Israeli defense minister: Now’s the time to strike Hamas

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to inflict “very strong blows” on Hamas after fresh violence along the border with the Gaza Strip controlled by the Islamist group. (AFP)
Updated 16 October 2018
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Israeli defense minister: Now’s the time to strike Hamas

  • Israel's Netanyahu previously threatened Hamas with “heavy blow”
  • Hamas has held weekly border protests for the past six months, aimed at easing a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade

JERUSALEM: Israel’s defense minister says the time has come to deliver a “heavy blow” to Gaza’s militant Hamas leaders, after weeks of border violence.
Avigdor Lieberman says he’ll recommend doing so when Israel’s security Cabinet meets the following day. The minister spoke on Tuesday during a visit to a military base near the border.
He says it’s “the only way to lower the level of violence to zero or close to zero.”
Hamas has held weekly border protests for the past six months, aimed at easing a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade.
The protests intensified as Egyptian-mediated cease-fire efforts faltered. Over the weekend, Israel halted Qatari-donated fuel shipments to Gaza’s power plant in response to escalating violence.
Since March, 155 Palestinians were killed during the protests. Israel says it’s defending its border.


Lebanon urges return of refugees to Syria

Updated 21 January 2019
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Lebanon urges return of refugees to Syria

  • President Michel Aoun tells Arab economic summit that Lebanon was overwhelmed by Syrian and Palestinian refugees
  • Aoun proposes creation of an Arab bank for reconstruction and development

BEIRUT: Lebanon used an Arab economic summit on Sunday to urge the return of refugees to safe areas of Syria after eight years of war.

President Michel Aoun told the meeting Lebanon was overwhelmed by Syrian and Palestinian refugees, who make up about half the population of a country struggling with an economic crisis.

He proposed the creation of an Arab bank for reconstruction and development “to help all affected Arab states overcome adversity and contribute to their sustainable economic growth.”

The meeting is the first economic and development summit since 2013, and comes as Syria, Yemen and Libya remain gripped by violence and Iraq confronts a massive reconstruction challenge after its costly victory over Daesh.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said nearly half of all refugees “come from our Arab world.”

The emir of Qatar, and the president of Mauritania were the only heads of state from the 22-member Arab League who attended the summit. Other countries sent lower-level delegations.

The other leaders’ absence was a snub to Lebanon, where groups led by Hezbollah had insisted that Bashar Assad of Syria should be invited.

Several hundred people protested in the streets of Beirut on Sunday, blaming politicians for growing economic troubles.