Israel ‘at war’ as Hamas launches unprecedented attack from Gaza

Update Israel ‘at war’ as Hamas launches unprecedented attack from Gaza
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Residents react near a fire after rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip to Ashkelon, Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. (Reuters)
Update Israel ‘at war’ as Hamas launches unprecedented attack from Gaza
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The rocket fire comes during a period of heavy fighting in the West Bank, where nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military raids this year. Israel. (AFP)
Update Israel ‘at war’ as Hamas launches unprecedented attack from Gaza
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A man works to put out a fire engulfing a van as rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon in southern Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. (Reuters)
Update Israel ‘at war’ as Hamas launches unprecedented attack from Gaza
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Palestinians walk away from the kibbutz of Kfar Azza Israel, near the fence with the Gaza strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP)
Update Israel ‘at war’ as Hamas launches unprecedented attack from Gaza
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A house is on fire in the kibbutz of Kfar Azza that Palestinians stormed from the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP)
Update Israel ‘at war’ as Hamas launches unprecedented attack from Gaza
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People mourn the death of Palestinians who were killed in the latest infiltration operation into Israel outside Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on Oct. 7, 2023. (AFP)
Update Israel ‘at war’ as Hamas launches unprecedented attack from Gaza
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Mourners carry the body of a Palestinian killed in the latest infiltration operation into Israel, outside Aal-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on Oct. 7, 2023. (AFP)
Update Israel ‘at war’ as Hamas launches unprecedented attack from Gaza
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Update Palestinians and militants from the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades run towards the Erez crossing between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip. (AFP)
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Palestinians and militants from the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades run towards the Erez crossing between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip. (AFP)
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Updated 07 October 2023
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Israel ‘at war’ as Hamas launches unprecedented attack from Gaza

Israel ‘at war’ as Hamas launches unprecedented attack from Gaza
  • Israeli military said it had responded with air strikes into Gaza
  • 232 Palestinians dead, 1,700 injured in Israeli retaliation

JERUSALEM/GAZA: After weeks of escalating tensions along the Gaza-Israel border and deadly confrontations in the occupied West Bank of Palestine, Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza, primarily led by Hamas, declared today morning a full-scale military operation into the towns and settlements located along the separation fence with Gaza.

Military confrontations along the borders were ongoing Saturday evening, with an Israel response of airstrikes across the Gaza Strip on multiple residential neighbourhoods. 

The latest barrage of rockets fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza Saturday evening has resulted in the collapse of a building in Tel Aviv, as reported by Israel's fire department according to Haaretz. The death toll among Palestinians has now reached 232, with 1,697 individuals wounded, including dozens in critical condition. The ongoing power cuts are anticipated to have severe health consequences, aggravated by the Israeli blockade and significant shortages of medical supplies.

An official report from the Palestinian news agency Wafa states that a complete power blackout has affected all regions of the besieged Gaza Strip. Israel's Energy Minister had previously announced plans to cut power to Gaza, a region that relies on Israel for about two-thirds of its electricity.

Mohamed Abu Silmiya, the director of Al-Shifa Hospital, has emphasized the critical situation faced by hospitals and medical facilities in the Gaza Strip due to Israel's power cuts. They are struggling to provide adequate care to the increasing number of casualties resulting from Israel's ongoing air assaults. Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in the besieged enclave, is particularly strained as it receives the highest volume of casualties. The power outage has exacerbated the workload upon medical professionals working to treat the injured.

In a tragic development, Israeli forces have fatally shot a 13-year-old boy in the occupied West Bank city of Qalqilya, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. In the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Palestinian medics report that three individuals have been killed and over 30 wounded.

Additionally, it has been announced by the spokesperson of Hamas's military wing, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, that Palestinian fighters have captured "dozens" of Israeli soldiers and officers, and they are currently being held "in secure underground locations."

Netanyahu, as announced by his Likud party, has extended an invitation to opposition leaders Lapid and Gantz to collaborate in forming a unity government. Notably, Lapid had previously expressed his willingness to work alongside Netanyahu to demonstrate unity. Meanwhile, Gantz has indicated that he is considering this offer.

Furthermore, Israel has conducted airstrikes targeting multiple high-rise buildings in recent hours, with one of these strikes being captured on live coverage by Al Jazeera. The situation remains extremely volatile and fluid.

Meanwhile, at least 200 Israelis were killed in the Palestinian resistance attack, Israel’s ambulance service said. More than 1,100 Israelis had been wounded, the health ministry said, while dozens had been taken hostage, according to reports.

The attack marked an unprecedented infiltration into Israel by an unknown number of Hamas gunmen crossing from the Gaza Strip, and the heaviest blow for Israel in the conflict with Palestinians since the suicide bombings of the Second Intifada some two decades ago.

‘PLEASE SEND HELP’

Speaking to Israel N12 News by phone from Nir Oz, a kibbutz near Gaza, a woman identified as Dorin said militants had infiltrated her house and tried to open the bomb shelter where she was hiding.

“They just came in again, please send help,” she said. “There are a lot of homes harmed ... My husband is holding the door closed ... They are firing rounds of bullets.”

Israeli Defense Minister Gallant said “troops are fighting against the enemy at every location” and authorized the call-up of reservists.

Israeli media reported that gunmen had opened fire on passers-by in Sderot, and footage circulating on social media appeared to show clashes in city streets as well as gunmen in jeeps roaming the countryside.

“We were told there are terrorists inside the kibbutz, we can hear gunfire,” a young woman named Dvir, from Beeri Kibbutz, told Israeli Army Radio from her bomb shelter.

BACKDROP OF SURGING VIOLENCE

The escalation comes against a backdrop of surging violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in the West Bank, which together with the Gaza Strip is part of the territories where Palestinians have long sought to establish a state.

Hamas media displayed videos of what it said were bodies of Israeli soldiers brought into Gaza by fighters, and Palestinian gunmen inside Israeli homes and touring an Israeli town in jeeps reportedly been driven into Israel by the attackers.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the footage.

Hamas media also circulated video footage apparently showing a destroyed Israeli tank.

In Gaza, the roar of rocket launches could be heard and residents reported armed clashes along the separation fence with Israel, near the southern town of Khan Younis, and said they had seen significant movement of armed fighters.

Palestinians in Gaza were bracing for Israel’s response.

“We are afraid,” Palestinian woman, Amal Abu Daqqa, said as she left her house in Khan Younis.

Others in Gaza expressed disbelief at the infiltration into Israel. “It is like a dream. I still can’t believe it,” said one Gaza shopkeeper.

The attack came a day after Israel marked the 50th anniversary of the 1973 war that brought the country to the verge of catastrophic defeat in a surprise attack by Syria and Egypt.

* With Agencies


Libya, EU seek ‘strategic’ cooperation to end irregular migration

Libya, EU seek ‘strategic’ cooperation to end irregular migration
Updated 10 sec ago
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Libya, EU seek ‘strategic’ cooperation to end irregular migration

Libya, EU seek ‘strategic’ cooperation to end irregular migration
TRIPOLI: Libya held Wednesday a conference on irregular migration that saw the attendance of representatives from 28 European and African countries hoping to establish a “strategic” cooperation to resolve the issue.
“We have a moral responsibility” toward the mainly sub-Saharan migrants “who cross the desert and the sea” hoping to reach Europe, Libyan Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah said at the opening of the Trans-Mediterranean Migration Forum.
Libya, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Italy, is a key departure point for migrants, primarily from sub-Saharan African countries, risking perilous Mediterranean Sea journeys to seek better lives in Europe.
But with mounting efforts by the European Union to curb irregular migration, many have found themselves stranded in Libya and other North African countries.
“Libya found itself caught in pressure between (Europe’s) turning back of migrants and (their) desire to migrate,” said Dbeibah.
He called for development projects in departure countries.
“We can only resolve the migration crisis at the root, in the countries of departure,” he said.
Last week, authorities in Libya said that up to four in five foreigners in the North African country are undocumented, and hosting migrants hoping to reach Europe has become “unacceptable.”
“It’s time to resolve this problem,” Interior Minister Imad Trabelsi had said, because “Libya cannot continue to pay its price.”
Libya is still struggling to recover from years of war and chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed overthrow of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Smugglers and human traffickers have taken advantage of the climate of instability that has dominated the vast country since.
The country has been criticized over the treatment of migrant and refugees, with accusations from rights groups ranging from extortion to slavery.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at Wednesday’s forum called for an end to “human trafficking... (which) is nowadays one of world’s most powerful criminal networks.”
The far-right minister denounced “criminal organizations” who “decide who has the right or not to live in our countries,” adding that “illegal migration is the enemy of legal migration.”
Italy recorded 30,348 migrant arrivals from North Africa between January 1 and July 16 — a 61-percent decrease in a year — with 17,659 people leaving from Libya and 11,001 from Tunisia, according to official figures.

16 sailors missing after Yemen-bound oil tanker capsizes off Oman

16 sailors missing after Yemen-bound oil tanker capsizes off Oman
Updated 49 min 33 sec ago
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16 sailors missing after Yemen-bound oil tanker capsizes off Oman

16 sailors missing after Yemen-bound oil tanker capsizes off Oman
  • Maritime Security Center in Oman said that 13 Indians and three Sri Lankans are missing from the Prestige Falcon
  • Indian Navy’s warship INS Teg is participating in the search operation alongside Omani vessels

AL-MUKALLA: Search operations have escalated for 16 seamen who went missing in the Arabian Sea on Monday when their oil tanker, bound for Yemen, sunk off Oman.

The Maritime Security Center in Oman said on Tuesday that 13 Indians and three Sri Lankans are missing from the Prestige Falcon, a Comoros-flagged oil tanker that collapsed 25 nautical miles southeast of Ras Madrakah near the Omani port town of Duqm.

The Indian news agency Asian News International reported that the Indian Navy’s warship INS Teg is participating in the search operation alongside Omani vessels and coast guards to find the missing sailors. The Indian Navy warship was able to locate the capsized tanker on Tuesday morning.

According to marinetraffic.com, which provides ship information, the Prestige Falcon is an oil tanker flying the Comoros flag, and which was going from the UAE to Yemen’s southern port city of Aden. In Yemen, the state-run Public Electricity Corporation in Aden said that the capsized ship was carrying 5,000 tonnes of fuel owned by a local merchant, contradicting media reports claiming that it controlled the ship’s cargo.

This comes as the Conflict and Environment Observatory, an environmental advocacy charity, stated that images provided by the Sentinel 2 satellite on Tuesday showed a 220 km oil slick beginning 106 nautical miles from Yemen’s Red Sea city of Hodeidah, which was believed leaked from the Liberia-flagged oil tanker Chios Lion that the Houthis attacked.

On Tuesday, the Houthis released footage of an explosive-laden and remotely operated boat colliding with the Chios Lion in the Red Sea, which was traveling 100 nautical miles northwest of Hodeidah on Monday, resulting in an explosion and ball of fire. The CEOBS condemned the Houthis for damaging the Red Sea’s ecosystem by assaulting oil vessels. “Attacks have already impacted the Red Sea environment and attacks on oil and bulk chemical carriers pose ongoing risks,” it said in a post on X.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s government said that it had found no evidence of contamination in the Red Sea or along the country’s coast from a fertilizer-laden ship that sank in the Red Sea, repeating appeals for the international community to provide it with technology to neutralize the ship’s danger. The MV Rubymar, a Belize-flagged and Lebanese-operated ship carrying thousands of tons of fertilizer and gasoline, sank in the Red Sea earlier this year after being attacked by Houthi missiles.

Capt. Yeslem Mubarak, vice executive chairman of the Maritime Affairs Authority and a member of the government’s commission responsible for the sinking ship, told Arab News that the Yemeni government teams who visited the ship’s area and combed the Yemeni coasts had not observed any signs of pollution.

He also said that the Yemeni government had requested equipment from some nations, including a remotely operated underwater vehicle, to address the MV Rubymar sinking or any similar incident in the future as the Houthis intensify their attacks on ships. “So yet, there is no pollution or slicks surrounding the ship, and it remains bowed up, indicating that water has not infiltrated all of its compartments,” he said.

Since November, the Houthis have seized a commercial ship, sunk two others, fired hundreds of ballistic missiles and deployed drones and drone boats to attack commercial and naval ships in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. The Yemeni militia sees this as an attempt to pressure Israel to end its war in the Palestinian Gaza Strip.


Iran rejects accusations implicating it in plot to kill Donald Trump

Iran rejects accusations implicating it in plot to kill Donald Trump
Updated 17 July 2024
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Iran rejects accusations implicating it in plot to kill Donald Trump

Iran rejects accusations implicating it in plot to kill Donald Trump
  • CNN has reported US authorities received intelligence weeks ago on an alleged Iranian plot
  • Iran’s mission to the United Nations calls the accusations “unsubstantiated and malicious”

TEHRAN: Iran on Wednesday rejected what it called “malicious” accusations by US media implicating it in a plot to kill former US president Donald Trump.
CNN reported Tuesday that US authorities received intelligence from a “human source” weeks ago on an alleged Iranian plot against the former president, prompting his protection to be boosted. Other US outlets also reported the alleged plot.
CNN said the alleged plot was not linked to Saturday’s shooting at a Trump campaign rally in Pennsylvania, in which the former president was wounded and a supporter killed.
The US National Security Council said it had been “tracking Iranian threats against former Trump administration officials for years” after Tehran threatened revenge for the 2020 killing of Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in neighboring Iraq.
Iran’s mission to the United Nations called the accusations “unsubstantiated and malicious.”
Foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said Iran “strongly rejects any involvement in the recent armed attack against Trump.”
He added however that Iran remains “determined to prosecute Trump over his direct role in the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani.”
Soleimani headed the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, overseeing Iranian military operations across the Middle East.
Trump ordered his killing in a drone strike just outside Baghdad airport.


Bystander killed as armed groups clash in Libya seaside town

Security personnel affiliated with the Ministry of Interior secure the streets after clashes between armed factions in Tripoli.
Security personnel affiliated with the Ministry of Interior secure the streets after clashes between armed factions in Tripoli.
Updated 17 July 2024
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Bystander killed as armed groups clash in Libya seaside town

Security personnel affiliated with the Ministry of Interior secure the streets after clashes between armed factions in Tripoli.
  • “The woman died after being hit in the head” by a stray bullet, emergency services spokesman Oussama Ali told Al-Ahrar television
  • Libyan media reported that the clashes broke out after fighters of one armed group detained a member of a rival group

TRIPOLI: Armed groups clashed in a seaside town outside the Libyan capital late Tuesday, killing a woman bystander and sowing panic among beachgoers, emergency services and media reports said.
The fighting erupted in Tajura, a town 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of Tripoli which is popular with families seeking escape from the heat of the capital.
“The woman died after being hit in the head” by a stray bullet, emergency services spokesman Oussama Ali told Al-Ahrar television.
Libyan media reported that the clashes broke out after fighters of one armed group detained a member of a rival group.
A myriad of armed groups have vied for control of the North African country ever since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
Although relative calm has returned in the past few years, clashes periodically occur between rival groups, most of which are allied with either the UN-recognized government in Tripoli or the rival administration based in the east.
Clashes broke out in Zawiya, west of the capital, in May and in Tripoli itself in April.
In August last year, 55 people were killed in the fiercest clashes to hit the capital in a year.


Drones target Iraq base housing US-led coalition: security sources

Drones target Iraq base housing US-led coalition: security sources
Updated 17 July 2024
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Drones target Iraq base housing US-led coalition: security sources

Drones target Iraq base housing US-led coalition: security sources
  • The attack comes amid escalating regional tensions fueled by the war in Gaza between Washington’s ally Israel and the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas
  • The US military has some 2,500 troops deployed in Iraq and 900 in Syria with the international coalition

BAGHDAD: Two drones were launched against a base in Iraq where forces of the US-led anti-extremist coalition are stationed, security officials said Wednesday.
“An attack using two drones” targeted Ain Assad base in Anbar province on Tuesday evening, a police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
“One drone was shot down outside the base by defense systems, and the second exploded inside the base without causing any injuries or damage,” he added.
The attack comes amid escalating regional tensions fueled by the war in Gaza between Washington’s ally Israel and Hamas.
Iran-backed armed groups in Iraq have largely halted similar attacks on US-backed troops in recent months, but have continued to threaten action should war break out between their ally Hezbollah in Lebanon and Israel.
A senior security official in Baghdad confirmed Tuesday’s attack, saying he believed it was meant to “embarrass” the Iraqi government and pressure the ongoing talks on the future of the international coalition in Iraq, with Iran-backed groups demanding a withdrawal.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The US military has some 2,500 troops deployed in Iraq and 900 in Syria with the international coalition.
The coalition was deployed to Iraq at the government’s request in 2014 to help combat Daesh, which had taken over vast swathes of Iraq and neighboring Syria.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose alliance of Iran-backed groups, has carried out more than 175 rocket and drone strikes against US-led troops in Iraq and Syria.
It says the attacks are in solidarity with the Palestinians amid the ongoing war in Gaza, demanding an end to the Israeli offensive.
In April, rocket fire from northern Iraq targeted a base hosting the international coalition in Syria.
In late January, a drone strike blamed on Iraqi armed groups killed three US soldiers in a base across the border in Jordan.
In retaliation, the US launched deadly strikes against pro-Iran factions in Iraq and Syria.
Baghdad has sought to defuse the tensions, engaging in talks with Washington to negotiate a timeline for the coalition’s withdrawal.
The senior security official said that an Iraqi delegation is expected to travel to Washington later this week for the ongoing talks.