War fears mount despite cease-fire between Gaza and Israel

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Israeli firefighters and soldiers attempt to extinguish a fire next to a cow shed, caused by a incendiary balloon launched by Palestinians from the Gaza Strip on July 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
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Palestinian mourners carry the body of killed Hamas member Mohamed Abu Daqa during his funeral in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on July 21, 2018. (AFP / SAID KHATIB)
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A picture taken on July 20, 2018 shows tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces landing amidst protesters along the border with Israel east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. (AFP / SAID KHATIB)
Updated 22 July 2018
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War fears mount despite cease-fire between Gaza and Israel

  • Any further escalation will deepen humanitarian catastrophe in the Strip: UN chief
  • Before the truce, Israel unleashed an offensive it says destroyed more than 60 Hamas targets, including three battalion headquarters

GAZA CITY: After seven chaotic and violent hours, quiet returned to the Gaza Strip Friday night. Yet on Saturday, civilians in the Palestinian enclave and Israel remained fearful of the potential for a new war.
The fatal shooting by a Palestinian sniper of an Israeli soldier during protests along the border on Friday sparked a widespread wave of Israeli bombing, with three fighters from Hamas killed and dozens of targets struck.
After intensive indirect mediation by the UN and Egypt, a truce came into force at midnight, yet both populations remained on high alert of another all-out conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“War is coming. I know that the (Israeli) occupation is carrying out raids to pave the way with their home base,” Somaya Rabaya, 21, from Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza, said.
While the cease-fire deal included an end to rockets and mortars, it didn’t include a commitment by Hamas to stop what Israeli media have dubbed “terror kites,” a senior Hamas source said.
In a brief statement on Saturday, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the movement accepted the cease-fire brokered by Egyptian and UN officials and that calm had been restored. Later, the Israeli military announced a return to civilian routine along the volatile border.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “gravely concerned” about the escalation and called on both sides to step back from the prospect of another devastating conflict. “Any further escalation will endanger the lives of Palestinians and Israelis alike, deepen the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and undermine current efforts to improve livelihoods,” he said.
On Saturday morning in Gaza, 17-year-old Wissam was with a number of other youths fitting kites with small bottles full of diesel, while sheltering behind a sandbank for fear of Israeli strikes. “This morning, they bombed a Hamas observation post near here. I was afraid they would hit us with a missile,” he said.
Israel says it has no interest is engaging in another war with Hamas, but says it will no longer tolerate the Gaza militant campaign of flying the incendiary devices into Israel.
On Friday, Israel unleashed an offensive it says destroyed more than 60 Hamas targets, including three battalion headquarters.
“The attack delivered a severe blow to the Hamas’ training array, command and control abilities, weaponry, aerial defense and logistic capabilities along with additional military infrastructure,” the Israeli military said in a statement, adding that the strikes “will intensify as necessary.”


US forces to stay in Iraq as long as needed

Updated 58 min 26 sec ago
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US forces to stay in Iraq as long as needed

  • US forces will stay in Iraq “as long as needed” to help stabilize regions previously controlled by Daesh
  • Spokesman said they were required to help with the stabilization of the area

ABU DHABI: US forces will stay in Iraq “as long as needed” to help stabilize regions previously controlled by Daesh, a spokesman for the US-led international coalition fighting the militants said on Sunday.
“We’ll keep troops there as long as we think they’re needed ... The main reason, after Daesh is defeated militarily is the stabilization efforts and we still need to be there for that, so that’s one of the reasons we’ll maintain a presence,” Col. Sean Ryan told a news conference in Abu Dhabi.