Netanyahu says Israel to step up campaign against Palestinian attackers

Netanyahu says Israel to step up campaign against Palestinian attackers
Israeli police and rescue personnel work at the scene where a suspected ramming attack took place in Jerusalem February 10, 2023. (Reuters)
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Updated 12 February 2023
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Netanyahu says Israel to step up campaign against Palestinian attackers

Netanyahu says Israel to step up campaign against Palestinian attackers

JERUSALEM: Israel plans to step up its campaign against Palestinian attackers in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, in remarks that followed a deadly ramming attack on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
"The cabinet is meeting today to prepare for an even broader action against those carrying out terrorism and their supporters in East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, while preventing as much as possible harming those uninvolved," Netanyahu said, using a term common in Israel for the West Bank.


Egypt launches new online repatriation service for citizens wishing to return from Gaza

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid are seen near the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on Dec. 10, 2023.
Trucks carrying humanitarian aid are seen near the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on Dec. 10, 2023.
Updated 10 December 2023
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Egypt launches new online repatriation service for citizens wishing to return from Gaza

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid are seen near the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on Dec. 10, 2023.
  • Spokesman for Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said citizens could apply for repatriation far more swiftly and efficiently through the recently launched digital process

CAIRO: Egyptians wishing to return to their country from the Gaza Strip can now do so via a new online registration service.

Ahmed Abu Zeid, spokesman for Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said citizens could apply for repatriation far more swiftly and efficiently through the recently launched digital process.

Once approved, the names of successful applicants would be issued to authorities on both sides of the Rafah crossing on the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, he added.

Egyptian ministry officials urged citizens to only apply for repatriation through the official government link, warning about the dangers of using non-official methods.


Israeli tanks reach center of Khan Younis in new storm of southern Gaza

Israeli tanks reach center of Khan Younis in new storm of southern Gaza
Updated 10 December 2023
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Israeli tanks reach center of Khan Younis in new storm of southern Gaza

Israeli tanks reach center of Khan Younis in new storm of southern Gaza
  • Jordan’s FM said Israeli campaign aimed to drive Palestinians from Gaza and met the legal definition of genocide
  • Gaza’s health authorities say at least 17,700 people have been confirmed killed in Israeli strikes

GAZA/CAIRO: Israeli tanks battled their way to the center of Khan Younis on Sunday in a major new push into the heart of the main city in the southern Gaza Strip which is sheltering hundreds of thousands of civilians who fled other parts of the enclave.
Residents said tanks had reached the main north-south road through the middle of Khan Younis after intense combat through the night that had slowed the Israeli advance from the east. Warplanes were pounding the area west of the assault.
The air rumbled with the constant thud of explosions and thick columns of white smoke rose over the city. As morning broke near a city-center police station, the constant rattle of machine gun fire could be heard. Streets there were deserted apart from an old woman and a girl riding on a donkey cart.
“It was one of the most dreadful nights, the resistance was very strong, we could hear gunshots and explosions that didn’t stop for hours,” a father of four displaced from Gaza City and sheltering in Khan Younis told Reuters. He declined to be identified for fear of reprisals.
“In Khan Younis tanks reached Jamal Abdel-Nasser Street, which is at the center of the city. Snipers took positions on buildings in the area,” he said.
At the opposite end of the Gaza Strip, in northern areas where Israel had previously said its forces had largely completed their tasks, residents also described some of the most intense fighting of the war so far.
Israeli troops were pushing into militant strongholds and meeting fierce resistance in Jabaliya and the Shejjaiya district of Gaza City, areas that are still inhabited despite orders weeks ago to clear out of the entire north.
“I daresay it is the strongest battle we have heard in weeks,” said Nasser, 59, a father of seven sheltering in Jabaliya after his house was destroyed in Beit Lahiya, another northern area. Explosions could be heard as he spoke. “We are not going to leave Jabaliya regardless of everything. We shall die here as martyrs or they will leave us alone.”
Israel vowed to annihilate Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, after militants burst across the fence on Oct. 7 and went on a rampage through Israeli towns, gunning down families in their homes, killing 1,200 people and seizing 240 hostages.
Since then, Gaza’s health authorities say at least 17,700 people have been confirmed killed in Israeli strikes, with thousands more missing and presumed dead under rubble. The toll no longer includes figures from northern parts of the enclave, beyond the reach of ambulances and where hospitals have ceased functioning.

Who’s alive?
After weeks of fighting concentrated in the north, Israel launched its ground offensive in the south this week with a storm of Khan Younis. With combat now under way along nearly the entire length of the Gaza Strip, international aid organizations say the enclave’s 2.3 million people have been left with nowhere to hide.
At the site of one Khan Younis home that had been destroyed by bombing overnight, relatives of the dead were combing the rubble in a daze. They dragged the body of a middle-aged man in a yellow T-shirt from under the masonry.
“We prayed the nighttime prayer and went to sleep, then woke up to find the house on top of us. ‘Who’s alive?!’” said Ahmed Abdel Wahab.
“Three floors above collapsed down and the people are under it,” he said. “My mother and father, my sister and brother, all of my cousins.”
The main hospital in Khan Younis, Nasser hospital, has been overrun with dead and wounded. On Sunday there was no floor space left in the emergency department as people carried in more wounded wrapped in blankets and carpets. Mohamed Abu Shihab wailed and swore revenge for a son he said had been killed by an Israeli sniper.
The Israeli military said it bombed underground tunnel shafts in Khan Younis and attacked a squad of Palestinian gunmen preparing an ambush, but said nothing about any tank advance.
The vast majority of Gaza’s residents have now been forced from their homes, many fleeing several times with only the belongings they can carry. Israel says it is doing what it can to protect civilians, but even its closest ally the United States says it has fallen short of those promises.
An Israeli siege has cut off supplies, with the United Nations warning of mass hunger and disease.
At an international conference in Doha, capital of Qatar which acted as the main mediator for a week-long truce that saw more than 100 hostages freed, Arab foreign ministers criticized the United States for vetoing a UN Security Council resolution on Friday that demanded a humanitarian cease-fire.
Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said the war risked radicalising a generation across the Middle East. Jordan’s foreign minister said the Israeli campaign aimed to drive Palestinians from Gaza and met the legal definition of genocide, accusations Israel called outrageous.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he would “not give up” appealing for a cease-fire.
“I urged the Security Council to press to avert a humanitarian catastrophe and I reiterated my appeal for a humanitarian cease-fire to be declared,” Guterres said. “Regrettably, the Security Council failed to do it, but that does not make it less necessary.”
Israel has spurned demands it halt the fighting. Briefing his cabinet on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had told the leaders of France, Germany and other countries: “You cannot on the one hand support the elimination of Hamas, and on other pressure us to end the war, which would prevent the elimination of Hamas.”


Iran unveils drones armed with air-to-air missiles

Iran unveils drones armed with air-to-air missiles
Updated 10 December 2023
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Iran unveils drones armed with air-to-air missiles

Iran unveils drones armed with air-to-air missiles
  • The drones have an operational range of up to 1,000 kilometers (620 miles)
  • Development of Iran’s military arsenal has sparked concern among many countries, particularly the US and Israel

TEHRAN: Iran has reinforced its air defense capabilities by adding combat drones equipped with air-to-air missiles to its arsenal, state media reported on Sunday.
“Dozens of Karrar drones armed with air-to-air missiles have been added for air defense in all border areas of the country,” the official IRNA news agency said.
The drones, with an operational range of up to 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), were exhibited Sunday morning during a televised ceremony organized at a military academy in Tehran.
“The enemies will now have to rethink their strategies” because the Iranian forces have “become more powerful,” IRNA quoted the commander-in-chief of Iran’s army, General Abdolrahim Mousavi, as saying.
The Karrar interceptor drone, the first version of which was unveiled in 2010, has been equipped with a “Majid” thermal missile with a range of eight kilometers (five miles) “made entirely in Iran,” added the agency.
It “succeeded in its operational tests” during military exercises held in October, Mousavi said.
The development of Iran’s military arsenal has sparked concern among many countries, particularly the United States and Israel, the sworn enemies of the Islamic republic.
The latter accuse Tehran of providing fleets of drones to its allies in the Middle East, notably to Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, and to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Iran also backs the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which has been engaged in a war with Israel since it launched deadly attacks there on October 7.
Tehran has been accused by Kyiv and its Western allies of providing Russia with drones for use in the Ukraine war, a claim Tehran denies.
Western governments, however, imposed several rounds of biting sanctions on Iran over the alleged arms sales.
Iran began manufacturing drones in the 1980s during its eight-year war with Iraq.


UN chief says he will not give up appeals for ceasefire in Gaza

UN chief says he will not give up appeals for ceasefire in Gaza
Updated 10 December 2023
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UN chief says he will not give up appeals for ceasefire in Gaza

UN chief says he will not give up appeals for ceasefire in Gaza
  • Qatar will continue to pressure Israel and Hamas for a truce despite “narrowing” chances
  • UNRWA chief says immediate ceasefire needed to end ‘hell on earth’ in Gaza

DOHA: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday he will not give up appealing for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, adding that the war undermined the credibility and authority of the Security Council.
Gueterres was speaking at the Doha Forum conference as Washington vetoed on Friday a proposed UN Security Council demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas.
“I urged the Security Council to press to avert a humanitarian catastrophe and I reiterated my appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared,” Guterres said.
“Regrettably, the Security Council failed to do it, but that does not make it less necessary,” he said.
“I will not give up,” Guterres added.
Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told the gathering that Doha will continue to pressure Israel and Hamas for a truce despite “narrowing” chances.
Qatar, where several political leaders of Hamas are based, has been leading negotiations between the group and Israel.
Sheikh Mohammed said hostages were released from Gaza because of negotiations and not because of Israel’s military actions.
The head of UNRWA, the UN aid agency for Palestinians, said the dehumanization of Palestinians has allowed the international community to tolerate Israel’s continued attacks on Gaza.
“There is no doubt that a humanitarian ceasefire is needed if we want to put an end to hell on earth right now in Gaza,” UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said.
The United States and Israel oppose a ceasefire because they believe it would only benefit Hamas. Washington instead supports pauses in fighting to protect civilians and allow the release of hostages taken by Hamas in a deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
Guterres also urged leaders at the COP28 climate conference to agree on deep cuts to emissions and stop global warming exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).
He said that despite pledges, emissions are at a record high and fossil fuels are the major cause.
“I urge leaders at COP28 in Dubai to agree on deep cuts to emissions, in line with the 1.5-degree limit,” Guterres said adding that fossil fuel companies and their backers should use their enormous resources to lead the renewables revolution.


Polls open in Egypt presidential elections

Polls open in Egypt presidential elections
Updated 10 December 2023
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Polls open in Egypt presidential elections

Polls open in Egypt presidential elections

CAIRO: Polls opened on Sunday in Egypt's presidential election in which Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is set to secure six more years in power.
Voting is spread over three days and runs from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. (0700-1900 GMT), with results due to be announced on Dec. 18.
Approximately 67 million Egyptians are eligible to vote, according to the election authority, out of a total population of 104 million.