Israel hits Hamas targets in Gaza following rocket fire

OPEN TARGET: A water tower is seen after local residents said it was damaged by an Israeli shell at Beit Hanoun in Gaza, following a rocket that landed in the Israeli town of Sderot which the Israeli army and police said was launched from Gaza, on Sunday. (Reuters)
Updated 21 August 2016
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Israel hits Hamas targets in Gaza following rocket fire

JERUSALEM: Israel targeted Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip by air and with tank fire Sunday after a rocket fired from the Palestinian enclave crashed into the Israeli city of Sderot.
Police said the rocket hit “between two buildings on a road” in Sderot, which is less than four kilometers (2.5 miles) from Gaza, causing no casualties.
Army spokesman Peter Lerner said Israeli forces retaliated by hitting targets in northern Gaza.
“In response to the rocket attack from the Gaza Strip, the IAF (Israeli air force) and tanks targeted two Hamas posts in the northern Gaza Strip,” Lerner said in a statement.
Palestinian health and security sources said two people were lightly wounded by the Israeli fire.
“One of them is a 20-year-old (young man) who was hit by shrapnel in the face,” said Ashraf Al-Qudra, spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza.
Security sources in the territory said several targets in northen Gaza were struck by Israeli fire, and that a reservoir in Beit Hanun was destroyed.
Witnesses said a base of Hamas’s military wing the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, in nearby Beit Lahya, was also hit.
Israeli media said it was the first time downtown Sderot had been hit by a rocket from Gaza since the last war with Palestinian militants in the territory in 2014.
On July 2, Israeli air raids hit four sites in Gaza after a rocket struck a building in Sderot. There were no casualties in either incident.


Jumblatt expresses concern over torture of Syrian refugees

Syrian children are pictured at a refugee camp in the village of Mhammara in the northern Lebanese Akkar region on March 9, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Jumblatt expresses concern over torture of Syrian refugees

  • UN official stresses ‘urgent need to ensure’ their ‘safe, voluntary and dignified return’
  • Some 215,000 Syrian students are currently enrolled in Lebanon's schools 

BEIRUT: Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt has expressed concern about reports that Syrian refugees returning to their country from Lebanon face torture and murder.

This coincides with a debate in Lebanon about whether Syrian refugees should return without waiting for a political solution to the conflict in their country. 

UN Special Coordinator Jan Kubis stressed after meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Monday the “urgent need to ensure the safe, voluntary and dignified return of Syrian refugees home, according to international humanitarian norms.” 

Kubis added: “The UN and the humanitarian community will continue to facilitate these returns as much as possible. Another very important message was also to support the host communities here in Lebanon.”

Mireille Girard, representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), on Monday said: “The reconstruction process in Syria may not be enough to attract refugees to return. We are working to identify the reasons that will help them to return.”

She added: “The arrival of aid to the refugees is an element of trust that helps them to return. Their dignity and peaceful living must be ensured.”

Social Affairs Minister Richard Kouyoumdjian said the Lebanese General Security “issued lists containing the names of refugees wishing to return to their homes, but the Syrian regime accepted only about 20 percent of them.”

He added: “The solution is to call on the international community to put pressure on Russia, so that Moscow can exert pressure on (Syrian President) Bashar Assad’s regime to show goodwill and invite Syrian refugees to return to their land without conditions, procedures, obstacles and laws that steal property and land from them.”

Lebanese Education Minister Akram Chehayeb said: “The problem is not reconstruction and infrastructure, nor the economic and social situation. The main obstacle is the climate of fear and injustice in Syria.”

He added: “There are 215,000 Syrian students enrolled in public education in Lebanon, 60,000 in private education, and there are informal education programs for those who have not yet attended school to accommodate all children under the age of 18.” 

Chehayeb said: “As long as the displacement crisis continues, and as long as the (Assad) regime’s decision to prevent the (refugees’) return stands … work must continue to absorb the children of displaced Syrians who are outside education to protect Lebanon today and Syria in the future.”