Israel hits Gaza after rockets disrupt Netanyahu rally

Israeli fighter jets “hit 15 terrorist targets in the north and center of the Gaza Strip,” the army said. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 September 2019

Israel hits Gaza after rockets disrupt Netanyahu rally

  • Netanyahu was hustled off stage when sirens warning of incoming rockets blared in the southern city of Ashdod late Tuesday
  • It came just hours after the premier pledged to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank if re-elected

JERUSALEM: Israel bombed Hamas positions in Gaza overnight in retaliation for rocket fire across the border, which cut short an election rally by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the military said Wednesday.
Netanyahu was hustled off stage when sirens warning of incoming rockets blared in the southern city of Ashdod late Tuesday, public television reported.
It came just hours after the premier pledged to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank if re-elected.
Israeli fighter jets “hit 15 terrorist targets in the north and center of the Gaza Strip,” including a weapons factory, an attack tunnel and naval targets, the army said.
It said it would “continue to hold Hamas responsible for everything that comes from the Gaza Strip,” regardless of who actually fired the weapons.
The Islamists of Hamas have been the de facto rulers of Gaza since they ousted forces loyal to president Mahmud Abbas in deadly fighting in 2007.
Both rockets fired from Gaza were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system.
Video posted on WhatsApp by Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party showed him returning to the stage after the all-clear and saying that Hamas was scared of him winning next Tuesday’s general election.
“If it attacks us on live TV, you understand that it doesn’t want us here,” he told his audience.
Arch-foes Hamas and Israel have fought three wars since 2008.


Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

Updated 19 min 17 sec ago

Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

  • Joint operations planned to prevent attacks ahead of polls

KABUL: Afghan forces backed by US forces killed two senior Taliban leaders and at least 38 fighters of the hard-line insurgent group in joint airstrikes conducted in northern and western regions of Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul, adding that clashes have escalated following the collapse of diplomatic talks between the US and the Taliban.

The Defense Ministry in a statement said that the Taliban’s designate governor for northern Samangan province, Mawlavi Nooruddin, was killed along with four fighters in an airstrike in Dara-e-Soof Payeen district.

But the Taliban denied the governor had been killed.

“He (Nooruddin) is alive,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman said in a statement.

HIGHLOW

  • Taliban deny the governor of Samangan province had been killed.
  • Last week, insurgents killed four Afghan special force members in a car bomb blast.
  • Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day.

In a separate incident, Mullah Sayed Azim, a Taliban designate governor for Anar Dara district in western Farah was killed in a joint Afghan and foreign force raid.

“Sayed Azim was killed along with 34 other insurgents in Anar Dara,” said Mohibullah Mohib, a spokesman for Farah provincial police.

Senior security officials in Kabul said several joint operations will be launched against Taliban and Daesh fighters to prevent attacks on Afghan forces and civilians ahead of the presidential polls on Sept. 28.

Fighting picked up in several parts of Afghanistan last week after US President Donald Trump’s abrupt cancelation of talks with the Taliban aimed at withdrawing US troops and opening the way to end to 18 year-long war in Afghanistan. 

 

Troops for polling day

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day. Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Sunday that 72,000 security personnel will be on duty around the 4,942 polling centers across Afghanistan while nearly 30,000 additional troops will serve as reserve units.

Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said security forces have recently taken back eight districts from the Taliban and that operations are underway to secure around 20 others.