Gaza rockets, Israel strikes stoke new Jerusalem clashes

Update Gaza rockets, Israel strikes stoke new Jerusalem clashes
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Flames and smoke rise during Israeli airstrikes central Gaza strip in on April 21, 2022. (AFP)
Update Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel. (Reuters)
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Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel. (Reuters)
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Updated 21 April 2022

Gaza rockets, Israel strikes stoke new Jerusalem clashes

Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel. (Reuters)
  • Upsurge of violence in Israel and occupied Palestinian territories raises fears of a slide back to wider conflict

JERUSALEM: Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and Israeli warplanes exchanged fire Thursday in the biggest escalation in months, followed by fresh violence at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque.
Israel carried out air strikes in central Gaza after midnight, hours after a rocket fired by militants hit the garden of a house in southern Israel — the first such fire to hit the Jewish state since January.
The military said it had hit an underground rocket factory, prompting another volley of at least four more rockets from the impoverished territory run by Islamist movement Hamas.
The exchanges come after nearly a month of deadly violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories, focused on Jerusalem’s super-sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
Israeli police fired tear gas and multiple stun grenades inside the compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem again on Thursday, AFP journalists reported.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said its medics were treating a person who was hit in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet inside Al-Aqsa.
Israeli police said dozens of “rioters” had thrown stones and petrol bombs from the mosque.
“A violent splinter group is stopping Muslim worshippers from entering the mosque and causing damage to the site,” the police claimed.
Seven Palestinians from east Jerusalem were arrested in connection with “violent incidents” on Wednesday.
Nearly a month of deadly violence has sparked international fears of a major escalation, a year after similar unrest led to an 11-day war.
US acting Assistant Secretary of State Yael Lempert and senior diplomat Hady Amr visited the region on Thursday.
After meeting them, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called for calm, saying Israel “will not accept, in any situation, rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.”
Israel is “preserving and will continue to preserve the status quo on the Temple Mount,” Lapid said, contradicting Palestinian claims.
But Arab ministers meeting in neighboring Amman said Israel should respect the status quo at the site, which is officially overseen by Jordan’s Islamic Affairs ministry.
The ministers condemned “Israeli attacks and violations against worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” calling them “a blatant provocation to the feelings of Muslims everywhere.”
Tensions have been particularly high as the Jewish Passover festival coincides with the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
Palestinians and Israeli Arabs carried out four deadly attacks in Israel in March and early April that claimed 14 lives, mostly civilians.
A total of 23 Palestinians have been killed since March 22, including assailants who targeted Israelis, according to an AFP tally.
Palestinians have been outraged by repeated visits by Israeli Jews to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound — Islam’s third-holiest site.
By long-standing convention, Jews are allowed to visit, but not pray in the compound, which is also Judaism’s holiest site.
On Wednesday, Israeli police prevented hundreds of far-right Jewish nationalists from parading through the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City.
Last year, a similar march had been set to start when Hamas launched a barrage of rockets toward Israel, sparking the 11-day war.
Far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir, a controversial opposition politician, led this year’s protest after being barred from the Damascus Gate area by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
On Wednesday, more than a thousand of his supporters gathered outside the Old City, some shouting “death to the Arabs!.”
“I’ll say it clearly, I’m not going to blink, not going to fold,” Ben Gvir told AFP, as youth behind him chanted “Bennett go home!.”
“Some Jews don’t surrender to Hamas,” he said.
On Tuesday, Israel had carried out its first strike on Gaza in months, in response to the first rocket fire since January from the Palestinian enclave, which was intercepted by Israeli air defenses.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Thursday that the movement was “determined to continue the struggle side by side with the Palestinian people to resist (Israeli) aggression no matter the sacrifices.”
The escalation has proved a political headache for Bennett, himself a right-winger and a key figure in Israel’s settlement movement but who leads an ideologically divided coalition government.
This month, the coalition lost its wafer-thin majority in parliament, after one MP defected over the use of leavened bread products in hospitals during Passover.
Then on Sunday, the Raam party, drawn from the country’s Arab minority, suspended its support for the coalition over the Al-Aqsa violence.
Nationalist MPs are under pressure to quit the coalition, which the right-wing opposition charges is too favorable to Palestinians and Israel’s Arab minority.


Crew of Lebanese Army boat rescued after vessel catches fire during security operation

Crew of Lebanese Army boat rescued after vessel catches fire during security operation
Updated 7 sec ago

Crew of Lebanese Army boat rescued after vessel catches fire during security operation

Crew of Lebanese Army boat rescued after vessel catches fire during security operation
  • Navy boats and Lebanese Civil Defense teams responded to assist the stricken vessel

BEIRUT: The crew of a Lebanese Army speed cruiser that was taking part in a security operation off Al-Saadiyat coast on Thursday had to be rescued after their vessel caught fire, according to a statement by the army.
Other navy boats and Lebanese Civil Defense teams responded to assist the stricken vessel and help put out the fire. No casualties were reported.


UAE to issue new-generation Emirati passports

UAE to issue new-generation Emirati passports
Updated 11 August 2022

UAE to issue new-generation Emirati passports

UAE to issue new-generation Emirati passports
  • Part of efforts to use technology in reinforcing identification of personal identity and eliminating forgery

DUBAI: The UAE will issue a new generation of Emirati passports from Sept. 1, authorities said on Thursday.

The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP) said the new passports, equipped with the latest technologies, will have advanced security features.

 

 

The new-generation passports are part of efforts to use technology in reinforcing identification of personal identity and eliminating forgery or fraud, according to Ali Muhammad Al-Shamsi, Chairman of ICP, in a report from state news agency WAM.

The complex security specifications feature a polycarbonate introduction page, laser technologies and “three-dimensional tangible elements.”

Authorities said holders of the current passports can still use their travel document until expiry.


Egypt warns of cracks in Ethiopian dam

Egypt warns of cracks in Ethiopian dam
Updated 11 August 2022

Egypt warns of cracks in Ethiopian dam

Egypt warns of cracks in Ethiopian dam
  • Cairo, Khartoum fear it will reduce their share of Nile waters
  • Egypt says it will take all necessary measures to protect national security

CAIRO: In a letter to the UN Security Council, Egypt has warned of cracks in the concrete facade of the sub-dam linked to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Cairo said this is particularly alarming due to Ethiopia’s failure to comply with its duty to conduct the required environmental and socioeconomic impact studies.

The letter, sent to the UNSC president, said Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Aty had received a message about Ethiopia’s intention to unilaterally resume filling the GERD during the current rainy season.

Abdel-Aty said Ethiopia’s decision comes in the absence of an agreement between it and Egypt and Sudan on the rules governing the filling and operation of the dam, constituting a violation of the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by the three countries.

He stressed that Cairo holds Ethiopia fully responsible for any significant harm that may be caused to Egypt by these repeated violations.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said the country reserves its right guaranteed in the UN Charter to take all necessary measures to ensure and protect its national security, including against any harm that Ethiopia’s unilateral measures may cause.

The GERD has raised tensions between Ethiopia on one hand and Egypt and Sudan on the other.

The latter two countries are demanding a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam, which they fear will reduce their share of the Nile’s waters.

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UK police seek urgent help locating boy last seen in Turkey

UK police seek urgent help locating boy last seen in Turkey
Updated 11 August 2022

UK police seek urgent help locating boy last seen in Turkey

UK police seek urgent help locating boy last seen in Turkey
  • 4-year-old George Jack Temperley-Wells visited Antalya with his mother to see his father

LONDON: Police in the UK have asked for help to locate a 4-year-old boy who is thought to be missing after traveling to Turkey.

George Jack Temperley-Wells is believed to have gone to visit his father Scott Nigel Wells in the city of Antalya on June 29 with his mother Brogan Elizabeth Temperley. Antalya is a popular summer holiday destination for Britons.

Durham Police said anyone in contact with Temperley should notify authorities in Turkey or the UK immediately with information on her whereabouts, adding that they have serious concerns for the welfare of her son.

The police said the boy has red hair, a pale complexion and dark eyes, while his mother is described as being slim with long dark hair and dark eyes.

The force released two images of the trio dining in the area at a restaurant recently, where they were seen smiling together.

People in Turkey with information should visit their nearest police station or call 112/115. Anyone in the UK with information should contact Durham Constabulary on 101, and quote the incident number 325 for June 30.


UN, Italian agency sign deal to rebuild damaged Beirut suburbs

UN, Italian agency sign deal to rebuild damaged Beirut suburbs
Updated 11 August 2022

UN, Italian agency sign deal to rebuild damaged Beirut suburbs

UN, Italian agency sign deal to rebuild damaged Beirut suburbs
  • Italian Embassy: Project will improve housing for vulnerable people affected by port blast

LONDON: The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and the UN Program for Human Settlements have signed an agreement in Beirut to finance the rehabilitation of the public park of the Mar Mikhael train station in the Lebanese capital.

The program will also restore some of the housing damaged by the Beirut port explosion on Aug. 4, 2020.

The Italian Embassy in Beirut reported the signing, hosting a ceremony at the Italian diplomatic headquarters in Baabda. It was attended by Italian Ambassador to Lebanon Nicoletta Bombardiere.

The project, titled “Ensuring safe public spaces and adequate housing for all within the city of Beirut,” is being funded by the agency and will be implemented by the UN program alongside Lebanese authorities.

The embassy said the project will improve “housing conditions for vulnerable populations affected by the explosion of the port of Beirut, in particular in the vicinity of the old Mar Mikhael railway station.”

It added that the project intends to increase “access to safe and inclusive public spaces within the railway station, also revitalizing the urban fabric of the city.”

Bombardiere said: “This project will allow the citizens of Beirut to rediscover the old Mar Mikhael railway station and its historical relevance.

“At the same time, we continue our commitment to respond to basic needs, such as social housing, restoring the cultural and social fabric of the districts most affected.”