Most Gaza children suffer ‘distress’ after 15 years of blockade: NGO

Most Gaza children suffer ‘distress’ after 15 years of blockade: NGO
Around 800,000 young people in Gaza have “never known life without the blockade,” according to Save the Children. (AFP)
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Updated 15 June 2022

Most Gaza children suffer ‘distress’ after 15 years of blockade: NGO

Most Gaza children suffer ‘distress’ after 15 years of blockade: NGO
  • Britain-based Save the Children says the mental health of Gazan children has continued to deteriorate
  • Children make up nearly half of Gaza’s population of 2.1 million

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: Four out of five children in Gaza suffer from emotional distress, Save the Children said Wednesday, 15 years after Israel slapped a strict blockade on the Palestinian territory.
Israel imposed the measure in June 2007, as fighters of the Islamist Hamas movement took control of the densely populated enclave. Israel, and Egypt, continue to severely restrict the flow of people and materials in and out.
In a report called “Trapped,” Britain-based Save the Children said the mental health of Gazan children has continued to deteriorate.
Since 2018, the number reporting symptoms of “depression, grief and fear,” had risen from 55 percent to 80 percent, the report said.
Save the Children’s director for the occupied Palestinian territories, Jason Lee said: “The children we spoke to for this report described living in a perpetual state of fear, worry, sadness and grief, waiting for the next round of violence to erupt, and feeling unable to sleep or concentrate.
“The physical evidence of their distress — bedwetting, loss of ability to speak or to complete basic tasks — is shocking and should serve as a wakeup call to the international community,” he added.
Children make up nearly half of Gaza’s population of 2.1 million. Around 800,000 young people in the territory who have “never known life without the blockade,” Save the Children said.
Israel insists the blockade is necessary to protect its citizens from Hamas, a group blacklisted as a terrorist organization by much of the West.
Israel has fought four wars with Hamas since 2007, most recently in May 2021.
Over the past 12 months, Israel has granted more work permits for Gazans seeking better paid jobs inside the Jewish state. It has also relaxed some restrictions on the flow of goods in and out of the territory.
But the blockade remains broadly unchanged, with Palestinians generally barred from leaving Gaza through the Erez crossing to Israel.
Gazans also face huge obstacles exiting through the Rafah crossing to Egypt.
In a statement marking the anniversary of the blockade, Human Rights Watch said that “Israel, with Egypt’s help, has turned Gaza into an open-air prison.”
HRW’s director for Israel and Palestine, Omar Shakir, said: “Young people face the brunt of (the blockade) because they don’t know of a Gaza before the closure.
“Their horizons are forcibly narrowed to a 40 by 11 kilometer (25 by seven mile) strip of land and that prevents them from the chance to interact and engage with the world,” Shakir said.


Market blast in north Syria kills at least 9, injures dozens

Market blast in north Syria kills at least 9, injures dozens
Updated 11 sec ago

Market blast in north Syria kills at least 9, injures dozens

Market blast in north Syria kills at least 9, injures dozens
BEIRUT: A rocket attack on a crowded market in a town held by Turkey-backed opposition fighters in northern Syria Friday killed at least nine people and wounded dozens, an opposition war monitor and a paramedic group reported.
The attack on the town of Al-Bab came days after a Turkish airstrike killed at least 11 Syrian troops and US-backed Kurdish fighters. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, blamed Syrian government forces for the shelling, saying it was in retaliation for the Turkish airstrike.
The Observatory said the attack killed at least 10 and wounded more than 30.
The opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense, also known as White Helmets, had a lower death toll, saying nine people, including children, were killed and 28 were wounded. The paramedic group said its members evacuated some of the wounded and the dead bodies.
Discrepancies in casualty figures immediately after attacks are not uncommon in Syria.
Turkey has launched three major cross-border operations into Syria since 2016 and controls some territories in the north.
Although the fighting has waned over the past few years, shelling and airstrikes are not uncommon in northern Syria that is home to the last major rebel stronghold in the country.
Syria’s conflict that began in March 2011, has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced half the country’s pre-war population of 23 million.
President Bashar Assad’s forces now control most parts of Syria with the help of their allies, Russia and Iran.

Palestinian killed in Israeli West Bank raid: Palestinian ministry

Palestinian killed in Israeli West Bank raid: Palestinian ministry
Updated 27 min 23 sec ago

Palestinian killed in Israeli West Bank raid: Palestinian ministry

Palestinian killed in Israeli West Bank raid: Palestinian ministry
  • Israeli military say soldiers came under fire during a raid in the town
  • Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories Presse: A Palestinian man was killed Friday by Israeli forces during a raid in the north of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said.
Salah Sawafta, 58, “died of critical wounds, sustained by live bullets from the occupation (Israeli military) in the head, in Tubas this morning,” a ministry statement said.
The Israeli military said soldiers came under fire during a raid in the town.
During an operation in “Tubas, several suspects hurled Molotov cocktails and opened fire at (Israeli) troops, who responded with fire,” the army said in a statement, adding “hits were identified.”
The mayor of Tubas, Hossam Daraghmeh, said Sawafta had been leaving dawn prayers when he was shot.
“He left the mosque and was heading to his house wearing a prayer robe. There was a vengeful soldier stationed in a building near the municipality who shot him in the head,” he said.
Daraghmeh said Sawafta had been unarmed when he was hit.
“This man did not have a stone or anything in his hand,” he said.
The Israeli military said five people were detained in overnight raids across the West Bank.
On Thursday, a 20-year-old Palestinian was killed by Israeli troops during clashes in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967, when it seized the territory from Jordan.


Algeria wildfires ‘all under control’: civil defense

Algeria wildfires ‘all under control’: civil defense
Updated 29 min 40 sec ago

Algeria wildfires ‘all under control’: civil defense

Algeria wildfires ‘all under control’: civil defense
  • Since the beginning of August, almost 150 blazes have destroyed hundreds of hectares (acres) of forest in Africa’s largest country

Algiers: Wildfires, which killed at least 38 people and left a trail of destruction in eastern Algeria this week, are now under control, a civil defense official told AFP on Friday.
“All of the fires have been completely brought under control,” said fire brigade Col. Farouk Achour, of the civil defense department.
Since the beginning of August, almost 150 blazes have destroyed hundreds of hectares (acres) of forest in Africa’s largest country.
Deadly fires have become an annual scourge in Algeria, where climate change has turned large areas of forest into a tinderbox in the blistering summer months.
The justice ministry launched an inquiry after Interior Minister Kamel Beldjoud suggested some of the fires were started deliberately, and authorities on Thursday announced four arrests of suspected arsonists.
Authorities have been accused of being ill-prepared, with few firefighting aircraft available despite record casualties in last year’s blazes and a cash windfall from gas exports with global energy prices soaring.


UAE’s foreign aid over past year totalled $3.5 billion

UAE’s foreign aid over past year totalled $3.5 billion
Updated 19 August 2022

UAE’s foreign aid over past year totalled $3.5 billion

UAE’s foreign aid over past year totalled $3.5 billion

DUBAI: The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC), said on Thursday that the total value of foreign aid provided by the UAE from the start of 2021 to mid-August 2022 amounted to some $3.5 billion.
While Yemen accounted for most of the Emirati foreign aid with over $315 million, the list also included several Arab, Asian and Western countries, state news agency WAM reported.
A range of sectors and programmes received aid from the UAE, including public and health sectors, social services, and education.
Programmes aimed at supporting peace and security received over $74 million, and the water and public health services sectors received $72 million, government and civil society initiatives received nearly $60 million, and services that support the energy sector received some $57 million, and initiatives aimed at supporting the agriculture sector received over $50 million.


Iraq security forces thwart Daesh attack in Kirkuk

Iraq security forces thwart Daesh attack in Kirkuk
Updated 19 August 2022

Iraq security forces thwart Daesh attack in Kirkuk

Iraq security forces thwart Daesh attack in Kirkuk

DUBAI: Security forces have thwarted a Daesh attack in the northern Iraqi region of Kirkuk.

“A group of ISIS remnants attacked a security point in the village of Khabaza, affiliated to Hawija district, southwest of Kirkuk, before they were confronted by a force from the 61st Brigade of the Popular Mobilization,” the Popular Mobilization Forces said in a statement carried by state media Iraqi News Agency.

“One of the brigade’s fighters was shot during the attack, and the point was reinforced strongly from the brigade’s headquarters and from its third regiment,” the statement added.

Iraqi security forces have undertaken extensive operations against Daesh to prevent their resurgence since declaring their defeat in 2017.

Iraqi anti-terror resistance groups have repeatedly warned that remnants of Daesh active in Syria’s east may find unhindered access to the Iraqi border and infiltrate the country to conduct militant activities.