web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/world/conflicts

US, Taliban reach truce agreement calling for ‘reduction in violence’

American and Taliban officials have agreed Friday to sign a truce agreement that will see a seven-day “reduction in violence” in Afghanistan, in addition to possible U.S. troop withdrawals.

A source familiar with the discussions told Fox News that the U.S. is hoping to sign the agreement by the end of the month in Doha, Qatar, where special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban representatives have been meeting.

The agreement, according to a senior U.S. official who spoke to reporters Friday, calls for a “very specific” stoppage of violence and covers the entire country, including Afghan forces.

AVALANCHES IN AFGHANISTAN LEAVE AT LEAST 21 DEAD

Westlake Legal Group pompeo-ghani US, Taliban reach truce agreement calling for 'reduction in violence' Greg Norman fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/world fnc e5cc3ffb-0fd3-58ee-8cf0-f48ca4e485ae article

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, shakes hands with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, on Friday. (AP)

“If it holds – and that is a big if – then 10 days later there would be negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban about the way ahead in Afghanistan,” Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin said on “America’s Newsroom.” “If all of that goes as planned then you could see a significant reduction in the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.”

A U.S. official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press the Taliban had committed to a halt in roadside and suicide bombings as well as rocket attacks. The official said the U.S. would monitor the truce and determine if there were any violations.

A Taliban official familiar with the deal said the withdrawal of foreign troops would start gradually and would be phased over 18 months.

The developments come as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper met Friday in Munich with Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani. They spoke on the sidelines of an international security forum in Munich.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

A truce had been widely anticipated, and President Trump has agreed in principle to the deal, according to U.S. officials.

The final details were hammered out in recent days by Khalilzad and Taliban representatives in Doha. Khalilzad was in Munich and attended Pompeo and Esper’s meeting as did Gen. Scott Miller, the commander of the U.S.-led international force in Afghanistan.

Fox News’ Rich Edson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group image US, Taliban reach truce agreement calling for 'reduction in violence' Greg Norman fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/world fnc e5cc3ffb-0fd3-58ee-8cf0-f48ca4e485ae article   Westlake Legal Group image US, Taliban reach truce agreement calling for 'reduction in violence' Greg Norman fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/world fnc e5cc3ffb-0fd3-58ee-8cf0-f48ca4e485ae article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Syrian rebels shoot down government helicopter, while counter-airstrike kills civilians, including children: reports

Syrian rebel opposition forces, which are backed by Turkey, shot down a Syrian government helicopter Tuesday over the northwestern town of Nairab, located south of Idlib city, killing the two crew members aboard, according to reports.

This comes a day after five Turkish soldiers were killed by Syrian government forces in northwestern Syria, according to Reuters, escalating clashes across the region as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad aims to seize control of a strategic highway linking southern and northern Syria for the first time since 2012.

Westlake Legal Group AP20042457148718 Syrian rebels shoot down government helicopter, while counter-airstrike kills civilians, including children: reports fox-news/world/world-regions/turkey fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 11084c97-ad0a-5c9b-b313-0d1d17d47a37

Syrian government helicopter bursts in flames after it was shot by a missile in Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Ghaith Alsayed)

Associated Press footage showed the helicopter spiraling from the sky and breaking up as fire poured from the fuselage, followed by the wreckage on fire after crashing.

PHILIPPINES ANNOUNCES PLAN TO BACK OUT OF U.S. MILITARY DEFENSE ALLIANCE AFTER TWO DECADES

Hours later, an airstrike hit Idlib, the provincial capital. Syrian Civil Defense, also known as White Helmets, said the attack killed at least seven people and wounded nearly two dozen. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Step news agency, an activist collective, estimated 12 civilians were killed in the airstrike, half of them children, and wounded about 30.

Opposition activists said the airstrike on Idlib, which is home to some 800,000 people, was carried out by government warplanes in response to the shooting down of the helicopter.

Westlake Legal Group AP20042456696861 Syrian rebels shoot down government helicopter, while counter-airstrike kills civilians, including children: reports fox-news/world/world-regions/turkey fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 11084c97-ad0a-5c9b-b313-0d1d17d47a37

Rebel fighters look at a Syrian government helicopter that was shot down in Idlib province, Syria, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Ghaith Alsayed)

With backing from Russia, Syrian troops have been on the offensive for weeks in the last rebel stronghold in Idlib province and parts of nearby Aleppo. About 700,000 people have fled their homes, surging north toward the Turkish border, the Associated Press reported.

Tensions in the region escalated recently after two separate conflicts between Syrian rebels and the government forces, which killed 13 people on each side, including five Turkish soldiers.  In a speech Tuesday in Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the Syrian government that it will “pay a very, very heavy price” for attacks on Turkish troops.

“We have given the necessary response to the Syrian side at the highest level,” Erdogan said. “They found the trouble they were looking for in Idlib. But it’s not enough. It will continue.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the latest fighting, according to the United Nations. Over the course of the now nine-year conflict, nearly a quarter of the 3 million people from Idlib and surrounding areas have fled north. Turkey, which is a main backer of the Syrian opposition, has sent hundreds of vehicles into Idlib apparently to prevent government forces from reaching the border areas with Turkey. The country is home to some 3.6 million Syrian refugees and has concerns of more flowing into its border.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP20042457148718 Syrian rebels shoot down government helicopter, while counter-airstrike kills civilians, including children: reports fox-news/world/world-regions/turkey fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 11084c97-ad0a-5c9b-b313-0d1d17d47a37   Westlake Legal Group AP20042457148718 Syrian rebels shoot down government helicopter, while counter-airstrike kills civilians, including children: reports fox-news/world/world-regions/turkey fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 11084c97-ad0a-5c9b-b313-0d1d17d47a37

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Army soldiers killed in Afghanistan attack identified, were part of special forces group

Two U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers who were killed when American and Afghan troops were fired on during a mission in Afghanistan were identified by the Pentagon on Sunday.

The soldiers, both assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, were Sgt. 1st Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez of San Antonio, Texas and Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rey Rodriguez of Las Cruces, N.M.

Both soldiers, who were both posthumously promoted, were 28 years old, according to the Department of Defense. U.S. Special Forces soldiers are also called Green Berets.

AFGHANISTAN ‘INSIDER ATTACK’ LEAVES 2 US SOLDIERS DEAD, 6 WOUNDED

The two were killed Saturday after they wounded up in a firefight with a gunman that injured six others in the Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan.

“Sgt. 1st Class Gutierrez was a warrior that exemplified selfless service and a commitment to the mission, both values that we embody here in the 7th Special Forces Group,”  Col. John W. Sannes, 7th Special Forces Group Commander said in a statement.

Westlake Legal Group AfghanistanSplit_1 Army soldiers killed in Afghanistan attack identified, were part of special forces group Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/world fnc b8798764-5511-5b73-b06a-435f7919539f article

Antonio R. Rodriguez and Javier J. Gutierrez, both 28, were killed in Afghanistan on Saturday. (Department of Defense)

Gutierrez enlisted in the Army in 2009 as an infantryman and stationed at Fort Bragg. In 2012, he attended the Special Forces Assessment and Selection at Fort Bragg and was selected to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course, graduating in 2015 as a Special Forces Communications Sergeant. He was previously deployed once to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Our priority now is to take care of his family and teammates, we will provide the best possible care possible during these trying times,” Sannes said.

Rodriguez also enlisted with the Army in 2009 and completed training at Fort Benning in Georgia before it was assigned to the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. He deployed eight times with the 75th Ranger Regiment and twice with 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

“Sgt. 1st Class Rodriguez was selfless and served honorably; he was certainly among the best in our unit,” Sannes said. “Here at the Red Empire, we take care of our own, and Sgt. 1st Class Rodriguez’ family will forever be a part of us, we will assist them in any way we can to help them through these trying times.”

An Afghan defense ministry official, who was not identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media, told the Associated Press the shooter was an Afghan soldier who had argued with the U.S. forces before opening fire. He was not a Taliban infiltrator, the official said.

The U.S. military, however, has not officially called the incident an “insider attack,” because the motive remains unclear and the shooter “was not one of the soldiers on the patrol,” a U.S. defense official told Fox News. Defense officials said Sunday the attack remains under investigation.

Such attacks have been frequent occurrences in the nearly two decades U.S. troops have been deployed in the country. In 2012, for example, 25 percent of American military deaths in Afghanistan were caused by allied Afghan forces, military officials have said.

On Saturday, military spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett issued in a statement saying those involved in the most recent attack were “engaged by direct firing.”

JIM HANSON: GET OUT OF AFGHANISTAN — A CLEAR, SPECIFIC DECLARATION WOULD LET US LEAVE AND PUT OUR ENEMIES ON NOTICE

In addition to the Taliban, “we are not ruling out ISIS” being responsible for the attack, the defense official told Fox News. Nangarhar Province — where the attack took place — is home to roughly 200 fighters affiliated with the Islamic State.

U.S. special forces soldiers led the mission at the district center in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday afternoon. Typically, special forces will conduct these types of missions with conventional Army infantry soldiers for added security on the perimeter. They also partner with Afghan soldiers.

Since Jan.1, six U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan, including the two soldiers killed Saturday. Last year, 22 U.S. service members were killed in action there.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

The Trump administration is weighing a decision to remove up to 4,000 US troops from Afghanistan.

There are currently roughly 12,000 US troops deployed there.

At the height of US military involvement in 2010, there were over 100,000 Americans deployed to Afghanistan and nearly 500 killed that year.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson, Nick Givas, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AfghanistanSplit_1 Army soldiers killed in Afghanistan attack identified, were part of special forces group Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/world fnc b8798764-5511-5b73-b06a-435f7919539f article   Westlake Legal Group AfghanistanSplit_1 Army soldiers killed in Afghanistan attack identified, were part of special forces group Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/world fnc b8798764-5511-5b73-b06a-435f7919539f article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Israel-Palestinian violence escalates in Jerusalem as military search for ‘terror attack’ suspect

Israel’s military says it is on the hunt for the Palestinian “terrorist” who rammed his car into a dozen soldiers in Jerusalem on Thursday, triggering a new spike of violence in the region.

The fresh Israeli-Palestinian clashes have left at least three Palestinians dead and come just days after President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed a Middle East peace plan meant to bring an end to the decades-long conflict.

“Early this morning, a Palestinian rammed his car into a group of IDF soldiers in Jerusalem,” the Israel Defense Forces said. “The terror attack injured 12 soldiers, one of whom is in serious condition.

“We are currently pursuing the terrorist,” it added.

Westlake Legal Group israel-ramming-attack Israel-Palestinian violence escalates in Jerusalem as military search for 'terror attack' suspect Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 686b9993-6f45-5571-8e17-952034825aee

Israeli police officers inspect the scene of a ramming attack in Jerusalem on Thursday. (AP)

WHAT’S IN TRUMP’S MIDDLE EAST PEACE PLAN?

In the West Bank city of Jenin on Thursday, two Palestinians – including a 19-year-old – died after clashes broke out with Israeli troops, according to Palestinian hospital officials.

And later, Israeli police said they shot and killed a Palestinian who had opened fire at forces in Jerusalem’s Old City, lightly wounding an officer.

“Attacks from Gaza, an attack in Jerusalem, signs of a rise in hostile activity in Jenin… we are not trying to escalate the situation while understanding the complexity and sensitivity of the situation,” Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said.

In the Jerusalem car-ramming incident, the troops were out on a late-night “educational heritage tour,” walking near a popular entertainment district in Jerusalem when the driver plowed his car into them and fled.

Westlake Legal Group jenin Israel-Palestinian violence escalates in Jerusalem as military search for 'terror attack' suspect Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 686b9993-6f45-5571-8e17-952034825aee

Palestinians inspect a house after it was demolished by the Israeli army in the West Bank city of Jenin on Thursday. (AP)

MIDDLE EAST PEACE PLAN WILL ‘DIE’ BEFORE PRESIDENT, IRAN’S TOP LEADER CLAIMS

While it did not claim responsibility for the attack, the Islamic Jihad militant group praised the car-ramming as “the beginning of a new confrontation over Trump’s plan,” The Associated Press reports.

Netanyahu vowed to have the assailant apprehended. “It’s just a matter of time — and not much time,” he said in a statement.

In the Jenin flare-up involving the 19-year-old, Conricus said troops were carrying out the demolition of a home belonging to a militant allegedly involved in a deadly attack.

He said there was a “sizable riot” at the scene by Palestinians who threw Molotov cocktails at troops, who then came under sniper fire. Conricus said forces responded to the violence with their own sniper fire, saying a Palestinian shooter was killed.

Jenin governor Akram Rajoub described the 19-year-old casualty as a student at an academy that trains budding police officers and was throwing stones at the troops.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

In a separate incident also in Jenin, a member of the Palestinian security forces who was shot by Israeli troops later died.

Also on Thursday, Israel struck Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip after three mortar shells were fired at Israel. There was no immediate report of injuries on either side.

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group israel-ramming-attack Israel-Palestinian violence escalates in Jerusalem as military search for 'terror attack' suspect Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 686b9993-6f45-5571-8e17-952034825aee   Westlake Legal Group israel-ramming-attack Israel-Palestinian violence escalates in Jerusalem as military search for 'terror attack' suspect Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 686b9993-6f45-5571-8e17-952034825aee

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

France’s Macron: If Trump pulls US military out of Africa, it would be ‘bad news’

Westlake Legal Group 12_AP19337519358431 France's Macron: If Trump pulls US military out of Africa, it would be 'bad news' Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/politics/defense/secretary-of-defense fox-news/politics/defense fox-news/person/emmanuel-macron fox news fnc/world fnc cdd6642d-8868-522d-a2e0-ee6adc58e111 article

French President Emmanuel Macron urged the Trump administration not to withdraw troops from Africa after U.S. military officials announced they were contemplating a shift in focus to threats from Russia and China.

“If the U.S. decided to withdraw from Africa, it would be bad news for us,” Macron said at a news conference Monday. He was speaking after a summit in Pau, France, with the presidents of the five African countries that make up the G5 Sahel coalition: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

“I would like to be able to convince President Trump that the fight against terrorism to which he is deeply committed is playing out also in this region,” Macron continued.

Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Mille, on his way to a NATO conference in Brussels said, according to AFP, resources “could be reduced and then shifted, either to increase readiness of the force in the continental U.S. or shifted to” the Pacific. He said Defense Secretary Mark Esper had not made up his mind about what changes he would make.

NIGER’S MILITARY TARGETED IN ISLAMIC TERROR ATTACK, AT LEAST 25 KILLED 

“We’re developing options for the secretary to consider, and we are developing those options in coordination with our allies and partners,” Milley said.

France has led the West’s counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel region in northern Africa, and the summit was called to address increasing danger in the region. In one instance of escalating violence, suspected jihadist militants in Niger killed 89 soldiers last week.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the special representative and head of the United Nations Office for West Africa, told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that attacks have increased significantly in frequency and in the number killed in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger since 2016.

WHO IS THE FBI’S MOST WANTED TERRORIST? MEET JEHAD SERWAN MOSTAFA

More than 4,000 deaths were reported last year, a dramatic increase over the 770 in 2016, he said.

France has launched its biggest overseas military operation to assist with the threat. Around 4,500 French soldiers have been deployed to the area since 2014 to oust various jihadists from power. Macron announced Monday he would be deploying an additional 220 troops to the region, earlier this month UN Chief Antonio Guterres warned that “terrorist groups are gaining ground.”

French officials said that U.S. military presence is relatively small, but critical.

The U.S. has some 7,000 special forces in rotation on the continent to fight jihadists, particularly in Somalia. An additional 2,000 soldiers are conducting training missions in 40 African countries and providing logistical assistance to France’s mission. It also has a drone base in Niger which provides key intelligence capabilities.

Some 13,000 UN peacekeeping troops operate in Mali, the heart of the conflict which has since spread to its neighbors.

Milley insisted U.S. forces would not pull out of Africa completely.  “We’re developing options for the secretary to consider, and we are developing those options in coordination with our allies and partners,” Milly said. “Economy of forces does not mean zero.”

Still yet, French officials aren’t convinced. “Macron plays with an open hand,” said a French diplomatic official. “Africom [United States Africa Command] is 1 percent of U.S. resources abroad, and security in Africa is an interest we have in common.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

The G5 Sahel meeting came as NATO ambassadors met in Brussels to discuss the state of affairs in the Middle East after a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. President Trump last week called on NATO counterparts to step up their contributions in the Middle East.

Westlake Legal Group 12_AP19337519358431 France's Macron: If Trump pulls US military out of Africa, it would be 'bad news' Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/politics/defense/secretary-of-defense fox-news/politics/defense fox-news/person/emmanuel-macron fox news fnc/world fnc cdd6642d-8868-522d-a2e0-ee6adc58e111 article   Westlake Legal Group 12_AP19337519358431 France's Macron: If Trump pulls US military out of Africa, it would be 'bad news' Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/politics/defense/secretary-of-defense fox-news/politics/defense fox-news/person/emmanuel-macron fox news fnc/world fnc cdd6642d-8868-522d-a2e0-ee6adc58e111 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

US Special Operations tried — but failed — to kill another top Iranian commander on night of Soleimani’s death, official says

U.S. Special Operations forces tried – but failed – to kill another top member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force on the night Gen. Qassem Soleimani was taken out in an airstrike, a senior U.S. official has confirmed to Fox News.

The covert mission in Yemen, which was first reported Friday by The Washington Post, was directed at Abdul Reza Shahlai, a commander and financier whom the State Department says was at the center of the botched 2011 plot to assassinate a Saudi ambassador on U.S. soil.

“We have seen the report of a January 2 airstrike in Yemen, which is long-understood as a safe space for terrorists and other adversaries to the United States,” Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told Fox News. “The Department of Defense does not discuss alleged operations in the region.”

U.S. officials that spoke to The Washington Post declined to offer details of the airstrike that failed to take out Shahlai, but one said “if we had killed him, we’d be bragging about it that same night.”

Westlake Legal Group shahlai-soleimani US Special Operations tried -- but failed -- to kill another top Iranian commander on night of Soleimani's death, official says Jennifer Griffin Greg Norman fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 89076c43-eea4-5d3e-92ce-40ddf719bb12

U.S. Special Operations forces tried to kill Iran Revolutionary Guards Quds Force financier Abdul Reza Shahlai, left, in Yemen the same night Gen. Qassem Soleimani was taken out in Iraq, but they failed, a senior U.S. official tells Fox News. (State Department/AP/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader)

US-IRAN TENSIONS: A TIMELINE OF INCIDENTS BETWEEN TWO LONGTIME RIVALS

Last month, the State Department offered a $15 million reward for information leading to Shahlai and the disruption of the Iran Revolutionary Guards’ financial apparatus. The U.S. has accused the military unit of financially assisting terrorist groups like Hezbollah and becoming involved in world conflicts through the use of proxy forces.

In December, a U.S. Navy warship also intercepted a “significant cache” of what is thought to be missile parts from Iran headed to Houthi rebels fighting Yemen’s government in a bloody civil war.

“Shahlai planned multiple assassinations of coalition forces in Iraq, provided weapons and explosives to Shia extremist groups and planned the January 20, 2007 attack in Karbala, Iraq that killed five American soldiers and wounded three others,” the State Department said while announcing the $15 million bounty.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The Department adds that Shahlai directed the failed 2011 plot to kill a Saudi ambassador in Washington and planned other “attacks inside the United States and elsewhere.”

Soleimani led the Quds Force before he was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad on Jan. 3.

Fox News’ Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group shahlai-soleimani US Special Operations tried -- but failed -- to kill another top Iranian commander on night of Soleimani's death, official says Jennifer Griffin Greg Norman fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 89076c43-eea4-5d3e-92ce-40ddf719bb12   Westlake Legal Group shahlai-soleimani US Special Operations tried -- but failed -- to kill another top Iranian commander on night of Soleimani's death, official says Jennifer Griffin Greg Norman fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 89076c43-eea4-5d3e-92ce-40ddf719bb12

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Ukrainian airplane shot down by mistake by Iranian anti-aircraft missile, Pentagon officials believe

The Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran’s international airport Wednesday was shot down by mistake by an Iranian anti-aircraft missile, Pentagon officials told Fox News.

The revelation comes as Ukrainian investigators reportedly are awaiting permission from Iranian authorities Thursday to examine the crash site and look for missile fragments. Iran has denied that a missile took down the Boeing 737 bound for Kiev, and its officials have blamed a technical malfunction for the aircraft’s demise.

“A strike by a missile, possibly a Tor missile system, is among the main (theories), as information has surfaced on the internet about elements of a missile being found near the site of the crash,” Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s Security Council, told Ukrainian media. He did not elaborate on where he saw the information.

President Trump, when asked Thursday about what could have happened to the Ukrainian International Airlines flight, said “someone could have made a mistake on the other side.”

Westlake Legal Group iran-crash-1 Ukrainian airplane shot down by mistake by Iranian anti-aircraft missile, Pentagon officials believe Lucas Tomlinson Greg Norman fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 7a1766af-1a97-5f83-bf7b-5962fb4dfd00

Rescue workers search the scene where an Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr, southwest of the Iranian capital of Tehran, on Wednesday. (AP)

UKRAINIAN PLANE CARRYING 176 CRASHES OUTSIDE OF TEHRAN

The Tor is a Russian-made missile system. Russia delivered 29 Tor-M1s to Iran in 2007 as part of a $700 million contract signed in December 2005. Iran has displayed the missiles in military parades as well.

Iran did not immediately respond to the Ukrainian remarks. However, Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, the spokesman of the Iranian armed forces, denied a missile hit the airplane in comments reported Wednesday by the Fars news agency.

He dismissed the allegation as “psychological warfare” by foreign-based Iranian opposition groups.

Newsweek was the first to report that the plane was mistakenly shot down by missiles.

Westlake Legal Group iran-crash-3 Ukrainian airplane shot down by mistake by Iranian anti-aircraft missile, Pentagon officials believe Lucas Tomlinson Greg Norman fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 7a1766af-1a97-5f83-bf7b-5962fb4dfd00

Rescue workers recover the bodies of victims at the crash site. (AP)

The incident has similarities to the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine.

All 298 passengers and crew onboard flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were killed on July 17, 2014, when a missile shattered the Boeing 777 midair, sending debris and bodies raining down onto farms and fields of sunflowers. The jet in 2014 was shot down by a Soviet-made missile over rebel-held eastern Ukraine, about 25 miles from the Russian border, where fighting had been raging for months between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists.

Danilov also said other possible causes under consideration for Wednesday’s downing included a drone or another flying object crashing into the plane, a terrorist attack or an engine malfunction causing an explosion. However, no terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack and the plane was less than four years old.

The crash came just a few hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack against Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops amid a confrontation with Washington over it killing an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general in a drone strike last week.

US-IRAN TENSIONS: A TIMELINE OF INCIDENTS BETWEEN TWO LONGTIME RIVALS

An initial report prepared by Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization said Thursday that plane’s crew never made a radio call for help and was trying to turn back for the airport when it went down.

The Ukrainian International Airlines flight took off at 6:12 a.m. Wednesday, after nearly an hour’s delay at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport, the main airport for travelers in Iran. It gained altitude heading west, reaching nearly 8,000 feet, according to both the report and flight-tracking data.

Then something went wrong, though “no radio messages were received from the pilot regarding unusual situations,” the report said. In emergencies, pilots reach out to air-traffic controllers to warn them and to clear the runway for their arrival, though their first priority is to keep the aircraft flying.

US DEFENDS SOLEIMANI KILLING AS ‘SELF-DEFENSE’

Eyewitnesses, including the crew of another flight passing above it, described seeing the plane engulfed in flames before crashing at 6:18 a.m., the report said. Flight-tracking data for the plane stopped before the crash, which occurred in the town of Shahedshahr to the northeast of the plane’s last reported position. That’s the wrong direction of the flight plan, the Associated Press says, bolstering the report’s claim that the pilots tried to turn the aircraft back to the airport.

The crash caused a massive explosion when the plane hit the ground, likely because the aircraft had been fully loaded with fuel for the flight to Kyiv, Ukraine.

But the report also confirmed that both of the “black boxes” that contain data and cockpit communications from the plane had been recovered, though they sustained damage and some parts of their memory was lost. It also said that investigators have initially ruled out laser or electromagnetic interference as causing the crash.

Oleksandr Zaporozhchenko, a mechanic with the Ukraine International Airlines in 2016-2018, said he knew one of the crew members of the plane and had never heard any complaints about the aircraft.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“It is one the most reliable planes out there,” Zaporozhchenko told The Associated Press.

The plane was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, at least 63 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials. Many of the passengers were believed to be international students attending universities in Canada; they were making their way back to Toronto by way of Kiev after visiting with family during the winter break.

Fox News’ Travis Fedschun and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Iran’s ‘final answer’ following general’s death is to ‘kick all US forces out of the region,’ Rouhani warns

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani warned Wednesday that the Islamic Republic’s “final answer” to the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani “will be to kick all U.S. forces out of the region”.

The fiery rhetoric comes hours after Iran launched missiles at two bases housing American and coalition troops in Iraq.

“General Soleimani fought heroically against ISIS, Al Nusra, Al Qaeda… if it weren’t for his war on terror, European capitals would be in great danger now,” Rouhani said.

“Our final answer to his assassination will be to kick all U.S. forces out of the region,” he added.

Westlake Legal Group rouhani-soleimani Iran’s 'final answer' following general’s death is to ‘kick all US forces out of the region,’ Rouhani warns Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/world fnc article 667cf3da-f077-53e6-86f9-2001f9d7ee02

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, meets family of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in the U.S. airstrike in Iraq, at his home in Tehran, Iran, on Saturday.

IRAN BURIES SOLEIMANI AFTER NEW ATTACKS ON US, COALITION FORCES IN IRAQ

The tone in Rouhani’s remarks was a shift from comments Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif made Tuesday evening, in which he said his country “took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense” for the killing of Soleimani, striking the bases where the missiles targeting him were launched.

“We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” Zarif had tweeted.

President Trump is set to speak out about the Iranian missile strikes in an address scheduled for 11 a.m. ET this morning. No U.S. or other NATO forces were injured in the attacks, officials told Fox News.

The office of Iraq’s president condemned the strikes Wednesday as a breach of the country’s sovereignty.

Barham Saleh’s office said in a statement that the fate of U.S. troops in Iraq is an internal matter based on legal agreements to combat the Islamic State terrorist group.

UKRAINIAN PLANE CARRYING 176 CRASHES OUTSIDE TEHRAN, KILLING ALL ON BOARD

The statement adds that Iraq “has previously declared its refusal to be a starting point for aggression against any country, and also refuses to be a source of threat to any of its neighbors.”

The Iraqi prime minister has publicly said U.S. troops must leave after a drone strike killed Soleimani — Iran’s top military commander — in Baghdad last Friday, and parliament has passed a non-binding resolution pushing for withdrawal.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also condemned the strikes Wednesday, tweeting that the bloc is calling on Iran to “refrain from further violence.”

Four U.S. defense officials told Fox News that the military did not attempt to shoot down the ballistic missiles fired from Iran into Iraq because there were no American military assets in place to intercept them.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The Patriot and Avenger anti-missile defense systems are deployed to other locations in the Middle East, but not to the two Iraqi bases – al-Asad and Erbil – targeted by Iran. Officials say the American assets are in high demand and short supply around the world.

“For the past few years, our focus was defeating ISIS and keeping a light footprint in Iraq. We did not need air defense systems against ISIS,” as one official explained for why there was no U.S. missile defense systems in place at the Iraqi bases.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group soleimani Iran’s 'final answer' following general’s death is to ‘kick all US forces out of the region,’ Rouhani warns Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/world fnc article 667cf3da-f077-53e6-86f9-2001f9d7ee02   Westlake Legal Group soleimani Iran’s 'final answer' following general’s death is to ‘kick all US forces out of the region,’ Rouhani warns Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/world fnc article 667cf3da-f077-53e6-86f9-2001f9d7ee02

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Iran’s UN ambassador tells US to leave, silent on dictatorship claims

The Iranian ambassador to the United Nations told Fox News that he has one message for President Trump: The U.S. should get out of Iraq.

As the Trump administration plans to send 5,000 more U.S. troops to the region, Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi said that wasn’t a good idea.

“The U.S. should leave the region,” the ambassador said. “It belongs to the people in the region, and I think the sooner the better.”

Fox News spoke to the ambassador as he left for work and hurried to his diplomatic sedan.

“I have to get to the office,” he said as he rushed to this car. “We are talking to the U.N., that’s it.”

US BRACES FOR IRAN’S NEXT MOVE AS REGIME VOWS REVENGE FOR SOLEIMANI STRIKE

He would not answer when we told him, “The U.S. says that you are an evil dictatorship.”

With that, an aide to the ambassador closed the rear door of the car where the ambassador was sitting.

Iran is trying to muster diplomatic support in the wake of the U.S. airstrike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani. A war of words has erupted between President Trump and the regime in Tehran, with Iran threatening to retaliate against U.S. military targets.

Westlake Legal Group AP20005532108574 Iran's UN ambassador tells US to leave, silent on dictatorship claims fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc Eric Shawn article 2af21c17-9558-5206-8b82-377234d867b0

Coffins of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and others who were killed in Iraq by a U.S. drone strike, are carried on a truck surrounded by mourners during a funeral procession, in the city of Mashhad, Iran, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. Soleimani’s death Friday in Iraq further heightens tensions between Tehran and Washington after months of trading attacks and threats that put the wider Middle East on edge. (Mohammad Hossein Thaghi/Tasnim News Agency via AP)

In a letter addressed to the U.N. secretary-general last week, Ambassador Ravanchi called on the U.N. Security Council to condemn the death of Soleimani.

Meanwhile, the United States Mission to the U.N. issued a statement Monday that called out both Russia and China for preventing a council statement condemning the attack against the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31st.

In it, the U.S. thanked the 27 members of the U.N. that spoke out against the attack on the embassy.

“They clearly recognize the importance of a host country’s obligations under the 1961 Vienna Convention to protect diplomatic and consular premises.”

The U.S. mission also took aim at the Security Council’s inaction because of the two veto-wielding members, Russia and China.

“Not allowing the United Nations Security Council to issue the most basic of statements underscoring the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises once again calls the Council’s credibility into question,” the mission said. “Such expressions of support should not be controversial or warrant courage. As we have demonstrated, we will not tolerate attacks on U.S. personnel and facilities and will respond decisively to protect our interests, citizens, and allies.”

IRAN COULD GAIN ACCESS TO NUCLEAR BOMB IN A FEW MONTHS, SECURITY EXPERTS ESTIMATE

A Security Council diplomat told Fox News that the Russians and Chinese, “didn’t allow the statement to proceed on Saturday morning.”

At the U.N., Monday morning’s Security Council meeting centered on Syria, but diplomats were mindful of the Iranian developments.

Outside the U.N. Security Council, Soleimani’s death was a topic in the hallways. He is blamed for countless deaths of civilians in Syria, the deaths of 603 American troops in Iraq from Iranian made IED’s planted by Tehran’s proxies and masterminding Tehran’s terror operations for decades.

Westlake Legal Group AP20003737389427 Iran's UN ambassador tells US to leave, silent on dictatorship claims fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc Eric Shawn article 2af21c17-9558-5206-8b82-377234d867b0

President Donald Trump walks off after delivering remarks on Iran, at his Mar-a-Lago property, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

“My prime minister called for de-escalation,” said Deputy British Ambassador Jonathan Allen. “[Prime Minister Boris Johnson] also said we would not be mourning for Qassem Soleimani.”

Both Russia and China criticized the airstrike on Soleimani, as well as the protestors’ previous attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

IRAN DEMANDS UN CONDEMN US KILLING OF SOLEIMANI, SAYS IT ‘RESERVES RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE

“China opposes the use of force in international relations. It’s obvious that the unilateral risk-taking, military actions of the United States violated basic norms of international relations and led to the gravitation of the tension and for China. We urge the United States not to abuse any further use of force,” said Chinese U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun.

Russia’s ambassador said the country wanted to focus on de-escalation efforts.

“We now have to talk about territorial integrity, what sovereignty of Iraq [is] about, about the need to de-escalate” said Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, “and to prevent developments going down the drain in the direction of a major conflict.”

Westlake Legal Group AP20004587945436 Iran's UN ambassador tells US to leave, silent on dictatorship claims fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc Eric Shawn article 2af21c17-9558-5206-8b82-377234d867b0

A U.S. Army soldier checks his rifle before heading out Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 at Fort Bragg, N.C., as troops from the 82nd Airborne are deployed to the Middle East as reinforcements in the volatile aftermath of the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

Another diplomat told Fox News that, presently, there were no calls for a Security Council meeting on the situation in Iran.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is expected to arrive in New York on Thursday to take part in a Security Council debate on upholding the U.N. Charter. Zarif was already slated to come before the recent uptick in tensions.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters geopolitical tensions are “at their highest level this century.”

“And this turbulence is escalating. … Everywhere we see many people frustrated and angry,” Guterres said. “We see increased social unrest and growing extremism, nationalism and radicalization, with a dangerous advance of terrorism in several areas of the world, notably in Africa. This situation cannot go on.”

Ben Evansky contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6120158141001_6120154641001-vs Iran's UN ambassador tells US to leave, silent on dictatorship claims fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc Eric Shawn article 2af21c17-9558-5206-8b82-377234d867b0   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6120158141001_6120154641001-vs Iran's UN ambassador tells US to leave, silent on dictatorship claims fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc Eric Shawn article 2af21c17-9558-5206-8b82-377234d867b0

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Iraqi air base with US troops, Green Zone, struck by several rockets, officials say

Multiple rockets aimed at an Iraqi air base just north of the U.S. embassy where American troops are deployed, as well as the heavily militarized Green Zone were launched Saturday evening, according to multiple reports.

At least one rocket struck the Balad airbase where an unspecified number of U.S. troops are housed while another hit near the embassy compound in the Green Zone, U.S. Army Public Affairs spokesperson Maj. Charlie Dietz confirmed on Twitter.

REVOLUTIONARY GUARD COMMANDER THREATENS ATTACKS ON ‘VITAL US DESTROYERS, WARSHIPS 

Dietz said Balad was the only confirmed point of impact, although a second rocket seemed to strike just south of the Tigris river in the Green Zone.

According to a Reuters report, the Iraqi military said Celebration Square, just a few blocks away from the U.S. embassy, was hit.

“Several rockets targeting Celebration Square and the Jadriya area in Baghdad, and the Balad air base in Salahuddin province, with no loss of life. Further details to come,” the statement read.

Images from one of the impact points appeared to show a car hit with shrapnel and a sidewalk that was blown out.

News of the rockets came just hours after it was reported that a senior Iranian military official threatened an attack on some 35 “American targets” in retaliation of the U.S. airstrike at Baghdad International airport that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU PLACES MILITARY ON HIGH ALERT, PRAISES TRUMP FOR SOLEIMANI KILLING: HE ‘DESERVES ALL THE CREDIT’ 

Senior Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Gholamali Abuhamzeh foreshadowed a possible attack on “vital American targets” located in the Strait of Hormuz.

“The Strait of Hormuz is a vital point for the West and a large number of American destroyers and warships cross there,” Abuhamzeh said according to a Reuters report, citing Tasnim news agency.

“Vital American targets in the region have been identified by Iran since long time ago … some 35 U.S. targets in the region, as well as Tel Aviv, are within our reach.”

Westlake Legal Group AP20004677103048 Iraqi air base with US troops, Green Zone, struck by several rockets, officials say Paulina Dedaj fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc b28162bf-38a8-5c74-9b84-7b2447db9893 article

Mourners chant slogans against the U.S. during the funeral of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, in the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. (AP)

In addition to threatening the U.S. with a possible attack, Abuhamzeh’s remarks that the targets had been previously “identified by Iran” seemed to confirm the State Department’s statement regarding the motivation behind the airstrike.

His comments come after it U.S. defense officials told Fox News that more than 3,000 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team would be deployed to Kuwait.

Iran’s top “shadow commander,” as Soleimani was known, was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more. According to the State Department, the airstrike “was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.”

Westlake Legal Group AP20004493077705 Iraqi air base with US troops, Green Zone, struck by several rockets, officials say Paulina Dedaj fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc b28162bf-38a8-5c74-9b84-7b2447db9893 article

Mourners step over a U.S. flags with pictures of President Trump while waiting for the funeral of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday (AP)

SOLEIMANI FUNERAL PROCESSION IN BAGHDAD DRAWS THOUSANDS OF MOURNERS CHANTING ‘AMERICA IS THE GREAT SATAN’ 

“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the department said. “The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”

Mourners gathering in the streets of Baghdad Saturday for Soleimani’s funeral procession. Dressed in black military fatigues, the mostly male-dominated group carried Iraqi flags and the flags of Iran-backed militias that are fiercely loyal to Soleimani.

Westlake Legal Group AP20004351140642 Iraqi air base with US troops, Green Zone, struck by several rockets, officials say Paulina Dedaj fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc b28162bf-38a8-5c74-9b84-7b2447db9893 article

In this image made from a video, mourners gather for a funeral procession for Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. (PMF Media Office via AP)

They were heard chanting “No, No, America,” and “Death to America, death to Israel.”

The U.S. has since ordered all citizens to leave Iraq and closed its embassy in Baghdad, where Iran-backed militiamen and their supporters staged two days of violent protests earlier this week in which they breached the compound.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

There are roughly 5,000 U.S. troops currently deployed to Iraq, and about 60,000 in the region. Some 14,000 have been added since May as the threat from Iran increased, according to the Pentagon.

The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman is currently in the Gulf of Oman. Her strike group is armed with hundreds of Tomahawk cruise missiles, in addition to the dozens of strike aircraft aboard Truman.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP20004493077705 Iraqi air base with US troops, Green Zone, struck by several rockets, officials say Paulina Dedaj fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc b28162bf-38a8-5c74-9b84-7b2447db9893 article   Westlake Legal Group AP20004493077705 Iraqi air base with US troops, Green Zone, struck by several rockets, officials say Paulina Dedaj fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc b28162bf-38a8-5c74-9b84-7b2447db9893 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com