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A clash outside the US consulate in Turkey’s Istanbul city has led to the death of three police officers and three assailants.

Istanbul Governor Muammer Guler said unknown gunmen opened fire from a vehicle taking the lives of a security guard and two traffic policemen stationed outside the consulate.

The US Embassy in Ankara said it was aware of an incident near the Istanbul consulate, but had no further details.

During the shootings, some bystanders were also injured.


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As of Tuesday, July 8, 2008, at least 4,115 members of the U.S. military have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

The figure includes eight military civilians killed in action. At least 3,353 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers.

The AP count is two fewer than the Defense Department’s tally, last updated Tuesday at 10 a.m. EDT.

The British military has reported 176 deaths; Italy, 33; Ukraine, 18; Poland, 21; Bulgaria, 13; Spain, 11; Denmark, seven; El Salvador, five; Slovakia, four; Latvia and Georgia, three each; Estonia, Netherlands, Thailand, Romania, two each; and Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, South Korea, one death each.

Since the start of U.S. military operations in Iraq, 30,349 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department’s weekly tally.

The latest deaths reported by the military:

A soldier died Tuesday of injuries from a roadside bomb in Amiriyah, a neighborhood in western Baghdad.

Two people have been killed and a dozen more wounded as rival camps clashed in the streets of the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.

The causalities included a Palestinian nurse who was gunned down by sniper fire.

A security official noted that the Lebanese army has been ordered to increase patrols and arrest anyone who threatens public security. The troops are ordered to use force if necessary.

Tripoli unrest appears to be the deadliest incident in Lebanon since the Doha peace deal came into effect a month ago.

The power sharing deal was reached between rival factions so as to end political crisis that resulted in deadly clashes in May, which raised fears of a return to all-out civil war.

Clashes between opposition and pro-government groups erupted two weeks ago in the northern port city. The latest development, takes the number of casualties to 11.


Iraq’s most senior cleric voices opposition to a proposed security deal with the US, saying such a deal would threaten Iraq’s sovereignty.

In a meeting with Iraqi national security adviser Muwaffaq Al-Rubaie on Tuesday, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani expressed his concerns over the security deal by calling it an excuse that will justify the presence of US forces in Iraq.

Ayatollah Sistani had earlier noted that any long-term pact with the US should observe four key terms: safeguarding Iraqis’ interests, national sovereignty, national consensus, and parliament approval.

On Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki suggested a timetable for the departure of US forces from Iraq.

However, Washington played down calls for a firm withdrawal deadline, saying any pullout will be based on the conditions on the ground.

“We’re looking at conditions, not calendars here,” State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said on Tuesday.

Baghdad and Washington are negotiating a treaty that would allow the American troops to stay in Iraq after their mandate under the UN expires in December 2008.

The controversial security deal has faced fierce opposition from Iraqi religious and political figures who believe the deal would turn the country into a US colony.


TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) — Iran has test fired nine missiles in response to what it says are threats from Israel and the United States, according to state-run Iranian media and a U.S. military source.

The new version of the Shahab-3 missile is capable of reaching its main regional enemy Israel, Iran says.

The Islamic Republic News Agency and Press TV reported that the naval forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Wednesday test-fired a Shahab-3 missile during war games in the Persian Gulf.

The exercise comes a month after Israel conducted a military drill in the eastern Mediterranean involving dozens of warplanes, and the latest Iranian activities prompted concern from Israel and condemnation from the United States.

Iran occasionally tests missiles, but this firing comes amid international tensions over its nuclear aspirations.

“The war game was aimed at improving the combat readiness of Iran’s armed forces. The 2,000-kilometers-range Shahab-3 missiles were tested to demonstrate Iran’s capability in hitting its enemies accurately at the early stages of their probable attacks against the Islamic Republic.

“Domestic and foreign political and military analysts believe that Shahab-3 is able to reach targets in the occupied lands in case of the Zionist regime’s probable attacks against Iran’s nuclear sites,” the Islamic Republic News Agency said.

Iran’s Press TV said the Iranian forces “successfully test-fired new long and mid-range missiles.” It mentioned the Shahab 3, “which can hit any target within a range of 2,000km.” It said the Shahab 3 “is equipped with a one-ton conventional warhead.”

“Nine highly advanced missiles with improved accuracy were simultaneously tested including the Zelzal and Fateh missiles with ranges of 400km and 170km respectively.”

Press TV said ground forces were also involved in the maneuvers in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz areas.

A U.S. military official with knowledge of the latest information on the testing counted the firing of seven missiles, one Shahab-3 and six shorter-range ballistic missiles. The testing took place over land, the official said.

The official, who noted that these kinds of tests have occurred before and that they were not unexpected, said the tests were tracked by U.S. intelligence.

World powers, who suspect Iran is intent on building nuclear weapons, have offered economic and other incentives in exchange for the suspension of its enrichment program.

Iran, which says its nuclear program is strictly to produce energy, defends its right to proceed with enrichment.

There are worldwide worries that Israel, which is concerned Iran wants to attack, is pondering a unilateral strike against the Islamic Republic.

Israel’s aerial military exercise over the eastern Mediterranean Sea in June was in part an effort to send a message that it has the capability to attack Iran’s nuclear program.

The exercise involved dozens of Israeli warplanes, including F-15s, F-16s and refueling aircraft, an official said.

The distance involved in the exercise was roughly the same as would be involved in a possible strike on the Iranian nuclear fuel plant at Natanz, a U.S. military official said.

In 1981, Israel attacked a nuclear facility in Iraq. Israel also struck a site in Syria that some say was a nuclear reactor under construction.

One Israeli Cabinet member, Shaul Mofaz, recently said it “will attack” Iran if the nuclear program was not halted.

Last week, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander, Gen. Mohammed Ali-Jaafari, said any strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities would be regarded a the beginning of war.

At the same time, Iranian leaders are discounting the possibility of war. Ahmadinejad, in Malaysia this week for a conference, told reporters Iran is trying to prevent but not foment confrontation.

“We are making all-out efforts to expand peace and security in the world. You should not be concerned about a new war,” he said on Tuesday.

Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said it did not want conflict with Iran.

“But the Iranian nuclear program and the Iranian ballistic missile program must be of concern for the entire International community.”

The White House reacted strongly to the Iranian test-firing.

“Iran’s development of ballistic missiles is a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and completely inconsistent with Iran’s obligations to the world,” said National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

Johndroe mentioned that the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany “are committed to a diplomatic path, and have offered Iran a generous package of incentives if they will suspend their uranium enrichment activities.”

“They should also refrain from further missile tests if they truly seek to gain the trust of the world. The Iranians should stop the development of ballistic missiles, which could be used as a delivery vehicle for a potential nuclear weapon, immediately.”

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the Republican presidential candidate, said the tests “demonstrate again the dangers it [Iran] poses to its neighbors and to the wider region, especially Israel.”

“Ballistic missile testing coupled with Iran’s continued refusal to cease its nuclear activities should unite the international community in efforts to counter Iran’s dangerous ambitions.”

McCain supports working with Europe and regional allies to deal with Iran, not “unilateral concessions.”

An Iranian commander says a US attempt to invade Iran would only leave a frail and shaky structure from a ‘torn to shreds’ America.

Iran’s Armed Forces are fully prepared for an immediate reaction to any offensive on Iranian territory, said Deputy Head of the Armed Forces Headquarters, Brigadier General Seyyed Masoud Jazayeri on Sunday.

“Iran has a comprehensive strategy to intercept invaders and to make the enemy suffer greatly,” Jazayeri cautioned.

He said the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and Iran’s military have the strongest resolve to defend the Iranian borders, adding that, “What will remain after a foreign invasion against Iran is a frail and shaky structure of a torn-to-shreds America.”

Referring to Washington’s numerous failed plots against Iran, Gen. Jazayeri said ‘the US has learned that no military measures would ever be successful’ against the Islamic Republic.

“This is why the United States has resorted to psychological warfare, cultural inroads, and economic pressure against Iran,” he added.

Jazayeri said if Americans were made aware of the numerous US attempts to topple Iran’s government and meddle in the country’s internal affairs, they would demand their government to adopt new policies.


Iran has started to arm the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps artillery with state-of-the-art smart munitions and cluster shells.

Iran’s advanced ammunition will be used to protect Iranian territory, said commander of the IRGC missile systems Brigadier General Mahmoud Chaharbaghi.

“Fajr 3 and Fajr 5 long-range rocket launchers along with Zalzal rockets with a range of 150 kilometers are among the high-tech military equipment the IRGC will employ,” Gen. Chaharbaghi said.

The top IRGC commander added that Iran has launched a production line for smart munitions, which can hit small mobile targets, and long-range cluster shells.

“IRGC artilleries across the country are currently equipped with 130, 150, DC122 heavy cannons and powerful Katyusha rockets,” Gen. Chaharbaghi said.

He concluded that in the event of an attack on the country, IRGC forces would ‘overwhelm invaders with their fire power’.


Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have begun military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf, reports released by news agencies say.

The war games, called Payambar-e Azam 3 are conducted by missile units of the IRGC’ naval and air forces, Mehr and Fars news agencies reported.

The reports noted that the exercises early Tuesday morning are aimed at improving combat readiness and capability.

Washington and Tel Aviv accuse Iran of running a nuclear military program. Israel has threatened Tehran that it would use force in case the Islamic Republic continues nuclear enrichment.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is directed at electricity generation and is in line with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The war games come as the head of the IRGC in late June’s remarks said that Tehran would impose controls on shipping in the strategic Strait of Hormuz if it was attacked.

The US Navy last week vowed Iran would not be allowed to block the Persian Gulf waterway, which carries crude from the world’s largest oil exporting region.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) were reported by state media to have held two days of war games in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman in February 2007.


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The US Navy says it is carrying out a maneuver in the Persian Gulf to master the guarding of maritime oil and gas infrastructures.

“The aim of Exercise Stake Net is to practice the tactics and procedures of protecting maritime infrastructure, such as gas and oil installations,” said Commodore Peter Hudson in a US Fifth Fleet statement released Monday.

“Stake Net seeks to help ensure a lawful maritime order as well as improve relationships between regional partners,” reads the statement.

Two American warships as well as a Bahraini and a British vessel are partaking in the exercise, Reuters reported.

The statement comes days after the US Naval Forces Central Command said that the Pentagon is determined to keep the Strait of Hormuz open in case a war breaks out with Iran.

Washington and Tel Aviv accuse Iran of running a nuclear military program. Israel has threatened Tehran that it would use force in case the Islamic Republic continues nuclear enrichment.

According to New York Times sources in the Pentagon, Israel might have staged a military maneuver in early June to prepare for a unilateral air strike on Iranian nuclear sites.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is directed at electricity generation and is in line with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Iran’s army chief, Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, warned on Saturday that if a military action is taken against the country, Tehran would not hesitate to take all crucial measures, one of which is to close the strategic oil passage.

The strategically vital Strait of Hormuz, between Iran and Oman, is an essential conduit for energy supplies. As much as 40 percent of the world’s sea-transited crude oil passes through the waterway.


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Iran says the British government lacks the jurisdiction to blacklist the military arm of Hezbollah as a banned terrorist organization.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini on Tuesday condemned a decision by Britain to add Hezbollah’s military wing to the list of designated terrorist groups, saying that the stance is ‘worthless’.

“There should be no wonder at such a stance from a government that is one of the founders of the terrorist regime of Israel and has constantly supported its policies of occupation and invasion,” Hosseini said.

The spokesman said the decision, coming at a time when the Hezbollah achievements have been widely praised by the Lebanese people, is proof of ‘Britain’s complete desparation’.

In view of such measures by Britain as ‘conferring knighthood on author Salman Rushdie’ and ‘removing the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) from its list of terrorist groups’, the British government lacks the moral authority to make any decision on such issues, Hosseini said.

Britain’s Home Office justifies its decision to ban the entire military wing of Hezbollah by accusing the movement’s military branch of providing support to militants in Iraq and Palestinian terror groups.