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MBS’ sister faces trial over attack on workman

The case against Princess Hassa bint Salman, which stems from the alleged assault in her luxury apartment in September 2016

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Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Riyadh, June 13 (IANS) The sister of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will be put on trial in Paris in July for allegedly ordering her bodyguard to beat up a workman in the French capital, AFP news agency reported.

The case against Princess Hassa bint Salman, which stems from the alleged assault in her luxury apartment in September 2016, will be judged on July 9, France 24 reported, citing the news agency.

She is likely to be absent from the trial as she has not been apprehended despite an international arrest warrant issued in December 2017.

The victim said he was hired to refurbish Princess Hassa’s apartment in an ultra-expensive part of the French capital. But she got angry after he took a photograph of the room where the work was to be done. She accused the man of wanting to sell the photo to the media, the report said.

According to the victim, the princess then ordered her bodyguard to beat him up, shouting: “Kill him, the dog, he doesn’t deserve to live.”

The workman said he was punched in the face, his hands were tied and he was forced to kiss the princess’s feet during the ordeal. He was allowed to leave the apartment hours later but his tools were allegedly confiscated and he was off work for eight days.

The bodyguard was charged in October 2016 with armed violence, theft, issuing death threats and holding someone against their will.

Said to be in her 40s, Princess Hassa has been praised by the Saudi media for her work in charity and women’s rights.

Princess Hassa’s brother and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, one of the most powerful leaders in the Middle East, was also embroiled in a controversy following the murder of his fierce critic Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October last year.

The Saudis, after initially denying they knew anything of the journalist’s disappearance, later acknowledged that Khashoggi was killed in a rogue operation that did not involve the Crown Prince.

Middle East

4 rockets hit military base near Baghdad, 6 injured

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Baghdad, Dec 9 : Four rockets struck a military base near the Baghdad airport, leaving six army personnel injured, Iraqi authorities said Monday.

According to a statement by the media office affiliated with the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, forces searched the areas around the military base and found a rocket launcher left with some unfired rockets because of malfunction, Xinhua news agency reported

The statement however, did not say when the attack took place or identified which base was hit.

Meanwhile, an Interior Ministry official told Xinhua that the targeted base was where US troops were stationed.

Military bases housing US troops across Iraq and the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad have been frequently targeted by insurgents’ mortar and rocket attacks.

Over 5,000 .S troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the Iraqi forces in the battles against the Islamic State (IS) militants, mainly providing training and advice to the Iraqi forces.

The troops are part of the US-led international coalition that has been conducting air raids against IS targets in both Iraq and Syria.

The incident came as mass demonstrations have continued in Baghdad and other cities in central and southern Iraq since early October, demanding comprehensive reform, accountability for corruption, improvement of public services and job opportunities.

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Middle East

Deadly car bombs target Turkish-held town in north Syria

The car bombs were detonated on Thursday in swift succession at the al-A’laf roundabout in Ras al-Ayn, the report said.

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Car Bomb in Syria

Damascus, Dec 6 : At least two civilians were killed when two car bombs went off in Syria’s northeastern city of Ras al-Ayn controlled by the Turkey-backed rebels, state-run SANA news agency reported.

The car bombs were detonated on Thursday in swift succession at the al-A’laf roundabout in Ras al-Ayn, the report said.

Six people were also wounded in the bombing attack, it added.

The attack is the latest in series of bombings targeting the areas that have been recently stormed by the Turkey-backed rebels and Turkish forces, Xinhua news agency reported.

The previous day, at least five Turkish soldiers were killed when a car bomb targeted their convoy in the city of Jarablus in northern Aleppo province when it was en route to a Turkish-run base on the outskirts of the city, SANA reported.

It added that 12 other Turkish soldiers were wounded and later sent across the border to Turkish hospitals.

There have been a series of bombings and explosions targeting the Turkey-backed rebels and Turkish forces in northern Syria since Turkey launched an offensive against the Syrian Kurdish forces in October.

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Middle East

Israel PM Netanyahu indicted for fraud, bribery

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Netanyahu Israel

Jerusalem, Dec 3 :Netanyahu Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been indicted for fraud, bribery and breach of trust in three separate corruption cases.

Israeli Attorney General Avihai Mendelblit publicly released an official indictment on Monday, allowing a period of 30 days during which the long-time leader may request the parliament to grant him immunity from standing trial, Xinhua reported.

The 77-page indictment charges Netanyahu with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three separate corruption scandals.

According to the indictment, the trial will be held at the Jerusalem District Court. The date of the trial has not yet been published.

The document contains a list of 333 witnesses the prosecution may call to testify against Netanyahu, including Sheldon Adelson, an American Jewish business magnate and one of US President Donald Trump’s major donors, and Arnon Milchan, an Israeli billionaire and Hollywood producer, and other businessmen and politicians.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, saying the indictment is part of “an orchestrated witch hunt”.

He is the first Israeli Prime Minister, who has been served with an indictment while being in office.

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