Israel strikes refugee camps, rejects pause in fighting

Update Israel strikes refugee camps, rejects pause in fighting
This picture taken from Sderot along the border with the Gaza Strip early on November 5, 2023. (AFP)
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Updated 05 November 2023
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Israel strikes refugee camps, rejects pause in fighting

Israel strikes refugee camps, rejects pause in fighting
  • Health ministry in Gaza urged the ICRC or Egypt to ensure the safe exit of the wounded from the enclave
  • Evacuations of injured Gazans, foreign passport holders through Rafah crossing to Egypt suspended
  • 9,770 killed, including 4,800 children, since Oct. 7 -health ministry in Gaza

GAZA: Gaza came under the third total communications outage since the start of the war, with Palestinian telecom company Paltel confirming all services were down late Sunday and saying Israel had again disconnected them. Internet access advocacy group NetBlocks.org reported a “new collapse in connectivity” across the besieged enclave.
“We have lost communication with the vast majority of the UNRWA team members,” UN Palestinian refugee agency spokesperson Juliette Touma told The Associated Press. The first Gaza outage lasted 36 hours and the second one for a few hours, complicating efforts to share events on the ground.
Earlier Sunday, Israeli warplanes struck two central Gaza refugee camps, killing at least 53 people and wounding dozens, health officials said. Israel said it would press on with its offensive to crush the territory’s Hamas rulers, despite US appeals for even brief pauses to get aid to desperate civilians.
Gaza’s Health Ministry said more than 9,700 Palestinians have been killed in the territory in nearly a month of war, a number likely to rise as Israeli troops advance into dense, urban neighborhoods.
Airstrikes hit the Maghazi refugee camp overnight, killing at least 40 people and wounding 34 others, the Health Ministry said. The camp is in the zone where Israel’s military had urged Palestinian civilians to seek refuge as it focuses its offensive on the north.
An AP reporter at a nearby hospital saw eight dead children, including a baby, brought in after the strike. A surviving child was led down the corridor, her clothes caked in dust, an expression of shock on her face.
Arafat Abu Mashaia, who lives in the camp, said the Israeli airstrike flattened several multi-story homes where people forced out of other parts of Gaza were sheltering.
“It was a true massacre,” he said. “All here are peaceful people. I challenge anyone who says there were resistance (fighters) here.”
There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.
Another airstrike hit a house near a school at the Bureji refugee camp in central Gaza, and staff at Al-Aqsa Hospital told the AP at least 13 people were killed. The camp is home to an estimated 46,000 people and was struck on Thursday as well.
Despite appeals and overseas demonstrations, Israel has continued its bombardment across Gaza, saying it is targeting Hamas and accusing it of using civilians as human shields. Critics say Israel’s strikes are often disproportionate, considering the large number of civilians killed.
On the ground, Israeli forces in Gaza have reported finding stashes of weapons at times including explosives, suicide drones and missiles.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, a day after talks with Arab foreign ministers in neighboring Jordan.
Abbas, who has had no authority in Gaza since Hamas took over in 2007, said the Palestinian Authority would only assume control of Gaza as part of a “comprehensive political solution” establishing an independent state that would also take in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, lands Israel seized in the 1967 war.
His remarks seemed to further narrow the already slim options for who would govern Gaza if Israel succeeds in toppling Hamas. The last peace talks with Israel broke down more than a decade ago, and Israel’s government is dominated by opponents of Palestinian statehood.
Earlier in his tour, Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who on Sunday reiterated while visiting an air force base that “there will be no cease-fire without the return of our abductees.”
Arab leaders have called for an immediate cease-fire. But Blinken said that “would simply leave Hamas in place, able to regroup and repeat what it did on Oct. 7,” when it launched a wide-ranging attack from Gaza into southern Israel, triggering the war.
Swaths of residential neighborhoods in northern Gaza have been leveled in airstrikes. The UN office for humanitarian affairs says more than half the remaining residents, estimated at around 300,000, are sheltering in UN-run facilities.
Israeli planes once again dropped leaflets urging people to head south during a four-hour window on Sunday. Crowds could be seen walking down Gaza’s main north-south highway carrying baggage, pets and pushing wheelchairs. Others led donkey carts.
One man said they had to walk 500 meters (yards) with their hands raised while passing Israeli troops. Another described seeing bodies in damaged cars along the road. “The children saw tanks for the first time. Oh world, have mercy on us,” said one Palestinian who declined to give his name.
The UN said about 1.5 million people in Gaza, or 70 percent of the population, have fled their homes. Food, water and the fuel needed for generators that power hospitals and other facilities is running out. No fuel has come for nearly one month, the UN Palestinian refugee agency said.
The war has stoked tensions across the region, with Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group repeatedly trading fire along the border.
Four civilians were killed by an Israeli airstrike in south Lebanon Sunday evening, three of them children, a local civil defense official and state-run media reported. The Israeli military said it had attacked Hezbollah targets in response to anti-tank fire that killed an Israeli civilian.
Hezbollah said they fired Grad rockets from southern Lebanon into Israel in response.
In the occupied West Bank, at least two Palestinians were shot dead during an Israeli arrest raid in Abu Dis, just outside of Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The military said a militant who had set up an armed cell and fired at Israeli forces was killed.
At least 150 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since the start of the war, mainly during violent protests and gunbattles during raids.
Many Israelis have called for Netanyahu to resign and for the return of roughly 240 hostages held by Hamas. Some families are traveling abroad to try to make sure the hostages aren’t forgotten.
Netanyahu has refused to take responsibility for the Oct. 7 attack that killed more than 1,400 people. Ongoing Palestinian rocket fire has forced tens of thousands of people in Israel to leave their homes.
In another reflection of widespread anger in Israel, a junior government minister, Amihai Eliyahu, suggested in a radio interview that Israel could drop an atomic bomb on Gaza. He later called the remarks “metaphorical.” Netanyahu suspended Eliyahu from cabinet meetings, a move with no practical effect.
Among the Palestinians killed in Gaza are 4,008 children, the Gaza Health Ministry said, without providing a breakdown of civilians and fighters.
The Israeli military said 29 of its soldiers have died during the ground operation.


Iran rejects accusations implicating it in plot to kill Donald Trump

Iran rejects accusations implicating it in plot to kill Donald Trump
Updated 10 sec ago
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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.


Israel’s defense minister says Gaza operations allow hostage deal

Israel’s defense minister says Gaza operations allow hostage deal
Updated 17 July 2024
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Israel’s defense minister says Gaza operations allow hostage deal

Israel’s defense minister says Gaza operations allow hostage deal

JERUSALEM: Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told his US counterpart that military operations in the Gaza Strip have created conditions that would enable a hostage deal to be reached, Gallant’s office said on Wednesday.
Gallant made the comments during an overnight call with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, his office said.
“IDF operations in Gaza have led to the conditions necessary to achieve an agreement for the return of hostages, which is the highest moral imperative at this time,” Gallant said, according to the statement.


Hezbollah to hit new Israeli targets if it keeps killing civilians, Nasrallah says

Hezbollah to hit new Israeli targets if it keeps killing civilians, Nasrallah says
Updated 17 July 2024
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Hezbollah to hit new Israeli targets if it keeps killing civilians, Nasrallah says

Hezbollah to hit new Israeli targets if it keeps killing civilians, Nasrallah says
  • Hezbollah refers to all Israeli population centers as settlements and does not recognize Israel
  • Israel and Hezbollah have been trading fire since Hezbollah announced a ‘support front’ with Palestinians

BEIRUT: Hezbollah will hit new targets in Israel if it keeps killing civilians in Lebanon, the group’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Wednesday, noting a spike in the number of non-combatants killed in Lebanon in recent days.
Five civilians, all Syrians and including three children, were killed in Israeli strikes in Lebanon on Tuesday and at least three Lebanese civilians were killed the day before, according to state media and security sources.
“Continuing to target civilians will push the Resistance to launch missiles at settlements that were not previously targeted,” Nasrallah said, in comments made during a televised address to mark the Shiite holy day Ashoura.
Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militant group, refers to all Israeli population centers as settlements and does not recognize Israel.
Israel and Hezbollah have been trading fire since Hezbollah announced a “support front” with Palestinians shortly after its ally Hamas attacked southern Israeli border communities on Oct. 7, triggering Israel’s ensuing military offensive in Gaza.
Iran-aligned groups in the region, including Shiite armed factions in Syria and Iraq and Yemen’s Houthis, have also been firing on Israel since shortly after Oct. 7.
In Lebanon, the fighting has killed more than 100 civilians and more than 300 Hezbollah fighters, according to a Reuters tally, and led to levels of destruction in Lebanese border towns and villages not seen since the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war.
Nasrallah promised that totally or partially destroyed homes would be rebuilt “more beautiful than they were before.”