Call for protecting Al-Aqsa
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has urged Muslim and Arab states to help protect Al-Aqsa Mosque in the face of Israeli desecration of Islam’s third holiest site. Hamas said it hopes the Islamic world would take responsibility and protect the mosque. The Palestinian group highlighted the repeated incursion of Israeli settlers into al-Aqsa, saying it provokes the feeling of Muslims. It also called on the international community to help stop Israeli violation of the site. It stressed that the Palestinians will keep defending their land and holy sites. Earlier in the morning, dozens of Israeli settlers broke into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and performed their rituals. Non-Muslims are allowed to visit the compound but they, including Jews, are prohibited from engaging in religious rituals there. Israeli settlers, however, usually storm the Islamic site under the protection of the regime’s forces.
Iran warns US
The Iranian defense minister has slammed a US decision to dispatch additional fighter jets and naval assets to the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman, saying the Islamic Republic will not allow anyone to pose a threat to the country. Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani underlined that Iran has reached such a stage of strength and power that nobody would be able to threaten it at all. The general added that Iran has even moved past that level as its regional and international roles indicate the country is progressing. He said equipping the armed forces with new advanced weapons is on Iran’s agenda as well. Iran previously lambasted the US move in the Persian Gulf as destabilizing and provocative.
Fire at Crimea base
A fire has broken out at a military base in Crimea, forcing the evacuation of local people and the closure of a major highway. The governor of Crimea says more than 2,000 people have been evacuated and a highway was partially closed. on the other side, Ukraine said it has conducted “a successful operation” in Crimea. Meanwhile, Russian airstrikes have hit the Ukrainian port city of Odessa for the second night in a row. Ukrainian officials have called the attacks hellish. That followed a pledge of retaliation by Russia after Kiev's attack on the Crimea Bridge on Monday. The same day, Moscow refused to extend a grain deal with Ukraine, arguing that part of the deal concerning Russia’s exports have not been fulfilled.