Israeli air strike kills Hamas man in Gaza

A picture taken on July 14, 2018 shows a smoke plume risisng following an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, near the border with Egypt. (AFP)
Updated 19 July 2018
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Israeli air strike kills Hamas man in Gaza

GAZA: An Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip killed a member of the militant Hamas group on Thursday and wounded three others, Hamas sources and medical officials said.
The Israeli military confirmed it had carried out an air strike targeting Hamas militants who were about to launch balloons rigged with flammable material over the border into Israel.
Hamas sources said the casualties were security men working at an observation post near Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.
Fires caused by incendiary helium balloons and kites launched by Palestinians in Gaza have ravaged tracts of farmland in Israel in recent months. Israel has vowed to stop the attacks, even at the risk of wider conflict.
Weekly clashes at the Israel-Gaza border have kept tensions at a high for months. More than 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during protests at the frontier held every week since March.
Israel says Hamas has been orchestrating the demonstrations, dubbed The Great March of Return, to provide cover for militants' cross-border attacks. Hamas denies this.
Cross-border violence surged on Saturday when Palestinian militants fired more than 100 rockets into Israel and the Israeli military carried out dozens of air strikes in the Hamas-ruled enclave.


Iran announces new fighter jet

Updated 19 min 41 sec ago
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Iran announces new fighter jet

  • Defense minister dismisses the idea of an “Arab NATO”
  • Minister reveals a new fighter jet “will fly on National Defense Industry Day”

TEHRAN: Iran will unveil this week a new jet fighter and upgrade its missile defenses to meet threats from Israel and the US, Tasnim news agency said Sunday quoting the defense minister.
“Our first priority is our missile capability and we must enhance it... given the enemy’s efforts in missile defense,” said Amir Hatami in an interview on television late Saturday, according to Tasnim.
He added that a new fighter jet “will fly on National Defense Industry Day,” which falls on Wednesday.
Hatami said the defense program was motivated by memories of the missile attacks Iran suffered during its eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, and by repeated threats from Israel and the United States that “all options are on the table” in dealing with the Islamic republic.
“We have learned in the (Iran-Iraq) war that we cannot rely on anyone but ourselves. We saw that wherever we are not capable, no one will have mercy on us,” he said.
“Our resources are limited and we are committed to establishing security at a minimum cost.
“We upgrade our missiles according to our enemies’ threats and actions, as a deterrent and to give a crushing response to the enemy,” he added.
Hatami added that regional rival Saudi Arabia “has the largest military budget in the world after America and China... while our defense budget is limited.”
“What would any nation with such a situation and past do in our place?” he said.
The defense minister dismissed the idea of an “Arab NATO” — an old concept that has recently resurfaced as Washington tries to push regional countries to accept a greater share of their defense.
“Arab NATO is part of the game of creating discord by the enemy and it’s not worth paying attention to,” said Hatami.
“It is unlikely that America and the Zionist regime (Israel) allow Muslim countries to come together. They know well that the aim of Muslim nations is to destroy the Zionist regime and defend Palestine,” he added.