2 women’s hospitals knocked out by Assad bombs

An ambulance was destroyed following four consecutive airstrikes on a medical facility dedicated to women in Idlib, Syria, on Friday. (AP)
Updated 26 November 2016
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2 women’s hospitals knocked out by Assad bombs

BEIRUT: Airstrikes and rockets in northern Syria knocked out two medical centers dedicated to women on Friday and killed at least 12, including two people in one of the health facilities, according to opposition activists, a charity group and a hospital manager.
Warplanes and artillery shelling also continued to pound the besieged rebel-held neighborhoods of the northern city of Aleppo as government troops pushed their way from the enclave’s northeastern district.
Shafak, a Turkey-based Syrian NGO that supports medical facilities in Syria, said their UN-sponsored gynecology and gender-based violence treatment and awareness center in Termanin village in the northern Idlib province was hit by four consecutive airstrikes on Friday afternoon, killing two civilians who were in the building and injuring a gynecologist and a janitor in the facility.
The center, which receives about 35 patients a day and is the only such facility in the area, has been put out of service, Shafak said in a statement. The center’s ambulance, emergency room and operation rooms were badly damaged, said Assad Al-Halabi, an advocacy manager in Shafak. Al-Halabi said one of the killed was accompanying a patient. The second killed has not yet been identified.
A video and photos released by Shafak showed extensive damage to the collapsed building, as well as a destroyed incubator and ambulance.
The Syrian Civil Defense team in Idlib said their team was targeted with airstrikes while they were conducting a search and rescue mission at the hospital — with what has become known as “double tap” strikes. The group said none of its volunteers were injured.
Another gynecology hospital in the besieged parts of Aleppo city was also hit Friday.
Abdul-Hamid Al-Eissa, Al-Zahra hospital manager, said four generators were knocked out and the building was no longer usable. He said the hospital, in a quarter known to house several medical facilities, was hit with rockets. One civilian was badly injured and his leg had to be amputated, Al-Eissa said.
The hospital posted several photographs showing the damage on its Facebook page, adding that all staffers and patients were safe and evacuated.
“It was directly hit. Missiles first hit the balcony,” he said. As he spoke, a projectile could be heard falling nearby. The hospital was knocked out of service. A couple of hours later, another airstrike was reported at the hospital.
The government has recently stepped up its bombardment of eastern Aleppo, and by Sunday it had knocked out every hospital in the quarter, according to the World Health Organization.
Also on Friday, airstrikes targeted a village in the western countryside of Aleppo, killing at least five people including children.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the airstrike on the village of Taqad caused widespread destruction and killed 11, including four children and three women. The opposition’s Halab Today TV and Step News Agency said five people, including children, were killed in the airstrike and dozens wounded.
An amateur video posted online showed Civil Defense members and residents pulling out a dead child from under the rubble in the village. The video appeared genuine and corresponded to other AP reporting of the events.


Palestinians to cut civil servant salaries after Israeli tax freeze

Updated 21 February 2019
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Palestinians to cut civil servant salaries after Israeli tax freeze

  • Israel's security cabinet on Sunday approved the freezing of $138 million (122 million euros) over the PA's payments to the families of prisoners, or prisoners themselves, jailed for attacks on Israelis
  • Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Wednesday he would not accept anything but full payment of the tax transfers owed by Israel

RAMALLAH: The Palestinian finance minister on Thursday announced salary cuts for civil servants, days after Israel said it would withhold tens of millions of dollars in tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority.
Israel's security cabinet on Sunday approved the freezing of $138 million (122 million euros) over the PA's payments to the families of prisoners, or prisoners themselves, jailed for attacks on Israelis.
Israel, which collects taxes on behalf of the PA, says the payments encourage further violence.
The PA claims they are a form of welfare to families who have lost their main breadwinner.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Wednesday he would not accept anything but full payment of the tax transfers owed by Israel.
The PA, which is already running a deficit, will "pay the salaries of civil servants in time, but they will be reduced", said PA finance minister Shukri Bishara after a meeting with EU representatives in Ramallah.
The cuts will not apply to salaries "paid to pensioners and families of martyrs, wounded or prisoners", he added, adding that wages below 2,000 shekels ($550) would also not be affected.
Many Palestinians view prisoners and those killed while carrying out attacks as heroes in their conflict with Israel. Palestinian leaders often venerate them as martyrs.
Under a 1994 agreement, Israel collects around $190 million each month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports.
The money it then transfers to the PA is the authority's most important source of revenue.
The Palestinians want EU countries to pressure the Israeli government to rescind its decision, said Mahmoud al-Aloul, deputy of Abbas's Fatah party.
Palestinian leaders will take steps to "boycott Israeli goods", he said, adding they had already prepared "a list of Israeli products that have local (Palestinian) equivalents".