Archive for Middle East
Turkey summoned Germany’s ambassador in Ankara after media reports that Berlin had identified Ankara as a top target of surveillance in a government document from 2009 and had been spying on Turkey for years. Germany’s foreign intelligence agency has been spying on Turkey for nearly four decades, Focus magazine said on Saturday in a report which could raise tensions further between the NATO allies. Focus magazine said the BND intelligence agency had been spying on Turkey since 1976 and that German government under the then Social Democrat chancellor Helmut Schmidt had expressly approved the step. A spokesman for the German government declined to comment on the report. The report is a further embarrassment for Angela Merkel’s government which faces accusations of hypocrisy because of its outrage over allegations of widespread surveillance by the United States on Germans, including the tapping of the chancellor’s phone.
In an incident that has caused major embarrassment for the Pune police force, Matan Zamir, deputy chief mission, Consulate General of Israel in India, who was in the city to deliver a talk refused to go ahead with his speech, saying he was not provided with adequate security at the venue. Organisers of the India-Israel Friendship Forum (IIFF) have blamed the police, alleging that they did not take enough cognisance of the programme, and that they should have provided security well in advance, given the present situation in Gaza. Ranjeet Natu, secretary, IIFF said, “We had sent an application regarding the talk to the Pune police last week and the embassy too had spoken to them. However, they obviously paid no heed. This is complete negligence on their part.” When Zamir came to know of the inadequate security, he refused to come to the venue. “He informed us that unless he feels secure and is provided with adequate police security, he would not attend the programme,” one of the organisers told Mirror.
The Cyprus Police are taking additional measures for the protection of the US embassy in Nicosia. The measures are in place following the U.S. military campaign in Iraq, reports the Cyprus News Agency. The report also stated that increased security measures are being taken at the Israeli embassy as well due to the situation in the Gaza strip. Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides told Sky News that US ally Britain would have to consult with him ahead of any airstrike in Iraq through the RAF base in Akrotiri. The Minister appeared certain that Nicosia would “not object to the use of the British Bases for any military operation against a terrorist organisation like this one which is the worst kind that we have ever met.”
An accidental shooting at the U.S. Embassy in Jordan wounded two local guards, authorities said. Jordanian police spokesman Amer al-Sartawi said the shooting wounded one guard in the hand and the other in the leg. He described the shooting as an accident, but did not elaborate. Edgar Vasquez, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, said the incident happened as guards were moving between vehicles outside of the embassy. “A gendarmerie officer’s weapon accidentally discharged inside the vehicle, injuring two officers,” Vasquez said. “We understand the incident has been ruled an accident and the government’s investigation has been closed.”
The Saudi Arabian embassy in Paris has issued a statement carried on Saudi state media confirming that a car owned by a Saudi citizen was forced to stop on the way to the airport and stolen, but denied media reports that the vehicle was affiliated to the embassy and was carrying money and sensitive documents. Reuters claimed that armed gunmen ambushed a Saudi prince’s convoy on the outskirts of Paris on Sunday evening, making off with a large amount of cash and some private documents in what police said looked like a raid by well-informed attackers. The Saudi convoy of about a dozen cars had been heading for the small Le Bourget airport north of the city along the major A1 highway with the prince, whose name was not revealed. According to a police official about eight masked attackers with guns, driving in two BMW cars, forced one of the cars in the convoy to stop near the Porte de la Chapelle exit junction on the northern edge of the capital at around 2100 (1900 GMT).
Police have detained a man who opened fire on the Turkish Embassy in central Moscow on Monday morning, ITAR-Tass reported. The man, who fired two shots from a double-barreled hunting rifle at an embassy sign depicting the Turkish flag, was immediately detained by police officers guarding the embassy. No one was harmed in the incident, according to ITAR-Tass. Moskovsky Komsomolets identified the shooter as a 43-year-old Armenian businessman. The police had not commented on the identity of the shooter by the time of publication. While the shooter’s motives remain unclear, the strained relations between Turkey and Armenia over the recent exacerbation of tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh — a region that lies within Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized borders but is populated by a large majority of Armenians — circulated Monday in the Russian press as a potential motive for the act. Rallies have also previously been held at and near Turkish embassies and consulates in Russia by representatives of the country’s extensive Armenian diaspora calling for Turkey to recognize as genocide the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman authorities in 1915 in what is modern-day Turkey. ITAR-Tass reported that police have opened a hooliganism case against the man, who currently remains in police custody. If charged and convicted, he faces up to five years in prison under Russian law.
Gunmen armed with assault weapons ambushed a car from Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Paris, stealing 250,000 euros ($334,000) in cash, a police union official said. The assault occurred late yesterday near the Paris city limits as a convoy of vehicles from the embassy headed to Le Bourget airport, said Rocco Contento, a representative of Unite SGP Police. A Saudi prince was in one of the vehicles, he said. The airport, seven kilometers (4.3 miles) north of Paris, serves business aircraft. “They must have been informed about the schedule,” he said. The assault was “very well organized” because no shots were fired and no one was hurt, he said. Spokespeople for the police in Paris didn’t immediately return calls for comment. The Saudi embassy didn’t immediately respond to requests for a comment. No one was injured in the attack, which occurred between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. as the vehicles entered the A1 highway in Paris’s 18th district, said Contento, who got his information from the police unit that responded to the attack. The last car in the convoy, a Mercedes minivan with only a driver inside, was hijacked by eight hooded gunmen in two BMWs, he said. The attackers stole the minivan with the driver and released him later, Contento said. They also took sensitive documents, he said. The vehicle was later found burned, Contento said. The prince continued to the airport and caught his plane, the union official said.