Two blasts rock city of Tripoli

Two explosions have rocked the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, with reports of casualties.

At least one of the blasts happened near al-Taqwa Mosque, as Friday prayers were ending, initial reports say.

Emergency services have rushed to the scenes of the blasts which have left thick plumes of black smoke over the area,according o BBC.

The Reuters news agency reported that at least seven people were killed in the attack outside the mosque.


Fahmi: Egypt calls for political solution in Syria

CAIRO, (ST)- Nabil Fahmi, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, reiterated his country's stance as regards calling for  a solution to the crisis in Syria through dialogue .

"Egypt rejects foreign military intervention in Syria, "underscored Fahmi.

Fahmi's remark was made during an interview with Russia Today channel.

" Egypt is committed to Syria's territorial integrity and believes in the importance of holding the international conference on Syria in Geneva to find a political solution to end the crisis," underlined Fahmi.

The Egyptian diplomat made it clear  that the  crisis in Syria could have many repercussions on the stability of the Middle East as a whole.

He referred to the efforts being exerted for Egypt to regain its central role and foreign policy on the basis of achieving its interests.

It is to be noted that Fahmi , upon taking his office, affirmed that he has commissioned the Foreign Ministry's directorates to review Egypt's relations with all the countries, including Syria.


Bahraini Activists Defy Protest Bans

TEHRAN -People in Bahrain defied official bans on anti-regime protests in Manama and other regions,according to FNA.

On Wednesday, Bahrainis held protest rallies in the capital city of Manama to show their determination to continue uprising against the Al Khalifa regime in the tiny Persian Gulf country, Al-Alam reported.

The Bahraini security forces have used excessive force and resorted to poisonous gas to clamp down protestors and disperse people from streets.

People also took to streets in other cities and villages of Bahrain to respond properly to the demand of February 14 Revolution.

Bahraini government has been broadly criticized by international organizations for its widespread violations of human rights.

Anti-government protesters have been holding peaceful demonstrations across Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for an end to the al-Khalifa dynasty.

Violence against the defenseless people escalated after a Saudi-led conglomerate of police, security and military forces from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar - were dispatched to the tiny Gulf kingdom on March 2011, to help Manama crack down on peaceful protestors.

So far, tens of protesters have been killed, hundreds have gone missing and thousands of others have been injured.


Iran's Zarif: Syrian Government not behind Alleged Chemical Attacks in Damascus Countryside

TEHRAN- Iran has dismissed claims accusing the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against armed groups' positions in the countryside of Damascus.

"If the use of chemical weapons is true, it has definitely been carried out by terrorist and Takfiri groups, because they have proved in action that they don't hesitate in committing crimes,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif said in a late Wednesday phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu.

Zarif also argued that Damascus could not be behind the alleged attack as the Syrian Army has upper hand in the battle against foreign-backed armed groups and the UN inspectors are present in Syria.

"This criminal act has been carried out by terrorist groups because their interests lie in intensifying the crisis in Syria,” he added.

The Iranian foreign minister also stressed Tehran’s strong condemnation of any use of chemical weapons.

Some Arab and international media outlets which are part in shedding the Syrian blood have launched an anti-Syria campaign alleging that the Syrian Arab Army had used chemical weapons against armed groups in al-Ghouta area of Damascus Countryside. 

But the Syrian Army vehemently rejected the allegations, saying the accusations were categorically null and void and were fabricated to mislead the visiting team of the UN chemical weapons experts and to cover up terrorists' losses.

"The claims come within the framework of the media war against Syria, according to a statement by the General Command of the Syrian Army and Armed Forces. 

The head of the UN inspection mission, Ake Sellstrom, has said that the alleged attack should be investigated. The Arab League has also called on the inspectors to visit the site of the alleged chemical attack.

Meanwhile, Britain, France, the US, and Saudi Arabia have called for the UN Security Council to convene immediately to discuss the reports of the chemical attack.

In March, dozens of people were killed in a chemical attack by armed groups, in the northern province of Aleppo. A Russian-led inquiry said terrorists were behind the deadly attack.

H. Mustafa

Iranian FM Warns against Foreign Intervention in Syria

TEHRAN - Iran's new Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged regional and global actors to avoid foreign intervention in crisis-hit Syria, warning that violence would spill over into the entire region otherwise, according to FNA.

"Any kind of foreign intervention in Syria would only lead to fratricide and bloodshed and increase concerns over and extremism in the entire region," the Iranian foreign minister said following a cabinet meeting here in Tehran on Wednesday.

"Resolving the Syrian issue requires a decision-making based on wider views," he continued.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian police forces and border guards being reported across the country.

Hundreds of people, including members of the security forces, have been killed, when some protest rallies turned into armed clashes.

The government blames outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups for the deaths, stressing that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.