Netanyahu visits southern region following Gaza escalation

Israel pounded Hamas targets in its most massive bombardment since the 2014 war. (File photo: Ronen Zvulun/AP)
Updated 16 July 2018
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Netanyahu visits southern region following Gaza escalation

  • Netanyahu’s visit comes a day after an informal cease-fire took hold to end 24 hours of intense fighting
  • Netanyahu says Hamas will face a “wall of steel” if it keeps up its aggression against Israel

JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met with community leaders of southern Israeli towns bordering Gaza, warning that Israel is engaged in a “lengthy battle.”
Netanyahu’s visit on Monday comes a day after an informal cease-fire took hold to end 24 hours of intense fighting with Gaza’s Hamas militants that had threatened to devolve into all-out war.
Israel pounded Hamas targets in its most massive bombardment since the 2014 war, while militants fired dozens of rockets toward Israel that halted daily life in the area.
Netanyahu said he’s ordered the military to put an end to Gaza’s campaign of sending incendiary kites and balloons across the border to target Israeli farms and nature reserves.
He says Hamas will face a “wall of steel” if it keeps up its aggression against Israel.


US sanctions over Iran oil will ‘intensify Mideast turmoil’: China

Updated 37 min 2 sec ago
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US sanctions over Iran oil will ‘intensify Mideast turmoil’: China

  • Foreign ministry spokesman: US operating outside its jurisdiction in unilaterally imposing the sanctions
  • China is one of Iran’s biggest oil markets

BEIJING: Beijing on Tuesday again lashed out at a US decision to impose sanctions on countries that buy Iranian oil, calling it a violation of China’s interests that will intensify turmoil in the Middle East and international energy markets.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the US is operating outside its jurisdiction in unilaterally imposing the sanctions. He said normal interactions between Iran and other countries are “reasonable and lawful” and deserving of respect and protection.

“The relevant actions of the US will also intensify the turmoil in the Middle East and international energy market,” Geng said.

“We urge the US to play a constructive role in a responsible manner, instead of the other way around. In addition, we have already made complaints with the US on this matter,” he said.

Geng said China will work to safeguard its companies’ interests, reflecting its desire to secure foreign markets as it pursues its massive “Belt-and-Road” infrastructure initiative.

China is one of Iran’s biggest oil markets and was a strong backer of the agreement to lift sanctions in return for Iran curbing its nuclear weapons program that was scrapped by President Donald Trump.

The Trump administration said Monday that it will no longer exempt any countries from US sanctions if they continue to buy Iranian oil, stepping up pressure on Iran in a move that primarily affects the five remaining major importers.

Along with India and US treaty allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, China was one of the countries primarily affected by the announcement.

Oil prices soared to their highest level since October on Tuesday.

The sanctions could potentially remove up to 1.2 million barrels of oil per day from international markets, according to industry experts. However, that number will likely be lower, depending on how countries respond and just how much oil Iran continues to export.