Lebanon teacher killed as children narrowly escape deadly drone strike

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The aunt of 11-year-old Lebanese school boy Mohammad Ali Nasser shows his shirt covered with blood at the General Hospital in Nabatieh, following his injury during an Israeli drone strike on the car of a Hezbollah fighter in southern Lebanon on May 24, 2024. (AFP)
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Lebanese schoolboy Qassem Jaffal receives treatment at the General Hospital in Nabatieh, following an Israeli drone attack that killed a Hezbollah fighter and wounded three children riding their bus to school at the time on the road leading to the southern city on May 23, 2024. (AFP)
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People standing on a side road are seen through the smashed windshield of a school bus that was damaged while passing a car of a Hezbollah fighter as it was trageted by an Israeli drone strike on a road leading to the southern Lebanese city of Nabatieh on May 23, 2024. (AFP)
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Updated 23 May 2024
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Lebanon teacher killed as children narrowly escape deadly drone strike

  • ‘Divine providence’ saves students from certain death, says bus driver
  • Hezbollah launches rocket attacks after Israeli army steps up border assaults 

BEIRUT: Lebanese school children on a bus had a narrow escape when a drone strike killed a Hezbollah member in the car ahead, blowing out the windscreen of their vehicle and wounding three pupils.

Mohammed Nasser Farran, also a physics teacher at a public school in Nabatieh, was killed in the Israeli strike that targeted his car early on Thursday.

Three students were injured in the attack, which left the car in flames.

The strike was the first targeting a school teacher since the beginning of the confrontation between Hezbollah and the Israeli army. 

Farran, 35, who is originally from Nabatieh and a resident of Kfarsir, was on his way to the Hassan Kamel Al-Sabbah public high school in Nabatieh at 7:15 a.m. to supervise quarterly exams.

An Israeli drone directly targeted his Toyota car on the Nabatieh road, killing him instantly.

Hezbollah mourned Farran’s death and said that he was a member of the group.

The bus was carrying middle school students as young as 14 to the Choukine public school when the drone struck.

Bus driver Ahmad Sbeity said that the drone launched a rocket toward the car, and the subsequent explosion shattered the bus windscreen.

Students screamed while the driver tried to calm the situation.

“Three of them were injured, with blood running from different parts of their bodies, while others had panic attacks and were screaming continuously. Divine providence saved these students from inevitable death,” Sbeity said.

The driver contacted the ambulance and Lebanese Red Cross, which took the injured to the hospital. He also asked another bus driver to return the other students to their homes.

“What happened is a brutal criminal act. This enemy does not differentiate between a student and a civilian, and between a school and a hospital.”

Following the attack, 11-year-old Mohammed Ali Nasser, one of the three injured students, was seen sitting on the sidewalk, his clothes stained with blood.

Nasser was taken to hospital, and later said that he and his classmates heard an explosion and saw the car burst into flames.

Students immediately placed their backpacks on their heads in fear of another raid, he said.

Nasser said that he would return to school after treatment and was not afraid of Israel.

Two other students, Ali Reda Moussa Ayyash, 13, and Qassem Mohammed Jaffal, 12, were also injured, while more than 10 others were treated for panic and stress.

Abbas Shmeisani, principal of Hassan Kamel Al-Sabbah Public High School in Nabatieh, mourned the death of the physics teacher.

Farran was an “active educator characterized by ethics, generosity, politeness, and dedication. Such is our fate with this criminal and terrorist enemy,” he said.

Nisreen Choueib, principal of Choukine Public School, condemned the targeting of school students.

“Our students sleep to the shaking of the walls from the sounds of raids, wake up to the sound of gunfire, and go to their schools where education is resilience and victory,” Choueib said.

Caretaker Agriculture Minister Abbas Hajj Hassan said: “History will record that this enemy has become adept at targeting children.”

Hezbollah targeted Israel’s military sites with rockets in response to the strike, including the recently established headquarters of the 91st Division at the Ayelet base, and the headquarters of the Sahel Battalion of the 769th Brigade at the Beit Hillel base.

Sirens sounded in the Upper Galilee in the settlements of Ayelet Hashachar, Rehaniya, Avivim, Alma, and Yir’on.

The Israeli army said the air defense forces “intercepted and destroyed 30 rockets launched from Lebanon toward the Upper Galilee.”

Hezbollah said it targeted Israeli surveillance equipment at Metula and Al-Raheb.

Israeli media reported that fires broke out between Kiryat Shmona and Beit Hillel after five rockets fell, while the Kiryat Shmona area lost power after a rocket attack.

The Israeli army continued its assaults on the border area, with the outskirts of the town of Aitaroun hit by intermittent shelling from Israeli positions.

A combat drone carrying a missile raided an agricultural orchard in the Hamoul area on the outskirts of the town of Naqoura.


Palestinian Authority at risk of collapse, Norway says

Updated 3 sec ago
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Palestinian Authority at risk of collapse, Norway says

  • Norway chairs the international donor group to the Palestinians and is a backer of the Palestinian Authority
OSLO: The Palestinian Authority could collapse in the coming months, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said on Monday, citing a lack of funding, continuing violence and the fact that half a million Palestinians are not allowed to work in Israel.
“The Palestinian Authority, with whom we work closely, are warning us that they might be collapsing this summer,” Barth Eide said.
Norway chairs the international donor group to the Palestinians and is a backer of the PA.

Jordan braces for scorching heatwave as temperatures soar

Updated 7 min 34 sec ago
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Jordan braces for scorching heatwave as temperatures soar

  • The Gulf of Aqaba reached highs of 45 celsius
  • Temperatures in Jordan are set to rise slightly, with the heatwave persisting

AMMAN: The Jordan Meteorological Department forecast extreme heat for Monday, with most regions of the country — particularly the desert areas, Jordan Valley, Dead Sea and Aqaba — experiencing intense temperatures.

The Gulf of Aqaba reached highs of 45 celsius, the Southern Jordan Valley 44 celsius, Dead Sea 43 celsius, while the Desert Regions and the Northern Jordan Valley reached highs of 41 celsius. 

Cloud cover at medium and high altitudes is expected in the south and east of the Kingdom, state news agency Petra reported, with moderate northwesterly winds occasionally becoming brisk.

The JMD cautioned people against prolonged sun exposure, which could lead to dehydration, especially for vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with health conditions. It also highlighted the risk of forest fires and the dangers of leaving children or flammable items, like perfumes and sanitizers, inside vehicles.

Looking ahead to Tuesday, temperatures in Jordan are set to rise slightly, with the heatwave persisting. Most areas will remain hot, the JMD said, and desert regions will face sweltering conditions. Northeasterly winds will prevail, shifting to moderate northwesterly by evening.

The heatwave will continue into Wednesday, with another slight increase in temperatures. Conditions will be blistering and dry across the highlands, the JMD warned, with extreme heat persisting elsewhere. Northeasterly winds will turn to moderate northwesterly later in the day.

Thursday will bring a modest reprieve as temperatures dip slightly. However, the weather will remain hot across most areas, with the desert, Jordan Valley, Dead Sea, and Aqaba continuing to sizzle. Moderate northwesterly winds will occasionally become brisk.


Iran calls for joint action by Islamic nations to stop Gaza war

Updated 51 min 6 sec ago
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Iran calls for joint action by Islamic nations to stop Gaza war

  • Israel’s military offensive on Gaza has killed at least 37,337 people so far

TEHRAN: Iran’s Acting Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani has called for joint action on the part of Islamic countries to pressure Israel into ending its brutal military activities in Gaza, which have devastated most of the enclave and killed thousands of Palestinians there.

Israel’s military offensive on Gaza has killed at least 37,337 people, mostly civilian women and children, since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza.

Humanitarian supplies for millions of Palestinians displaced by the conflict have been squeezed despite the Israeli military declaring it would “pause” fighting daily around a southern route to facilitate aid flows.

The Iranian official also spoke with his Afghan counterpart Amir Khan Muttaqi via telephone on Sunday, with the two discussing bilateral relations as well as the situation in war-ravaged Gaza.

Kani reiterated Iran’s readiness to help Kabul resolve its challenges and achieve growth, Iran’s news agency IRNA reported.


Kuwaiti citizen detained for alleged involvement in extremist group

Updated 17 June 2024
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Kuwaiti citizen detained for alleged involvement in extremist group

KUWAIT CITY: The Public Prosecution in Kuwait has ordered the detention of a citizen on charges of joining a group aimed at illegally undermining the country’s basic systems, state news agency KUNA reported on Sunday.

The individual is also accused of receiving training in making explosives and preparing poisons for illicit purposes, as well as planning to leave the country to fight with the group, though he was unable to do so.

The Public Prosecution interrogated the accused and presented him with the charges, according to a statement released on its official account on X. Investigation procedures are ongoing.


Yemen’s Houthis announce new maritime operations in support of Gaza

Updated 17 June 2024
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Yemen’s Houthis announce new maritime operations in support of Gaza

  • The Houthis declared that attacks on Israel-linked shipping will persist until Israel ends its war on Gaza and lifts the siege on Palestinian territories

SANAA: The Houthi militia’s army spokesman, Yahya Saree, announced on Sunday that an American destroyer and two Israel-linked ships were targeted in recent operations in the Red and Arabian seas.

Saree said that the US destroyer was hit by ballistic missiles in the Red Sea, while the two ships — Captain Paris and Happy Condor — were targeted in the Arabian Sea using naval missiles and drones, respectively.

He stated that these ships were targeted because they were en route to ports in Israeli-occupied territories.

Saree reaffirmed Yemen’s stance, declaring that attacks on Israel-linked shipping will persist until Israel ends its war on Gaza and lifts the siege on Palestinian territories.

He also emphasized that the Yemeni army would continue to defend its territory against US-UK “aggression,” referring to joint airstrikes by the two Western nations, which the latter claim were launched to protect international shipping.

The Houthis have rejected these claims, asserting that their military operations in international waters, ongoing since mid-November, only target Israeli ships or vessels heading to Israeli-occupied ports.