Armed men abduct four Chinese workers in Sudan’s Darfur

Updated 14 January 2013
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Armed men abduct four Chinese workers in Sudan’s Darfur

KHARTOUM: Unknown armed men have kidnapped four Chinese workers in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region, the state news agency SUNA said on Sunday.
The assailants abducted the Chinese — one engineer and three drivers — together with five Sudanese colleagues late on Saturday near Al-Fasher in North Darfur, SUNA said, adding that all had been working for a Chinese road company.
Authorities were chasing the kidnappers with 18 military vehicles, SUNA said, without giving further details.
Law and order has collapsed in most of the vast, arid Darfur region since mainly non-Arab tribes took up arms against the government in Khartoum, which they accuse of neglecting and marginalizing them.
Gunmen often kidnap foreigners in Darfur to demand a ransom for their release.
In January 2012, rebels in Sudan’s main oil-producing state of South Kordofan kidnapped 29 Chinese workers. They were released almost two weeks later.


Israeli planes hit 25 targets in response to Gaza rocket fire

Updated 20 June 2018
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Israeli planes hit 25 targets in response to Gaza rocket fire

JERUSALEM: Israeli jets struck 25 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Wednesday after militants launched rockets and mortar shells at Israeli territory, the military said.
Two Hamas security men were lightly hurt in one air strike in the southern Gaza Strip, residents said. No casualties were reported in Israel after one of the most intense recent barrages of militant rocket launches and Israeli air strikes.
Air raid sirens and Israeli phone warning applications sounded throughout the pre-dawn hours.
The military counted 30 rockets and mortar shells fired at Israeli territory and said its Iron Dome anti-missile shield intercepted seven rockets.
Since its last war with Gaza’s dominant Hamas in 2014, Israel has stepped up efforts to prevent cross-border attacks, improving rocket interceptors and investing in technologies for detecting and destroying guerrilla tunnels.
In recent weeks, Palestinians have sent kites dangling coal embers or burning rags across the Gaza border to set fire to arid farmland and forests, others have carried small explosive devices in a new tactic that has caused extensive damage.
At least 127 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops during mass demonstrations along the Gaza border since March 30 and the men sending the kites over the fence believe they have found an effective new weapon.
Israel’s deadly tactics in confronting the weekly Friday protests have drawn international condemnation.
Palestinians say the protests are an outpouring of rage by people demanding the right to return to homes their families fled or were driven from following the founding of Israel 70 years ago.
Israel says the demonstrations are organized by the Islamist group Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip and denies Israel’s right to exist. Israel says Hamas has intentionally provoked the violence, a charge Hamas denies.
Around two million people live in Gaza, most of them the stateless descendants of refugees from what is now Israel. The territory has been controlled by Hamas for more than a decade, during which it has fought three wars against Israel.
Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade of the strip, citing security reasons, which has caused an economic crisis and collapse in living standards there over the past decade.