Jerusalem in Islamic Jihad crosshairs as Gaza fighting continues

Jerusalem in Islamic Jihad crosshairs as Gaza fighting continues
A view of the aftermath of deadly Israeli strikes, in the northern Gaza Strip (REUTERS)
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Updated 12 May 2023
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Jerusalem in Islamic Jihad crosshairs as Gaza fighting continues

Jerusalem in Islamic Jihad crosshairs as Gaza fighting continues
  • Following the firing of rockets toward Jerusalem, the Israeli media reported that Israel had informed Egypt to stop the cease-fire talks.
  • For the first time since the start of the current round of fighting, Islamic Jihad fired shells toward Jerusalem. They were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system

Gaza City: Fighting between the Palestinian resistance group Islamic Jihad and Israeli forces continued for a fourth day on Friday, with no signs of an imminent cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

For the first time since the start of the current round of fighting, Islamic Jihad fired shells toward Jerusalem. They were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system.

Al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s military wing, said the Palestinian resistance launched “a focused missile strike in two phases toward occupied Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and enemy cities in response to the assassinations and the continued aggression against the Palestinian people.”

It added: “We fulfilled our promise, there are no red lines,” referring to the firing of rockets toward Jerusalem for the first time.

“The firing of rockets towards Jerusalem is an important message for everyone to understand that what is happening in Jerusalem is not separate from Gaza.”

The burst of rocket fire from Gaza sent warning sirens wailing as far north as the contested capital of Jerusalem — about 77 kilometers from the Gaza border — breaking a 12-hour lull in the fighting. There were no immediate reports of casualties on either side on Friday.

The fighting, which began on Tuesday between Israel and Islamic Jihad — the second-largest militant group in Gaza after the territory’s rulers, Hamas — has left 31 Palestinians in the strip dead, including women and children. More than 100 have been wounded.

A high-ranking Islamic Jihad official told Al-Jazeera that his organization could up the ante further, taking action that would surprise everyone, if Israel were to continue to attack. He described the coming hours as critical in the effort to reach a cease-fire agreement.

Following the firing of rockets toward Jerusalem, the Israeli media reported that Israel had informed Egypt to stop the cease-fire talks.

The Israeli radio station Radio Kan reported: “The person who conveyed the message to the Egyptian intelligence chiefs about suspending the mediation talks for a cease-fire via a phone call is the coordinator of the Israeli government’s operations in the territories, Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alayan.”

Egypt has been unsuccessfully trying to broker a cease-fire between the two sides.

The BBC website reported that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah, and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will discuss the cease-fire talks over the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The BBC also reported that “the obstacle to achieving the understanding” is the Islamic Jihad’s condition that Israel cease its assassinations of Palestinian officials.

Israel on Friday continued to bomb areas of the Gaza Strip, most of which are agricultural lands and military sites belonging to the Palestinian factions, most notably Islamic Jihad.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said: “The resistance is carrying out its duty in defending our Palestinian people in the face of the continued aggression of the occupation.

“The occupation will not succeed in breaking the will of our resistance or the steadfastness of our people by escalating its terrorism, and all experiences have proven the impossibility of the occupation’s victory in the battle of wills with our Palestinian people.”

The Israeli closure of the crossings has added to the suffering of Gazans in need of medical treatment. Gaza’s power plant has been unable to supply adequate electricity because of the absence of fuel.

The government information office said it may cease operations within 72 hours due to the lack of fuel.

“The depletion of fuel allocated to the power plant due to the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing will exacerbate the situation of the health system,” the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network said in a statement.

“PNGO warns of the serious repercussions of the continued Israeli aggression and the closure of the crossings on the lives of patients. It exacerbates their health conditions and the ability of the health sector to deal with them,” it added.


US allocates $73m to UNRWA amid funding crisis

Palestinians carry bags of flour received as aid to poor families, at the UNRWA distribution center, in the Rafah refugee camp.
Palestinians carry bags of flour received as aid to poor families, at the UNRWA distribution center, in the Rafah refugee camp.
Updated 24 September 2023
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US allocates $73m to UNRWA amid funding crisis

Palestinians carry bags of flour received as aid to poor families, at the UNRWA distribution center, in the Rafah refugee camp.
  • UNRWA requires between $170 and $190 million just to keep its services running until the end of the year

LONDON: US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced an additional $73 million in funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, Jordan Press Agency reported on Sunday. 

The ambassador said that the funding would help supply food to needy families, provide healthcare for children and pregnant women, assist students in furthering their education, and support people affected by the conflict through mental health services.

It will also provide emergency humanitarian assistance to residents of Jenin and Ain Al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camps, both of which have suffered from recent violence. 

Earlier on Thursday, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said the funding crisis for Palestinian refugees in Jordan and other host countries has created an “absolutely unbearable” situation that could soon approach a tipping point. 

Lazzarini said that the agency required between $170 and $190 million just to keep its activities in Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza and elsewhere running until the end of the year. 

Jordan’s King Abdullah II told the UNGA in New York on Tuesday that the world must not abandon Palestinian refugees to the forces of despair. 

“In Jordan, where refugees make up over a third of our 11 million population, cuts have already thrown the lives of hundreds of thousands of refugees into uncertainty. The impact of such humanitarian shortfalls is never limited to a country or region,” the king said.

Despite several UN member states pledging Thursday to boost their contributions to UNRWA, the agency still only has the means to provide services until October.


Kuwait, China sign 7 agreements for major construction work

Kuwait, China sign 7 agreements for major construction work
Updated 24 September 2023
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Kuwait, China sign 7 agreements for major construction work

Kuwait, China sign 7 agreements for major construction work
  • Projects include completion of port, renewable energy, low-carbon recycling, water treatment schemes

LONDON: Kuwait and China have signed seven memorandums of understanding on large-scale construction projects, Kuwait News Agency reported on Sunday.

The agreements were signed during Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s visit to Hangzhou at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping to attend the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games.

It was the crown prince’s second meeting with Xi since the Gulf Cooperation Council-China Summit for Cooperation and Development in December in Saudi Arabia.

Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister Saad Al-Barrak described the visit as “very important,” with the government working to update its 2035 vision.

The first agreement is for completion of Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port.

“Around 50 percent of the first phase of Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port is complete, and we seek to finalize the first phase in order to launch and operate the port as swiftly as possible,” Al-Barrak said.

“China excels in construction and other domains like management and operation of the port, so we have signed the MoU and will continue the talks on execution.”

Other agreements were signed for projects including renewable energy, creation of a low-carbon recycling green system, water treatment station infrastructure, and economic and free zones.

Jassem Al-Ostad, Kuwait’s minister of electricity, water and renewable energy, said the crown prince gave instructions to build renewable energy stations in order to supply clean and affordable energy, while also honoring Kuwait’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Another MoU outlines the development of advanced housing cities in Kuwait as part of the government plans to offer housing care for citizens.

During the visit, Sheikh Mishal and Xi discussed ways to expand bilateral relations.

Xi said that Kuwait was the first Gulf country to establish relations with Beijing in 1971, and that the Kuwait Fund was instrumental in providing loans to China in the 1980s.

The crown prince also met with Huawei executives to strengthen Kuwait’s partnership with the company in information technology and communication services.


UAE FM meets UN secretary general on sidelines of UNGA assembly

UAE FM meets UN secretary general on sidelines of UNGA assembly
Updated 24 September 2023
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UAE FM meets UN secretary general on sidelines of UNGA assembly

UAE FM meets UN secretary general on sidelines of UNGA assembly
  • Discussions focused on partnerships in humanitarian aid, renewable energy, climate action

LONDON: UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Emirates News Agency reported.

Discussions focused on UAE-UN partnerships in a variety of sectors, including humanitarian aid, renewable energy, climate action and sustainable development.

Sheikh Abdullah and Guterres reviewed the outcomes of the UAE’s membership of the UN Security Council from 2022 to 2023, as well as its contributions to international peace and security, and humanitarian response operations and initiatives aimed at tackling global challenges.

The meeting discussed the UAE’s preparations for hosting the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in November in Dubai.

Sheikh Abdullah said that the UAE recognized the need to expedite the global response to climate change to achieve peace and security, and that the country looked forward to leveraging climate challenges into opportunities that drove sustainable and economic development.

The two officials also addressed developments in the Middle East, exchanged views on a number of regional and global issues of mutual interest, as well as challenges to international peace and security.

Guterres thanked the UAE for its strengthened engagement with the UN and its hosting of COP28.

The meeting was attended by several UAE officials, including Reem bint Ibrahim Al-Hashimy, minister of state for international cooperation, Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, permanent representative to the UN, Mohamed Issa Abu Shehab, deputy permanent representative to the UN, and Majid Al Suwaidi, special representative of COP28.

 


All 120 workers rescued after Nile cruise ship accident in Egypt

Nile cruise ships and feluccas are moored off the river bank of Egypt’s southern city of Luxor. (File/AFP)
Nile cruise ships and feluccas are moored off the river bank of Egypt’s southern city of Luxor. (File/AFP)
Updated 25 min 3 sec ago
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All 120 workers rescued after Nile cruise ship accident in Egypt

Nile cruise ships and feluccas are moored off the river bank of Egypt’s southern city of Luxor. (File/AFP)
  • There were no guests on board the ship, which was heading to Luxor Governorate in the south of Egypt

CAIRO: All 120 workers on board a Nile cruise ship that partially sank after it collided with a bridge have been rescued. 

The collision caused a hole in the lower right side of the Tivoli Nile ship in Minya Governorate in Upper Egypt, officials said.

There were no guests on board the ship, which was heading to Luxor Governorate in the south of Egypt.

The Public Prosecution is investigating the incident.

SPEEDREAD

• There were no guests on board the ship, which was heading to Luxor governorate in the south of Egypt. The Public Prosecution is investigating the incident.

• Authorities said they were working with the company that owns the floating hotel, while a top official at the ministry said the ship’s tourism operating license expired last May and had not been renewed.

Authorities said they were working with the company that owns the floating hotel, while Mohammed Amer, head of the Department of Hotel Establishments, Shops, and Tourist Activities at the ministry, said the ship’s tourism operating license expired last May and had not been renewed.

It was recently at a workshop in Helwan, south of Cairo, for necessary repairs and maintenance work to allow it to operate during the upcoming winter season, starting next month.

Amer said that, after completing all maintenance work, the management of the vessel obtained a passage permit from Cairo to Luxor for the necessary inspections by Ministry of Tourism officials to renew its license in preparation for the start of October.

The River Transport Authority said that it granted a temporary permit for the ship to leave the repair shop to its own berth on Aug. 23 until it obtained the rest of the necessary licenses from the other relevant authorities.


Jordan, UK delegations review bilateral cooperation

Jordan, UK delegations review bilateral cooperation
Updated 24 September 2023
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Jordan, UK delegations review bilateral cooperation

Jordan, UK delegations review bilateral cooperation
  • Jordanian MPs advocated for increasing British investment in Jordan, medical tourism promotion

LONDON: The Jordanian-British Parliamentary Friendship Association met a UK delegation of Conservative MPs on Sunday in Amman to discuss opportunities for cooperation between the two countries, Jordan News Agency reported.

Dina Bashir, the association’s president, emphasized the strength of Jordanian-British relations, which she attributed to the country’s respective leaderships.

Bashir underscored Jordan’s commitment to political, economic and administrative modernization under the leadership of King Abdullah II, with the goal of improving Jordanians’ lives in a range of sectors.

Bashir expressed Jordan’s position on the Palestinian cause while applauding the king’s efforts to resolve the conflict on local, regional and international levels. She also emphasized the importance of Jordanian custodianship over Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem in sustaining the historical coexistence of Muslims and Christians.

Highlighting Jordan’s long-standing tradition of welcoming refugees, Bashir noted the influx of Syrian refugees and its impact on the host country’s infrastructure. She urged the international community to fulfill its responsibilities toward Jordan so it could continue to play its humanitarian role.

Bashir campaigned for the expansion and marketing of Jordanian products in the UK, as well as boosting economic and tourism collaboration.

Several Jordanian MPs also advocated for increasing British investment in Jordan, medical tourism promotion, and British tourists visiting the country.

The UK delegation highlighted the need to strengthen bilateral ties in the economic, commercial, agricultural and tourism sectors. They also acknowledged Jordan’s critical role in the refugee crisis as well as its efforts to ensure regional security and stability.