US Central Command refutes Iranian claims of downing drone over southern port city of Mahshahr

Iranian news outlets carried a report on the downing of a US drone over Mahshahr, without elaborating on whether it was a military or civilian drone. (File/AFP)
Updated 08 November 2019

US Central Command refutes Iranian claims of downing drone over southern port city of Mahshahr

  • Iran had shot down a drone over its southern port city of Mahshahr

WASHINGTON: US Central Command refuted on Friday that Iran had shot down a US drone, saying reports from Iranian media were incorrect and adding in a tweet that all US equipment had been accounted for. 

Iranian media reported earlier on Friday that Iran had shot down a drone over its southern port city of Mahshahr, without providing further details.

“Iran’s army has downed an unknown drone in the port city of Mahshahr,” the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

Other Iranian news outlets carried the same report, without elaborating on whether it was a military or civilian drone. Iranian officials were not immediately available for comment.

The Students News Agency ISNA and the Young Journalists Club (YJC), affiliated to Iran’s state broadcasting, said “an unknown flying object” had been shot down by the Iranian army, adding that the report had yet to be confirmed by Iranian officials.

Iran’s Arabic-Language Al-Alam TV channel said “residents of Imam Khomeini port city heard the sound of a missile being fired on Friday morning.”

In June, Iran shot down an unmanned US surveillance drone, which the elite Revolutionary Guards said was flying over southern Iran. Washington said the US drone had been shot down by Iran in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf.

Relations between Iran and the United States have worsened since last year when President Donald Trump pulled out of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.


Major roads reopened in Lebanon after 2-day closure

Updated 5 min 31 sec ago

Major roads reopened in Lebanon after 2-day closure

  • The roads linking Beirut with the country’s south and north were opened shortly before noon Thursday
  • Thousands of people attended the funeral of a 38-year-old father who was shot dead by a soldier at a protest Tuesday night

BEIRUT: Lebanese troops reopened major roads around Lebanon Thursday after a two-day closure triggered by a TV interview with President Michel Aoun in which he called on protesters to go home.
The roads linking Beirut with the country’s south and north were opened shortly before noon Thursday, as well as others around the country.
Protesters have been holding demonstrations since Oct. 17 demanding an end to widespread corruption and mismanagement by the political class that has ruled the country for three decades.
Aoun said Thursday that the demands of protesters are being followed adding that “they will be among the top priorities of the government that we are working on forming in the near future.”
Aoun expressed hopes in comments released by his office that a new Cabinet “will be formed in the coming days” after removing obstacles that have been delaying the formation.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned his government on Oct. 29, meeting a key demand of the protesters. Since then there have been disagreements over the new Cabinet as Hariri insists it should be made up of technocrats who will concentrate on solving Lebanon’s worst economic and financial crisis in decades while other politicians, including Aoun, want it to be a mixture of technocrats and politicians.
“Dealing with the developments should be based on national interests that need cooperation from all sides to achieve pursued goals,” Aoun said.
Caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil tweeted that the priority is to form a “salvation government” and prevent anyone from taking the country into a confrontation. Bassil is Aoun’s son-in-law and close aide.
The opening of the roads came a day after protesters started building a wall inside a tunnel on the highway linking Beirut with north Lebanon leading to an outcry by the public who saw it as a reminder of the 1975-90 civil war.
In the town of Jal Al-Dib, just north of Beirut, troops pushed away protesters from the highway and removed barriers that had been blocking the road since Tuesday night.
In the town of Choueifat south of Beirut, thousands of people attended the funeral of a 38-year-old father who was shot dead by a soldier at a protest Tuesday night. Alaa Abou Fakher’s death marked the first such fatality since the economically driven demonstrations against the government engulfed the country last month.
That protest was ignited by comments made by Aoun in a televised interview, in which he said there could be further delays before a new government is formed.
Abou Fakher’s coffin was carried through the streets of Choueifat as women dressed in black threw rice on it from balconies in a traditional Lebanese gesture.
Bank employees announced they will continue with their strike on Friday for the fourth day amid concerns for their safety as some of them have been subjected to insults by bank clients who were not allowed to withdraw as much as they wanted from their accounts. The country’s lenders are imposing varying capital controls that differ from bank to bank, fueling the turmoil.