Entries in Air Strikes (12)


Iran Warns Israel It Will Regret Air Strikes Against Syria

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Syria received a vote of support Monday when the head of Iran’s National Security Council warned Israel it would regret last week's air strike near the border with Lebanon that targeted a truck convoy carrying ground-to-air missiles to Hezbollah.

Saeed Jalili, who was in Damascus for talks with top Syrian officials about the two-year conflict with opposition forces, issued a fiery denunciation of Israel, which has yet to comment directly on the attack reported by U.S. and Western sources.

Bringing up past Israeli action against Hezbollah and Hamas, Jalili told reporters, "Just as it regretted its aggressions after the 33-day, 22-day and eight-day wars, today the Zionist entity will regret the aggression it launched against Syria."

The Iranian official also called on the Muslim world to rise up and defend the Syrians from outside aggressors.

Damascus has said that Israeli war jets actually struck a military research facility northeast of the capital but has not tried to retaliate against Israel, which typically launches preemptive strikes when the government fears its security is threatened.

Jalili was in the capital to help broker a truce between President Bashar al-Assad and his opponents after nearly two years of war that has left well over 60,000 people dead.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rising Palestinian Death Toll Spurs Calls for Ceasefire in Gaza

Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images(GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip) -- Mourners on Monday buried the 11 victims of an Israeli air strike Sunday, the single deadliest incident since the escalation between Hamas and Israel began last Wednesday.

Among the dead were nine members of the Daloo family, killed when an Israeli warplane targeted their home in Gaza City while trying to kill a Hamas rocket maker, whose fate is unknown.

Palestinian deaths climbed to more than 90 on Monday when four more, including two children, were killed in a strike on a sports stadium the Israel Defense Forces said was being used to launch rockets.  Gaza health officials said half of those killed were children, women or elderly men.

Israel carried out 80 air strikes Monday morning, down from previous morning totals.  There were just 16 militant rocket launches, the Israeli military said, also a relatively low tally.  

The Israel Defense Forces said that since Wednesday, when Hamas' top military commander was assassinated by Israel, around 1,100 strikes had been carried out in Gaza, while militants have launched about 1,000 rockets.

Sunday proved to be one the deadliest days of what Israel has called "Operation Pillar of Defense," with at least 23 people reported killed.  Of those, at least 14 were women and children, according to a Gaza health official.  

The Israel Defense Forces told ABC News it was targeting Hamas rocket maker Yehiya Bia, who lives near the Daloo family in a densely populated Gaza neighborhood and has not been accounted for.

Rescue workers worked frantically Monday morning looking for any survivors in the rubble of the attack.

Israel shifted its tactics this weekend from striking rocket arsenals and firing positions to targeting the homes of senior Hamas commanders and the offices of Hamas politicians in Gaza.  Doing so brought the violence into Gaza's most densely populated areas.

Israel also hit two high-rise buildings on Sunday that house the offices of Hamas and international media outlets, injuring at least six journalists.

Meanwhile, militant rockets continued to rain down on Israel Sunday.  More than 100 rockets were fired Sunday, with 76 landing in Israel, according to the Israel Defense Forces.  

The military said that more than 500 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel.  More than 300 have been intercepted by Israel's "Iron Dome" defense system.

Three Israeli civilians died from militant rocket fire in one attack Thursday and dozens have been wounded.

The pace of diplomacy has stepped up as civilian casualties in Gaza continue to rise.  An Israeli envoy is in Cairo to talk with Egyptian officials but Hamas sources say no progress has been made.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to arrive later Monday, and has called for an immediate ceasefire.  Leaders of Qatar, Turkey and Hamas, as well as an Israeli envoy, are working toward a ceasefire proposal.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Israeli, Palestinian Truce Cracks as Violence, Air Strikes Hit Third Day

Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images(GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip) -- Israeli air strikes and rocket launches from the Gaza Strip stretched into a third day, despite talk of a temporary truce.

Israel said it would stop its aerial bombardment of Gaza while Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil visits the narrow enclave, but Palestinian militants continued to fire rockets toward Israel amid the sounds of Israeli missiles landing in Gaza City.

Israel said more than 150 sites had been targeted overnight, including weapons depots and rocket-launching sites.  About 16,000 troops have now been drafted as Israeli troops and tanks mass along the border of the Gaza Strip -- a possible sign of a ground invasion.

Fighting between the two sides escalated sharply Thursday with the first rocket attack from Gaza on Tel Aviv during this burst of violence.  No casualties were reported, but three Israelis died in the country's rocket-scarred south when a projectile slammed into an apartment building.

The last time rockets threatened Tel Aviv was during the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein fired Scud missiles into the city.

The death toll in the densely populated Palestinian territory stands at 21, including at least six children, according to Palestinian health officials.

Israel says about 300 rockets have flown into Gaza from Israel since Wednesday, some 130 of which were said to have been stopped by the anti-missile Iron Dome system.

Back in Washington, President Obama has been fielding calls from leaders across the Middle East on the mounting violence.

Aboard Air Force One, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Thursday that the administration strongly condemns the ongoing rocket fire from Gaza.

"Hamas claims to have the best interest of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that is counterproductive to the Palestinian cause," Carney said.

Israeli has targeted more than 250 sites across Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, since the operation dubbed "Pillar of Defense" began Wednesday evening.

The first strike was on Ahmed Jabari, the chief of staff of the military wing of Hamas, the Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades.  It was followed by a wave of air strikes on other militants, buildings and installations, notably launching sites and rockets, which included the long-range Fajar rockets.

Gaza Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh vowed revenge for Jabari's death.  "His blood will not be in vain," Haniyeh said.

The last time the region saw this degree of violence was four years ago, when Israel conducted air and ground invasions of Gaza.  That operation lasted three weeks and left more than 1,400 people dead.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Syria Launches More Air Strikes, Blasts French Recognition of Rebel Coalition

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Syrian authorities on Wednesday ordered additional air strikes against rebels in villages close to the Turkish border, and blasted a French government decision to formally recognize the newly-formed Syrian rebel coalition.

Faisal al-Miqdad, Syria’s deputy foreign minister, said France’s decision to recognize the Syrian rebel umbrella group, which calls itself the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, “is an immoral position because it allows the killing of Syrians,” according to AFP.  

“They are supporting killers, terrorists, and they are encouraging the destruction of Syria,” al-Miqdad added.

French President Francois Hollande said this week that the umbrella group is the “only representative of the Syrian People and therefore...the future provisional government of a democratic Syria.”

France is the first Western nation to formally recognize the new organization.

At his news conference Wednesday, President Obama said he was “encouraged” to see that the Syrian opposition created an umbrella group.

The president said the U.S. considers the group “a legitimate representative of the aspirations of the Syrian people,” but quickly added that the United States was “not yet prepared to recognize them as some sort of government in exile....”   He said the coalition is viewed as a “broad-based representative group.”

Obama said two crucial issues remain for the United States.  He stated that the U.S. wants to be sure that the opposition “is committed to a democratic Syria, an inclusive Syria, a moderate Syria.”   The president said the U.S. also wants to prevent any flow of arms from reaching extremist elements “who would do Americans harm, or do Israelis harm, or otherwise engage in actions that are detrimental to our national security.”

An estimated 35,000 people have died since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began nearly 20 months ago.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Israel Extends Air Strikes on Gaza as Hamas Retaliates

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip stretched into another day as Hamas and other militant groups retaliated -- the latest escalation of violence between the two sides that followed Israel's assassination Wednesday of Hamas' top military commander.

Three Israelis were killed in the southern town of Kiryat Malakhi by rocket fire Thursday morning.  These are the first Israeli deaths in this escalation.

Israel's Air Force has hit more than 150 targets across Gaza since the operation -- dubbed "Pillar of Defense" -- began Wednesday evening.  The first strike was on Ahmed Jabari, the chief of staff of the military wing of Hamas, the Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades.  It was followed by a wave of air strikes on other militants, buildings and installations, notably launching sites and rockets, which included the long-range Fajar rockets that could reach Tel Aviv.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militant groups have retaliated with almost 200 rockets fired into southern Israel, according to Israel's military.  At least three Israelis were killed in the southern town of Kiryat Malakhi when a rocket hit an apartment building.

Hamas sources said a dozen Palestinians have been killed, including at least two children.

"We are still at the beginning of the event, not at the end, and we expect some complicated tests ahead," Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a nationally televised address Monday night, standing next to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel has warned that it is ready to enlarge the operation with a ground operation, and reservists have been called up.

Israeli officials say the operation is in response to more than 800 rockets that have landed in Israel this year.  Barak laid out the four goals of "Pillar of Defense": to strengthen deterrence, damage the rocket launching network, hit Hamas and its allies, and to minimize the damage in Israel.

"We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead," the Israel Defense Forces tweeted Monday night.

Hamas warned that Israel will pay a heavy price for Jabari's assassination, with its armed wing saying Israel had "opened the gates of hell."

Hamas announced Thursday morning that Jabari's deputy, Marwan Issa, would take Jabari's place as de facto commander.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Administration Does Not Agree With McCain’s Call for Airstrikes in Syria

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John McCain Monday called for the United States to begin airstrikes against the government of Syria, but the Obama administration indicated it did not agree with his strategy.

“Foreign capitals across the world are looking to the United States to lead, especially now that the situation in Syria has become an armed conflict,” the Republican from Arizona said on the Senate floor. “But what they see is an administration still hedging its bets -- on the one hand, insisting that Assad’s fall is inevitable, but on the other, unwilling even to threaten more assertive actions that could make it so.”

But a senior Obama administration official indicated to ABC News that the president and his advisers did not agree with the Republican senator.

“We share his concern and outrage about what’s taking place,” the official said. “We’re also concerned that further military intervention will accelerate the conflict on the ground and worsen the humanitarian situation without stopping the violence the Syrian regime is committing against its own people.”

The official said the U.S. “wants to keep putting pressure on the Assad regime.”

The official noted that the Syrian situation is very different from Libya in many key technical ways that make them question how effective airstrikes against the Syrian regime would be.

“There aren’t air attacks on the opposition, nor are large sections of country in control of the opposition,” the official said. In Syria, there are “snipers and artillery units in these populated areas” that would also make airstrikes a dicier proposition.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Libyan Rebels Seize Tripoli; Two of Gadhafi's Sons Captured

AFP/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- Rebel forces took control of much of Tripoli Sunday night, and thousands flooded the streets of the Libyan capital and other cities around the country to celebrate what they hope will be the end of Moammar Gadhafi's 42-year reign.

The Transitional National Council (NTC), the administration set up by the rebel forces, claimed that three of the Libyan strongman's sons have either been captured or surrendered.

Muhammad Gadhafi, eldest son of the Libyan leader, told Al Jazeera in a weepy phone call that he had surrendered to opposition forces.  He said that his house was surrounded by gunfire and that he was under house arrest.

Shortly before that phone call, his brothers, Seif al Islam and Saadi, were captured by rebel forces in Tripoli, according to the NTC.  Seif al Islam, like his father, has been indicted on charges of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.

Rebel forces have surrounded the Gadhafi compound, Bab al Aziziya, a representative of the rebel government told ABC News, and gunfire has been heard outside the compound.

Mohamad al Akari, an NTC advisor, said that if Moammar Gadhafi is still in Tripoli, they believe he is in Bab al Aziziya.  The NTC also claimed that members of Gadhafi's presidential guard have surrendered to the rebel forces.

Libyan rebel forces gathered in Green Square in the heart of Tripoli, but there were isolated clashes with government forces and snipers throughout the city, according to multiple reports.

In Benghazi, in eastern Libya, crowds set off fireworks, waving flags and cheering for Gadhafi's departure.

President Obama said the day's events proved that there was only one choice for Gadhafi: to give up power and let the Libyan people decide their own future.

"The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Gadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end," Obama said.  "Gadhafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya.  He needs to relinquish power once and for all."

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also said Gadhafi's regime was "clearly crumbling."  He said NATO air strikes would continue if government troops make "any threatening moves toward the Libyan people."

Gadhafi's whereabouts were unknown, but audiotapes of the strongman were broadcast on state television Sunday evening in which he declared that his forces would not give up and would "fight until the last blood drop."

"How come you allow Tripoli the capital, to be under occupation once again?" he said in the broadcast, in which he was not shown.  "The traitors are paving the way for the occupation forces to be deployed in Tripoli."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US to Continue Libya Air Strikes at NATO's Request

Thinkstock/Comstock(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- NATO has asked the United States to continue participating in airstrikes over Libya until Monday.

ABC News has learned that on Saturday NATO asked the U.S. to continue the air raids through late Monday due to bad weather conditions earlier in the week hampering the targeting of Gadhafi forces.

“Due to poor weather conditions over the last few days in Libya, the United States has approved a request by NATO to extend the use of some U.S. strike aircraft,” said NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu in a statement. “These aircraft will continue to conduct and support Alliance air-to-ground missions throughout this weekend.”

A U.S. defense official said the aircrafts are A-10 Thunderbolt jets, Marine AV-8 Harrier jets, and AC-130 gunships.

Officials say the bad weather earlier in the week prohibited air strikes from being as effective as they might have been, allowing Gadhafi forces to regain control of some territory, and helping Gadhafi forces to push rebels back to Ajdabiyah.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


France Becomes First Country to Recognize Libyan Opposition

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy shakes hands with Ali al-Essawi, next to Mahmud Jibril, of Libya's rebel national council. ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) -- France formally recognized the Libyan opposition's Interim Governing Council Thursday, becoming the first country to do so.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said France sees the council as the "legitimate representative" of the people in Libya.

Thursday's announcement came as air strikes were launched against Libyan rebel forces in the oil port city of Ras Lanouf and NATO began its talks on possibly establishing a no-fly zone in the country.

Seceratary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she will be meeting with members of the Libyan opposition in Washington and when she travels to the region next week.

 Clinton’s meeting would be the highest level US official to meet with the Libyan opposition. In the past week the US Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz has met with the opposition in Rome and Cairo.

 Clinton’s remarks came during her ongoing opening statement before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs

 Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gadhafi Forces Strike Brega

Photo Courtesy - US State Dept.(BENGHAZI, Libya) -- Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi launched more air attacks Thursday on the Libyan oil port city of Brega, now controlled by rebels. The air strikes were targeting the airport in Brega next to the oil terminal. They hit strategic assets hard, dropping bombs on the city and on land, firing from a hilltop, 460 miles east of the capitol Tripoli.

This is the most significant battle in what's shaping up to be a civil war.

While the opposition wants the US to enforce a no-fly zone, so far the US is resisting saying that would be a big operation in a big country.

Also in Libya Thursday, Pro-Gadhafi forces seized three Dutch marines as they were helping to evacuate their nationals. Now the Netherlands is trying to negotiate their release. This, as humanitarian help is on the way with two US ships and at least 800 marines in the Mediterranean waters.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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