Cease-fire follows another Hamas-Israel flare-up

In this July 21, 2018 file photo, Israeli firefighters and soldiers on the Israeli Gaza Border attempt to extinguish a fire caused by a incendiary balloon launched by Palestinians from the Gaza Strip. (AP)
Updated 10 August 2018
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Cease-fire follows another Hamas-Israel flare-up

  • Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers and Israel appear to be honoring a cease-fire
  • Israel and Hamas have come close to serious conflict in recent weeks

JERUSALEM: Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers and Israel appear to be honoring a cease-fire that ended two days of an intense flare-up in violence amid efforts by neighboring Egypt to negotiate between the two sides.
Israel’s military said on Friday that no rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel overnight and it conducted no airstrikes. Israel’s government hasn’t confirmed the truce.
Hamas’s Al Aqsa TV reported late Thursday that an Egypt-brokered deal had taken hold “on the basis of mutual calm.”
Israel and Hamas have come close to serious conflict in recent weeks after four months of violence along Gaza’s border following Hamas-organized protests there.
At least 163 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including 120 protesters, since then. During that time, a Gaza sniper killed an Israeli soldier.


Palestine, Egypt offer air support as Israel battles wildfires

A firefighting aircraft flies over a forest near Kibbutz Harel, which was damaged by wildfires during a record heatwave, in Israel May 24, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 May 2019
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Palestine, Egypt offer air support as Israel battles wildfires

  • Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes on Thursday as fires raged
  • The fires were fueled by high temperatures and dry condition

JERUSALEM: Egypt and four European countries sent aircraft to help Israel battle wildfires that have forced the evacuation of some small towns, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday, as a record heatwave looked set to worsen conditions.
At an emergency briefing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had appealed for international help to combat the fires, and that firefighting planes were coming in from Greece, Croatia, Italy and Cyprus.
Egypt, on the orders of President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi, had also sent two helicopters to assist Israel, Netanyahu told reporters.
The Palestinian Authority and Russia had also offered help, Netanyahu said.
Israel braced for wildfires on Friday amid a major heat wave that shows no signs of abating.
Israel “really appreciates” the help, Netanyahu said, singling out El-Sisi for sending aid.
“I am deeply thankful for the readiness of neighbors to help us in a time of crisis, just as we help them,” Netanyahu said.
Israel’s Fire and Rescue Service said blazes in a key corridor between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were mostly under control but difficult weather remained a conflagration risk.
“As of this moment, this (containment) is being done in the best possible way, but the challenge is yet ahead of us given the weather conditions, the winds and the extreme heat,” Netanyahu said.
Some 3,500 residents of small towns in the path of the fires were evacuated on Thursday, officials said. Dozens of homes have burned down.

Evacuations
Thousands of people were evacuated from towns and dozens of homes were burned on Thursday as fires raged, fueled by high temperatures and dry conditions. Over 500 acres of woodland have burned, said Nitai Zecharya, an Israeli official from the Jewish National Fund, known for planting forests in the country.
Zecharya said that while firefighters had brought most of the blaze under control, officials remained “very stressed” about strong winds fanning flames and “spreading fires to other fronts.”
The cause of the fires remains unclear, but they erupted following the Jewish festival of Lag Ba’Omer, which observers mark with bonfires.
A sweltering heat wave is pushing temperatures in parts of the country up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 Celsius.