Rescue efforts continue as Beirut blast death toll rises to 100



Rescue workers, on Wednesday continued their search for people missing under the rubble of collapsed buildings, a day after a massive blast at the port of Beirut killed 100 people.

Some 4,000 people have been injured, many suffering from moderate to serious wounds, the Lebanese Red Cross said.

Lebanese Red Cross Secretary General George Kettneh told dpa that the death toll could increase.

A civil defence official told dpa they are still searching for around 100 people missing under the rubble, especially in the vicinity of Beirut port.

“There are many people still covered under the rubble,” said the official, who requested anonymity for not having permission to speak to the media.

Lebanon woke up to scenes of massive damage at Beirut’s port and nearby areas in the centre of the capital.

Dozens of damaged cars lined the main highway, apartment buildings were surrounded by shattered glass, and some people slept without windows.

“This is horrific … this is not something usual,” said one man who was sweeping the glass in front of his apartment.

A Lebanese army officer at the scene, who requested anonymity, said there are more casualties still buried inside the port.

Workers started to remove some of the debris to open roads and repair the damage in nearby streets, stretching to the famous Gemayzeh Street, home to most of the city’s pubs and Beirut’s usual bustling nightlife.

The explosion takes place as Lebanon is struggling through its worst economic crisis since the country’s 1975-90 civil war ended.

The cabinet is expected to meet in an emergency meeting on Wednesday after Lebanon’s Higher Defence Council declared Beirut a “disaster” area and recommended a two-week state of emergency.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the explosion, but the internal security chief said the area was housing highly explosive materials.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab vowed to punish the people responsible for the blasts.

He said it was “unacceptable” that a shipment of approximately 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate was stored in a warehouse in Beirut’s port for six years without safety measures.

Jordan’s army plans to dispatch a military field hospital, with materials and personnel, to provide medical support to Lebanon. Iraq is also expected to send a plane carrying urgent medical aid.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)


Iraq urges EU to remove country from list of terrorism sponsors



Iraq has called on the European Commission to exclude the state from the list of third countries that launder money and finance terrorism, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.


The foreign ministry said this in the wake of a meeting between Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein and EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrel.


The meeting between the two high-ranking officials took place on Wednesday in the Brussels-based European Commission headquarters.


The both countries discussed cooperation between Baghdad and the EU countries, as well as issues of mutual concern and the parliamentary elections that are scheduled to be held in Iraq in June 2021.

“The two sides discussed the issue of removing Iraq from the European Commission’s list of high-risk countries in the field of money laundering and terrorist financing.


“And also renewed inviting the relevant authorities in the commission to accelerate dialogue with the concerned technical authorities in Iraq in order to complete the evaluation of Iraq’s performance in this field, and remove it from this list,” the ministry said in an official statement.

Fuad, in turn, extended an invitation to Borrel to pay a visit to Iraq “at the earliest possible opportunity” to talk about strengthening bilateral ties, the statement read.

The Iraqi minister has praised the EU efforts to provide political and economic assistance to the country, especially to confront the COVID-19 pandemic.


And it also reiterated Baghdad’s commitment to the principle of respecting the sovereignty of other states and not interfering in their internal affairs.

Iraq was included in the list of the countries that have significant deficiencies in their fight against money laundering and terrorism financing back in October 2016.

The legislation requires the EU to identify third states with such a strategy, as it poses a major threat to the EU financial system.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Source: NAN
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Sudan arrests 41 terrorists, seizes large amounts of explosives




Khartoum Sudanese security forces have arrested 41 terrorism suspects and seized explosives that “could have blown up the entire capital,” the public prosecutor and police director general said on Wednesday.

The explosives included highly explosive ammonium nitrate, the public prosecutor Taj Al-Sir Al-Hibir and police director general Ezz El-Din Al-Sheikh told journalists in the capital.

The terrorism suspects were arrested during 12 ambush operations conducted by Rapid Support Forces (RSF) teams, and almost 3,600 explosive devices were seized, the attorney general said.

Some of the arrested are suspected to have been involved in an attack on the convoy of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok in March, RSF spokesman Jamal Jumaa said.

Ammonium nitrate was the substance that caused a massive explosion in the port of Lebanon’s capital Beirut on August 4, killing 190 people and leaving at least 6,000 others injured.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashi
Source: NAN

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Explosive device detonates on Baghdad highway used by United States diplomats – Report



An explosive device detonated in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad at one of the entrances to the so-called carefully guarded green zone on the highway used by United States diplomats, Al Arabiya broadcaster reported on Tuesday.

According to the broadcaster, the explosion took place near a mosque next to the bridge in front of the entrance to the carefully guarded “green zone” of Baghdad, on the highway leading to the street of the Baghdad International Airport, which is used by United States diplomats.

Preliminary data has established that no one was injured as a result of the incident, and the entrance was blocked by security forces, the broadcaster added.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurdistan’s regional Rudaw news agency reported, citing a diplomatic source, that a British diplomatic mission convoy was struck by an improvised explosive device.

The broadcaster also said that there were no casualties following the explosion.

Iraq Advisory Council Chairman Farhad Alaaldin told Rudaw that the blast was a serious security violation for diplomatic missions, especially when such attacks “happen in the heart of Baghdad and in daylight.”

The blast was several hours after another night rocket attack on the “green zone.”

Early on Tuesday, two Katyusha rockets targeting the so-called green zone fell in Baghdad, the Iraqi Security Media Cell, which provides official information on security incidents, said.

The media cell added that the United States air defense system had repelled the attack.

The rockets were fired from the Ali Saleh district, located in the Iraqi capital.

The Baghdad green zone, which hosts Iraqi government facilities and foreign diplomatic missions, frequently suffers from rocket attacks.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Source: NAN
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Allies’ view of United States crashes in wake of poor pandemic response, survey



Countries around the world view the United States response to the coronavirus particularly poorly, contributing to a sharp decline to the country’s overall favourability, a study from the Pew Research Centre released on Tuesday.

The study reviewed attitudes towards the United States among people in more than a dozen key industrialized democracies, all allies of Washington.

In France and Germany, those who have a favourable view of the US has dropped to the record lows matched only back in 2003, at the height of tensions over the invasion of Iraq.

Britain, Japan, Canada and Australia never saw their negative views hit such high levels before.

Over the 13 countries surveyed, only 15 per cent of people, on average, had a positive opinion of how the U..S handled the coronavirus.

Often, people thought China, European nations and the World Health Organisation did far better than the United States

“The percentage of those who have confidence in the United States president to do the right thing regarding world affairs has dropped to levels not seen since the end of the George W Bush presidency,’’ the Pew study showed.

Only about 10 per cent of the Germans and French believe President Donald Trump would do the right thing on the global stage.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel ranks highest among world leaders, followed by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Trump trails even Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s leader Xi Jinping in terms of trust.

Confidence in Trump among Europeans is highest among those who support populist right-wing parties.


Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye
Source: NAN
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