Saudi black ops team carried out Damascus chemical weapons attack – Russian diplomatic source
The chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria, on August 21 was carried out by a Saudi Arabian black ops team, according a Russian diplomatic source.
“Based on data from a number of sources a picture can be pieced together. The criminal provocation in Eastern Ghouta was done by a black op team that the Saudi’s sent through Jordan and which acted with support of the Liwa Al-Islam group,” a Russian diplomat reportedly told Interfax news agency.
The attack was meant to complicate an already delicate situation in Syria, another source said.
“Syrians of various political views, including some opposition fighters, are seeking to inform diplomats and members of international organizations working in Syria what they know about the crime and the forces which inspired it,” he told the agency.
“Earlier reports pointed to Saudi Arabia as the mastermind behind the chemical attack, which almost led to US military action against Syrian government. Supporters of this scenario say intelligence services in Riyadh were looking for a false flag operation to provoke an American intervention in Syria, which would tip the balance of power in favor of the armed opposition supported by Saudi Arabia,” said a report.
Lampedusa Migrants Boat Disaster: Death toll could reach 300
Choppy seas prevented divers on Friday from recovering more bodies of migrants who drowned off Sicily on Thursday.
The Italian coastguard has so far recovered 111 bodies and expect to find at least 200 others. The boat sank about 800 meters from the shore of the southern island of Lampedusa.
Some 155 people have been recused, but more than 200 others are not accounted for, authorities said.
The 20-m vessel is sitting upright on the seabed about 47m below the surface, video footage shows.
Since the 1990s, about 20,000 people have lost their lives trying to reach Italy from North Africa, according to data of known incidents; however, thousands more are likely to have perished without a trace.
Mandatory evacuation orders issued for low-lying areas south of New Orleans
State officials have issued mandatory evacuation orders for low-lying areas south of New Orleans as a Tropical Storm KAREN continued to move toward the Louisiana coast.
KAREN has forced oil and gas companies to shut platforms and evacuate most of their workforces, cutting output by more than a half in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, which accounts for about a fifth of U.S. oil production and more than 6 percent of natural gas.
Since Thursday, the governors of Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida and Alabama have declared states of emergency to mobilize their resources.
Typhoon FITOW Buffeting SW Japan
Typhoon FITOW is dumping significant amounts of rain over the Okinawa region. Forecaster say the region could receive downpours of 60 mm per hour through Sunday.
Expected rainfall totals through Sunday evening could top 200 mm on the Saki-shima Islands, and 150 mm on Okinawa’s main island, said NHK.
“The local observatory advises caution against strong winds, high waves, a storm surge, landslides, flooding in low-lying areas, swollen rivers, tornadoes, and gusting winds.”
Bodies Unearthed in Bosnian Mass Grave
About 100 bodies have so far been unearthed at a newly discovered mass grave in northern Bosnia-Herzegovina, reports say.
The victims are believed to be Bosnian Muslims and Croats who were ethnically cleansed by Serbian forces occupying the region during the three-year Bosnian War (1992 and 1995).
Serbian forces reportedly killed more than 30,000 civilians during their war of aggression.
In July 1995, Serbians massacred more than 8,000 Bosnians in Srebrenica, in what was the worst act of genocide in Europe since the Second World War.
A man was in critical condition Friday night after he poured gasoline on his body and set himself on fire on the National Mall, reports said.
Photo credit: Terry Hays. More images…