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Tunisia court sentences ex-president Marzouki to 8 years in absentia

Tunisia court sentences ex-president Marzouki to 8 years in absentia

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Tunisia court sentences ex-president Marzouki to 8 years in absentia

A Tunisian court sentenced former President Moncef Marzouki to eight years in prison in absentia on charges of assaulting the state security and inciting Tunisians against each other, a judicial official said.

This is the second prison sentence against Marzouki, who resides in Paris, after a judge sentenced him in 2021 to four years in absentia.

Mohamed Zitouna, the spokesperson of the Tunis court, said the verdict was based on statements by Marzouki that included incitement in a speech he gave in Paris, without giving further details.

Marzouki, who was president from 2011 to 2014, is a fierce critic of President Kais Saied.

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Saied closed Parliament, sacked the government and began ruling by decree in 2021, a step that Marzouki and main opposition leaders described as a coup.

The Tunisian president, who enshrined his new constitutional powers in a referendum with a low turnout in 2022, has denied his actions were a coup and said they were needed to save Tunisia from years of chaos.

Most opposition chiefs were arrested since last year, including Rached Ghannouchi, the head of the Islamist Ennahda party, and Abir Moussi, the leader of Free Constitutional.

Authorities also detained prominent opposition figures Jawher Ben Mbarek, Khayam Turki, Ghazi Chaouachi, Issam Chabbi, Abdelhamid Jalasi and Ridha Belhaj last year in a crackdown on suspicion of plotting against state security.

The opposition accuses Saied of muzzling the press and imposing authoritarian rule, and says his constitutional changes have pulled apart the democracy built after a 2011 revolution.

Saied rejects those accusations and has called his critics criminals, traitors and terrorists and warned that any judge who freed them would be considered abetting them.

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British jets shot down Iranian drones, PM Sunak says

British jets shot down Iranian drones, PM Sunak says

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British jets shot down Iranian drones, PM Sunak says

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Sunday that British military jets shot down drones launched by Iran in its attack on Israel and called for “calm heads to prevail” to avoid an escalation of the conflict.

“I can confirm that our planes did shoot down a number of Iranian attack drones,” Sunak told broadcasters.

“If this attack had been successful, the fallout for regional stability would be hard to overstate. We stand by the security of Israel and the wider region, which is of course important for our security here at home, too. What we now need is for calm heads to prevail.”

Sunak was due to join discussions between Group of Seven leaders later on Sunday.

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“It’s important that we coordinate with allies and we’ll be discussing next steps at that moment,” he said

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Hezbollah source says Israel struck position in east Lebanon

Hezbollah source says Israel struck position in east Lebanon

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Hezbollah source says Israel struck position in east Lebanon

A Hezbollah source said Israel struck Sunday one of the Iran-backed group’s buildings in Lebanon’s east, close to the Syrian border, as tensions soared after Iran directly attacked Israel.

“The Israeli strike targeted an area… near Baalbek and targeted a two-storey building belonging to Hezbollah,” a source within the Lebanese group told AFP, adding there were no casualties.

Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported that “an enemy air strike targeted a building” in the village of Nabi Sheet and “destroyed it”.

An AFP photographer at the site saw the concrete and steel wreckage of the building, levelled in the attack.

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Earlier on Sunday, Hezbollah said it had twice launched barrages of rockets towards the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, after it joined in the major Iranian drone and missile attack against Israel.

The Iranian attack was in response to an April 1 air strike widely blamed on Israel that destroyed an Iranian consulate building in Damascus, killing seven Revolutionary Guards, including two generals.

Hamas ally Hezbollah has exchanged near-daily cross-border fire with Israel since the Palestinian militant group attacked southern Israel on October 7 triggering the war in the Gaza Strip.

The violence, which has largely been contained to the border area, has so far killed at least 363 people in Lebanon, mostly Hezbollah fighters but also including at least 70 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

In Israel, the military says 10 soldiers and eight civilians have been killed.

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Tens of thousands of civilians have fled their homes on both sides of the border. 

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Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon reopen airspace after Iran attacks

Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon reopen airspace after Iran attacks

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Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon reopen airspace after Iran attacks

Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon have reopened their airspace after closing it late on Saturday as Iran launched drone and missile attacks against Israel, the three countries said on Sunday.

Jordan’s state TV said the country had resumed air traffic operations, citing aviation authorities. The opening of its airspace came more than three hours earlier than scheduled.

Iraq’s aviation authority said security risks had now been overcome.

Lebanon said its airport will resume its activities after the overnight closure, state TV reported.

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Iran launched explosive drones and fired missiles at Israel late on Saturday – its first direct attack on Israeli territory in a retaliatory strike that raises the threat of wider regional conflict.

Jordan, which lies between Iran and Israel, had readied air defences to intercept any drones or missiles that violated its territory, two regional security sources said.

US and British warplanes were involved in shooting down some Israel-bound drones over the Iraq-Syria border area, Israel’s Channel 12 reported. 

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