Kuwaiti ruler and King Salman meet amid Qatar row

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King Salman receives Kuwait ruler Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah (left) at the Al Salam Palace in Jeddah on Tuesday. (SPA)
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King Salman receives Kuwait ruler Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah (left) at the Al Salam Palace in Jeddah on Tuesday. (SPA)
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King Salman and Kuwait ruler Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah (left) hold talks at the Al Salam Palace in Jeddah on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 06 June 2017
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Kuwaiti ruler and King Salman meet amid Qatar row

JEDDAH: Saudi King Salman received on Tuesday the ruler of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, who flew to Jeddah in a bid to mediate an end to the diplomatic standoff between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors.
The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that the two rulers "reviewed the fraternal relations between the two countries, and discussed the latest events in the region." No other details were immediately available.
Sheikh Sabah flew out of Kuwait City on Tuesday afternoon, heading for Jeddah in what his court described as a “brotherly visit.”
Earlier, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said it had agreed to have Kuwait try to mediate the crisis, which erupted on Monday with Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE simultaneously cutting diplomatic relations with Qatar.
All four accused Qatar of supporting terrorist and extremist groups and also siding with Iran.
Sheikh Mohammed disclosed that the Kuwaiti ruler had asked Qatar’s emir to hold off on giving a speech about the crisis late Monday night.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani “received a call from the emir of Kuwait asking him to postpone it in order to give time to solve the crisis,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
Still, the minister struck a defiant tone, rejecting those “trying to impose their will on Qatar or intervene in its internal affairs.”
The state-run Kuwait News Agency reported Kuwaiti ruler Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al Sabah spoke with Qatar’s emir Monday evening and urged him to give a chance to efforts that could ease tensions. The call came after a senior Saudi royal arrived in Kuwait with a message from the Saudi king. An Omani diplomat traveled to Qatar on Monday.

Trump weighs in
US President Donald Trump — who traveled to Saudi Arabia for a recent conference of Arab nations and told Qatar’s ruler at the time that “we’ve been friends now for a long time” — weighed in on the conflict for the first time. Trump did not take a position, but appeared to suggest it was understandable to isolate Qatar.
“During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology,” he tweeted. “Leaders pointed to Qatar — look!“
He later tweeted: “Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!“


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.