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Iran’s Revolutionary Guards commander: Israel creating conditions for own destruction

Israel is creating conditions for its own destruction, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards commander said on Friday during a Jerusalem Day rally in which the country’s new domestically-made Kheibar Buster missile was displayed.
State television said millions of Iranians joined rallies marking Quds Day, the Arabic name for Jerusalem, in state-organized marches across the country.
It showed the Israeli flag being set on fire and groups of people around the country shouting choreographed “Death to America, Death to Israel” slogans.
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President Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s military commanders and senior officials also attended the rallies in which people were allowed to march through the streets, the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic two years ago.
Iran’s Jerusalem Day rallies are held annually in support of Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state in territories captured by Israel in a 1967 war, on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
“Stop your vicious deeds. You know well that we are people of action and reaction,” Revolutionary Guards commander Hossein Salami, addressing Israel, told demonstrators in Tehran.
“Our responses are painful. You create conditions for your own destruction. We will not leave you alone…You know better than me what will befall you if you take evil action.”
Israel, whose existence the Islamic Republic does not recognize, has long threatened military action against Iran if talks between Tehran and world powers fail to curb Iranian nuclear activity. Iran says its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.
In February, the Islamic Republic unveiled its “Kheibar Buster” missile with a range of 1,450 kilometers (900 miles).
Iran, which has one of the biggest missile program in the Middle East, says its ballistic missiles have a range of up to 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) and are capable of reaching its arch-foe Israel and US bases in the region.
Kheibar refers to an ancient Jewish oasis in the Arabian Peninsula’s Hijaz region that was overrun by Muslim warriors in the 7th century.
Tehran regards its ballistic missile program as an important deterrent against the US, Israel and other adversaries, and has rejected Western demands to halt it.
Over the past year, Iran and the US have engaged in fitful, indirect talks in Vienna to revive a 2015 nuclear deal that then-President Donald Trump reneged on in 2018 and that Iran, in turn, began violating in 2019.
Under the 2015 deal, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.
While they appeared close to resurrecting the deal in March, talks stalled over last-minute Russian demands and whether Washington might drop Iran’s Revolutionary Guards from its Foreign Terrorist Organization list.
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US: Bodies of two of three missing kids found in Minnesota lake

The bodies of two young children have been recovered from a Minnesota lake, and searchers are still looking for a third they fear may have been intentionally drowned.

Meanwhile, the father of the children died at a different location hours earlier, and their mother is missing. Names have not been released.

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The chain of events began Friday morning when the father was found dead at a mobile home park in the town of Maplewood, near Minneapolis. Police determined that the woman had left with the children, and a search began.

Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said the woman’s car was found near Vadnais Lake around 4 p.m. Friday. The shoes of the children were found on the shore.

A search of the lake found one child’s body Friday evening. A second body was found overnight. Searchers from several organizations were busy Saturday looking for the third, as well as the mother.

Authorities believe all three children were under the age of 5.

“There’s nothing more tragic than the loss of young children,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said at a news conference on Friday. He called the deaths a “likely triple homicide.”

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

Several dozen Romanian and Bulgarian firefighters took up their posts in Greece on Saturday, the first members of a European force being deployed to the country to provide backup in case of major wildfires during the summer.

More than 200 firefighters and equipment from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland will be on standby during the hottest months of July and August in Greece, where a spate of wildfires caused devastation last summer.

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A group of 28 Romanian firefighters with eight vehicles, and 16 firefighters from Bulgaria with four vehicles, were the first to arrive for the two-month mission, financed and coordinated under the European Union’s civil protection mechanism.

“We thank you very much for coming to help us during a difficult summer for our country, and for proving that European solidarity is not just theoretical, it’s real,” Greek Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said on Saturday as he welcomed the members of the Romanian mission in Athens.

“When things get tough, you will be side by side with our Greek firefighters so we can save lives and property.”

The Bulgarian firefighters have been stationed in Larissa, in central Greece.

Last summer’s wildfires ravaged about 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and bushland in different parts of Greece as the country experienced its worst heatwave in 30 years.

Following sharp criticism of its response to the fires, the Greek government set up a new civil protection ministry and promised to boost firefighting capacities.

In Greece’s worst wildfire disaster, 102 people were killed when a blaze tore through the seaside town of Mati and nearby areas close to Athens during the summer of 2018.

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One killed, six injured in shootout between migrant groups in Serbia

One migrant was killed and at least six others, including a teenage girl, were injured Saturday in a shootout between migrant groups in Serbia near the Hungarian border, the state-run RTS television reported.

The 16-year-old girl sustained life threatening injuries in the incident that occurred in a forest in the outskirts of Subotica, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Belgrade, where the injured were hospitalized, RTS reported.

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Police, who made no immediate comment, blocked access to the forest where the incident took place, only around a kilometer from the Hungarian border.

Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin rushed to the scene.

The injured, aged between 20 and 30, have no documents, Subotica mayor Stevan Bakic told local media.

It is not known what triggered the incident, he added.

Local media reported that the shootout occurred between Afghan and Pakistani migrants most likely over human trafficking from the area to European Union member Hungary.

Serbia lies on the so-called Balkans route used by migrants heading towards Western Europe as they flee war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Although the route is nowhere as busy as it was during Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, tens of thousands of illegal migrants still cross the region annually.

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