'No normalization with Israel'
Iraq's President Barham Salih has categorically rejected any efforts to normalize ties with Israel, reiterating that his country will keep supporting the Palestinian cause. Salih urged respect for the will of the Iraqi people and their independent stance on the issue. His remarks followed a Friday conference in the country’s Kurdistan region in support of normalization of ties between Baghdad and Tel-Aviv. Earlier, the Iraqi prime minister’s office also called the conference illegal, saying Iraq would continue to condemn any hostilities toward Palestinians. Separately, influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr decried the conference. He said if authorities in Erbil fail to prevent such forums, the government must treat the attendees as criminals and arrest them. Senior cleric and political leader Ammar al-Hakim also called the Palestinian cause the most important issue for Arab and Islamic nations.
Somalia bomb explosion
At least 8 people are killed and several others injured as the al-Shabaab terrorist group targets the Somali capital with explosive again. According to a senior police official, an explosive-laden car ripped through a checkpoint near the presidential palace in Mogadishu. A witness said the bomb was detonated when police stopped the driver for a security check. Most of the victims were said to be civilians. Somalia has endured numerous bomb attacks in recent years and has been battling with the terrorist group since 2008. Al-Shabaab was forced out of Mogadishu with the help of African Union forces in 2011. But the terrorist outfit often carries out bomb and gun attacks against government, military, and civilian targets in the capital as well as regional towns.
Tribute to hero teenager
Iranians have bid farewell to a teenage boy who succumbed to severe wounds he had sustained while rescuing two women neighbors trapped in a fire in their apartment building. Ali Landi was laid to rest in his hometown of Izeh in the country’s southwest. Earlier, a funeral ceremony was held for him in the city of Isfahan where he was hospitalized. The 15-year-old died on Friday, two weeks after the fire incident. The Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei offered his condolences to the teenager’s family. Landi has been called a national hero. Iranians saluted the teenager's courage online, with many urging the education ministry to incorporate his story in school materials.