Libyan strongman bombed Chad rebels, his forces say

Supporters of Eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar take part in a rally in Benghazi, Libya. (Reuters/Esam Omran Al-Fetori/File Photo)
Updated 29 March 2018
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Libyan strongman bombed Chad rebels, his forces say

LIBREVILLE: The armed forces of Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar said on Thursday that their warplanes had attacked Chadian rebels in the country’s southern desert last weekend.
Air raids targeted a rebel-held roadblock 400 kilometers (250 miles) southeast of Sebha, as well as other positions in an oasis in the Terbu region 400 km farther south, an official with Haftar’s so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) told AFP.
“The strikes aim at restoring security and applying law in the south,” the official said, without giving details about the identity of the targets.
An armed Chadian group, the Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic (CCMSR), said it had been attacked by Haftar’s planes.
CCMSR’s spokesman in exile, Kingabe Ogouzeimi de Tapol, said there were no casualties.
Chadian President Idriss Deby, he charged, had “subcontracted” Haftar to destroy rebels in Libya who are fighting to overturn the Chadian leader.
CCMSR claims to have several thousand fighters in Chad. It split in 2016 from another anti-Deby group in Libya, the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), based in Jufra, which is reputedly on good terms with Haftar.
Chad has a long history of revolt by rebels staged from across its borders. Deby and his precedessor Hissene Habre were themselves rebels who seized power by force of arms.
However, rebel groups today are relatively weak and divided, often using trafficking or extortion to raise funds to survive.
Three CCMSR members, including its leader, Hassan Boulmaye, were arrested last October in the fellow Sahel country of Niger.
Haftar, who opposes a UN-backed unity government based in Tripoli, announced the “liberation” of the eastern city of Benghazi last July after a three-year campaign.


Israel hits Hamas targets in Gaza following rocket fire

Updated 12 min 35 sec ago
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Israel hits Hamas targets in Gaza following rocket fire

  • Six sites were hit in the Gaza Strip, Hamas said in a statement
  • he UN says Israel’s 11-year blockade has resulted in a ‘catastrophic’ humanitarian situation

JERUSALEM: Israel launched raids against targets in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday in response to rocket fire from the Palestinian territory that caused damage in a southern city, the Israeli army said.
The attacks come at a time of renewed tensions between Israel and Palestinian armed groups and heightened fears of a new conflict in the region.
“Israeli jets started to attack terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip,” the Israeli army said.
Six sites were hit in the Gaza Strip, its rulers Hamas said in a statement. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
A few hours earlier, a rocket hit the city of Beersheba — one of the first fired in recent weeks from the Palestinian territory.
“At 4 am (0100 GMT), Israelis in the city of Beersheba were running to bomb shelters after a rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip at Israel,” the Israeli army tweeted.
“We will defend Israeli civilians,” it added, suggesting there would be a military response.
Israeli police said: “A rocket struck the city of Beersheva a few moments ago causing damage.” There were no reports of casualties.
The rocket struck the garden of a house occupied by a family with three children who were being treated for shock, Israeli media reported.
The army reported another rocket was fired toward the sea.
It was unclear who fired the rockets but the Israeli army holds Hamas accountable for all rocket fire from the territory and commonly retaliates against its positions, regardless of who launched the weapons.
It comes after months of Palestinian protests along the Gaza border that have drawn a deadly response from Israeli troops and raised fears of a new war between Israel and Hamas, who have fought three since 2008.
At least 205 Palestinians have been killed since the protests began on March 30. One Israeli soldiers has been killed by Palestinian sniper fire over the same period.
The protesters have been demanding the right of return to land now inside Israel, from which their families were expelled or fled during the 1948 war that accompanied the creation of the Jewish state.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday that the protests could not be allowed to go on.
“We are not prepared to accept the level of violence we see week after week,” he told troops and commanders at an army base near the Gaza border.
He also suspended deliveries of fuel that had been trucked daily into Gaza over the previous week under a deal brokered by the United Nations.
It had seen thousands of liters (gallons) of fuel paid for by gas-rich Gulf state Qatar delivered to boost power generation in the impoverished territory.
The UN says Israel’s 11-year blockade has resulted in a “catastrophic” humanitarian situation.
Gaza’s two million residents endure routine power cuts and a chronic shortage of safe drinking water, and more than two-thirds are dependent on international aid.