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Iran Completes Nuclear Project, Russia Warns Israel, Anti-Syrian Violence in Turkey

Iran Completes Nuclear Project, Russia Warns Israel, Impunity Fuels Turkiye’s Anti-Syrian Violence

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Top Headlines: 

  • Iran Completes Its Nuclear Project
  • Israel Kills Senior Hezbollah Commander in Airstrike
  • Russia Warns Israel on Patriot Missiles to Ukraine, Engages Houthis
  • Mazloum Abdi Invites Syrians to Safe Haven as Turkiye Blames PKK for Violence
  • Anti-Syrian Protests Erupt, One Killed, Eight Injured, Borders Sealed

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ISRAEL-HEZBOLLAH CRISIS

  1. Israel Kills Senior Hezbollah Commander in Airstrike

Israeli forces killed senior Hezbollah commander Mohammed Nasser, also known as Abu Nimah, in an airstrike on his car in Al-Hawsh, near Tyre, southern Lebanon. Nasser, born in 1965 in Hadatha, was a key figure responsible for launching rockets and anti-tank operations from southern Lebanon into Israel. This marks the third high-ranking Hezbollah leader killed in southern Lebanon in the past nine months, following the deaths of Taleb Abdullah and Wissam Al-Tawil in previous Israeli strikes. In retaliation, Hezbollah fired over 100 rockets at Israeli military positions in the Golan Heights and Kiryat Shmona. On Tuesday night, Israeli Air Force jets targeted Hezbollah infrastructure in Al-Baidh, Yaroun, and Ter Harfa in southern Lebanon, also hitting a military building in Itatron. Israeli Air Force jets conducted strikes on on Tuesday night. Israel’s aerial defense intercepted two Hezbollah drones in Lebanese airspace. IDF operations in Nablus follow the death of a soldier from an IED explosion near Tulkarm.

  1. Iranian Media Claims Hezbollah Destroyed 130 Israeli Settlements on Lebanon Border

Iranian media reports that Hezbollah has destroyed 130 Israeli settlements along the Lebanon border using missiles and drones. The attacks allegedly targeted 1,023 buildings and infrastructure centers. The Israeli Ministry of War acknowledged damage in areas such as Kibbutz Manara and Qiryat Shemona.

  1. Hezbollah Media: Israeli Army Calls for Gaza Truce to Aid Hostage Recovery and Deal Negotiations

Israeli army leaders are advocating for a Gaza ceasefire as the best strategy to recover over 100 captives and negotiate with Hezbollah, according to senior security officials. Generals are wary of a prolonged conflict due to shortages in equipment, munitions, and personnel. Former national security adviser Eyal Hulata highlighted that pausing in Gaza would help de-escalate tensions in Lebanon and allow the military to regroup for potential future conflicts. Officials believe that temporarily maintaining Hamas’ power could facilitate hostage recovery.

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ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Israeli Killed, Another Wounded in Karmiel Terror Attack

An Israeli was killed and another seriously wounded in a stabbing attack at a mall in Karmiel, northern Israel. The attacker, an Arab-Israeli from Nahf, was neutralized at the scene. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad praised the attack, while Nahf’s mayor, Mohammad Zuri, condemned it and expressed hope that it would not damage local relations. The victims were transferred to a hospital in Nahariya. Israel Police’s Northern District commander Shuki Hacohen described the incident as a severe terrorist attack.

  1. Settlers Clash with Israeli Forces Demolishing West Bank Outpost

On Wednesday, Israeli security forces, accompanied by the Civil Administration, clashed with residents while vacating the illegal West Bank outpost of Oz Zion. The operation involved demolishing six building components and an access road on regulated private land, deemed a security risk. Residents responded by hurling Molotov cocktails at the forces. MK Benny Gantz condemned the violence against security personnel, emphasizing that such actions cross a red line and calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

  1. IDF Chief: Over 900 Terrorists Killed in Rafah Ground Operation

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi announced that more than 900 terrorists have been killed during ongoing operations in Rafah, southern Gaza. Halevi, visiting soldiers and officers, emphasized the long-term nature of the campaign and the determination of the IDF. The operation has targeted key militant leaders and operatives, including a battalion commander and several platoon commanders. Halevi toured logistical centers and met with various military leaders and soldiers, highlighting the operational success and continued efforts to neutralize threats in the region.

  1. IDF Strikes Terror Cell in West Bank’s Nur Shams Camp

On Tuesday night, the IDF targeted a terror cell in the Nur Shams camp, West Bank, killing five individuals as they planted explosives. Palestinian media claimed only one was a terrorist, while others were injured. This operation followed the death of Captain Alon Sacgiu in Jenin, whose vehicle hit an explosive device. Over 50 attacks have occurred in the area recently, with an uptick in violence over the past three days. The Palestinian Health Ministry reported additional casualties, including a woman and a child, due to Israeli fire following a military vehicle explosion.

  1. Israeli Wounded in Samaria Shooting, Calls for Crackdown on Terrorist Infrastructure

An Israeli man was moderately wounded on Tuesday when Palestinian terrorists fired on the Mitzpe Yosef outpost near Nablus, Samaria. The victim, a 38-year-old from Ra’anana, was part of a group visiting the area. He was treated on-site before being evacuated to Meir Medical Center. Security forces are investigating, suspecting a sniper from Nablus. Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan urged a comprehensive campaign against Palestinian Authority and Hamas terror infrastructures, equating them to Nazi terrorists. The region has seen a increase in terrorist attacks, with shootings at their highest since the Second Intifada.

  1. Russia Warns Israel Over Potential Patriot Missile Transfer to Ukraine

Israel is reportedly negotiating to transfer up to eight Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine via the US, potentially boosting Ukraine’s defense against Russian attacks. The proposed transfer, not yet finalized, has drawn sharp criticism from Russian officials. Russia’s UN envoy, Vasily Nebenzya, warned of “certain political consequences” if the deal proceeds. The Patriot systems, considered for phase-out by Israel, remain active due to current conflicts and potential threats. 

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YEMEN

  1. Yemeni Houthis Announce Attack on Vital Target in Haifa, Israel

On Tuesday, the Yemeni Houthi group claimed a joint operation with the “Iraqi Islamic Resistance” targeting a vital site in Haifa, Israel. Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree stated that the operation involved several winged missiles and was successful. These recent attacks have resulted in the sinking of two ships, the seizure of another, and the deaths of at least three sailors.

  1. Russian Envoy Engages Houthis on Red Sea Crisis

Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia’s special envoy to the Middle East and Africa, met with the Houthis on Tuesday to discuss developments in Gaza and the Red Sea. Mohamed Abdel Salam, the group’s spokesman, confirmed the talks focused on halting Israeli aggression on Gaza and Western actions in Yemen. The Houthis highlighted their Red Sea operations targeting Israeli-linked ships as support for Gaza, asserting these actions do not threaten international navigation. Russia, while recognizing the Houthis’ stance, sought to moderate their actions to avoid escalating tensions. 

  1. Yemen and Houthis Agree on Key Prisoner Exchange

Muscat negotiations between Yemen’s government and Houthi representatives have led to an agreement to exchange Yemeni politician Mohammed Qahtan for 50 Houthi prisoners. Mohammed Qahtan, a prominent Yemeni politician and leader in the Al-Islah party, has been held by Houthi forces since 2015. His captivity has been a point of contention in peace talks, with the Yemeni government prioritizing his release. The Houthis have consistently refused to disclose his status or allow communication with his family, making this agreement a notable development in the ongoing conflict.

  1. Houthis Launch Major Attacks on Marib and West Coast

The Houthi militia launched deadly attacks on the Marib and West Coast fronts, utilizing artillery, drones, and Iranian missiles. These assaults, described as unprecedented, aimed to advance their positions but were thwarted by the Southern Giants Forces, resulting in heavy Houthi casualties and equipment losses. The Houthis transferred dozens of dead and wounded to hospitals in Al Bayda Governorate. Yemeni Minister Muammar Al-Eryani condemned the escalation, noting its timing with ongoing prisoner exchange talks in Muscat, and called for the international community to classify the Houthis as a terrorist organization.

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IRAN

  1. Iran Completes Its Nuclear Project

Iran has progressed its nuclear program with key figures leading the charge, according to Al Hadath Breaking news report. Mohammad Mahdi Tehran Cheh, president of Azad University since 2017, and closely linked to Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, spearheads this initiative. He was instrumental in the Emad plan for developing nuclear warheads. Alongside him is Jamshid Sabbaghzadeh, who heads the Science and Research Department at Azad University and has a background in laser research and nuclear enrichment. Seyyed Mahmoud Reda Agha Miri, an expert in nuclear energy engineering and head of Tehran branches of Azad University, and engineer Jawad Al Yassin, president of the Academic Academy Regional, also play crucial roles. These individuals and their affiliations with various universities and research centers, especially Azad University, underline Iran’s determined efforts in completing its nuclear project.

  1. Iran Seeks African Uranium to Expand Nuclear Program

Iran is attempting to source uranium from West Africa to expand its nuclear program. Reports indicate that Iran is leveraging political instability in Niger to obtain mining licenses, aiming to increase its enriched uranium stockpile. In June 2024, Iran began enriching uranium at new advanced centrifuges in Natanz, further advancing its nuclear capabilities. Iran’s strategic moves include deepening ties with several African countries, such as Sudan, Mali, and Burkina Faso, to bolster its economic and strategic interests under ongoing international scrutiny and sanctions.

  1. Somalia Seeks Iran’s Help to Curb Al-Shabaab Influence

Somalia’s Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre will visit Iraq to engage with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Yemeni Houthi militia. This mission aims to curtail Al-Shabaab’s influence in Somalia and highlights the increasing role of Iranian-backed entities in destabilizing the Somali government and extending Iran’s regional influence.

  1. Iranian General Expresses Desire to Attack Israel, Citing Constraints

Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard aerospace, expressed eagerness to launch direct attacks on Israel but acknowledged current constraints unless conflict with Hezbollah arises. He highlighted Iran’s role in supplying weapons to allies in Palestine and Lebanon. Hajizadeh condemned Israeli actions supported by the U.S. and Europe, emphasizing Iran’s solidarity with Palestine.

  1. Iran’s Khatami Emphasizes Broad Discontent in Election

Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami highlighted a voter abstention in the recent presidential election, indicating widespread discontent with the ruling system. He emphasized that dissatisfaction goes beyond the 60% who did not vote, urging participation in the upcoming runoff election on July 5. Khatami supports reform-leaning candidate Masoud Pezeshkian against hardliner Saeed Jalili. Despite reformist efforts, only 39.92% voter turnout was recorded, the lowest in the country’s history. This reflects an erosion of trust in reformists and the ruling establishment, dominated by Supreme Leader Khamenei and the IRGC.

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IRAQ

  1. Houthi Militias and Hezbollah Iraq Target Haifa in Joint Operation

On Tuesday, the Ansar Allah Houthi militias in Yemen announced a successful missile strike on a vital target in Haifa, Israel, in cooperation with Hezbollah Iraq. The military spokesman, Yahya Saree, confirmed the operation’s success and emphasized continued military actions until the Israeli siege on Gaza is lifted. This announcement follows the targeting of four ships, including American, British, and Israeli vessels, in various regions such as the Red Sea, Arabian Gulf, and Indian Ocean, showcasing a coordinated escalation in hostilities.

  1. Iraqi Politicians Warn of Security Chaos Due to PKK Activities

Iraqi parliament members and politicians have raised alarms about potential security chaos due to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) activities in northern Iraq. Recent arrests revealed PKK involvement in arson attacks in Kirkuk, Erbil, Dohuk, and Nineveh, resulting in  damage. Representative Fawzi Tarazi highlighted the threat of PKK elements infiltrating multiple provinces. Authorities have developed a plan to counter PKK movements, viewing the group as a security threat. The PKK denies these accusations, blaming rival political forces and Turkish intelligence. The Iraqi Interior Ministry has classified the PKK as a banned organization.

  1. Brazilian Exports to Iraq Exceed One Billion Dollars in 2023

The trade exchange between Iraq and Brazil reached approximately $1.257 billion in 2023, according to the “trade map” website. Iraq’s exports to Brazil accounted for 1.7% of this total, mainly comprising mineral fuel and oils valued at $2.394 million. In contrast, Brazil exported 56 commodities to Iraq, with exports including sugars and sweets worth $477.6 million, oilseeds and fruits at $351.5 million, and meat and edible offal valued at $313.7 million.

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SYRIA

  1. Mazloum Abdi Invites Syrians to Safe Haven in Northeast

Mazloum Abdi, leader of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), has expressed his support for dialogue with all patriotic Syrians, emphasizing national dignity and independence. In light of recent protests in northwestern Syria against Turkish forces, Abdi reiterated his openness to welcoming Syrians into SDF-controlled areas in northeastern Syria. He condemned the attacks on Syrians in Turkiye’s Kayseri province, urging for their protection. The Syrian Democratic Council, the SDF’s political wing, also called for a comprehensive national conference to address Syrian unity and liberation, stressing the importance of responsible dialogue and cooperation among Syrian political forces to overcome the ongoing tragedy. Meanwhile, Hasan Koçer, Deputy Co-President of the Executive Council of the Democratic Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, warned the Damascus government that aligning with Turkiye would lead to Syria’s division and loss. He noted Turkiye’s past manipulation and current intentions to exploit such an alliance to attack North and East Syria. Koçer emphasized that any agreement would harm Syria’s unity and sovereignty, urging resistance to Turkiye’s plans.

  1. Luna Al-Shibl in Intensive Care After Alleged Planned Accident

Luna Al-Shibl, advisor to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is in intensive care after a severe traffic accident in Yafour, reported to be planned. Sources say an armored car hit her vehicle, causing serious injuries. Following the accident, her brother, Brigadier General Molham Al-Shibl, was arrested for espionage. Reports indicate Assad recently excluded Al-Shibl from the Baath Party’s Central Committee. Al-Shibl, a former Al-Jazeera broadcaster, has been a close figure to Assad and faced sanctions from the U.S. and Britain for her support of the regime. Reports reveal that her husband, Ammar Saati, and her brother were arrested a week before the incident. Al-Shibl’s car belonged to her husband, who was detained while planning to travel to Sochi.

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 EGYPT & NORTH AFRICA

  1. Egypt Launches $21 Billion Tourism Project with Local Investments

Egypt announced a major tourism project on the North Coast with investments estimated at $21 billion in partnership with Talaat Moustafa Holding Group. Prime Minister Madbouly emphasized the area’s potential as a global tourist destination, expected to attract millions of foreign tourists and create numerous job opportunities. The project, including an international marina, aims to boost Egypt’s economic growth and confidence in local investments. CEO Hisham Mostafa highlighted the project’s sales and economic impact, projecting increased national revenue and job creation, positioning Egypt as a prime Mediterranean tourist hub.

  1. Tunisia to Repay $3.7 Billion in Loans in First Half of 2024

Tunisian Finance Minister Siham Boughdiri Namsia announced that Tunisia will repay $3.7 billion in foreign loans during the first half of 2024. The announcement was made during a parliamentary session to ratify a financing agreement between Tunisia and local banks. The agreement includes a loan of 156 million euros ($173 million) and another loan worth $16 million, intended to finance the state budget.

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 THE GULF

  1. Alleged Documents Reveal $50 Million Allocation from Qatar to Netanyahu

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has released documents alleging that Qatar transferred $50 million to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on at least two occasions. Leaked within the Raven Project, these documents detail Qatar’s financial involvement with global political and military figures. A 2012 letter from then-Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani authorized the transfer, while another letter confirmed the cash delivery via Qatar’s State Security Service. Attempts to transfer funds through official channels were reportedly blocked by Jordanian authorities. 

  1. Saudi and China Strengthen Bilateral Relations

Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Walid bin Abdul Karim Al-Khereiji and Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Ding Li discussed ways to enhance Saudi-Chinese relations during a phone call. Topics included regional and international developments. Saudi-Chinese relations are advancing in economic, political, and military fields. Last June, Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman visited Beijing for talks. In December 2022, Saudi King Salman and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement, marking a new era in bilateral ties. Several agreements have since been signed across various sectors, boosting Chinese investments in Saudi Arabia.

  1. Saudi Wealth Fund Posts $36.8B Profit, Outperforming Iran’s Oil Revenues

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) reported a $36.81 billion profit in 2023, a stark contrast to the previous year’s $15.6 billion loss. This success highlights the kingdom’s economic diversification under Vision 2030, reducing its reliance on oil. In contrast, Iran’s oil revenue, crippled by sanctions, stands at approximately $37 billion annually. Iran’s economic mismanagement has depleted its National Development Fund, while Saudi Arabia’s strategic investments, particularly in projects like NEOM, demonstrate a forward-thinking approach. Critics argue Iran must invest in knowledge and technology to achieve sustainable growth, unlike Saudi Arabia’s successful economic reforms.

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 TURKIYE

  1. Anti-Syrian Protests Erupt, One Killed, Eight Injured, Borders Sealed

Following the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement “We will break the hands that reach out to our flag,” in response to the protests against his country inside Syria, violent attacks against Syrian refugees surged, fueled by an atmosphere of hate and impunity. In Antalya, 40 Turkish citizens attacked a home, killing 17-year-old Syrian Hamoud Hamdan Al-Nayef and injuring eight others through beatings and stabbings. Al-Nayef succumbed despite medical efforts.The attack highlights the ongoing atmosphere of hate and impunity toward Syrian refugees, with experts attributing the violence to government neglect and socio-economic exploitation. Protests erupted in Konya, Istanbul, and other cities, attacking Syrian shops and escalating tensions. Concurrently, Turkiye has sealed its main border crossings with Syria’s northwest, affecting over 3 million people by disrupting critical trade and travel routes. Turkish authorities have detained 474 individuals connected to the violence. Additionally, protests in Syria have resulted in at least four fatalities.

  1. Turkish Defense Minister Blames PKK for Public Order Disruptions

Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler, in a meeting with armed forces leaders, highlighted efforts to counter disruptions to public order, particularly those involving Syrian refugees. He attributed rising tensions and negative perceptions to actions by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliate, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Guler reaffirmed Turkiye’s commitment to preventing the establishment of a “terrorist corridor” on its southern borders and emphasized that state institutions are actively working to thwart these attempts.

  1. Turkish Contractors Achieve $7.6 Billion Abroad; Trade Deficit Rises to $6.43 Billion in June

Turkish contractors completed $7.6 billion worth of projects abroad in the first half of 2024, handling 82 projects in six months. Since 1972, they have undertaken 12,207 projects in 137 countries, totaling $511 billion. Russia was the leading market with $102.3 billion in project value, followed by Turkmenistan, Iraq, and Libya. Meanwhile, Turkiye’s trade deficit increased by 21.4% year-on-year to $6.43 billion in June, with exports falling by 10.6% to $18.57 billion and imports decreasing by 4.1% to $25 billion.

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📌 In case you missed it,

📰  THE EARLY PHOENIX July 2, 2024

📰  THE EARLY PHOENIX July 1, 2024

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