Blast heard in Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut – witnesses
An explosion was heard and smoke was seen rising on Tuesday in the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, Reuters reported, citing witnesses and local media. The area is a stronghold of the Shiite Muslim militant movement, Hezbollah. Witnesses said they heard the sound of a blast in the area, which has been the target of repeated car bombs in recent months. Hezbollah’s Al Manar channel said the blast occurred in the Haret Hriek area.
Iran sends warships to Atlantic – TV
Iran’s navy has sent warships on a mission to the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in the county’s history, state TV said on Tuesday. The Sabalan destroyer and Khark logistic helicopter carrier will be dispatched on a three-month voyage. The ships carry some 30 navy academy cadets for training, alongside an unspecified military mission, AP reported. No ports of call were mentioned. Tehran has regularly deployed warships to the Gulf of Aden off the eastern coast of Africa to fight piracy and protect commercial ships.
Gunmen kill 3 polio workers in Pakistan’s Karachi
Gunmen killed three health workers taking part in a polio vaccination drive in Pakistan’s biggest city, Karachi, police said. Attackers on motorbikes opened fire on polio teams on Monday in two separate incidents in the Qayyumabad neighborhood in the east of the city. The World Health Organization recently warned that Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar was the world’s “largest reservoir” of the polio virus.
Unknown attackers shot and killed a leader of the Yemeni Shiite Muslim Houthi group in Sanaa on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Ahmad Sharafeddin, a former dean of the school of law at Sanaa University, was on his way to attend reconciliation talks in the Yemeni capital. He reportedly died immediately after the gunmen opened fire on him. Another Houthi leader, Abdulkarim al-Khiwani, accused hardline Sunni militants of carrying out the attack. The Houthi group has fought hardline Sunni Salafis in northern Yemen since October. A ceasefire was reached earlier this month to relocate the Salafis to another city, but clashes have continued in other parts of northern Yemen with tribesmen allied to the Salafis.
Cambodia police detain 11 anti-government protesters
Police in Cambodia detained 11 activists Tuesday who were trying to hand over a petition to foreign embassies, AP reported. Demonstrators urge four embassies, including those of the US and France, to help free two dozen anti-government protesters arrested during a brutal crackdown this month. Twenty-three people were arrested in early January in connection with protests against the government.
Pakistan bombards tribal areas in Taliban hunt
Pakistani fighter jets and helicopter gunships raided suspected Taliban hideouts in the tribal area of North Waziristan province. It was the first time aircraft were used in the area since the 2007 ceasefire with local Taliban chiefs. Military sources said they targeted militant positions around the Mir Ali area. The strikes came as pressure grows on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to hit harder on the Taliban in response to its attacks on security forces. The PM came to power promising peace talks with Taliban, but an attempt to arrange negotiations failed after the killing of Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud in a November by a US drone strike.