SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) France's embassy in Libya was hit by what appeared to be a car bomb on Tuesday, injuring two guards in the first such attack in the Libyan capital since the 2011 war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.
"There was an attack on the embassy. We think it was a booby trapped car," a French official told Reuters. "There was a lot of damage and there are two guards wounded."
In Paris, foreign minister Laurent Fabius condemned what he called a heinous attack and said everything would be done to find the perpetrators.
"I send my solidarity and deepest sympathy to the two injured French guards and my wishes for their recovery," he said in a statement.
One resident living less than 100 metres from the embassy said his windows shook when the first blast occurred.
A witness who lives near the embassy, Asad Naeeli, told Al Jazeera that the bomb went off around 7am [0500 GMT].
“This is a big concern as a Libyan. You hear about things happening in different cities and now it is close to home," he said. "It is a big concern for the security of Libya, it will delay many things."
Diplomatic missions have been targeted in Libya, most notably an attack on the US mission in the eastern city of Benghazi last September that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans.
However Tuesday's attack is the first such serious assault on an embassy or foreign mission in the capital, Tripoli.
Libya's new rulers are still struggling to impose their authority on a country awash with weapons and a myriad of armed militias who often do as they please.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Venezuela's post-election crisis is growing deeper, with seven people killed during clashes between the opposition and police. President-elect Nicolas Maduro has assured Venezuelans that he has proof that the US embassy is financing the ongoing protests.
The deaths occurred on Monday, when hundreds of protesters took to the streets in various parts of Caracas and other cities. The demonstrators blocked streets, burned tires, and fought with security forces.
The fatalities include two people shot by opposition sympathizers while celebrating Maduro's victory, state media reported. One person died in an attack on a government-run clinic in a central state. Two others, including a policeman, were killed in an Andean border state, officials told Reuters.
"The most serious thing is that in these violent actions, seven Venezuelans died," said Attorney General Luisa Ortega. She added that 135 people have been arrested in suspected connection with the violence.
According to Maduro, who spoke on Venezuelan television on Tuesday, opposition candidate Henrique Capriles ought to be held responsible for the violent demonstrations now taking place in Caracas and throughout the country, which have already left sixty-one injured. He also made pointed accusations at the US as having a key role in the current instability.
“The Pentagon, the US State Department and the CIA govern the US. Here, in Venezuela, the people govern,” stated Maduro.
Meanwhile, Capriles has called Maduro's victory "illegitimate" and called on supporters to peacefully protest the results. The Venezuelan election authority has refused to hold a recount, despite calls from the opposition.
But Latin American expert James Petras says the election was anything but fraudulent.
"In the case of Venezuela, there were 100 outside international observers clearly recognized as objective judges who observed the election process, observed the voting, and observed the counting. It's a misnomer to say that this was a questionable election," he told RT.
Maduro said on Tuesday that he will not allow the opposition to hold a march in the center of Caracas planned for Wednesday, to demand a recount of votes following Sunday's election. "It's time for a tough hand," he said.
Speaking to supporters Tuesday, Capriles indicated that the current clashes were the work of the incumbent party, and asked that they not go out into the streets on Wednesday, stating that those who do “only want violence.” He added that, according to intelligence given to the opposition, the government had and would attempt to “infiltrate” demonstrations.
Despite calls from the opposition, the Venezuelan election authority has refused to hold a recount.
Maduro has spoken out against the opposition protests. "Where are the opposition politicians who believe in democracy?" Maduro said, blaming opposition candidate Henrique Capriles for the violence.
His thoughts were echoed by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua. "Those who attempt to take with force what they could not acquire through elections are not democrats," he said.
And Petras agrees. "I think [the opposition] is trying to sabotage the government. They're not engaging in a peaceful protest. They're not raising legitimate questions. What they're doing is essentially calling into question election procedures," he said.
Sunday's election came after the death of Hugo Chavez last month. He named Maduro as his successor before he died.
Maduro won the election with 50.8 per cent of the vote against Capriles' 49.0 per cent.
According to anti-war activist Don Debar, the US is not exactly neutral in the Venezuelan election dispute.
"Venezuela is the nexus point for the standing up of the global South. The organizations ALBA, UNASUR, various structures that are being put in place for economic independence of, first, Central and South America, and then recently moves to bridge to Africa and moves to work in conjunction with the BRICS nations. It’s an alternate economic structure, global in its potential nature, that the United States sees basically as a foundational threat," he told RT.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – North Korea has asked foreign countries to consider evacuating their embassies in Pyongyang, amid soaring tension on the Korean peninsula following a month-long war of words between the North and the South.
Warnings by the North that nuclear war could break out at any time has prompted the US to strengthen its Pacific missile defences and Russia to express its concerns.
Britain is one of several European countries including Russia to receive a letter regarding the safety of its embassy in Pyongyang, as North Korea moved two mid-range missiles to its east coast.
The Foreign Office said on Friday that North Korea had warned Britain that it could not protect foreign embassies after April 10 in the event of a conflict.
"The DPRK has responsibilities under the Vienna Convention to protect diplomatic missions and we believe they have taken this step as part of their country's rhetoric that the US poses a threat to them," the Foreign Office spokesperson said.
It said it had "no immediate plans" to evacuate its embassy and accused the North Korean government of raising tensions "through a series of public statements and other provocations".
Earlier on Friday, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that North Korea had moved two medium-range missiles to its east coast.
The report cited a senior military official as saying: "Early this week, the North has moved two Musudan missiles on the train and placed them on mobile launchers."
The report could not be confirmed, but White House spokesman Jay Carney said that based on past behaviour, "we would not be surprised" to see Pyongyang conduct another missile test.
"We urge them to stop with the provocations," he said.
Earlier, when only one missile was reported, Kim Kwan-jin, South Korea's defence minister, said it could reach a "considerable distance" but not the US mainland, telling legislators it "could be aimed at test-firing or military drills".
Intelligence analysis quoted by Yonhap said the missile was believed to be a Musudan which has an estimated range of about 3,000km or more.
North Korea has been railing against US-South Korean military exercises that began in March and are to continue until the end of this month.
UN 'deeply alarmed'
At the diplomatic level, Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, expressed deep alarm at rising tensions, though UN humanitarian workers remain active across North Korea for the time being, according to a spokesperson.
"UN staff in the DPRK [North Korea] remain engaged in their humanitarian and developmental work throughout the country," Martin Nesirky, a UN spokesman, said.
"The secretary-general remains deeply concerned about escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula."
The UN has 36 international staff and 21 locally recruited personnel working for seven different agencies and programmes in that country, Farhan Haq, UN spokesman, said.
Nesirky said UN officials were at a meeting on Friday in Pyongyang during which North Korean officials asked foreign diplomats to consider moving staff out of their embassies.
Meanwhile on Saturday, four days after Pyongyang closed the border to people and goods, 21 more South Korean began leaving the North and the factory where they work.
The Kaesong industrial park is considered the last remnant of cooperation between the two countries, and 100 more workers are expected to have left by the end of the day.
One South Korean manager of the factory park, 68-year-old Han Nam-il, who crossed the Unification Bridge towards South Korea on Saturday morning, said that the security guards at the North Korean side of the border were "were fully armed," but the number of soldiers was "just as usual."-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A Turkish Marxist group has claimed responsibility for the bomb attack outside the US Embassy in Ankara, in a statement which calls the United States “the murderer of the peoples of the world.”
According to Press TV, the statement posted on the Internet by the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party (DHKP-C) on Saturday denounced American foreign policy.
It also condemned Turkey’s policy of supporting Syrian terrorists against the government of Bashar al-Assad.
On Friday, a bomb explosion outside the US Embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara, killed two people and wounded several others.
Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Guler said the bomber, who was also killed in the blast, belonged to a leftist group.
The site also published two pictures of the bomber identified as Alisan Sanli, who authorities say was previously jailed for his involvement in an attack on a military compound in Istanbul in 1997.
In their statement, the group also condemned the recent deployment of NATO Patriot missile batteries in southern Turkey.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- A security guard has been killed after a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the US embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara, the provincial governor says.
"There were two dead in the suicide bombing, a Turkish security guard and the bomber himself," Alaattin Yuksel told reporters, adding that a woman was also wounded in Friday's blast in the Cankaya neighbourhood.
The US ambassador to Turkey confirmed that one of the embassy's Turkish staff was killed.
"We are very grateful to the Turkish state and the police for the very prompt response," Ambassador Francis Ricciardone said. "We are very sad of course that we lost one of our Turkish guards at the gate."
Smoke rose from a side entrance to the embassy after the doorway was damaged and debris sent flying into the street. The bomb appeared to have exploded near a security checkpoint at the entrance of the visa section of the embassy.
"It was a huge explosion. I was sitting in my shop when it happened. I saw what looked like a body part on the ground,"
said travel agent Kamiyar Barnos whose shop window was shattered around 100 metres away from the blast.
Television footage showed a door blown out and masonry from the wall around it scattered in front of the entrance, although there did not appear to be any more significant structural damage. The explosion was heard more than a kilometre away, reported Al Jazeera's Gonca Senay from the scene.
Police cordoned off the street where many other state institutions and embassies, including those of Germany and France, are also located. A police helicopter hovered in the air and armed US Marines patrolled the embassy roof following the attack.
Victoria Nuland, a US state department spokesperson, said that investigations were underway to find those responsible.
"We are working closely with the Turkish national police to make a full assessment of the damage and the casualties, and to begin an investigation," she said in a statement.
In a statement made after the bombing, Muammer Guler , the Turkish interior minister, said that the bomber was about 30 years old, and was a member of a far-left group.
"The attacks target the well-being and peace in our country," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in televised remarks. "We will stand tall and we will stand together.. we will get over these."
In July 2008, three gunmen and three Turkish policemen were killed in an attack outside the well-fortified US consulate in Istanbul.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - An Israeli man wielding an ax and a knife attacked and lightly wounded an Israeli security guard at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on Tuesday before he was apprehended at the scene, police said.
The man, in his early 40s, attacked the guard outside the embassy gates, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. He said the man's motive was unknown, but political motives were not suspected and the incident had nothing to do with Israel's battle with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was scheduled to arrive in Israel later Tuesday to try to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
U.S. Embassy spokesman Geoff Anisman said the "situation in under control."
Security was increased after the attack, and the suspect was being questioned, Rosenfeld said.
The beachfront embassy is one of the most secure locations in Israel, guarded around the clock by teams of Israeli and American security guards.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Thousands of protesters demonstrated outside the Israeli embassy in London on Saturday evening, waving placards and condemning Israel’s attack on Gaza.
The protest, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative, Palestinian Forum in Britain and CND, heard speakers reflecting the diversity and strength of public opinion in support of Palestinian rights.
A number of other organisations which support human rights and justice backed the demonstration. There were representatives from Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Palestinian students, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Stop the War Coalition, Islamic Human Rights Commission, trade unions and many other organisations.
Speakers on the podium condemned the British government after Foreign Secretary William Hague said the Hamas bore "principal responsibility" for the escalation of violence. PSC director Sarah Colborne said demonstrators wanted to show their opposition to the Foreign Office s standpoint.
"We are insisting that the British Government uphold international law and human rights and tell Israel to end its war now. 39 Palestinians have been killed so far and over 390 have been wounded. Israel’s war on Gaza has to stop," she said.
"It s very clear what is happening here. Gaza is under siege. Israel started this by assassinating the person who was trying to negotiate a long-term truce with Israel. It s very clear who started this and who is suffering."
Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian General Delegate to the UK, told the crowd: What is our crime? It is to want freedom and an end to the occupation, blockade and abuse of our human rights. "When will Israel understand that we are people seeking our freedom and our self-determination?", he asked.
"The international community is watching the Israelis killing the Palestinians and inflicting so much damage on them and their properties without outright condemnation," he said. Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn said: “Where else would the EU tolerate the imprisonment of elected Parliamentarians? We need to see the end of the EU’s preferential trade agreement with Israel and we need to see an end to the arms trade with Israel. Yet the West are standing idly by whilst civilians are being bombed."
Jean Lambert MEP said: “This is nothing to do with security or peace and everything to do with the internal politics of Israel, with their election coming. We need an embargo or arms both going into and coming out of the area.
"We should invoke the human rights clause of the EU trade agreement with Israel and suspend their preferential status. We need a ceasefire, but this alone is not enough. We need real justice and the recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations," the Green party Member of the European Parliament said.
Anas Altikriti, President and founder of the Cordoba Foundation, pointed out how the mass demonstrations against Operation Cast Lead had forced Israel to end its air and ground invasion of Gaza, and that ‘four years on from Israel’s 2008 bombing of Gaza, we’ve made a huge difference.’ He said: "Those who pretend this is a war between two equals are deluded or liars. This is a nuclear power using all its might against what is little more than a refugee camp."
"For the very first time we are seeing delegations from neighbouring countries visiting Gaza to offer support. The line of visiting ministers is getting longer and longer, whilst those willing to support Israel are shrinking by the day," he added.
Glyn Secker from Jews for Justice for Palestinians received huge applause when he spoke to the crowd – Glyn also acted as captain of the Jewish Boat to Gaza which attempted to break the blockade on Gaza in 2010 and was violently intercepted by Israeli forces.
Similar rallies were held in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Sheffield, Cardiff and Manchester”— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said that it will open an Embassy in Armenia in the near future, in appreciation of Armenia's position in supporting the new Iraq.
“Minister of Foreign Affairs Hoshyar Zebari received on Wednesday at the Ministry's HQ Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Armin Kevorkian and his accompanying delegation,” said a foreign ministry’s statement.
“During the meeting, the two sides discussed bilateral relations and ways of developing them in all common areas,” it added.
“Minister Zebari praised Armenia's position in support of the new Iraq, noting that Iraq will open an Embassy in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, in the near future.”
The Minister also held a dinner banquet in honor of the delegation attended by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Rowsch Nouri Shaways and a number of officials.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could suffer serious health problems if he stays in London’s Ecuadorian embassy, warned his lawyer. The whistleblower faces immediate arrest and extradition to Sweden should he leave the building.
“Assange is in good health, but the situation is getting steadily worse,” lawyer Baltasar Garzon said during an anti-corruption conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The confined conditions in which Assange is currently living could cause him to “suffer from serious medical problems,” and lead to “psychological issues,” Garzon said.
Assange has been confined tinside Ecuadorian Embassy since June 19 in conditions Garzon described as worse than prison. Assange took refuge there to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on charges of sex crimes.
According to Garzon, Assange is not seeking to escape questioning in Sweden, as they allegedly have evidence proving his innocence. “We want the trial to go ahead in Sweden, but we want a guarantee of his safety.” Garzon said the whistleblower risked being re-extradited to US jurisdiction should he be taken to Sweden.
Previously, Ecuadorian vice foreign minister Marco Albuja said that he was “very worried” for Assange’s welfare, and that “he had lost a lot of weight.”
The Ecuadorian government has asked the UK for permission to extract Assange from the embassy in London and transfer him to Ecuador. They also called for a guarantee of his safety if he has to be admitted to a London hospital at any time.
The British government has flatly refused to negotiate, maintaining that they are legally obligated to hand him over to Sweden should he set foot outside the embassy.
The WikiLeaks founder has now spent over four months in the embassy after losing his court battle against extradition. He claims the allegations of sexual abuse against him are politically motivated, and part of a US conspiracy to arrest him.
Assange drew Washington's fury after publishing thousands of classified diplomatic cables on the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks in 2010.
The US government has denied claims that there is a secret grand jury case being prepared to prosecute Assange, but has not ruled out the possibility of requesting he be extradited from Sweden to the US.
Despite Washington’s denials, there is evidence that the US government has been monitoring Assange for the last few years. Diplomatic cables released a month ago showed how US and Australian authorities shared information on the whistleblower. One of the wires indicated the most successful route to prosecution “would be to show that Mr. Assange had acted as a co-conspirator – soliciting, encouraging or assisting [US Army private] Bradley Manning, to obtain and provide the documents.”
Bradley Manning, 24, faces a potential life sentence if he is convicted of aiding the enemy after releasing classified military intelligence to WikiLeaks in 2010. Manning’s lawyer said last week that he may plead guilty to some of the lesser charges set against him.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – “My son has been detained in al-Kharj prison in Riyadh for three years unlawfully. He’s being subjected to extreme torture. As a consequence he lost his eyesight and is suffering from diabetes,” an Egyptian woman said.
Protesters also demanded fair trial for Egyptian prisoners in Saudi Arabia.
“My husband has been detained in a Saudi prison without neither a charge nor a trial. Undercover agents arrested him at work without issuing a warrant,” another protester at the Saudi Embassy said.
The gathering is not the first demonstration to be held at the embassy.
In April, attorney Ahmed al-Gizawi was detained shortly after his arrival in Saudi Arabia on alleged drug charges.
His arrest sparked major protests in Egypt and the temporary closure of the Saudi Embassy.
Many Egyptians believe that Gizawi was detained for filing a lawsuit in Cairo against Saudi monarch King Abdullah Bin Abdel Aziz on behalf of Egyptian citizens held without charge in Saudi prisons.— www.shafaqna.com/English