The Abia state governor, Theodore Orji on Wednesday expressed his gratitude to the pilgrims who visited Israel and returned to the state without attempting to run off.
During his speech at a thanksgiving service in honour of those who participated in the 2013 pilgrim to Israel at the Micheal Okpara auditorium, Umuahia, the governor said that the return of all the pilgrims is a good testimony for the state.
Mr Orji disclosed that the state spent about N450,000 including $500 Basic Travel Allowance (BTA) for each person embarking on pilgrimage and hinted that the administration would continue to sponsor those going on pilgrimage.
“No amount of money is big for Abia people to keep in touch with God.” Mr Orji said.
He urged the citizens of the state to continue praying for those in leadership and for peace.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has denied allegations that it had trained militants arrested in Nigeria on charges of planning attacks on U.S. and Israeli targets in Nigeria.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said such allegations were “made up as the result of the ill will of enemies of the two countries’ good relations”, Iranian state television reported on Friday.
“Iran and Nigeria have friendly and close relations and despite the vast efforts of the two countries enemies, in recent years relations and cooperation have always improved” he said.
The State Secret Service (SSS) on Thursday confirmed the arrest of Abdullahi Mustapha Berende and two other Nigerians in December after Berende, allegedly made several suspicious trips to Iran, where he interacted with Iranians in a “high-profile terrorist network”.
According to the SSS, Berende and his Iranian handlers were involved in “grievous crimes” against Nigeria’s national security.
Berende, who will now be charged in court, admitted to reporters at the SSS headquarters that he had carried out surveillance for the Iranians.
In 2004, Israeli sources said an Iranian diplomat was arrested on suspicion of spying on the Israeli Embassy in the Federal Capital Territory. Tehran denied any arrest.
In 2010, authorities at a Lagos Port found a hidden shipment of rockets, rifle rounds and other weapons from Iran, supposedly bound for Gambia.
A Nigerian and an Iranian face criminal charges over the shipment.
Israel Defence Forces confirmed today the killing of two men suspected to be smugglers in a shooting incident that involved IDF soldiers near the Israel-Egypt border, the Hareetz reported.
One of the two suspected smugglers who were gunned down today was an Israeli Arab, according to reports. They had been spotted after illegally crossing the border from Egypt into Israel. IDF soldiers had shouted a warning, ordering them to stop, before opening fire on the infiltrators and shooting the two suspects in the leg.
The suspected smugglers, alongside another suspect had attempted running back across the border into Egypt.
Two of the three suspects were killed in the ensuing gun battle with Egyptian border patrol, while the third fled into Sinai. The IDF says it is currently investigating the identities of both men, whose bodies are now with the Egyptian authorities.
One of the men is believed to be an Egyptian citizen, while the other an Israeli Arab, who Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram said died in the border town of Rafah.
Earlier this month, four smugglers were fired upon after illegally crossing the border by both Egyptian and Israeli forces patrolling the border, resulting in one death.
Israel has offered to assist Nigeria in tackling the menace of terrorism in the country.
The Deputy Head of Mission of the Israeli Embassy, Mr George Deek made the announcement at a gathering in Abuja.
Drawing examples of terrorism in Israel, Mr Deek said the embassy is willing to provide assistance to Nigeria in training and equipping Nigeria’s security agencies on counter terrorism to halt the menace eating up the Federal Government of Nigeria and the citizens.
“We are willing to help Nigeria fish out and expose the aliens who are perpetrators of the heinous and inhuman acts of terrorism and the technical knowledge of how to prevent suicide bombing is intelligence because without intelligence you cannot prevent and pre-empt a suicide bomber. We want to assist Nigerians on how to encounter these aliens because Nigeria is our neighbour which must not be left alone at this trying period.”Mr. Geroge Deek said.
He called on the Federal Government to put in place strong policy to combat terrorism, adding, “The government and the people should exercise a very strong policy to prevent and pre-empt such occurrences with an iron face by not allowing terrorist determine its way of life.”
Reuters – Palestinian militants fired rockets into southern Israel on Friday, 9 December, in retaliation against the Israeli air strike that killed three Palestinians and wounded several others.
The rocket fire was captured in a video obtained by Reuters, which was released to the foreign news organisations by the Salahudeen Brigades.
The video showed milit
ants on Friday launching rockets into nearby towns in Southern Israel. According to Reuters reports, the militants also released a statement declaring that they would attack Israeli towns close to the Gaza Strip.
The rocket attack is the latest in a string of violence between Israel and Gaza that erupted on Thursday 8 December, when the Israeli air force killed three Palestinians and militants by firing rockets deep across the border. One of the militants killed was from Gaza’s governing Islamist group Hamas, whom Israel accused of planning to send gunmen to attack it through the neighbouring Sinai region of Egypt.
Palestinian militants responded to Thursday’s air strike with a barrage of rockets, some of which landed near Beersheba, a city 35 km (30 miles) from Gaza. No one was hurt. Air-raid sirens summoned residents of southern Israel to shelters.
Another Israeli air strike followed before dawn on Friday, hitting a Hamas training camp in Gaza City. The blast flattened a nearby home, killing its owner and wounding his wife and six of their children, two critically, according to hospital officials.
In a statement voicing regret for the civilian casualties, the military said Palestinian rockets stored next to the camp had stoked the explosion. Hamas accused Israel of a “massacre”.
Palestinian militants stepped up rocket attacks as night fell. Three groups said they had fired more than a dozen projectiles across the border. Israel police said at least ten of them landed in Israeli territory, causing no casualties.
Witnesses in Gaza reported heavy activity of Israeli drones over head.
Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in Gaza, said the group was pursuing “intensive contacts with several Arab and international parties” and wanted immediate cease on the “aggression”.
Hamas spurns peacemaking with the Jewish state but has in the past proposed truces as it sought to consolidate control over Gaza and negotiate power-sharing with the rival, U.S.-backed Fatah faction of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.