Two Palestinians killed during Israeli attack on Gaza

A relative of Palestinians killed by Israel reacts in Gaza. (Reuters)
Updated 18 September 2018

Two Palestinians killed during Israeli attack on Gaza

  • The army confirmed the death of Mohammed Khatib, 24, in custody but said he not resisted arrest
  • The military did not provide further details on the reasons for his arrest

GAZA CITY: Two men found dead near the site of an Israeli missile strike at the coastal strip’s border with Israel were identified as Palestinian cousins, family members said on Tuesday. The Israeli military said it had attacked a group suspected of tampering with the border fence.
Family members identified Najy Jamil Abu Assi, 18, and Ala Ziad Abu Assi, 21, after seeing their pictures on social media. They were residents of the village of Zanna east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Shortly before midnight on Monday the Israeli military said one of its aircraft had fired at a group of suspected militants who had “suspiciously approached” the border fence and placed an object next to it.
Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005 but maintains tight control of its land and sea borders. Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled for several years and Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, where the Palestinians hope to establish an independent state, have expanded.
Israeli forces say that in recent days, they have dismantled at least two bombs planted near the border fence, which has been the scene of weekly Palestinian demonstrations since March 30. At least 179 Palestinians have been killed in the protests, according to medical officials in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The Israeli army says it is defending its border against rioting protesters who have sought to breach the fence and enter Israel. In a separate incident in Beit Rima village in the occupied West Bank, a Palestinian family said one of its members died while being arrested by Israeli soldiers. The family of 24-year-old Mohammad Al-Khatib said they believed he was beaten by the soldiers during a raid on his home. The Israeli military said its initial inquiry showed the troops used no violence and that it had launched an investigation. Bashir Al-Khatib, the man’s brother, said soldiers entered the house early on Tuesday morning and went to Khatib’s room. The family told Reuters they heard shouting before seeing soldiers carrying an unconscious Khatib from the house.

 


Turkey sends armed drone to northern Cyprus amid gas dispute

Updated 16 min 2 sec ago

Turkey sends armed drone to northern Cyprus amid gas dispute

  • The breakaway northern Cyprus government approved the use of the airport for unmanned aerial vehicles
  • A recent agreement between Turkey and Libya claims extensive areas of sea for Turkey in the Mediterranean

FAMAGUSTA, Cyprus: A Turkish military drone was delivered to northern Cyprus on Monday amid growing tensions over Turkey’s deal with Libya that extended its claims to the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean.
The Bayraktar TB2 drone landed in Gecitkale Airport in Famagusta around 0700 GMT, an AFP correspondent said, after the breakaway northern Cyprus government approved the use of the airport for unmanned aerial vehicles.
It followed a deal signed last month between Libya and Turkey that could prove crucial in the scramble for recently discovered gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.
The agreement claimed extensive areas of the sea for Turkey, undercutting claims by Greece and the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, which runs the southern part of the island.
Analysts say Turkey was pushing back against rival efforts to claim exploration rights in the area after Cyprus, Greece, Egypt and Israel excluded Turkey from a new “East Mediterranean Gas Forum” that also includes Jordan, Italy and the Palestinian territories.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is only recognized by Turkey, said approval for the drone was given last week “in light of the latest developments in the eastern Mediterranean region” and “to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the TRNC and Turkey.”
The TRNC’s transport minister, Tolga Atakan, said Turkish drones were partly a response to the acquisition of Israeli drones by Cyprus in October to monitor its exclusive economic zone.
Cyprus has been divided since Turkish troops occupied the northern third of the island in 1974 in response to a coup sponsored by the Greek military junta.
Turkey already has two drilling vessels in the eastern Mediterranean despite the threat of European Union sanctions.
Ankara does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member, and says the TRNC has the right to explore around the entire island.