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Iran warns of ‘heavy price’ after report of US-Israeli military drill plans

A top Iranian military official warned on Saturday of a “heavy price” for aggressors, state media said, after a report of US and Israeli plans for possible military drills to prepare for strikes against Iran’s nuclear sites if diplomacy fails.

“Providing conditions for military commanders to test Iranian missiles with real targets will cost the aggressors a heavy price,” Nournews, affiliated with Iran’s top security body, said on Twitter, citing an unnamed military official.

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A senior US official told Reuters on Thursday that US and Israeli defense chiefs were expected to discuss possible military exercises that would prepare for a worst-case scenario to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities should diplomacy fail and if their nations’ leaders request it.

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Top US general warns of high ammo use in event of major war

America’s top military officer warned Wednesday that war between the United States and another major power would see “off the charts” munitions consumption and said there is work to be done to ensure the country is prepared.

Ukraine and Russia have fired huge amounts of artillery ammunition since Moscow invaded its neighbor in February 2022, sparking concerns about the amount the United States — which has supplied large amounts of shells to Kyiv — has on hand.

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A “big lesson learned comes out of Ukraine, which is the incredible consumption rates of conventional munitions in what really is a limited regional war,” General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Armed Services Committee.

“If there was a war on the Korean peninsula or a great power war between United States and Russia, United States and China, those consumption rates would be off the charts,” he said.

“We’ve got a ways to go to make sure our… stockpiles are prepared for the real contingencies.”

Milley’s remarks came a day after Undersecretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo said the United States aims to greatly expand the production of artillery shells.

“We’re… investing in production capacity — $1.45 billion to expand the 155 mm artillery production from 14,000 a month to over 24,000 later this year, which includes a sixfold increase in production capacity by FY28 to over 85,000 units per month,” he said at an Association of the United States Army symposium.

The country is also seeking to increase production of Javelin launchers and missiles as well as ammunition for HIMARS precision rocket launchers — equipment that has played a key role in Ukraine’s fight against Russian troops, Camarillo said.

Read more: Russia did not intercept B-52 bombers over Baltic Sea: US Air Force

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US Senate backs repeal of decades-old Iraq war authorizations

A majority of the US Senate backed legislation on Wednesday to repeal two decades-old authorizations for past wars in Iraq, as Congress pushes to reassert its role over deciding whether to send troops into combat.

The Senate voted 66-30 in favor of legislation to repeal the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force, or AUMFs, well above the 51-vote majority needed to pass the measure that would formally end the Gulf and Iraq wars.

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To become law, the repeal of the two Authorizations for the Use of Military Force, or AUMFs, must still pass the Republican-led House of Representatives, where its prospects are less certain.

All of the votes against repeal in the Senate were from Republicans and the party's leader in the chamber Mitch McConnell issued a statement opposing it.

Biden has said he will sign the legislation, if it reaches his desk.

Twenty years after the March 2003 US invasion, the vote was a historic step away from a war that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of Americans, complicated policy in the Middle East and bitterly divided US politics.

It was also lawmakers' latest effort to reclaim Congress' authority over whether troops should be sent into combat, which backers of the repeal said had been improperly ceded to the White House as the Senate and House of Representatives passed and then failed to repeal open-ended war authorizations.

Read more: Twenty years later, US Senate may finally end authorization for war on Iraq

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Seven jailed in terrorism probe in Belgium            

Seven people were imprisoned in Belgium Wednesday in two investigations into “possible terrorist attacks,” the federal prosecutor’s office said.

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The seven, five Belgians as well as a Turk and a Bulgarian, were charged with participation in the activities of a terrorist group.

Five of them were also charged with “preparation of a terrorist offence,” the prosecutor said.

Raids were conducted late Monday on homes in the capital Brussels, the port city of Antwerp and the border town of Eupen, the federal prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday.

Eight were arrested in the raids, but one of the suspects arrested in Antwerp has since been released.

These were in relation to two inquiries — one led by federal police in Brussels and the other by an investigating magistrate in Antwerp.

The parallel investigations triggered a raid in Molenbeek, an inner-city Brussels district that has been the focus of some previous terror probes.

More details of the potential targets of these attacks have not yet been released.

The investigations in Antwerp and Brussels had initially focused on “two young adults suspected of violent radicalism,” state broadcaster RTBF reported.

The country’s biggest ever criminal trial of nine suspects accused of taking part in the March 2016 suicide bombings that killed 32 people is underway in Brussels.

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