomatic, intelligence and security operations aimed at preventing the country just emerging from the war from becoming an Iranian military base.
TEHRAN – On Tuesday, in a gathering of people of Qom held in Tehran, leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said that a tripartite plot was behind the recent violent unrest in some Iranian cities: the US and Israel as one side of the triangle that masterminded the plot and worked on it for months. On the second side of the tripartite plot stood a Persian Gulf wealthy state which financed the ploy, while the third party included lackeys of the terrorist Mojahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO) that had been prepared since months ago. Ayatollah Khamenei also pointed to two command bases the enemies had set up in the vicinity of Iran to coordinate and control the operation: one of the bases was tasked with handling the operation in the cyberspace, while the second one focused on directing the unrest. “The US is clearly pursuing the objective of overthrowing the Islamic Republic”, the Leader warned, saying unlike the previous US administrations, the current one has announced such a policy in an unabashed and overt manner. Imam Khamenei then praised the Iranian nation for protecting the country and standing against hostile plots like a “strong dam”, citing the massive rallies held across Iran in condemnation of the riots and acts of vandalism and desecration. The Leader finally called on Iranian officials and political activists to try to solve the problems, saying correction of deficiencies would thwart the foreign propaganda campaign and prevent the US from harming the country. He also stressed that a distinction should be made between legitimate demands of the people and acts of vandalism by a certain group.
Mike Pence, the US Vice President, will visit Egypt next week. This trip is part of the MENA tour that was rescheduled from December because of the US President Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Pence will travel to Egypt on January 20 to met the President El- Sisi, and then he will visit Jordan and Israel to encounter the King Abdullah and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin. The aim of this tour is to discuss the efforts in the fight against terrorism and to improve security.
The United States has accused China of “provocative militarisation” of disputed areas in the South China Sea.
It would seem in fact China is continuing to do some work in the disputed waters, including installing high-frequency radar and other facilities that can be used for military purposes. Some aerial footage by the official China Central Television show Fiery Cross Reef (part of the Spratly Islands chain) which appeares to have been transformed into an airbase.
Brian Hook, a senior adviser to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, said USA will continue sending vessels to the region to carry out freedom-of-navigation patrols.
Beijing insists it has sovereignty over almost all the South China Sea but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to the waters. Manila, in particular, says Beijing broke the promise not to militarize man-made islands.
Illegal armed groups in separate areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (ORDLO) continue limiting freedom of movement of monitors of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) and jeopardize their work, Ukraine’s representatives of the Joint Control and Coordination Center (JCCC) have reported.
“Since early 2018, the OSCE SMM continues to register cases of threats, limitations of access to military facilities and freedom of movement of its patrols on the territory temporarily uncontrolled by the government of Ukraine”, the press center of the ATO headquarters said on its Facebook page on Sunday morning. “At the same time, populists from ORDLO simulate teeming activity, having issued the second “order” in the past six months banning the unjustified limitation of freedom of movement of OSCE monitors. After issuing the first “order” late August 2017, the number of these restrictions not only did not decrease but even increased. For example, during the first month when “the order” was in effect the OSCE CMM recorded 46 cases of these violations”, the headquarters said.