A previously unknown Islamic militant group on Monday claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on northern Israel, reflecting Lebanon's increasingly dangerous mix of armed organizations.
Another militant group accidentally caused a deadly explosion in a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon when its members were preparing a bomb. Two people were killed and three wounded in the blast.
In northern Lebanon, three soldiers were killed in the latest fighting of a five-week siege against a third militant group barricaded inside another Palestinian refugee camp. Their deaths brought to 72 the number of Lebanese soldiers who have died in the battle with Fatah Islam at the Nahr el-Bared camp.
Plagued by its own domestic political turmoil, Lebanon has also seen the rise of a number of small, little known militant groups proclaiming the same Islamic jihadist ideology propagated by al-Qaeda.
Sunday's rocket attack on Israel, which caused some damage but no casualties, illustrated the group's potential for dragging Lebanon into conflict with Israel. The attack was the first since last summer's war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in which Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets, including longer-range ones, and the Israelis mounted massive airstrikes.
The Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah group quickly denied it fired the two Katyusha rockets.
On Monday, a group calling itself the Jihadi Badr Brigades-Lebanon branch said it fired the rockets and in a faxed statement stated that it would continue attacks on Israel.
"We affirm that we will continue no matter what the sacrifices on the jihad path are," said the statement, which began with a Koranic verse and carried a picture of Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock with a Palestinian flag in the background.
The claim could not be independently confirmed, and officials with wide experience in southern Lebanon said the group may not exist, with the name created merely to give the attack wider credibility.
Khaled Aref, a senior official with the mainstream Palestinian Fatah movement in the southern Lebanon refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh, said he had no knowledge of the group.
He said Palestinians had agreed not to use south Lebanon to attack Israel because "we don't want to put more pressure on Lebanon."
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
A squad of gun-toting police officers patrolled Myanmar’s sacred site of Bagan under the cover of night, taking on plunderers snatching relics from temples forsaken by tourists due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each evening as dusk falls, about 100 officers fan out across the plain of Bagan covering 50km2, sweeping flashlights over the crumbling monuments to scour for intruders. “Our security forces are patrolling day and night,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Sein Win told reporters. “We have it under control for the moment, but it’s a challenge.” The central Burmese city is strewn with more than 3,500 ancient monuments — stupas, temples, murals and sculptures
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warned against the “hasty” relaxation of anti-coronavirus measures, state media reported on Friday, indicating the country would keep its borders closed for the foreseeable future. North Korea in late January closed its borders as the virus spread in neighboring China, and imposed tough restrictions that put thousands of its people into isolation. Pyongyang insists it has not had a single case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus that has swept the world infecting more than 10.8 million people and killing more than 500,000. Analysts have said that North Korea is unlikely to have avoided the contagion