Myanmar security forces attack town that resisted with arms
YANGON, Myanmar — Security forces on Wednesday stormed a town in northwestern Myanmar where some residents had used homemade hunting rifles to resist the military’s February seizure of power, killing at least 11 civilians and injuring many others, local news reports said.
If the 11 deaths are confirmed, it would be one of the highest single-day death tolls outside the country’s two largest cities, Yangon and Mandalay.
The online news site Khonumthung Burmese said the attack on Kalay began before dawn. Videos on the site included what appeared to be sounds of rifle fire, high-caliber weapons and grenade explosions. Posts on social media said rocket-propelled grenades were used in the attack, but provided no evidence.
The news site said that in addition to the seven fatalities, many people were wounded and arrested in the town, also known as Kalemyo or Kale. Over half the town’s population are members of the Chin ethnic minority.
Most of the deaths occurred in the morning, but more were reported in the afternoon, bringing the total to 11, according to the news sites The Irrawaddy and Myanmar Now.
Security forces have killed at least 581 protesters and bystanders through Tuesday in their crackdown on protests against the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which monitors casualties and arrests.
Iran ship said to be troop base attacked off Yemen
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — An Iranian ship believed to be a base for the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard and anchored for years in the Red Sea off Yemen has been attacked, Tehran acknowledged Wednesday.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the attack on the MV Saviz, suspected to have been carried out by Israel — though Tehran did not immediately blame its regional archenemy. The assault came as Iran and world powers sat down in Vienna for the first talks about the U.S. potentially rejoining the tattered deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program, showing events outside the negotiations could derail those efforts.
The ship’s long presence in the region, repeatedly criticized by Saudi Arabia, has come as the West and U.N. experts say Iran has provided arms and support to Yemen’s Houthi rebels in that country’s yearslong war. Iran denies arming the Houthis, though components found in the rebels’ weaponry link back to Tehran.
Iran previously described the Saviz as aiding in “anti-piracy” efforts in the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb strait, a crucial chokepoint in international shipping. A statement attributed to Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh described the ship as a commercial vessel.
“Fortunately, no casualties were reported ... and technical investigations are underway,” Khatibzadeh said. “Our country will take all necessary measures through international authorities.”
On Holocaust Day, Netanyahu issues warning about Iran
JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday urged the world not to revive the troubled international nuclear deal with Iran as he opened Israel’s annual memorial day for the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.
Speaking as world powers are launching a new effort to bring the United States back into the foundering 2015 deal, Netanyahu also said that Israel was not obligated to respect it.
“History has taught us that deals like this, with extremist regimes like this, are worth nothing,” Netanyahu added. “An agreement with Iran that will pave the way for nuclear weapons — weapons that threaten us with destruction — we will not be obligated to such an agreement in any way. We have only one obligation: to prevent anyone who seeks to destroy us from carrying out his plot.”
Israel considers Iran to be its greatest enemy, citing the Iranian government’s calls for Israel’s destruction, its support for anti-Israel militant groups and Iran’s military presence in neighboring Syria. Israel accuses Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.
Lawyer: Navalny suffering from spinal hernias in prison
MOSCOW — A lawyer for imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has complained of serious back and leg pain in custody, said Wednesday that doctors have found him to be suffering from two spinal hernias.
Vadim Kobzev told the Interfax news agency that Navalny also has a spinal protrusion and is beginning to lose feeling in his hands.
Navalny went on a hunger strike last week to protest what he called poor medical care in a Russian prison. On Tuesday, the leader of the Navalny-backed Alliance of Doctors union was detained by police after trying to get into the prison to talk to doctors.
Navalny, 44, is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest domestic opponent. He was arrested in January upon returning to Moscow from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have rejected the accusation. Still, labs in Germany and elsewhere in Europe confirmed that Navalny was poisoned with the Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent.