Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in border clashes

Palestinian protesters react to tear gas fired by Israeli forces during clashes in east of Gaza City near the Israeli border on November 2, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2018
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Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in border clashes

  • At least 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since major protests backed by Gaza's rulers Hamas began in March
  • The majority have been shot during protests and clashes

GAZA CITY: A Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire during clashes along the border of the Gaza Strip on Thursday, the health ministry in the coastal enclave said.
Israel's military said soldiers opened fire after "several suspects were spotted approaching the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip and attempting to sabotage it."
A Gaza health ministry spokesman said the man was shot by Israeli forces during clashes east of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.
He was identified as Mohammed Abu Sharbeen, 20, from the southern Gaza city of Rafah.
At least 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since major protests backed by Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas began in March.
The majority have been shot during protests and clashes, but others have died in tank fire or air strikes.
One Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper.
Israel says its actions are necessary to defend the border and stop infiltrations and attacks, which it accuses Hamas of seeking to orchestrate.
The often violent demonstrations usually peak on Fridays, but last week's was the calmest in months, amid talk of a truce deal between Hamas and Israel.
Such a deal would see the protests end in exchange for an easing of Israel's blockade of the coastal enclave.


New envoy stresses need for UN-backed solution to Syria war

Updated 17 January 2019
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New envoy stresses need for UN-backed solution to Syria war

  • Pedersen is the fourth UN envoy to seek a solution to Syria's conflict
  • Syria's war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since the war started with the repression of anti-government protests in 2011

DAMASCUS: The new UN envoy to Syria ended his first visit to the war-torn country Thursday, stressing the need for a UN-brokered political solution to the eight-year conflict.
Geir Pedersen, a seasoned Norwegian diplomat, concluded his three-day visit and headed to the Lebanese capital Beirut, a UN source told AFP.
The new envoy on Twitter late Wednesday said he had a "constructive meeting" with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem during his stay in Damascus.
During it, he stressed the need for a "Syrian-led and -owned political solution facilitated by the UN", he added.
Pedersen, who started his new job last week, is the fourth UN envoy to seek a solution to Syria's conflict, after endless rounds of failed UN-brokered peace talks.
In recent years, UN-led efforts have been overshadowed by separate negotiations led by regime allies Russia and Iran, as well as rebel backer Turkey.
After Damascus, Pederson said he was off to meet the Syrian Negotiations Committee, Syria's main opposition group.
But he "agreed to come back to Damascus on a regular basis to discuss commonalities and progress on points of disagreement", he added.
On Tuesday, Muallem expressed Syria's "readiness to cooperate with him... in his mission to facilitate Syrian-Syrian dialogue with the objective of reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis", a foreign ministry statement said.
Pederson takes over from Staffan de Mistura, a Swiss-Italian diplomat who stepped down at the end of last year over "personal reasons".
Officials in the government of President Bashar al-Assad had set the tone for the new envoy's tenure shortly after his appointment was announced in October.
"Syria will cooperate with the new UN envoy Geir Pedersen provided he avoids the methods of his predecessor," Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Meqdad said.
De Mistura ended his four-year tenure with an abortive push to form a committee tasked with drawing up a post-war constitution.
Syria's war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since the war started with the repression of anti-government protests in 2011.
With key military backing from Russia, Assad's forces have retaken large parts of Syria from rebels and extremists, and now control almost two-thirds of the country.
A drive to bring the Syrian regime back into the Arab fold also seems underway, with the UAE reopening their embassy in Damascus last month.