Israeli air strikes kill three in Gaza after rocket fire

1 / 3
Israeli security forces gather at Israel-Gaza border near the kibbutz of Kfar Aza, as smoke rises from a bus that was reportedly hit by a rocket fired from the Palestinian enclave on Monday. (AFP)
2 / 3
A picture taken from the Gaza Strip on November 12, 2018 shows missiles being launched toward Israel. A number of rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel. (AFP)
3 / 3
The Hamas-run television station Al-Aqsa TV in Gaza during an Israeli air strike. (AFP)
Updated 13 November 2018

Israeli air strikes kill three in Gaza after rocket fire

  • Israel's military says it hit militant sites in response to rocket launches from Gaza
  • Hamas said it launched the rockets in revenge for a deadly Israeli military operation late Sunday

GAZA: Israeli warplanes have struck targets throughout the Gaza Strip on Monday, while Hamas has unleashed a barrage of rocket fire into Isreal in deadly clashes that have raised fears of another major war between the foes. 
Three Palestinians and an Israeli have so far been killed, with a number of injuries reported on both sides.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged all sides to exercise maximum restraint as his organization said it was working with Egypt to restore calm. 
The flare-up came after a deadly Israeli special forces operation in the Gaza Strip on Sunday that left Hamas vowing revenge.
Israel's military said it had so far struck more than 70 militant sites in response to over 300 rockets fired from the Hamas-run territory Monday afternoon into the evening.
Missile defences had intercepted dozens of the rockets from Gaza and most others fell in open areas, though some hit houses and other civilian structures, the military said. Medics reported at least 10 Israelis wounded.




A picture taken from the Gaza Strip on November 12, 2018 shows missiles being launched toward Israel. (AFP)

The army said an Israeli bus was hit by an anti-tank missile from the Gaza Strip, causing several injuries. A soldier was severely wounded, it said.
Palestinian militant groups in Gaza, including Hamas, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire and the missile attack on the bus, which they said was being used by Israeli soldiers.
Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said he could not yet provide further details on the bus or its passengers.
Gaza's health ministry said three Palestinians were killed in the Israeli strikes and nine wounded.
Militant group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said two of those killed were its members, while the third was from Islamic Jihad's armed wing.




A picture taken from the Gaza Strip on November 12, 2018 shows missiles being launched toward Israel. A number of rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel. (AFP)

The building for Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV was destroyed in an Israeli strike after a series of warning shots, with Israel's army saying the station "contributes to Hamas's military actions".
No injuries were reported and workers were believed to have evacuated after the warning shots.
Gaza militants threatened a harsh response and, according to police, more rockets hit in the Israeli city of Ashkelon.
Hamas said the initial rocket fire was in revenge for the deadly Israeli operation late Sunday.
On Sunday, a clash erupted during the covert operation in the Gaza Strip that killed seven Palestinian militants, including a local commander for Hamas's armed wing, as well as an Israeli army officer.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a trip to Paris and rushed home as tensions rose, and on Monday convened a meeting of security chiefs.
UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov, who along with Egypt has been seeking a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas, called the escalation "extremely dangerous" and said on Twitter that "restraint must be shown by all".

Israel had stressed its covert operation on Sunday was an intelligence-gathering mission and "not an assassination or abduction", but Hamas strongly denounced it and vowed revenge.
Israel signalled that Sunday's mission did not go as planned and resulted in the clash, which Palestinian officials said included Israeli air strikes.
Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, said the Israeli special forces team had infiltrated near Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip in a civilian car.
An exchange of fire followed in which local Al-Qassam commander Nour Baraka was killed along with another militant, it said.
The car then attempted to flee and Israeli aircraft provided covering fire.
Israel's military declined to comment on the Al-Qassam account "because of the sensitive nature of the operation".
A funeral was held for the seven Palestinian militants on Monday attended by thousands, including masked Al-Qassam members carrying rifles, some firing into the air.
The latest clashes came after months of deadly unrest along the Gaza-Israel border had appeared to be calming.
Recent weeks have seen Israel allow Qatar to provide the Gaza Strip with millions of dollars in aid for salaries as well as fuel to help ease an electricity crisis.
Before the flare-up, Netanyahu had defended his decision to allow Qatar to transfer the cash to Gaza despite criticism from within his own government, saying he wanted to avoid a war if it was not necessary.
Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008, and recent months have raised fears of a fourth.
Deadly clashes have accompanied major protests along the Gaza-Israel border that began on March 30.
At least 231 Palestinians have since been killed by Israeli fire, the majority shot during protests and clashes, while others died in tank fire or air strikes.
Two Israeli soldiers have been killed in that time.

 


Turkey’s rulers plot law changes to block breakaway parties’ power grab

Updated 28 May 2020

Turkey’s rulers plot law changes to block breakaway parties’ power grab

  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP is working on a plan to stop parliamentary deputies from transferring to other parties

ANKARA: Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is looking at ways to change electoral laws in order to block challenges to power from two new breakaway political parties.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP and its nationalist coalition partner the MHP are working on a plan to stop parliamentary deputies from transferring to other parties — a move that has fueled rumors of an imminent snap election in the country.

Under Turkish election rules, political parties must settle their organization procedures in at least half of the nation’s cities and hold their first convention six months ahead of an election date.

Any political party with 20 lawmakers in Turkey’s parliament is entitled to take part in elections and be eligible for financial aid from the treasury for the electoral process.

The leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has hinted at the possibility of transferring some CHP lawmakers to the newly founded parties to secure their participation in elections.

Turkey’s ex-premier, Ahmet Davutoglu, and the country’s former economy czar, Ali Babacan, both longtime allies of Erdogan, recently left the AKP to establish their own opposition groups, and have come under pressure from the AKP and MHP to leave their parties out of the race.

Babacan has been critical of Erdogan’s move away from a parliamentary system of governance in Turkey to one providing the president with wide-ranging powers without any strong checks and balances.

“The AKP is abolishing what it built with its own hands. The reputation and the economy of the country is in ruins. The number of competent people has declined in the ruling party. Decisions are being taken without consultations and inside a family,” Babacan said in a recent interview.

He also claimed that AKP officials were competing against each other for personal financial gain.

Babacan, a founding member of the AKP, was highly respected among foreign investors during his time running the economy. He resigned from the party last year over “deep differences” to set up his DEVA grouping on March 9 with a diverse team of former AKP officials and liberal figures.

Berk Esen, a political analyst from Ankara’s Bilkent University, believes Babacan’s recent statements have angered Erdogan.

“As a technocrat, Babacan gains respect from secular circles as well as the international community, which Erdogan clearly lacks. Despite being in office for 13 years, Babacan has not been tainted by corruption allegations and is known as the chief architect of Turkey’s rapid economic growth during the AKP’s first two terms,” he told Arab News.

“The legislation that the AKP-MHP coalition is working on may prevent deputy transfer only in case early elections are scheduled for the fall. Otherwise, the newly established parties will most likely build their organizations across the country and become viable for elections by summer, if not the spring of 2021.”

If Davutoglu and Babacan were successful in capturing disillusioned voters, they could prevent the ruling coalition getting the 51 percent of votes needed to secure a parliamentary majority.