Death toll rises as Palestinians clash with Israel army in Gaza border

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At least fifty-five Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire Monday as tens of thousands protested and clashes erupted along the Gaza border against the US transfer of its embassy to Jerusalem. (AFP)
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A Palestinian man holds a national flag while walking in the smoke billowing from burning tires during clashes with Israeli forces along the border with the Gaza strip on Monday, May 14. (AFP)
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At least fifty-five Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire Monday as tens of thousands protested and clashes erupted along the Gaza border against the US transfer of its embassy to Jerusalem. (AFP)
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At least fifty-five Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire Monday as tens of thousands protested and clashes erupted along the Gaza border against the US transfer of its embassy to Jerusalem. (AFP)
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At least fifty-five Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire Monday as tens of thousands protested and clashes erupted along the Gaza border against the US transfer of its embassy to Jerusalem. (AFP)
Updated 14 May 2018
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Death toll rises as Palestinians clash with Israel army in Gaza border

  • Deadliest day in Israeli-Palestinian conflict since a 2014 war between the Jewish state and Gaza’s rulers Hamas
  • Thousands had gathered near the border to protest the US transfer of embassy to Jerusalem

JERUSALEM: At least fifty-five Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire Monday as tens of thousands protested and clashes erupted along the Gaza border against the US transfer of its embassy to Jerusalem, the Gazan health ministry said.

It was the deadliest day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since a 2014 war between the Jewish state and Gaza’s rulers Hamas.

The dead included a 14-year-old, according to the ministry.

Thousands had gathered near the border in protest while smaller numbers of stone-throwing Palestinians were approaching the fence and trying to break through, with Israeli snipers positioned on the other side.

Crowds built throughout the day in the Palestinian enclave less than 100 kilometers away from Jerusalem and sealed off from Israel by a blockade.

Israel’s military said “approximately 10,000 violent rioters are currently assembled in a number of locations along the Gaza Strip border and thousands more are gathered by the tents approximately half a kilometer away from the security fence.”

It said soldiers “are responding with riot dispersal means and fire, and are operating according to standard operating procedures.”

The inauguration that follows US President Donald Trump’s deeply controversial December 6 recognition of the disputed city as Israel’s capital also comes at a time of heightened regional tensions.

It follows Trump’s announcement last week that the United States is withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and Israeli strikes two days later on dozens of Iranian targets in Syria.

Those strikes came after rocket fire toward Israeli forces in the occupied Golan Heights that Israel blamed on Iran.

The Trump administration has vowed to restart the moribund Middle East peace process but the embassy move has inflamed tensions.

Monday’s inauguration ceremony at 4:00pm will include around 800 guests — though not Trump himself — at what until now had been a US consulate building in Jerusalem.

US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will lead the Washington delegation that includes Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, both White House aides, as well as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.


Buses arrive to ferry Syria rebels out of zone near Golan

Updated 20 July 2018
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Buses arrive to ferry Syria rebels out of zone near Golan

  • The transfers come under a surrender deal agreed this week between Russia and Syrian rebels in Quneitra province
  • Rebels will hand over territory they control in Quneitra and the neighboring buffer zone with the Israeli-occupied Golan

BEIRUT: Buses were gathering on Friday in a southwestern sliver of Syria near the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights to transfer rebel fighters and civilians to opposition territory further north, a monitor said.
The transfers come under a surrender deal agreed this week between Russia and Syrian rebels in Quneitra province that will see the sensitive zone fall back under state control.
Rebels will hand over territory they control in Quneitra and the neighboring buffer zone with the Israeli-occupied Golan, a war monitor and a rebel source told AFP.
The deal included safe passage to northern Syria for any hard-liners who refuse to live under government control, and buses began entering the area Friday to carry out the transfers, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“The buses reached government-controlled territory in Quneitra on Thursday, and today they began crossing into opposition areas for the evacuation,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
He said it remained unclear how many fighters and civilians would ultimately be evacuated, but that the buses would likely be picking up people from multiple locations in Quneitra and the adjacent buffer.
A rebel source told AFP that the evacuations were expected to begin around mid-morning on Friday.
Quneitra is a thin, crescent-shaped province wedged between the buffer to the west and the Syrian province of Daraa to its east.
One month ago, Syria’s regime launched an operation to retake rebel areas in Daraa and Quneitra, using military force and surrender deals brokered by its Russian ally.
Fighting forced several hundred thousand people to flee, and as many as 140,000 remain displaced in Quneitra, according to the United Nations.
The UN’s humanitarian coordination office (OCHA) warned they are inaccessible to aid organizations based around an hour away in Damascus because of a lack of approvals.
Both Israel and Jordan, which shares a border with Syria, have kept their borders closed to the displaced.
Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan from Syria in 1967 and later annexed it, in a move never recognized internationally.