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Monday, September 24, 2012

Israeli Strike on Iran Would Unleash “World War III”, Says Iranian Official

Iran warned that it could launch a pre-emptive strike if it felt that Israel was preparing a full-scale assault, according to a senior Revolutionary Guards commander. Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh told Iranian news station Al-Alam on Sunday that an eventual Iranian-Israeli conflict would be unpredictable, “and it will turn into World War III”. He added that Iran would understand that any Israeli attack would be carried out with tacit U.S. approval, and that the country would feel compelled to “attack U.S. bases in Bahrain, Qatar and Afghanistan”. General Hajizadeh also warned Israel that “it will sustain heavy damage and that will be a prelude to its obliteration”. His words came a day after the head of the Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, told Iranian news outlets that a war would “eventually happen, but it is not certain where and when”, and that such a conflict would spell Israel’s “destruction”.

New SARS-like Virus Emerges in the Arabian Peninsula, One Infected in the U.K.

A respiratory illness similar to the SARS virus that killed hundreds in 2003 has been identified in a man under treatment in the United Kingdom. The 49-year-old man was transferred to a London hospital by air ambulance from Qatar and is the second person to be confirmed with the coronavirus. The first person to be infected, in Saudi Arabia, has already died. There is concern for the increased travel activity in the region because of next month’s Hajj, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) has yet to announce any travel restrictions. “Given that this is a novel coronavirus, WHO is currently in the process of obtaining further information to determine the public health implications of these two confirmed cases”, according to a statement on the organisation’s website. A Saudi microbiologist interviewed by the Toronto Star said that the new virus seemed to be closely related to coronavirii in bats, but would not speculate on the probability of an interspecies transmission of the virus.

Workers Brawl and Production Stops at iPhone 5 Factory in China

A fight at a Chinese factory owned by a major Apple supplier, responsible for manufacturing components for the iPhone 5 among other products, escalated into large scale riots on Monday, according to press reports. Louis Woo, a spokesman for the Foxconn Technology Group, said that the situation was “under control” at the site in Taiyuan, but that the plant would be shut down for the day. Chinese state news agency Xinhua said that three workers were in a serious condition, with another 40 injured after the scuffles. The fight began in the site’s dormitory, attracting more than 10,000 spectators and “triggering chaos”, according to the city’s public security bureau. It is thought that the fight broke out between workers originating from different Chinese provinces. The disturbance at the Foxconn factory comes as Apple announced the shipment of five million units in the first three days of the sale of the iPhone 5.

Libyan Interim Government Announces the Dissolution of Country’s Militias

Libya’s interim government announced on Sunday that it would begin to disarm and disband all illegal militias still operating in the country, demanding that those militias should leave military compounds and public property within 48 hours. The decision comes after pro-government and pro-America Libyans surrounded and stormed the headquarters of Ansar al-Sharia last Friday. The Islamist group is suspected of having led the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three American staffers last week. The government had issued similar calls before, but was unsucessful in the dismantlement of militia structures in the country in part because Libya relies on these forces to act as its military, police and national guard units.

Suicide Car Bomb Misses Target, Kills Four Schoolchildren in Iraq

A suicide bomber struck a primary school in Hit, 140 kilometers west of Baghdad in Anbar province, on Monday morning. At least four children died in the blast and another six were wounded. A provincial spokesman told the AP that the explosion occured shortly after a police patrol passed the school’s building. It was the second day of classes after the new school year in Iraq. Another official interviewed by the news agency said that the suicide bomber’s target was not the primary school, but the police patrol. Although the levels of violence in Iraq have subsided in recent months, extremits linked to Al-Qaeda have stepped up their activities in order to destabilise public confidence in Iraq’s majority Shia-led national government.

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