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Baghdad Partnership has failed
BAGHDAD: Iraqi Kurdish leader Massud Barzani, on the eve of a disputed independence referendum, said on Sunday that his people’s “partnership with Baghdad has failed” and urged them to go to the polls. “We have reached the conclusion that independence will allow us not to repeat past tragedies,” he told a news conference in Erbil, capital of autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan in northern Iraq. “The partnership with Baghdad has failed and
 
 
Tehran halts flights to Kurdish region
TEHRAN: Iran halted flights to and from Kurdish regions in northern Iraq on Sunday in retaliation to a plan by the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to hold a referendum on independence. The air embargo is the first concrete retaliatory measure against Monday’s Kurdish referendum which is rejected by the government in Baghdad and by Iraq’s powerful neighbours, Iran and Turkey. Iranian authorities stopped air traffic
   
Halabja residents hope for better days
HALABJA: When poison gas killed thousands of Kurds in Halabja in 1988, its residents never imagined they would ever escape Saddam Hussein’s grip, let alone vote one day in a referendum on secession from Iraq. It will be a bittersweet moment for the people of Halabja, a rundown city of around 75,000 people still facing the after-effects of the attack by Iraqi government forces. At a memorial to honour the victims is a statue of
 
 
Russian air strikes kill 45 militants in Syria
BEIRUT: Russian air strikes have killed 45 members of a rebel group in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said on Sunday. It was unclear why the strikes, which took place on Saturday, targeted members of the Faylaq Al Sham rebel group, which has taken part in peace talks supervised by Moscow in the Kazakh capital Astana. The strikes hit the group in the province of Idlib,
   
Saudi Arabia intercepts missile fired by Houthis
RIYADH: A Yemen rebel missile heading towards Saudi Arabia was intercepted late on Saturday, the Arab military coalition said, in the midst of nationwide celebrations to mark the founding of the kingdom. The ballistic missile targeted Khamis Mushait, which houses the Saudi-led coalition’s main airbase for its operations in Yemen, the official Saudi Press Agency quoted the coalition as saying. It added that the missile was
 
 
Egypt court jails 14 over deadly stadium stampede
CAIRO: An Egyptian court jailed two people for life on Sunday and 12 to between two and 10 years over violence that led to a deadly football stadium stampede in Cairo. At least 19 people died in the disaster after police fired tear gas at fans who tried to push their way into the stadium in February 2015. The defendants faced charges including murder, thuggery and vandalism, and were accused of clashing with police, leading to
   
Sudan’s student sentenced to death over cop’s murder
KHARTOUM: A court in Sudan on Sunday sentenced a university student to death after convicting him of killing a policeman during protests in the capital last year, a defence lawyer said. Asim Omer, who was studying at Khartoum University, was arrested in December last year and charged with killing the policeman after hundreds of students clashed with security forces at the campus on the banks of the Blue Nile in April 2016.
 
 
17 dead as US forces carry out air raids in Libya
WASHINGTON: US forces carried out six “precision air strikes” against a Daesh camp in Libya, killing 17 people, the US Africa Command said on Sunday. The command said the air strikes were conducted on Friday, in coordination with Libya’s Government of National Accord, hitting a desert camp 240 kilometres southeast of the city of Sirte. “The camp was used by Daesh to move fighters in and out of the country; stockpile weapons and
   
Iran’s new ballistic missile can reach Israel, warns US president
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has warned that the new ballistic missile “successfully” tested by Iran may be able to reach Israel. “Iran just test-fired a ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel. They are also working with North Korea.” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “Not much of an agreement we have!” the president added in his tweet, apparently alluding to the agreement signed in 2015 between Tehran and six
 
 
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