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North Korea threatens to attack US over military drill

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2015-08-16_2327Pyongang: North Korea has threatened to “retaliate against the US with tremendous muscle” if it did not cancel multinational military exercises scheduled to begin on Monday, the media reported.

South Korea conducts the yearly exercises, called Ulchi Freedom Guardian, with the US and other allies “to enhance readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula”, according to a statement from the Korea-US Combined Forces Command, CNN reported.

“The further Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military exercises are intensified, the strongest military counteraction the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) will take to cope with them,” a spokesman for North Korea’s National Defence Commission (NDC) said on Saturday.

A State Department official said on Saturday it was aware of the threats. The exercises were transparent, defence-minded and are designed to increase the readiness of South Korea and the region, the State Department official said.
“These exercises are a clear demonstration of the US commitment to the alliance,” the official said.

While threatening military action was nothing new for the regime (Kim Jong Un told his troops they should be ready to fight a “sacred war” in the days leading up to the exercises in 2012, for example), the rhetoric coming out of Pyongang seems particularly ratcheted-up this time around.

“The army and people of the DPRK are no longer what they used to be in the past when they had to counter the US nukes with rifles,” the NDC spokesman continued, saying North Korea “is the invincible power equipped with both [the] latest offensive and defensive means unknown to the world…”

A state television report repeated the claim that this is not the same old, ill-equipped North Korea that never could stand up to the US in the past. In fact, this year, they are threatening to attack the US on its own soil.

“If (the) US wants their mainland to be safe,” said a newswoman for the state TV station, KCNA, “then the Ulchi Freedom Guardian should stop immediately.”

(IANS)

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US Offering Rewards Upto $10mn for Information on Lebanon Hezbollah Finances

The payments will be made by the State Department's Rewards for Justice program, which until now has focused on offering cash rewards for information that leads to the capture of wanted terrorists

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lebanon hezbollah
FILE - Hezbollah fighters parade in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Nov. 12, 2010. VOA

The United States is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information that disrupts the finances of Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant organization.

The U.S. State Department announced the award Monday, saying it would be paid to those who give information about major Hezbollah donors and financiers as well as businesses that support the organization and banks that facilitate the group’s transactions.

The payments will be made by the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program, which until now has focused on offering cash rewards for information that leads to the capture of wanted terrorists.

lebanon hezbollah
The United States is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information that disrupts the finances of Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant organization. Pixabay

Hezbollah was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department in 1997.

ALSO READ: Sri Lanka Blames ‘National Thowfeek Jamaath’ Islamist Group for Series of Attacks

The Shi’ite group, backed by Iran, has recently been increasing its influence on Lebanon’s government. It has also been growing its regional clout, including sending fighters to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad.

The State Department said its Rewards for Justice program has paid more than $150 million to more than 100 people for giving information that helped brings terrorists to justice or prevented acts of terrorism. The program began in 1984. (VOA)