Lebanon appoints new army chief ending deadlock

President Michel Aoun (R) meeting with Lebanon’s newly appointed army chief, General Joseph Aoun in Beirut. (AFP/DALATI AND NOHRA)
Updated 08 March 2017
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Lebanon appoints new army chief ending deadlock

BEIRUT: Lebanon's cabinet Wednesday appointed a new army chief, General Joseph Aoun, ending a deadlock that twice forced an extension of the term of the military's sitting head.
The appointment of the successor to General Jean Kahwaji is the first by Lebanon's cabinet since it was formed after President Michel Aoun's election in October.
A ministerial source told AFP the appointment had "the consensus of all the political forces", adding the new chief was "well-known and removed from any political conflicts".
Michel Aoun, himself a former chief of Lebanon's army, is not related to Lebanon's president, although the two served together in the military.
Lebanon's already fractious political scene has faced tensions linked to the war in neighbouring Syria since March 2011.
A political stalemate left the country without a president for over two years until Michel Aoun was elected under a compromise deal in October 2016.
Under the deal, rival Saad Hariri was named prime minister and he formed a cabinet in December.
Lebanon is due to hold parliamentary elections in May 2017, the first legislative vote in eight years, after the body twice extended its own mandate.


Israel drops leaflets warning Gazans not to approach border

Updated 20 April 2018
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Israel drops leaflets warning Gazans not to approach border

GAZA: Israel dropped leaflets in the Gaza Strip on Friday warning Palestinians not to approach its border fence as the military braced for fresh clashes along the frontier.
Thousands of Palestinians were expected to gather along the Israel-Gaza border, as they have every Friday over the past month for mass demonstrations that have turned violent and during which Israeli forces have killed thirty-one Palestinians and wounded hundreds.
Each week, some Gazans have hurled stones and burning tires near the frontier fence, where Israeli army sharpshooters are deployed.
The soldiers have opened fire at those who come too close to the fence, drawing international criticism for the lethal tactics used.
Israel has blamed the Islamist militant group Hamas of staging riots and trying to carry out attacks.
It was the first time leaflets were dropped in the recent round of violence.
“The Hamas terror organization is taking advantage of you in order to carry out terror attacks. The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) is prepared for all scenarios. Stay away from the fence and do not attempt to harm it,” said the leaflets scattered by Israeli aircraft in the early morning in areas along the border.
The mass protest, dubbed “The Great March of Return” — evoking a longtime call for refugees to regain ancestral homes in what is now Israel — began on March 30 and is expected to culminate on May 15.