News Briefs – September 24, 2018


U.S. sanctions China military agency for buying Russian arms

A Chinese military agency and its director are facing U.S. sanctions over the purchase of Russian weapons.
U.S. government officials say China’s Equipment Development Department and director Li Shangfu violated a 2017 law meant to punish Russia for interfering in U.S. elections and other activities.
Administration officials say that the agency under Li’s direction made large purchases of Russian combat aircraft and surface-to-air missiles in violation of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.
Anyone engaging with Russian defense contractors or people associated with them can face economic sanctions that include being prohibited from transactions with the U.S. financial system.
The U.S. added 33 names associated with the Russian defense sector as part of the Sept. 20 announcement. AP

Iran launches air maneuvers near strategic Strait of Hormuz

Iran’s official IRNA news agency says the country’s air force is carrying out a drill near the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, the passageway for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea.
The Sept. 21 report says the drill involves the military’s and Revolutionary Guard fighter jets, including U.S.-made F-4, French Mirage and Russian Sukhoi-22 planes. Five logistics and combat helicopters are also taking part in the exercise over the Persian Gulf waters and the Sea of Oman.
It says the maneuver is a warning to Iran’s enemies that they face a quick, “stern response” in case of force toward Iran.
The exercise is part of annual manifestations on the anniversary of the start of the eight-year war Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein launched against Iran in 1980. AP

Three Marines killed in Vietnam War to be buried at Arlington

The Pentagon says the remains of three U.S. Marines killed when their helicopter was shot down during the Vietnam War will be buried this week at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Sept. 21 that the remains of the three men will be buried as a group with full military honors Sept. 27. The three men are: Capt. John A. House II, of Pelham, N.Y.; Lance Cpl. John D. Killen III, of Davenport, Iowa; and Cpl. Glyn L. Runnels Jr., of Birmingham, Ala.
The Pentagon says their remains were identified in March 2017.
Military officials say House, the oldest at 28, was the pilot of the Sea Knight helicopter that crashed after being hit by enemy fire on June 30, 1967. Four others also were killed, including 18-year-old Killen and 21-year-old Runnels. AP

Navy Times: Navy SEAL detained in ISIS death probe

A Navy SEAL is being held in a military brig while authorities investigate the stabbing death of an Islamic State combatant while he was subdued in Iraq last year.
The Navy Times reported Sept. 231 the unidentified SEAL based in California was being held in the brig at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, though he has not been charged with a crime. Such confinement is allowed in the military justice system.
Naval Special Warfare spokeswoman Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence confirmed to The Associated Press that a Naval Special Warfare unit member is under investigation but declined to give details.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is leading the investigation.
The Navy Times said its report was based on interviews with seven Navy officials. AP