U.S. Navy reports another close call with Iran drone

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – An unarmed Iranian drone shadowed a U.S. aircraft carrier at night and came close enough to F-18 fighter jets to put the lives of American pilots at risk, the Navy said Tuesday, reporting the second such tense encounter within a week. The Iranian Sadegh drone flew without any warning lights during the encounter Sunday night with the USS Nimitz, said Lt. Ian McConnaughey, a spokesman for the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet. The drone did not respond to repeated calls over the radio and came within 1,000 feet (300 meters) of U.S. fighters, he said. That "created a dangerous situation with the potential for collision and is not in keeping with international maritime customs and laws," McConnaughey said in a statement. The drone was unarmed, the lieutenant said, though that model can carry missiles.


Mosul street fighting hard slog as civilians cower; recreational drones used to spot Islamic State threats

The Japan Times

MOSUL, IRAQ/SALAHIYAH IRAQ – Iraq's special forces worked Sunday to clear neighborhoods on the eastern edge of Islamic State-held Mosul as bombings launched by the extremist group elsewhere in the country killed at least 20 people. The Mosul offensive has slowed in recent days as Iraqi forces have pushed into more densely populated areas, where they cannot rely as much on airstrikes and shelling because of the risk posed to civilians, who have been told to stay in their homes. "There are a lot of civilians and we are trying to protect them," said Lt. Col. Muhanad al-Timimi. "This is one of the hardest battles that we've faced till now." Some civilians are fleeing the combat zone, while IS militants are holding others back for use as human shields, making it harder for Iraqi commanders on the ground to get approval for requested U.S.-led coalition airstrikes.


Syria conflict: US jet 'downs drone' near Jordan border

BBC News

A US jet has shot down an Iranian-made drone operated by forces backing the Syrian government in the south of the country, American officials say. The F-15 plane downed the drone around 00:30 on Tuesday (21:30 GMT Monday) north-east of Tanf, according to a US military statement. The drone was thought to be armed and threatening US troops on the ground, officials said. Tanf, near the borders with Iraq and Jordan, is home to a coalition base. If confirmed, it is the second downing of a drone this month.


EU air traffic control agency warns of flights over Syria

Al Jazeera

The international air traffic control agency Eurocontrol has warned airlines to exercise caution in the eastern Mediterranean due to the possible launch of air strikes into Syria in the next 72 hours. Eurocontrol said that air-to-ground and/or cruise missiles could be used within that period and there was a possibility of intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment. US President Donald Trump and Western allies are discussing possible military action after they blamed Syria's President Bashar al-Assad for a suspected poison gas attack on Saturday on a rebel-held town that long had held out against government forces. Trump on Tuesday cancelled a planned trip to Latin America later this week to focus instead on responding to the Syria incident, the White House said. Trump had on Monday warned of a quick, forceful response once responsibility for the Syria attack was established.


Laila Anwar al-Ghandour becomes the face of Gaza carnage

Al Jazeera

Laila Anwar al-Ghandour, an eight-month-old baby, has died of tear-gas inhalation at dawn, Gaza's ministry of health says, highlighting international outrage over the killings by Israeli soldiers of 60 Palestinians, who joined in a massive protest against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. Laila was the youngest fatality following demonstrations on Monday, leading to the 70th anniversary on Tuesday of Nakba, or Catastrophe, when the state of Israel was established on May 15, 1948, and forced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes. The 59th victim of Israel's brutal repression against Palestinians in Gaza today was Leila Anwar al-Ghandour. She was 8 months old. According to the Palestine Network for Dialogue, Laila and the al-Ghandour family are residents of al-Shati district, also known as Beach Camp, in western Gaza.