Hamas denies collapse of Egypt-brokered Israel truce talks

Tihs picture taken on September 21, 2018, in the Gaza Strip near the Israeli border east of Gaza City, shows a smoke plume rising from Israeli bombardment of Hamas observation positions in the Gaza strip. (AFP)
Updated 25 September 2018
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Hamas denies collapse of Egypt-brokered Israel truce talks

  • “The efforts of our Egyptian brothers continue on the file of Palestinian reconciliation..." a senior Hamas official said
  • “We in Hamas are responsive to these ongoing efforts,” said Sami Abu Zuhri

GAZA: A senior Hamas official denied Tuesday that Egyptian-brokered talks on reconciliation with the Palestinian Authority and a lasting truce with Israel have collapsed, but admitted progress was slow.
“The efforts of our Egyptian brothers continue on the file of Palestinian reconciliation and the calm with the (Israeli) occupation,” spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP.
“We in Hamas are responsive to these ongoing efforts.”
Egypt has for months been seeking to broker two separate deals.
One would bring Hamas and president Mahmud Abbas’ secular Fatah party together a decade after a bloody split, and another would see a lasting truce between Hamas and Israel in exchange for a loosening of the Jewish state’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.
UN officials have also been involved in the indirect discussions between Gaza’s Islamist ruler Hamas and Israel, which have fought three wars since 2008.
Abu Zuhri accused Fatah of obstructing the talks, while Fatah has accused Hamas of being intransigent.
A senior Hamas leader told AFP Tuesday that a delegation would visit Cairo to continue negotiations in the coming days.
An Egyptian security delegation traveled to Gaza for a few hours on Saturday for a visit that included a meeting with Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.
Hamas has encouraged months of violent border protests against Israel.
After a lull, protests have regained strength in recent weeks as talks were seen to stall.


Russia says kills 88,000 Syria rebels

Updated 20 October 2018
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Russia says kills 88,000 Syria rebels

  • Russia launched strikes in support of President Bashar Assad’s regime in September 2015
  • Russian air forces have carried out more than 40,000 bombing missions, hitting about 120,000 targets

MOSCOW: Russia’s defense minister said Saturday that almost 88,000 rebels had been killed in Syria in the three years since Moscow’s intervention to back government forces.
“Over the course of the operation, a total of more than 87,500 rebels have been eliminated, 1,411 settlements have been liberated and more than 95 percent of Syria’s territory,” Shoigu was quoted as saying at a forum in Singapore in a ministry statement.
“Most of the rebels have been liquidated,” Shoigu said.
Britain-based war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says close to 365,000 people have been killed during the seven-year civil war.
Russia launched strikes in support of President Bashar Assad’s regime in September 2015.
Russian air forces have carried out more than 40,000 bombing missions, hitting about 120,000 targets of “terrorist” infrastructure, Shoigu said.
The defense minister said that “Syrian armed forces currently control territory where more than 90 percent of the population lives.”