Tit-for-tat rocket attacks in Gaza end as Egypt mediates between Islamic Jihad and Israelis

Tit-for-tat rocket attacks in Gaza end as Egypt mediates between Islamic Jihad and Israelis
The rocket attacks followed the death of four Palestinians participating in a protest along Gaza’s perimeter fence with Israel. (AFP)
Updated 28 October 2018

Tit-for-tat rocket attacks in Gaza end as Egypt mediates between Islamic Jihad and Israelis

Tit-for-tat rocket attacks in Gaza end as Egypt mediates between Islamic Jihad and Israelis
  • The group said it will stop the attacks after negotiations with Egypt
  • Israel has accused Iran, Syria of involvement in rocket attack

GAZA/JERUSALEM: The Israeli frontier with Gaza fell silent on Saturday under what Palestinians described as an Egyptian-mediated truce, after Israel responded to the biggest salvo of Palestinian rockets for months with scores of air strikes on Gaza targets.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of the armed groups operating in Gaza, said it fired the rockets in retaliation for Israel’s killing of four Palestinians at a border demonstration on Friday. Israel said its air force hit more than 80 targets in response to about 40 Gaza rockets launched into Israel.
There were no immediate reports of deaths on Saturday from either the rockets or the retaliatory strikes.
“After contacts between the Islamic Jihad leadership and the brothers in Egypt it was agreed that a comprehensive cease-fire will begin immediately,” Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shehab said. “The Islamic Jihad will abide by the cease-fire if the occupation (Israel) does the same.”
An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on Shehab’s remarks. By nightfall on Saturday violence had abated, with no further reports of Palestinian rocket launches or Israeli air strikes in Gaza.
Egyptian security officials have been talking separately to Israeli and Palestinian leaders in an attempt to restore calm along the border.

Iranian meddling
The four Palestinians were killed on Friday during protests at the frontier between Israel and Gaza, held since March 30 against Israel’s blockade of the territory and in support of a right for Palestinian refugees to return to homes in Israel.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 213 Gazans have been killed by Israeli forces during the protests. One Israeli soldier has been killed by a Palestinian sniper.
Israel said its forces had been attacked with explosive devices and that some demonstrators breached the border.
Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Syria and Iran were involved in the rocket attacks.
“Orders and incentives were given from Damascus with a clear involvement of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Al-Quds force,” Conricus told reporters. “Our response is not limited geographically.”
Israel regularly accuses Iran of aiding Gaza militants, but rarely levels the charge in connection with a specific rocket attack. It has struck scores of times inside Syria during the seven-year civil war there, at what it has said were Iranian targets or Teheran’s transfers of weapons to Hezbollah fighters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a rare visit to Oman on Friday. Israel and some Gulf states share an interest in curbing Iran’s influence in the region.
Shehab dismissed the allegation of foreign involvement as “an Israeli attempt to evade its responsibility” for the border deaths.
The Israeli military said it holds Hamas, a Palestinian militant group that has controlled Gaza since 2007, accountable for all events there. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since Hamas took power in Gaza.
About two million Palestinians are packed into the Gaza Strip, mainly stateless descendants of refugees who fled or were driven from homes in Israel when it was founded in 1948. Gaza is in a deep economic crisis as a result of an Israeli naval blockade and tight Israeli and Egyptian control of its land crossings, which Israel says it maintains for security reasons. 


Egyptian chief of staff calls on southern region’s military unit to be vigilant, combat-ready

Egyptian chief of staff calls on southern region’s military unit to be vigilant, combat-ready
Updated 20 min 38 sec ago

Egyptian chief of staff calls on southern region’s military unit to be vigilant, combat-ready

Egyptian chief of staff calls on southern region’s military unit to be vigilant, combat-ready
  • The chief of staff discussed the unit’s various combat missions and methods of confronting emergencies
  • Farid stressed the need to develop the field skills of fighters and improve those of officers

CAIRO: Egyptian Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Mohammed Farid called on the personnel and officers from one of the southern region’s military units to be “vigilant and combat-ready to carry out the tasks of securing the country’s borders.”

During a meeting with personnel from the unit, Farid conveyed the greetings and appreciation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for their efforts and sacrifices in the fight to maintain the security of the country’s southern border against smuggling, illegal immigration and hostilities.

The chief of staff discussed the unit’s various combat missions and methods of confronting emergencies, praising their combat readiness and high morale.

Farid stressed the need to develop the field skills of fighters and improve those of officers to enable them to make quick decisions under various circumstances.

He inspected the unit’s procedures for raising combat efficiency, beginning with the presentation of a report that included the technical and administrative status of the unit following improvements to weapons and other areas.


Rescuers pull 394 migrants from dangerously overcrowded boat off Tunisia

Rescuers pull 394 migrants from dangerously overcrowded boat off Tunisia
Updated 01 August 2021

Rescuers pull 394 migrants from dangerously overcrowded boat off Tunisia

Rescuers pull 394 migrants from dangerously overcrowded boat off Tunisia
  • It was not clear if there were any deaths or injuries among the migrants
  • Migrant boat departures have increased in recent months as weather conditions have improved

ABOARD SEA-WATCH 3, Mediterranean: Two humanitarian rescue ships pulled 394 migrants from a dangerously overcrowded wooden boat in the Mediterranean overnight on Sunday in an operation lasting about six hours, a Reuters witness said.

The German and French NGO ships Sea-Watch 3 and Ocean Viking rescued the migrants in Tunisian waters 68 km (42 miles) from the North African coast, near oil facilities and other ships.

Sea-Watch 3, which assumed command of the operation, took 141 of the survivors while Ocean Viking took the rest. The yacht Nadir, from the German NGO ResQ Ship, later gave support.

It was not clear if there were any deaths or injuries among the migrants who were in the wooden boat, which was crammed with migrants on deck and inside the hull.

The craft was taking in water and its engine was not working, the Reuters witness said.

Migrant boat departures from Libya and Tunisia to Italy and other parts of Europe have increased in recent months as weather conditions have improved.

According to the UN-affiliated International Organization for Migration, more than 1,100 people fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East have perished this year in the Mediterranean.

Many of the migrants in this latest rescue were seen jumping off the boat and trying to swim to Sea-Watch 3, the Reuters witness said.

The migrants were mainly men from Morocco, Bangladesh, Egypt and Syria.


Haniyeh re-elected as chief of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas

Haniyeh re-elected as chief of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas
Updated 01 August 2021

Haniyeh re-elected as chief of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas

Haniyeh re-elected as chief of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas

GAZA: Ismail Haniyeh has been re-elected as chief of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza, two Palestinian officials told Reuters on Sunday.
Haniyeh has led Hamas since 2017.


Majority of Turkey wildfires under control, official says

Majority of Turkey wildfires under control, official says
Updated 01 August 2021

Majority of Turkey wildfires under control, official says

Majority of Turkey wildfires under control, official says
  • Five fires were continuing in the tourist destinations of Antalya and Mugla, while 107 fires were ‘under control’
  • A heat wave across southern Europe, fed by hot air from Africa, has led to wildfires across the Mediterranean

ISTANBUL: More than 100 wildfires have been brought under control in Turkey, according to officials Sunday.
The Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, Bekir Pakdemirli, tweeted that five fires were continuing in the tourist destinations of Antalya and Mugla, while 107 fires were “under control.”
The fires in Antalya were continuing in Manavgat and Gundogmus districts. In Mugla, they continued in the tourist destination of Marmaris, as well as Koycegiz and Milas.
Police water cannons, usually used to control riots, assisted helicopters and fire trucks in Mugla to fight a fire. Blazes were still visible in footage taken early Sunday.

Panic-struck tourists were evacuated Saturday from some hotels in Mugla’s popular district of Bodrum as a fire rolled down the hill toward the seashore. Pakdemirli said the fires in Bodrum have been controlled.
Pakdemirli’s list showed fires began in 32 provinces from Wednesday onward. Six people have died.
While Turkish authorities are investigating whether the fires may have started as an act of “sabotage” by outlawed Kurdish militants, experts mostly point to the climate crisis, as seen by the drastic increases in temperatures along with accidents caused by people.
A heat wave across southern Europe, fed by hot air from Africa, has led to wildfires across the Mediterranean, including in Italy and Greece.
Temperatures in Greece and nearby countries in southeast Europe are expected to climb to 42 degrees Celsius (more than 107 Fahrenheit) Monday in many cities and towns.


Outgoing Iran president says government not always truthful

Outgoing Iran president says government not always truthful
Updated 01 August 2021

Outgoing Iran president says government not always truthful

Outgoing Iran president says government not always truthful
  • President Hassan Rouhani insisted he and his officials did their best
  • Rouhani blamed many of Iran’s current problems on Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal

DUBAI: Iran’s outgoing president on Sunday acknowledged his nation at times “did not tell part of the truth” to its people during his eight-year tenure, as he prepares to leave office with his signature nuclear deal with world powers in tatters and tensions high with the West.

President Hassan Rouhani’s comments, aired on state television, come as officials in his government have appeared rudderless in recent months amid a series of crises ranging from the coronavirus pandemic to parching droughts fueling public protests.

After appearing just days earlier to be lectured by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei about their failures in the nuclear negotiations, Rouhani’s remarks appeared aimed at acknowledging the problems his government faced in its waning hours. President-elect Ebrahim Raisi, a protégé of Khamenei, will be inaugurated Thursday.

“What we told people was not contrary to reality, but we did not tell part of the truth to people,” Rouhani said at his last Cabinet meeting as president. “Because I did not find it useful and I was afraid it would harm national unity.”

He did not elaborate on what he meant by his remarks. However, during his tenure, Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard mistakenly shot down a commercial airliner and killed 176 people onboard in January 2020, which the government refused for days to acknowledge until Western nations went public with their suspicions.

Rouhani, a relative moderate within Iran’s theocracy, insisted he and his officials did their best.

“If we have a defect, we apologize to the people and ask them for forgiveness and mercy,” Rouhani said.

He pointed to the country’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which saw Iran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. However, that deal now sits in tatters after then-President

Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the accord in May 2018.

Rouhani blamed many of Iran’s current problems on Trump’s decision, which saw the value of the Islamic Republic’s rial currency crash. The president said that while Iran had plans to upgrade its armed forces after the expiration of a UN arms embargo in October 2020, it couldn’t due to its financial woes.

“We did not have the money to buy due to sanctions and not selling oil, but the contract is completely ready,” he said.