Moscow: Al-Nusra Leader 'Critical' after Russia Strike

A damaged SUV left behind by members of al-Nusra Front in a position captured by Lebanon’s Hezbollah fighters in the fields of the Syrian border town of Assal al-Ward, May 9, 2015. AP/Bassem Mroue
A damaged SUV left behind by members of al-Nusra Front in a position captured by Lebanon’s Hezbollah fighters in the fields of the Syrian border town of Assal al-Ward, May 9, 2015. AP/Bassem Mroue
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Moscow: Al-Nusra Leader 'Critical' after Russia Strike

A damaged SUV left behind by members of al-Nusra Front in a position captured by Lebanon’s Hezbollah fighters in the fields of the Syrian border town of Assal al-Ward, May 9, 2015. AP/Bassem Mroue
A damaged SUV left behind by members of al-Nusra Front in a position captured by Lebanon’s Hezbollah fighters in the fields of the Syrian border town of Assal al-Ward, May 9, 2015. AP/Bassem Mroue

Russia said on Wednesday it had killed 12 field commanders of al-Nusra Front in an air strike, adding the group's top leader Abu Mohammed al-Jolani had lost an arm and was in a "critical condition.'

Defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the strike was the result of a special operation to avenge an attack on Russian military police in Syria on September 18.

As a result of the strike, “Jolani received multiple serious shrapnel wounds, lost an arm and is in a critical condition, according to several independent sources," Konashenkov said in a statement.

He said 12 field commanders including al-Jolani's security chief were also killed along with some 50 guards.

More than 10 militants received moderate and serious blast injuries, Konashenkov stated, adding that Su-34 and Su-35 jets were used to target the fighters.

The Moscow-led forces were able to hunt down the group using data obtained by Russian military intelligence on Tuesday and struck just when the militants convened for a meeting.

Al-Nusra Front, shed its status as Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate in 2016 and became Fateh al-Sham Front. 

Since 2017, it dominates a coalition of militant factions called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). 

The alliance controls most of the northwestern province of Idlib after expelling former allies earlier this year.



Palestinian Authority at Risk of Collapse, Norway Says

Foreign Minister of Norway Espen Barth Eide attends the annual Kultaranta Talks -debate session on foreign and security policy at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland June 13, 2024. (Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander via Reuters)
Foreign Minister of Norway Espen Barth Eide attends the annual Kultaranta Talks -debate session on foreign and security policy at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland June 13, 2024. (Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander via Reuters)
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Palestinian Authority at Risk of Collapse, Norway Says

Foreign Minister of Norway Espen Barth Eide attends the annual Kultaranta Talks -debate session on foreign and security policy at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland June 13, 2024. (Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander via Reuters)
Foreign Minister of Norway Espen Barth Eide attends the annual Kultaranta Talks -debate session on foreign and security policy at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland June 13, 2024. (Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander via Reuters)

The Palestinian Authority could collapse in the coming months, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said on Monday, citing a lack of funding, continuing violence and the fact that half a million Palestinians are not allowed to work in Israel.

"The situation is extremely dire. The Palestinian Authority, with whom we work closely, are warning us that they might be collapsing this summer," Barth Eide told Reuters.

"If it collapses, you could end up having another Gaza, which would be terrible for everybody, including the people of Israel," he added.

Norway chairs the international donor group to the Palestinians and is a backer of the PA.