Breaking News -- Middle East
|Saudi FM Threatens Iran Hours before Wednesday Terrorist Attacks
TEHRAN (FNA)- Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Iran must be punished for what he claimed as interference in the region and support for terrorist organizations, al-Arabiya news channel reported him as saying early Wednesday just hours before the two terrorist attacks in Tehran which claimed the lives of several people.
Jubeir, who is in Paris since Tuesday, claimed that Iran is a host for some Al-Qaeda leaders as well as other commanders from other terrorist organizations.
The minister further urged Iran not to interfere, alleging that Tehran is the number one supporter for terrorism in the world.
For Iran to be a “normal state,” it must respect international law, he said.
Jubeir also said that the Iranian government’s “political ideas” are completely rejected.
Four unknown male assailants fired several rounds at the guards protecting the parliament building in Tehran, killing five and wounding 25 others in the hallway on Wednesday morning.
According to initial reports, the assailants opened their way into the parliament building while shooting at the guards, killing at least two IRGC guards and three others, and wounding 25 civilians.
Four of the victims were killed on the scene of the attack, while a fifth one succumbed to his injuries at a nearby hospital.
Ten of the wounded victims were civilians who had come from different constituencies to visit their deputies.
Also, several assailants raided the holy shrine of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, South of the capital Tehran on Wednesday morning, killing at least two and wounding ten others in a bomb attack and a shooting spree.
FNA reports said four unidentified armed assailants started a shooting spree at Imam Khomeini's shrine this morning.
Three of the assailants shot tens of rounds at the people visiting the shrine, while the fourth one detonated herself in a suicide attack in front of a police station opposite the shrine.
Fresh dispatches by FNA from Southern Tehran said the suicide attacker was a female.
At least two, including one worker, have been killed in the bomb blast and the crossfire between the security forces and the terrorists.
The law enforcement and guards at the shrine said they have also defused another suicide vest at the scene.
ISIL's official website, Amaq, issued a statement at 09:00 GMT claiming the responsibility.
Mosul battle: IS kills 230 fleeing civilians, says UN
The UN has received reports that 231 Iraqi civilians have been killed by so-called Islamic State while attempting to flee Mosul over the past two weeks.
At least 204 are believed to have been shot dead by militants during clashes with Iraqi security forces in the Shifa district last Thursday and Saturday.
The UN said it had noted a "significant escalation" in such killings.
There are also reports of between 50 and 80 civilians being killed in an air strike on the Zanjili area on 31 May.
Pro-government forces launched an offensive to retake Mosul in October with the support of a US-led multinational coalition.
They managed to take full control of the eastern half of Mosul in January and started an assault on the west the following month.
Fewer than 1,000 militants are now besieged in IS-controlled parts of the Old City and several adjoining northern districts, along with some 100,000 civilians.
The battle for Mosul: The story so far
Why Mosul’s Great Mosque of al-Nuri matters
Islamic State group: The full story
The UN Human Rights office said it had documented IS "use of civilians as human shields and its slaughter of those attempting to flee" since the start of the operation, but that recent reports indicated "a significant escalation in such killings".
On 26 May, militants reportedly shot at civilians trying to flee Shifa, killing 27 people, including 14 women and five children.
Another 163 civilians were allegedly shot dead next to a Pepsi factory in the same district last Thursday. Their bodies were reportedly left on the street for days.
And on Saturday, IS reportedly shot and killed at least 41 civilians as they attempted to flee Shifa towards Iraqi security forces locations.
That day, Reuters news agency journalists saw the bodies of dozens of civilians lying along a road leading out of Zanjili.
"Shooting children as they try to run to safety with their families - there are no words of condemnation strong enough for such despicable acts," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein said.
"I call on the Iraqi authorities to ensure that those who are responsible for these horrors are held accountable and brought to justice in line with international human rights laws and standards. The victims of such terrible crimes must not be forgotten."
Mr Zeid also called on the Iraqi security forces and their coalition partners to ensure that their operations fully complied with international humanitarian law and that all possible measures were taken to avoid the loss of civilian lives.
In March, a coalition air strike on a building in western Mosul killed more than 100 Iraqi civilians by inadvertently setting off a large amount of explosives that IS militants had placed there, a US military investigation concluded last month.
The UN says at least 2,174 civilians have been killed and 1,516 injured across Nineveh province since the start of the Mosul offensive almost eight months ago.
More than 800,000 people - about a third of the pre-war population of Mosul - have been displaced over the same period, including 633,000 from the west of the city.
Yemen cholera cases pass 100,000 amid 'unprecedented' epidemic
The number of suspected cases of cholera resulting from a severe outbreak in Yemen has passed 100,000, the World Health Organization says.
A total of 798 deaths associated with the disease have been recorded in 19 out of 22 provinces since 27 April.
The charity Oxfam said the epidemic was killing one person almost every hour.
Yemen's health, water and sanitation systems are collapsing after two years of war between government forces and the rebel Houthi movement.
Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholera.
Most of those infected will have no or mild symptoms but, in severe cases, the disease can kill within hours if left untreated.
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On Wednesday, the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the epidemic in Yemen was "of an unprecedented scale".
In the past four weeks, it added, the number of deaths had been three times higher than that reported between October 2016 - when Yemen's government first announced an outbreak - and March 2017.
The authorities in the rebel-controlled capital Sanaa, which has recorded the highest number of cases, declared a state of emergency on 14 May.
More than half of the country's health facilities are no longer functioning, with almost 300 having been damaged or destroyed in the fighting.
Health and sanitation workers have not been paid for eight months; only 30% of required medical supplies are being imported into the country; rubbish collection in the cities is irregular; and more than 8 million people lack access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation.
The OCHA said the risk of the epidemic spreading further was compounded by the rainy season, widespread food insecurity and malnutrition.
The war has left 18.8 million of Yemen's 28 million people needing humanitarian assistance and almost 7 million on the brink of famine.
Oxfam's Yemen country director, Sajjad Mohammed Sajid, meanwhile warned that the outbreak was set to be one of the worst this century if there was not a massive and immediate effort to bring it under control.
"Cholera is simple to treat and prevent but while the fighting continues the task is made doubly difficult. A massive aid effort is needed now," he said.
"Those backers of this war in Western and Middle Eastern capitals need to put pressure on parties to the fighting to agree a ceasefire to allow public health and aid workers to get on with the task."
A Saudi-led multinational coalition - backed by the US and UK - launched a military campaign in support of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in March 2015. Since then, at least 8,050 people have been killed and 45,100 others injured.
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