Israel drops leaflets warning Gazans not to approach border

A Palestinian hurls stones at Israeli troops during clashes at Israel-Gaza border in the central Gaza strip early this week. (Reuters)
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.


Syria’s Assad attends holiday prayers at Damascus mosque

Updated 21 August 2018
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Syria’s Assad attends holiday prayers at Damascus mosque

  • Syrian President Bashar Assad attends prayers for Eid Al-Adha in Damascus
  • It’s the first Eid Al-Adha since Syrian troops, backed by Russia, recaptured suburbs of Damascus

DAMASCUS, Syria: Syrian President Bashar Assad has attended prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha in Damascus, the seat of his power.
State-run television showed Assad saluting worshippers as he arrived Tuesday at the Al-Rawda mosque and various footage of him praying and talking to people following prayers.
It’s the first Eid Al-Adha since Syrian troops, backed by Russia, recaptured suburbs of Damascus earlier this year and areas in southern Syria previously held by rebels.
In recent years, Assad has often traveled outside Damascus to towns and villages recaptured from rebels or Islamic State fighters to attend holiday prayers there.
With crucial military support from allies Russia and Iran, Assad’s troops have recaptured most rebel strongholds across the country. The northern province of Idlib is the last major remaining opposition bastion.