Israel closes Erez Crossing to Gazans after rocket attacks

Special Israel closes Erez Crossing to Gazans after rocket attacks
A missile from Israel's Iron Dome air defense system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, lights the sky in the central Gaza Strip, April 21, 2022. (File/AFP)
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Updated 24 April 2022

Israel closes Erez Crossing to Gazans after rocket attacks

Israel closes Erez Crossing to Gazans after rocket attacks
  • Two rockets were fired from Gaza at southern Israel on Friday night, one hit the Jewish state and the other fell short and struck near a residential building in northern Gaza

GAZA CITY: Israel said it will close its only crossing from the Gaza Strip for workers on Sunday in response to rocket fire, stopping short of conducting retaliatory strikes in an apparent bid to ease tensions.

Two rockets were fired from Gaza at southern Israel on Friday night, one hit the Jewish state and the other fell short and struck near a residential building in northern Gaza.

A third rocket was fired at Israel on Saturday morning, the army said, with no air raid sirens activated for any of the launches.

They followed rocket attacks on Wednesday and Thursday and came as Israeli police clashed with Palestinian protesters at Al-Aqsa Mosque, leaving at least one man hospitalized in serious condition.

Ghassan Alyan, the Israeli coordinator for Palestinian affairs in the Israeli government, said: "Following the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip, we inform you that on Sunday the Erez crossing will remain closed to workers and merchants only, with the continued entry of humanitarian and other cases. As for the decision to reopen the crossing to workers and traders, a decision will be taken based on an assessment of the situation.”

Following last year's war with Hamas, Israel gradually allowed 12,000 Palestinian workers and merchants to leave Gaza to work in Israel as part of a political understanding to maintain calm in Gaza.

Israeli army radio said the Palestinian losses would be about ILS5 million ($1.53 million) a day due to the workers not being allowed to leave Gaza.

The Erez crossing, which Palestinians call the Beit Hanoun crossing, separates Israel and the Gaza Strip, with Hamas forces controlling the travel procedures and the Palestinian Authority employees coordinating with Israel.

During the past week, tensions have soared in Gaza following Israeli incursions and violence at Al-Aqsa Mosque, but mediators prevented a large-scale escalation.

Employment in Israel is a lifeline for people in Gaza where, according to a recent World Bank report, nearly half of the 2.3 million population is unemployed, AFP reported.

There are currently 12,000 Gazans with work permits in Israel, with the government recently announcing its intention to add another 8,000.

More than 200 people, mostly Palestinians, have been hurt in clashes in and around Al-Aqsa in the past week.

Palestinians have been outraged by massive Israeli police deployment and repeated visits by Jews to the holy site.

Saturday morning prayers passed without incident, with Israeli officials estimating that 16,000 Muslims participated.

Al-Aqsa is Islam's third-holiest site and the most sacred site in Judaism, where it is known as Temple Mount.

Israel is braced for more violence, however.

The unrest in Jerusalem has stirred emotions among Israel's Arab population, with hundreds marching in the Arab-Israeli city of Umm Al-Fahm in support of Al-Aqsa mosque.

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Minister stresses importance of continuing to develop Bahrain-UK partnership

Minister stresses importance of continuing to develop Bahrain-UK partnership
Updated 22 sec ago

Minister stresses importance of continuing to develop Bahrain-UK partnership

Minister stresses importance of continuing to develop Bahrain-UK partnership

RIYADH: Bahrain’s finance minister has stressed the importance of continuing to develop the partnership between his country and the UK in order to create more ambitious investment opportunities, Bahrain News Agency reported on Sunday.

Minister of Finance and National Economy, Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa, also affirmed the depth of UK-Bahraini relations which has strengthened economic cooperation and partnership between the two countries.

The minister also highlighted the importance of building on fruitful cooperation between the two countries and opening up new horizons so as to achieve common aspirations and goals.

The comments were made during the British Minister of State for Asia and the Middle East Amanda Milling’s visit to Manama.

Milling said she was delighted to visit Bahrain and pleased to meet with British embassy officials to learn more about the “on-going work with the Bahrain government.”


Austrian, Egyptian FMs hold talks in Cairo

Austrian, Egyptian FMs hold talks in Cairo
Updated 55 min 27 sec ago

Austrian, Egyptian FMs hold talks in Cairo

Austrian, Egyptian FMs hold talks in Cairo
  • Topics discussed include terrorism, immigration, Russia-Ukraine war, global food crisis

CAIRO: Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry held talks in Cairo, discussing the fight against terrorism, illegal immigration, the Russia-Ukraine war and the resulting global food crisis.

At a joint press conference, Schallenberg stressed the importance of resolving the global food crisis resulting from the conflict.

Shoukry said the war has impacted all the world’s countries, adding: “Egypt is the largest importer of wheat in the world, but we have enough reserves for our people and we are working to provide other quantities.”

He said Egypt is in contact with all parties, and its goal is to restore stability and end the conflict.

Shoukry received Schallenberg at the Egyptian Foreign Ministry headquarters. They discussed ways to enhance cooperation between Egypt and Austria, especially in the political, economic and investment fields.


Egypt’s House of Representatives approves Saudi PIF deal

Egypt’s House of Representatives approves Saudi PIF deal
Updated 03 July 2022

Egypt’s House of Representatives approves Saudi PIF deal

Egypt’s House of Representatives approves Saudi PIF deal
  • The agreement aims to encourage, support and protect PIF investments in Egypt

CAIRO: Egypt’s House of Representatives, the lower house of Parliament, has approved an agreement signed in March between Cairo and Riyadh regarding Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

The agreement aims to encourage, support and protect PIF investments in Egypt, enhance bilateral trade, and expand both countries’ investments in other countries regionally and internationally.

The PIF, established in 1971, is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, with assets estimated at $620 billion.


IIF welcomes Egypt’s hosting of COP27

IIF welcomes Egypt’s hosting of COP27
Updated 03 July 2022

IIF welcomes Egypt’s hosting of COP27

IIF welcomes Egypt’s hosting of COP27
  • The IIF includes more than 400 members representing financial institutions from more than 70 countries

CAIRO: The managing director and head of sustainable finance at the Institute of International Finance said it welcomes Egypt’s efforts to host the UN Climate Change Conference in November given the event’s great global importance.

Sonja Gibbs, during a video meeting with International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashat, said COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh is a great opportunity for Egypt to present its achievements and plans in the field of climate action.

The IIF includes more than 400 members representing financial institutions from more than 70 countries.

It works to support global financial stability, economic sustainability and development efforts.


Port director general dismissed after Aqaba investigation findings of deadly gas leak

Port director general dismissed after Aqaba investigation findings of deadly gas leak
Updated 03 July 2022

Port director general dismissed after Aqaba investigation findings of deadly gas leak

Port director general dismissed after Aqaba investigation findings of deadly gas leak
  • The Director General of the Maritime Authority has also been dismissed

Jordanian Prime Minister, Bishr al-Khasawneh, said on Sunday that the Director General of the Ports Management and Operations Company and a group of officials in the company have been dismissed due to findings of the Aqaba gas leak incident. 

Thirteen people were killed, including at least four Asian migrants, when toxic chlorine gas escaped on the dockside in the Jordanian Red Sea port of Aqaba last week.

The Director General of the Maritime Authority has also been dismissed following the report's findings. 

Khasawneh said that the Aqaba incident report will be referred to the Public Prosecution. 

He added that the investigation found major "inability and failure in safety procedures and dealing with hazardous materials in the port."

The results of the investigation will be announced with full transparency to public opinion.