Israel PM gives security forces free rein after deadly Tel Aviv attack

Update A woman reacts at the scene of a shooting attack In Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, April 7, 2022. Israeli police say several people were wounded. (AP)
A woman reacts at the scene of a shooting attack In Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, April 7, 2022. Israeli police say several people were wounded. (AP)
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Updated 08 April 2022

Israel PM gives security forces free rein after deadly Tel Aviv attack

A woman reacts at the scene of a shooting attack In Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, April 7, 2022. Israeli police say several people were wounded. (AP)
  • "There are not and will not be limits for this war," Bennett said, speaking hours after Thursday night's attack
  • "We are granting full freedom of action to the army, the Shin Bet (the domestic security agency) and all security forces in order to defeat the terror," he said

TEL AVIV: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gave security agencies “full freedom” Friday to curb a surge in violence, after a Palestinian gunman killed three men in a popular nightlife district.
“There are not and will not be limits for this war,” Bennett said, speaking hours after Thursday night’s attack in the coastal city of Tel Aviv.
“We are granting full freedom of action to the army, the Shin Bet (the domestic security agency) and all security forces in order to defeat the terror,” he said.
The Palestinian movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and the Jihad group praised the attack — drawing criticism from the UN — but did not claim responsibility.
After an all night manhunt, Israeli police said they shot dead a Palestinian gunman who had opened fire on a street of crowded bars and restaurants, killing three people and wounding more than a dozen others.
Some 1,000 heavily armed police and army troops had fanned out across Tel Aviv to track the assailant, as residents cowered in restaurant kitchens or their homes.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said officers had made “around 200 arrests,” adding: “If necessary there will be thousands.”
Israeli childhood friends Tomer Morad and Eytam Magini, both 27, were killed late Thursday.
On Friday, Barak Lufan, died of his injuries, Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital said.
Magini was due to celebrate his engagement Friday, his fiancee’s mother, Lia Arad, told public television.
“They were supposed to celebrate their engagement party tonight, Eytam’s cousins organized it in this house where we are now sitting in mourning,” she said.
Morad was an avid fan of the Hapoel Tel Aviv Basketball Club, which said in a condolence note it sent “a warm and loving hug.” The two friends are to be buried Sunday.
Special forces confronted the attacker in the old city of Jaffa, the historic Arab district of Tel Aviv, “eliminating the terrorist by exchange of fire,” police commissioner Yaakov Shabtai said.
The Shin Bet named him as Raad Hazem, 28, from Jenin in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where last week Israeli forces killed three people in a raid.
A total of 13 people have been killed in attacks in Israel since March 22, including some carried out by assailants linked to or inspired by the Daesh group.
Over the same period, at least nine Palestinians have been killed, including assailants.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas condemned the attack, saying “the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians only leads to a further deterioration of the situation,” the Palestinians’ official Wafa news agency reported.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington stood with Israel “in the face of senseless terrorism and violence.”
Fathi Hazem, the attacker’s father, struck a defiant tone as he spoke to hundreds of well-wishers at the family home in Jenin, saying the Palestinians people were looking for “freedom and independence.”
Hamas praised what it called a “heroic operation,” while Jihad called it a “natural response” to Israel’s crimes. Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah lauded a “victorious” attack.
The UN envoy for Middle East peace, Tor Wennesland, denounced a “heinous attack” and slammed Hamas in a tweet.
“Deplore the welcoming of the attack by Hamas. There is no glory in terrorism,” he said.
Ichilov Hospital was treating eight people, including one in a critical condition, while eight others with less serious injuries were taken to other hospitals and later discharged.
On Friday, mourners lit candles and left flowers outside the bar where the attack took place, as residents recounted the fear they felt.
“People on the street ran about shouting ‘there is a terrorist’ so we rushed inside a restaurant and people tripped as they panicked,” said Dror Yeheskel, 39, who was having a drink with a friend when the shooting started.
Noa Roberts, 21, who works at a bar across the street from the attack, said she heard dozens of bullets as terrified customers and staff raced to shelter and hid for two hours.
“It was so scary... it was like a nightmare,” Roberts said.
The attack came on the eve of the first Friday prayers of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, as Israeli security forces were on alert.
The prayers passed off peacefully at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, Islam’s third holiest site.
Police said 55,000 Palestinians took part, while several Palestinians said they were turned back by Israeli security forces at the Qalandia checkpoint outside Jerusalem.
Last year, nightly demonstrations in the Al-Aqsa compound and elsewhere in east Jerusalem escalated into 11 days of war between Israel and Hamas.


Turkey sends off new drill ship into eastern Mediterranean

Turkey sends off new drill ship into eastern Mediterranean
Updated 8 sec ago

Turkey sends off new drill ship into eastern Mediterranean

Turkey sends off new drill ship into eastern Mediterranean
ISTANBUL: Turkey’s president inaugurated the country’s newest and largest undersea hydrocarbon drill ship Tuesday that he said would head for a spot northwest of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean, which is not claimed by any other country.
“Our exploration and drilling in the Mediterranean is within our own sovereign dominion,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the ceremony in southern Mersin province, only to add: “We don’t need to seek permission or ratification from anyone.”
Turkey is embroiled in acrimonious disputes with Greece and Cyprus over maritime boundaries and offshore energy rights, which triggered high tensions in the eastern Mediterranean two years ago.
Erdogan said Tuesday the new Abdulhamid Han ship would begin drilling at the Yorukler-1 well about 55 kilometers (34 miles) off the coast of Gazipasa, in Antalya province.
“Neither the puppets nor the ones who hold their strings will be able to prevent us from getting our rights in the Mediterranean,” he said, in an apparent reference to Greece and Cyprus on the one hand, and their Western allies on the other.
In the summer of 2020, tensions escalated after Turkey sent a seismic survey ship escorted by warships to an area in the eastern Mediterranean where Greece claims exclusive rights to potential undersea oil and gas deposits. Greece sent its own warships to shadow the Turkish flotilla. Both countries later conducted military exercises as a show of force.
Turkey insists that small Greek islands near the Turkish coast should not be taken into account when delineating maritime boundaries, and accuses Athens of trying to grab an unfair share of the eastern Mediterranean’s resources.
The NATO allies routinely accuse each other of airspace violations. Turkey also claims that Greece has violated international treaties by militarizing eastern Aegean islands close to Turkey.
Turkey’s other drill ships — Fatih, Kanuni and Yavuz — are operating in the Black Sea where Turkey discovered natural gas reserves. All four ships are named after Ottoman sultans.

Flights for West Bank Palestinians to Turkey to start at end of August

Flights for West Bank Palestinians to Turkey to start at end of August
Updated 09 August 2022

Flights for West Bank Palestinians to Turkey to start at end of August

Flights for West Bank Palestinians to Turkey to start at end of August
  • "We welcome efforts to facilitate travel for the Palestinian people," a US Embassy spokesperson told Reuters
  • But representatives of Palestinians, whose movement is routinely restricted by Israel, said they were not a party to the decision

JERUSALEM: Palestinians from the Israeli-occupied West Bank will be offered special flights from Ramon Airport, near the Red Sea resort city of Eilat, to destinations in Turkey, Israel’s Airports Authority said on Tuesday.
The move is Israel’s latest gesture to Palestinians, following pressure from the United States to ease travel for Palestinians as prospects for reviving long-stalled peace talks and establishing an independent Palestinian state appeared dim.
“We welcome efforts to facilitate travel for the Palestinian people,” a US Embassy spokesperson told Reuters.
But representatives of Palestinians, whose movement is routinely restricted by Israel, said they were not a party to the decision.
“Nobody consulted with us on this matter,” said Wasel Abu Yousef, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization. “What we seek is the return of Al-Quds International Airport to operate as the State of Palestine’s airport.”
Palestinians from areas Israel occupied in a 1967 war cannot fly from Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport without special permission. They typically travel to Jordan to catch international flights, a trip that entails crossing through checkpoints and can take hours.
Under the pilot program, the flights will run twice a week starting at the end of August to Istanbul and Antalya on Turkish carriers Atlas and Pegasus and using Airbus A321 aircraft, the airports authority said.
These flights will not be offered to Palestinians from Gaza.
Ramon Airport, which opened in 2019, is about 300 km (185 miles) from Jerusalem and designed to take any planes re-routed from Ben Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv.
Foreign carriers such as Ryanair, Wizzair and Lufthansa began to fly non-stop to older Eilat airports in 2015 during winter months after Israel offered airlines 60 euros ($61) per passenger brought on direct flights from abroad.
But the COVID-19 pandemic largely halted those flights.
The airports authority said that for the first time, summer flights to various destinations in Europe from Eilat would start in the coming days. They include Batumi, Georgia and Larnaca, Cyprus on Israeli carrier Arkia, and Warsaw and Katowice on Poland’s Enter Air.
Pegasus in October will fly Israelis to Turkey with four flights a week, the authority said.


Iran releases Iranian-French academic Adelkhah on furlough -lawyer

Iran releases Iranian-French academic Adelkhah on furlough -lawyer
Updated 09 August 2022

Iran releases Iranian-French academic Adelkhah on furlough -lawyer

Iran releases Iranian-French academic Adelkhah on furlough -lawyer
  • Adelkhah was sentenced in 2020 to five years in prison on national security charges
  • She was moved to house arrest later, but in January was returned to jail

DUBAI: Iran has released Iranian-French academic Fariba Adelkhah on furlough for five days, her lawyer told the Emtedad website on Tuesday, a day after Tehran and Washington wound up indirect talks in Vienna to revive a 2015 nuclear pact.
“We hope it (the furlough) will be extended,” Emtedad quoted Hojjat Kermani as saying.
Adelkhah, who is a resident of France and was arrested in 2019 while on a visit to Iran, was sentenced in 2020 to five years in prison on national security charges. She was moved to house arrest later, but in January was returned to jail.
Adelkab has denied the charges. France has called them “politically motivated” and repeatedly called for the release of Adelkhah, a researcher affiliated with Paris’s prestigious Sciences Po University.
Iran does not recognize dual nationality, saying the case is an Iranian domestic legal matter.
In March 2020, Iran released Adelkhah’s partner, French academic Roland Marchal, who was detained along with her, after France freed Iranian engineer Jalal Ruhollahnejad, detained over alleged violations of US sanctions against Tehran.


Turkish drone strike kills 4 in northeast Syria: Monitor

Turkish drone strike kills 4 in northeast Syria: Monitor
Ankara has launched successive military offensives in Syria. (File/AFP)
Updated 09 August 2022

Turkish drone strike kills 4 in northeast Syria: Monitor

Turkish drone strike kills 4 in northeast Syria: Monitor
  • Turkey has stepped up its drone strikes in Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria since a July 19 summit with Iran and Russia failed to greenlight a fresh offensive, according to Kurdish officials and the Observatory

BEIRUT: A Turkish drone strike Tuesday killed at least four people in a northeast Syrian city held by Kurdish forces, the latest in a flurry of attacks, a war monitor said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack struck near a hospital in Qamishli, the defacto capital of a semi-autonomous Kurdish administration that runs large parts of the country’s northeast.
The four victims, all affiliated with the administration, were killed while they dug trenches near Turkey’s border in anticipation of a new offensive that Ankara has threatened to launch since May, the monitor said.
Ankara has launched successive military offensives in Syria. Most have targeted Kurdish militants that Ankara links to a group waging a decades-long insurgency against it.
Turkey has stepped up its drone strikes in Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria since a July 19 summit with Iran and Russia failed to greenlight a fresh offensive, according to Kurdish officials and the Observatory.
A Turkish drone strike on Qamishli at the weekend killed four people, including two siblings, said the Observatory.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have counted at least 13 of their members killed in several Turkish attacks since July 19.
Syria’s conflict that began in March 2011 has killed nearly half a million people and displaced half the country’s pre-war population.


Egyptian FM, Kazakh deputy FM discuss bilateral ties

Egyptian FM, Kazakh deputy FM discuss bilateral ties
Updated 09 August 2022

Egyptian FM, Kazakh deputy FM discuss bilateral ties

Egyptian FM, Kazakh deputy FM discuss bilateral ties
  • Shoukry praised Kazakhstan’s role in launching the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia
  • Tursunov emphasized the value that Kazakhstan places on relations with Egypt, and on the critical role that Cairo plays in the region

CAIRO: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry received Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Adil Tursunov in Cairo.

They discussed issues of common interest and ways to enhance bilateral relations. Shoukry praised Kazakhstan’s role in launching the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, which aims to enhance security and stability on the continent, particularly with regard to terrorism, drug trafficking and weapons of mass destruction.

He and Tursunov highlighted the significance of developing cooperation between their nations in various fields, following up on the phone call between their presidents in February.

Tursunov emphasized the value that Kazakhstan places on relations with Egypt, and on the critical role that Cairo plays in the region.