Israel warplanes strike Gaza after border clashes

Medics evacuate a wounded person from the fence of Gaza Strip border during Saturday’s protest  to mark the burning 52 years ago of Al-Aqsa Mosque. (AP)
Medics evacuate a wounded person from the fence of Gaza Strip border during Saturday’s protest to mark the burning 52 years ago of Al-Aqsa Mosque. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 23 August 2021

Israel warplanes strike Gaza after border clashes

Medics evacuate a wounded person from the fence of Gaza Strip border during Saturday’s protest  to mark the burning 52 years ago of Al-Aqsa Mosque. (AP)
  • Escalation comes exactly 3 months since Israel and Hamas reached truce following deadly fighting
  • Al-Aqsa Mosque is a red line, and any attack on it will be met with valiant resistance from our people

GAZA CITY: Israeli warplanes bombed Gaza after clashes between its troops and Palestinian protesters left dozens injured, including an Israeli border policeman and a 13-year-old Palestinian boy who were both critically wounded.

The Israeli military said it carried out airstrikes against four weapons sites and that it had reinforced its Gaza division with additional troops.
The escalation came exactly three months since Israel and Hamas reached a truce following their deadliest fighting in years.
Israeli troops fired at Palestinian protesters who gathered near the Gaza border wall, the army and Palestinian witnesses said.
A Palestinian gunman fired at Israeli troops through an opening in the wall and crowds of young protesters hurled explosives over the barrier and tried to scale it.
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said the injured included a 13-year-old boy left in critical condition after being hit in the head.
“Forty-one civilians were wounded with various injuries,” the ministry said in a statement, with Hamas saying “thousands” of protesters had taken part.
The Israel Border Police said a 21-year-old sniper in its undercover unit was critically wounded when he was shot by a Palestinian protester.
“His condition is critical and there is a risk to his life,” it said of the wounded officer.
Israeli police commissioner Kobi Shabtai in a statement vowed the force would “continue to act firmly and with all our might against those who want to harm us.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz had warned that “these are definitely extremely serious events that will have a response.”
Shortly after his comments, the Israeli Air Force said on Twitter that its “fighter jets struck four weapons manufacturing and storage sites belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization.”
There were no immediate reports of any casualties from the strikes.
Hamas had called a protest Saturday to mark the burning 52 years ago of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“Al-Aqsa Mosque is a red line, and any attack on it will be met with valiant resistance from our people,” the movement said in a statement.
Late Saturday, Hamas and other groups in Gaza issued a joint statement in which they “saluted the heroic youth” who clashed with Israeli forces.
The violence is some of the worst since the May 21 ceasefire came into force.
Over 11 days in May, Israel pounded Gaza with air strikes in response to rockets fired from the occupied enclave.
Hamas said it took action after Israeli security forces stormed Al-Aqsa in May.
Reconstruction in Gaza has stalled since the ceasefire, in part because of a crippling blockade Israel has maintained on the enclave since Hamas seized power in 2007.
On Thursday, Israel announced it would allow funds from Qatar to reach impoverished Palestinians in Gaza. Other restrictions remain.
The ceasefire Egypt brokered between Hamas and Israel has largely held, although there have been flare-ups.
On Monday Israel said its “Iron Dome” missile defense system intercepted a rocket fired by militants in Gaza into Israel, the first time since the recent battle.
That came after four Palestinians were killed in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
In 2018, Gazans began a protest movement demanding an end to Israel’s blockade and a right for Palestinians to return to lands they fled after the Jewish state was founded.
The Hamas-backed weekly demonstrations, often violent, sputtered as Israel killed some 350 Palestinians in Gaza over more than a year.


Iran ready to swap prisoners, urges US to free jailed Iranians

Iran ready to swap prisoners, urges US to free jailed Iranians
Updated 5 sec ago

Iran ready to swap prisoners, urges US to free jailed Iranians

Iran ready to swap prisoners, urges US to free jailed Iranians
DUBAI: Iran is ready to swap prisoners with the United States, its foreign ministry spokesman was quoted as saying on Wednesday, calling on President Joe Biden’s administration to “act instead of performing theatrical shows.”
Tehran has sought the release of over a dozen Iranians in the United States, including seven Iranian-American dual nationals, two Iranians with permanent US residency and four Iranian citizens with no legal status in the United States.
“We are ready to swap prisoners with Washington ... The US must release jailed Iranian citizens without any conditions,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani as saying.
On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that Siamak Namazi had now spent 2,500 days “wrongfully detained” in Iran and Washington was determined to secure the freedom of all Americans held by its Middle East adversary.
Kanaani spoke as Tehran and Washington sought to revive a 2015 nuclear pact after lengthy negotiations. The European Union and United States said on Tuesday they were studying Iran’s response to what the EU has called its “final” proposal to save the deal, after Tehran called on Washington to show flexibility.

Israel, Turkey to restore full diplomatic representation -- Israeli PM statement

 Israel, Turkey to restore full diplomatic representation -- Israeli PM statement
Updated 3 min 5 sec ago

Israel, Turkey to restore full diplomatic representation -- Israeli PM statement

 Israel, Turkey to restore full diplomatic representation -- Israeli PM statement

 Israel, Turkey to restore full diplomatic representation -- Israeli PM statement  


Egypt’s FM addresses Caribbean meeting on climate change

Egypt’s FM addresses Caribbean meeting on climate change
Updated 17 August 2022

Egypt’s FM addresses Caribbean meeting on climate change

Egypt’s FM addresses Caribbean meeting on climate change

CAIRO: In his capacity as president-designate of the 27th UN Climate Change Conference, Egypt’s foreign minister delivered a speech via video at the opening of a Caribbean regional meeting on climate change, hosted by the Bahamas.

Sameh Shoukry presented Egypt’s vision for the UN conference and the most prominent topics on its agenda.

He stressed the importance of shifting from promises to implementation, and of mobilizing the necessary support for global climate action.

Shoukry highlighted the need to support developing countries, including island nations, against the repercussions of climate change.

Before participating in the meeting, he held a video conference call with the Bahamas’ Prime Minister Philip Davis.


Syria denies holding US journalist Tice captive

Syria denies holding US journalist Tice captive
Updated 53 min 25 sec ago

Syria denies holding US journalist Tice captive

Syria denies holding US journalist Tice captive
  • US is certain Tice is being held by the government of President Bashar Assad

DAMASCUS: The Syrian government on Wednesday denied holding American nationals captive, including journalist Austin Tice who was abducted a decade ago in Damascus.
It issued a statement in response to US President Jo Biden saying last week that he knows “with certainty” that Tice “has been held by the Syrian regime,” and calling on Damascus to help bring him home.
The foreign ministry denied the accusation in a statement carried by the official SANA news agency.
“The Syrian Arab Republic denies that it has kidnapped or forcibly disappeared any American citizen who entered its territory or resided in areas under its authority,” the statement said.
It said it would only accept “official dialogue or communication with the American administration if the talks are public and premised on a respect for Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.”
Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on August 14, 2012.
Thirty-one years old at the time he went missing, Tice appeared blindfolded in the custody of an unidentified group of armed men in a video a month later, but there has been little news of him since.
Biden’s statement came on the tenth anniversary of Tice’s disappearance.
“There is no higher priority in my administration than the recovery and return of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad,” Biden said.
The previous administration under Donald Trump sent a White House official on a rare mission to Damascus in 2020, aiming to seek Tice’s freedom.
But that mission yielded no visible results.
In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to the journalist’s recovery.


Egypt to release 25 pretrial detainees: report

Egypt to release 25 pretrial detainees: report
Updated 17 August 2022

Egypt to release 25 pretrial detainees: report

Egypt to release 25 pretrial detainees: report

CAIRO: Egypt will release 25 pretrial detainees pending investigations on Wednesday, according to a member of the Presidential Pardon Committee. 

The group of pretrial detainees are to be released within around 24 hours, said Tarek El-Kholy, as quoted by Ahlam Online.   

This will be the latest batch of pretrial detainees released pending investigations.

The Presidential Pardon Committee is mandated to review the cases of pretrial detainees for political crimes.

El-Kholy previously noted in an interview with The Africa Report that only individuals who have not participated in violent acts or killed military personnel or civilians will be considered for pardon.  

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi re-affirmed on several occasions that Egypt holds no political prisoners and that the government promotes respect for human rights.