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.


UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

Khalifa Haftar. (Supplied)
Updated 21 August 2018
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UN calls on Libya to crack down on violent militias

  • Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar
  • Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees

TRIPOLI: The UN has called on Libya’s internationally recognized government to crack down on armed groups obstructing the work of state institutions in the chaos-wracked country.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) late on Sunday night expressed its “strong condemnation of the violence, intimidation and obstruction to the work of Libya’s sovereign institutions by militiamen.”
It called on the UN-backed Government of National Accord to “prosecute those responsible for these criminal actions.”
The GNA’s military and security institutions have failed to place limits on the powerful militias that sprung up in the turmoil that followed the 2011 ouster of dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Several state institutions, including those in Tripoli, have been regular targets of harassment and intimidation by armed groups technically operating under the GNA’s Interior Ministry.
Members of militias “nominally acting under the Ministry of Interior of the Government of National Accord are attacking sovereign institutions and preventing them from being able to operate effectively,” UNSMIL said.
Last week, the GNA’s National Oil Corp. said men from the Interior Ministry had forced their way into the headquarters of Brega Petroleum Marketing Company — a distribution outfit — to “arrest” its chief.
The Libyan Investment Authority, the GNA-managed sovereign wealth fund, recently moved from its downtown Tripoli office to a more “secure” location after threats from militiamen against its employees.
UNSMIL said it would work with the international community and the GNA to “investigate the possibility of bringing sanctions against those interfering with or threatening the operations of any sovereign institution.”
Libya remains divided between the UN-backed GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.
A myriad of militias,terrorist groups and people traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the North African country.