Sudan war spreading as death toll tops 9,000

Sudan war spreading as death toll tops 9,000
Fighters accompanying the governor of Sudan’s Darfur State exit a vehicle during a stopover in the eastern city of Gedaref. (AFP/File)
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Updated 08 October 2023
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Sudan war spreading as death toll tops 9,000

Sudan war spreading as death toll tops 9,000
  • Since the war broke out between the army and paramilitaries on April 15, these groups have helped people caught up in the conflict

WAD MADANI: A paramilitary attack on Jabal Awliya south of Khartoum killed at least 10 people on Saturday, activists reported, as the death toll from Sudan’s six-month war hit more than 9,000.

“Bombs fell inside civilian homes” in the small town some 50 km south of the city, the local “resistance committee” said.

The volunteer group is one of many across Sudan that used to organize pro-democracy protests. 

Since the war broke out between the army and paramilitaries on April 15, these groups have helped people caught up in the conflict.

The committee in Jabal Awliya reported the paramilitaries unleashing “heavy artillery” on the town in their latest attack on areas previously spared the fighting between Sudan’s rival generals.

The war between army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan and his former deputy, Rapid Support Forces or RSF commander Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, has been mainly in Khartoum and the western region of Darfur.

By October, “more than 9,000 fatalities” had been recorded by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project reported late on Friday, stressing its conservative estimates.

The fighting has displaced almost 4.3 million people within Sudan and around 1.2 million more who have fled across borders.

In recent weeks, the violence has also moved further south, threatening the fragile safety of more than 366,000 people who have sought shelter in Al Jazira state just south of the capital.

Witnesses report the RSF setting up checkpoints along the road between Khartoum and Jazira state capital, Wad Madani, which is 200 km south of the capital.

Khartoum, where millions remain trapped, has not had a single day of respite since the war began.

On Saturday, witnesses in the north of the city again reported “artillery fire” and street battles.


Hezbollah says 2 paramedics, fighter dead in Israeli strike on Lebanon

Hezbollah says 2 paramedics, fighter dead in Israeli strike on Lebanon
Updated 6 sec ago
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Hezbollah says 2 paramedics, fighter dead in Israeli strike on Lebanon

Hezbollah says 2 paramedics, fighter dead in Israeli strike on Lebanon
Beirut: Two paramedics affiliated with Hezbollah and one of the group’s fighters have been killed in an Israeli strike on a south Lebanon border village, the group and a security source said Friday.
The Israeli army said late Thursday it had struck a Hezbollah “military compound” in south Lebanon’s Blida, amid near-daily cross-border fire between the arch foes since the Israel-Hamas war broke out on October 7.
The Hezbollah-affiliated Islamic Health Committee said two of its paramedics were killed in a “direct” Israeli attack on a civil defense center in Blida, while Hezbollah also announced the death of one of its fighters.
The Islamic Health Committee said the attack caused “the destruction of the health center as well as a number of ambulances.”
The Lebanese security source, requesting anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media, said a strike on Thursday “targeted the Islamic Health Committee center in the village of Blida.”
The Israeli army said late Thursday that it had identified fighters “entering a Hezbollah military compound in the area of Blida.”
“Fighter jets were scrambled and struck the compound where the terrorists were identified,” it said in a statement.
Hezbollah said it launched a drone attack on northern Israel on Friday in retaliation for strikes “on southern villages and civilian houses, most recently the attack on a civil defense center in Blida.”
The night before, the Iran-backed group said it fired rockets at an Israeli barracks in response to the Blida attack, but did not announced any casualties at the time.
The violence on Israel’s northern border has sparked fears of another full-blown war between Israel and Hezbollah like that of 2006.
Last month, the Shiite Muslim movement said an Israeli strike killed two affiliated medics in south Lebanon’s Hanin, calling it a “blatant attack.”
The Lebanese group, which says it is acting in support of its ally Hamas, on Thursday had already announced rocket fire on Israel after two of its fighters were killed, later calling one of them a “commander” in a funeral notice.
The security source said one of the two killed in an Israeli drone strike in south Lebanon’s Kfar Rumman was involved in the movement’s “rocket capabilities.”
Since October, at least 276 people have been killed on the Lebanese side, most of them Hezbollah fighters but also including 44 civilians, according to an AFP tally.
On the Israeli side, 10 soldiers and six civilians have been killed, according to the Israeli army.

Sudan’s warring sides commit abuses, including strikes on fleeing civilians, UN report says

Sudan’s warring sides commit abuses, including strikes on fleeing civilians, UN report says
Updated 30 min 2 sec ago
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Sudan’s warring sides commit abuses, including strikes on fleeing civilians, UN report says

Sudan’s warring sides commit abuses, including strikes on fleeing civilians, UN report says
  • Efforts have so far failed to end the 10-month-old conflict that pits Sudan’s regular armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces

GENEVA: Both sides in Sudan’s civil war have committed abuses that may amount to war crimes including indiscriminate attacks on civilian sites like hospitals, markets and even camps for the displaced, the UN human rights office said on Friday.
Efforts have so far failed to end the 10-month-old conflict that pits Sudan’s regular armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Thousands of people have been killed and over six million forced to flee their homes, making it the country with the largest displaced population in the world.
“Some of these violations would amount to war crimes,” Volker Turk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement accompanying the report. “The guns must be silenced, and civilians must be protected.”
The US has already formally determined that the warring parties have committed war crimes and said the RSF and allied militias were involved in ethnic cleansing in West Darfur. Both sides have said they would investigate reports of killings and abuses and prosecute any fighters found to be involved.
The United Nations report covers the April-December period and is based on interviews with over 300 victims and witnesses as well as footage and satellite imagery.
It says that sometimes those fleeing for their lives or displaced by the violence became victims of explosive weapons attacks.
In one incident, dozens of displaced people were killed when their camp in Zalingei, Darfur was shelled by RSF between Sept. 14-17, the report said. Some 26 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed on Aug. 22 by shells reportedly fired by the Sudanese Armed Forces while sheltering under a bridge.
The report also says the RSF had adopted a military strategy of using human shields, citing testimonies of victims involved.
It describes incidents in the capital Khartoum where dozens of individuals were arrested and placed outside near RSF military posts to deter air strikes from Sudanese fighter jets.
UN investigators have so far documented cases of sexual violence affecting 118 people, including one women who was detained and repeatedly gang-raped for weeks. Many of the rapes were committed by RSF members, it said.
Reuters has also documented cases of gang rape in ethnically targeted attacks by RSF forces and allied Arab militia.
The war erupted last April over disputes about the powers of the army and the RSF under an internationally-backed plan for a political transition toward civilian rule and free elections.


Israel’s Netanyahu presents first official post-Gaza war plan

Israel’s Netanyahu presents first official post-Gaza war plan
Updated 32 min 30 sec ago
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Israel’s Netanyahu presents first official post-Gaza war plan

Israel’s Netanyahu presents first official post-Gaza war plan
  • Netanayhu rejects the “unilateral recognition” of a Palestinian state
  • Replace Hamas rule in Gaza while maintaining public order

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has presented a “day after” plan for Gaza, his first official proposal for when the war in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory ends.
According to the document, presented to members of Israel’s security cabinet on Thursday and seen by Reuters on Friday, Israel would maintain security control over all land west of Jordan, including the occupied West Bank and Gaza — territories where the Palestinians want to create an independent state.
In the long-term goals listed, Netanayhu rejects the “unilateral recognition” of a Palestinian state. He says a settlement with the Palestinians will only be achieved through direct negotiations between the two sides — but it did not name who the Palestinian party would be.
In Gaza, Netanyahu outlines demilitarization and deradicalization as goals to be achieved in the medium term. He does not elaborate on when that intermediary stage would begin or how long it would last. But he conditions the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, much of which has been laid to waste by Israel’s offensive, on its complete demilitarization.
Netanyahu proposes Israel have a presence on the Gaza-Egypt border in the south of the enclave and cooperates with Egypt and the United States in that area to prevent smuggling attempts, including at the Rafah crossing.
To replace Hamas rule in Gaza while maintaining public order, Netanyahu suggests working with local representatives “who are not affiliated with terrorist countries or groups and are not financially supported by them.”
He calls for shutting down the UN Palestinian refugees agency UNRWA and replacing it with other international aid groups.
“The prime minister’s document of principles reflects broad public consensus over the goals of the war and for replacing Hamas rule in Gaza with a civilian alternative,” a statement by the Prime Minister’s office said.
The document was distributed to security cabinet members to start a discussion on the issue.
The war was triggered by a Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7 in which 1,200 people were killed and 253 taken hostage, according to Israeli counts.
Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel has responded with an air and ground assault on blockaded Gaza that has killed more than 29,400 people, according to Palestinian health authorities. The offensive has displaced most of the territory’s population and caused widespread hunger and disease.
The spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, told Reuters that Netanyahu’s proposal was doomed to fail, as were any Israeli plans to change the geographic and demographic realities in Gaza.
“If the world is genuinely interested in having security and stability in the region, it must end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and recognize an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital,” he said.
The war in Gaza has revived international calls — including Israel’s main backer the United States — for the so-called two-state solution as the ultimate goal for resolving the decades long Israel-Palestinian conflict. However, a number of senior Israeli politicians oppose this.
The two-state solution has long been a core Western policy in the region but little progress has been made on achieving Palestinian statehood since the signing of the Oslo Accords in the early 1990s.


Day 5 at ICJ hearing: Oman says Israel must immediately end occupation of Palestinian territory

Day 5 at ICJ hearing: Oman says Israel must immediately end occupation of Palestinian territory
Updated 7 sec ago
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Day 5 at ICJ hearing: Oman says Israel must immediately end occupation of Palestinian territory

Day 5 at ICJ hearing: Oman says Israel must immediately end occupation of Palestinian territory
  • Representatives from the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have demanded Israel end its occupation of the Palestinian territories

DUBAI: The International Court of Justice, the UN’s top court, on Friday continued its hearing from dozens of states and three international organizations who question the legality of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

Representatives from countries including Qatar, Oman, Pakistan, Malaysia and the United Kingdom were expected to deliver their positions during the fourth day of the hearing at the ICJ, also known as the World Court.

Speakers from the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have already demanded Israel end its occupation of the Palestinian territories, with the Kingdom’s envoy to the Netherlands Ziad Al-Atiyah stating Israel’s continued actions were legally indefensible.

The hearing follows a request by the UN General Assembly for an advisory, or non-binding, opinion on the occupation in 2022. More than 50 states will present arguments until Feb. 26.

Oman’s ambassador to Netherlands Sheikh Dr. Abdullah bin Salim bin Hamad Al-Harthi.

Oman’s ambassador to Netherlands Sheikh Dr. Abdullah bin Salim bin Hamad Al-Harthi, in his opening statements before the ICJ judges, said that the “international community has failed to assist the people of Palestine in having their own independent state.”

The envoy also told ICJ judges to take into account the illegal annexation of Palestinian land and the obstruction of Palestinian right to self-determination.

“Israel should immediately end the occupation of Palestinian territory,” he said.

“The international community has an obligation to prevent the unlawful annexation of Palestinian land.”

 


UN agency for Palestinians refugees at ‘breaking point’: chief

UN agency for Palestinians refugees at ‘breaking point’: chief
Updated 23 February 2024
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UN agency for Palestinians refugees at ‘breaking point’: chief

UN agency for Palestinians refugees at ‘breaking point’: chief
  • UNRWA has been accused by Israel of serving as a tool of the Hamas militant group
  • UNRWA’s Philippe Lazzarini: Israel has not provided evidence against its 12 former workers

UNITED NATIONS: The UN agency for Palestinian refugees warned Thursday it has reached a critical juncture as it struggles to cope with the war in Gaza.

“It is with profound regret that I must now inform you that UNRWA has reached a breaking point,” chief Philippe Lazzarini said, as donors freeze funding, Israel exerts pressure to dismantle the agency and humanitarian needs soar.
“The Agency’s ability to fulfill the mandate given through General Assembly resolution 302 is now seriously threatened,” he said in a letter to the assembly.
That is the resolution under which the agency was founded in 1949, following the creation of Israel.
UNRWA employs some 30,000 people working in the occupied territories, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

Students attend a class inside a school run by UNRWA at Mar Elias Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon, on February 21, 2024. (REUTERS)

Several countries — including the United States, Britain, Germany and Japan — have suspended funding to UNRWA in response to Israeli allegations that some of its staff participated in the October 7 attack on Israel.
In an interview published over the weekend, Lazzarini said $438 million has been frozen — the equivalent of more than half of expected funding for 2024. He said Israel was waging a concerted effort to destroy UNRWA.
The UN fired the employees accused by Israel and has begun an internal probe of UNRWA.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also tasked an independent panel with assessing whether UNRWA acts neutrally in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Lazzarini asserted Thursday that Israel has provided no evidence against the 12 former employees it accuses, but 16 countries have suspended funding anyway.
“I have cautioned donors and host countries that without new funding, UNRWA operations across the region will be severely compromised from March,” he said.
He added: “I fear we are on the edge of a monumental disaster with grave implications for regional peace, security and human rights.”
The war started after Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack which resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official figures.
Hamas militants also took about 250 hostages — 130 of whom remain in Gaza, including 30 presumed dead, according to Israel.
Israel’s retaliatory campaign has killed at least 29,410 people, mostly women and children, according to the latest count by Gaza’s health ministry.