Archive for January 4, 2021

Amid fears of attacks on Israelis, UAE said to nab Iranian terror cell

January 4, 2021


Emiratis reportedly investigating whether the suspects planned to target Israeli tourists or businessmen, on first anniversary of Soleimani killing

By TOI STAFF3 January 2021, 10:14 pm  1

A rabbi officiates under a traditional Jewish wedding canopy during marriage ceremony of the Israeli couple Noemie Azerad, left, seated under the canopy, and Simon David Benhamou, at a hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 17, 2020. (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

A rabbi officiates under a traditional Jewish wedding canopy during marriage ceremony of the Israeli couple Noemie Azerad, left, seated under the canopy, and Simon David Benhamou, at a hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 17, 2020. (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

Amid fears of Iranian revenge attacks on American and Israeli targets for the killing a year ago of top Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, authorities in the United Arab Emirates have reportedly arrested a number of Iranians in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the past few days on suspicion that they planned to carry out terror attacks there.

Israel’s Channel 12 news said Sunday night that the Iranian suspects were nabbed by UAE intelligence apparatuses and are currently being questioned.

The UAE is believed to be sharing the information revealed in the investigation “with friendly states,” the TV report said.

It noted that there are currently thousands of Israeli travelers in the UAE, for both business and pleasure.

The UAE authorities are probing whether they were the intended targets of the Iranian terror cell, the report said.Iraqis drive past a poster depicting late Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani in Iraq’s capital Baghdad, on December 30, 2020, ahead of the first anniversary of his killing in a US drone attack. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye / AFP)

The development comes as Israel braces for an Iranian revenge attack on the first anniversary of the killing of Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3, 2020. Soleimani was the head of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is designated by the US as a terror group.

US orders aircraft carrier to remain in Gulf after ‘recent threats’ by Iran

January 4, 2021


Acting defense secretary orders USS Nimitz to halt redeployment, cites threats from Tehran against Trump on anniversary of Soleimani killing

By AFPToday, 4:59 am  0

In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, Aviation Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Marnell Maglasang, from La Puente, Calif., directs an F/A-18E Super Hornet on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Arabian Sea, Friday Nov. 27, 2020. The Nimitz returned to the Mideast in a move to support the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq according to the Pentagon. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cheyenne Geletka/U.S. Navy via AP)

In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Marnell Maglasang, from La Puente, Calif., directs an F/A-18E Super Hornet on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Arabian Sea, Friday Nov. 27, 2020. The Nimitz returned to the Mideast in a move to support the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq according to the Pentagon. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cheyenne Geletka/U.S. Navy via AP)

WASHINGTON — The US aircraft carrier USS Nimitz will remain in the Gulf due to “recent threats” by Iran, the Pentagon said Sunday, following reports the ship was returning home in what some read as a sign of de-escalation.

The Nimitz has been patrolling Gulf waters since late November, but American media said this week that the acting US defense secretary, Christopher C. Miller, had ordered the vessel to return home.

The New York Times, quoting US officials, said this move was part of a “de-escalatory” signal to Tehran to avoid a conflict in US President Donald Trump’s last days in office.

However, Miller issued a statement to the contrary late Sunday.

“Due to the recent threats issued by Iranian leaders against President Trump and other US government officials, I have ordered the USS Nimitz to halt its routine redeployment,” he said.

“The USS Nimitz will now remain on station in the US Central Command area of operations. No one should doubt the resolve of the United States of America.”

His statement came one year after a US drone strike in Baghdad killed Iran’s revered commander Qasem Soleimani and his Iraqi lieutenant Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Thousands of Iraqi mourners chanted “revenge” and “no to America” on Sunday.

The anniversary of the Baghdad drone strike was also marked in recent days across Iran and by supporters in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere.

Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from a landmark nuclear deal with Iran and world powers in 2018 and launched a “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran, reimposing and reinforcing crippling sanctions.Supporters of the Popular Mobilization Forces hold a posters of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces, front, and General Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Quds force during a protest marking a year since their killing in a US drone strike, in Tahrir Square, Iraq, January 3, 2021. (Khalid Moha/AP)

The two countries have twice come to the brink of war since June 2019, especially following the killing of Soleimani.

Days after the Soleimani assassination, Iran launched a volley of missiles at Iraqi bases housing US and other coalition troops, with Trump refraining from any further military response.