Egypt says bombing in south Gaza is to force people to leave

Egypt says bombing in south Gaza is to force people to leave
Injured and displaced Palestinians arrive in a bus at Nasser Hospital, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip in this screengrab from a handout video released on Nov. 21, 2023. (Reuters)
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Updated 21 November 2023
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Egypt says bombing in south Gaza is to force people to leave

Egypt says bombing in south Gaza is to force people to leave
  • Egypt has clearly declared its utter rejection of any enforced displacement attempt of Palestinians

DUBAI: Egypt’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday bombing targeting displaced people in south Gaza has “a clear objective,” and that is to force the enclave’s residents to leave.
“Egypt has clearly declared its utter rejection of any enforced displacement attempt of Palestinians,” the ministry’s spokesman posted on the social media messaging platform X.


Iran’s presidential candidates debate economic policies ahead of the June 28 vote

Iran’s presidential candidates debate economic policies ahead of the June 28 vote
Updated 6 sec ago
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Iran’s presidential candidates debate economic policies ahead of the June 28 vote

Iran’s presidential candidates debate economic policies ahead of the June 28 vote
  • Five of the candidates are hard-liners while the sixth candidate, lawmaker Masoud Pezeshkian, 69, is a heart surgeon who has the support of some pro-reformers

TEHRAN, Iran: Six presidential candidates on Monday discussed Iran’s economic problems in a four-hour live debate on state TV, ahead of the June 28 presidential election following a helicopter crash last month that killed President Ebrahim Raisi and seven others.
It was the first of five debates planned in the 10 days remaining before the vote in a shortened campaign to replace Raisi, a hard-line protégé of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei once floated as a possible successor to the 85-year-old cleric.
The candidates were to discuss their proposals and plans for Iran’s spiraling economy, struggling under sanctions from the United States and other Western nations.
They all promised they would try and get the sanctions lifted and introduce reforms but none offered any details. The candidates also discussed inflation, the budget deficit, Iran’s housing problem and ways to fight corruption.
The June 28 election comes at a time of heightened tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran’s rapidly advancing nuclear program, its arming of Russia in that country’s war on Ukraine and its wide-reaching crackdowns on dissent.
Iran’s support of militia proxy forces throughout the wider Middle East, meanwhile, have, been increasingly in the spotlight as Iran-backed Yemen’s Houthi rebels attack ships in the Red Sea over the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.
Five of the candidates are hard-liners while the sixth candidate, lawmaker Masoud Pezeshkian, 69, is a heart surgeon who has the support of some pro-reformers.
The most prominent candidate remains Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, 62, a former Tehran mayor with close ties to the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. However, many remember that Qalibaf, as a former Guard general, was part of a violent crackdown on Iranian university students in 1999. He also reportedly ordered live gunfire to be used against students in 2003 while serving as the country’s police chief.
Among those running for president are also Iran’s vice president, Amir Hossein Qazizadeh Hashemi, 53, and the current Tehran mayor, Ali Reza Zakani 58. A member of Supreme National Security Council, 58-year-old Saeed Jalili and cleric Mostafa Pourmohammadi, 64, a previous interior minister under former relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani, are also in the race.
Qalibaf promised he would be a “strong” president who would support the poor, better manage the economy and effort to remove sanctions through diplomatic means.
Pezeshkian said the sanctions were a “disaster” and also lobbied for less restrictions on the Internet. Iran has long blocked Facebook, X, Instagram, Telegram and other major social media platforms and messaging systems, mainly over security concerns
All the candidates pledged to strengthen the country’s currency, the rial, which has plunged to 580,000 against the dollar. The rial was 32,000 to the dollar when Iran and world powers reached a deal with world powers in 2015 on capping Tehran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.
The six stayed away from the topic of the tattered nuclear deal. Khamenei has final say on all major state matters, including nuclear, foreign policy, space and military programs.
Pro-reform figures such as former President Mohammad Khatami and former foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal have backed Pezeshkian, though votes in his favor in his parliamentary constituency in the northwestern city of Tabriz declined from 36 percent to 24 percent of the vote in elections over the past eight years.
Raisi won Iran’s 2021 presidential election in a vote that saw the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history.

 


Israeli anti-government protesters rally in Jerusalem

Israeli anti-government protesters rally in Jerusalem
Updated 30 min 42 sec ago
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Israeli anti-government protesters rally in Jerusalem

Israeli anti-government protesters rally in Jerusalem
  • Israel has killed at least 37,347 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the territory’s health ministry

JERUSALEM: Anti-government protesters took to the streets of Jerusalem on Monday, clashing with police near the house of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and calling for new elections.
Netanyahu once again sits atop one of the most right-wing coalitions in Israel’s history after a wartime unity government fell apart a week ago when two centrist former generals, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, quit.
Netanyahu is now dependent on ultra-Orthodox and far-right partners, whose hard-line agenda caused a major rift in Israeli society even before Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault sparked the war in Gaza.
The often weekly demonstrations have yet to change the political landscape, and Netanyahu still controls a stable majority in parliament.
Following the departures of Gantz and Eisenkot, opposition groups declared a week of street protests that include blocking highways and mass demonstrations.
By sundown, a crowd of thousands had gathered outside the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, before marching to Netanyahu’s private home in the city.
The demonstration grew rowdy. After reaching Netanyahu’s house, some of the protesters broke off and tried to break through barriers set up by the police, who pushed them back. At one point a bonfire was lit in the street. Police used a water canon to disperse the demonstration.
Many waved Israeli flags. Others carried signs criticizing Netanyahu’s handling of pivotal issues, like promoting a divisive military draft bill that exempts ultra-Orthodox Jews from otherwise mandatory service, as well as his handling of the war with Hamas in Gaza and fighting with Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
“The healing process for the country of Israel, it starts here. After last week when Benny Gantz and Eisenkot left the coalition, we are continuing this process and hopefully this government will resign soon,” said protester Oren Shvill. 

 


Israeli negotiator says tens of Gaza hostages ‘alive with certainty’

Israeli negotiator says tens of Gaza hostages ‘alive with certainty’
Updated 18 June 2024
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Israeli negotiator says tens of Gaza hostages ‘alive with certainty’

Israeli negotiator says tens of Gaza hostages ‘alive with certainty’
  • “Tens are alive with certainty,” the official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue

JERUSALEM: A senior Israeli negotiator told AFP Monday that tens of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza are certainly alive and that Israel cannot accept halting the war until all captives are released in a deal.
Hamas militants seized 251 hostages on October 7, of whom Israel believes 116 remain in Gaza, including 41 who the army says are dead.
“Tens are alive with certainty,” the official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.
“We cannot leave them there a long time, they will die,” he said, adding that a vast majority of them were being held by Hamas militants.
US President Joe Biden last month unveiled a three-phase proposal to end the war in Gaza, which includes a ceasefire and the release of hostages held by Hamas.
Biden said the first phase includes a “full and complete ceasefire” lasting six weeks, with Israeli forces withdrawing from “all populated areas of Gaza.”
The official said Israel could not end the conflict with Hamas before a hostage deal because the militants could “breach their commitment... and drag out the negotiations for 10 years” or more.
“We cannot, at this point in time — before signing the agreement — commit to ending the war,” the official said.
“Because during the first phase, there’s a clause that we hold negotiations about the second phase. The second phase is the release of the men and male soldier hostages.”
The official said the Israeli negotiating team had greenlit the Biden plan.
“We expect, and are waiting for, Hamas to say ‘yes,’” the official said.
The Israeli government has yet to publicly approve the Biden plan.
“In the event we don’t reach an agreement with Hamas, the IDF (army) will continue to fight in the Gaza Strip in a no less intense fashion than it’s fighting now,” he said.
“In a different manner, but an intense manner.”
The war between Israel and Hamas broke out after Hamas carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.
Israel’s retaliatory campaign in Gaza has killed at least 37,347 people, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.


Gaza war death toll rises to 37,347

Gaza war death toll rises to 37,347
Updated 17 June 2024
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Gaza war death toll rises to 37,347

Gaza war death toll rises to 37,347
  • This war has proven even deadlier than the displacement from Israel in 1948, said Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American historian at Columbia University, when 20,000 were killed in what is known as the Nakbah
  • Israel’s air and ground campaign in Gaza has killed hundreds of family members from the same bloodline, an unprecedented toll on the small community mostly made up of refugees and their descendants

GAZA STRIP: The Health Ministry in Gaza said on Monday that at least 37,347 people have been killed in the territory during more than eight months of war between Israel and Palestinian militants.
The toll includes at least 10 deaths in the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that a total of 85,372 people had been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war began when Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7.
Dire shortages of food and other essentials in the Gaza Strip have been exacerbated by overland access restrictions and the closure of the key Rafah crossing with Egypt since Israeli forces seized its Palestinian side in early May.
Israel’s air and ground campaign in Gaza has killed hundreds of family members from the same bloodline, an unprecedented toll on the small community mostly made up of refugees and their descendants.
An Associated Press investigation analyzed 10 strikes across the Gaza Strip between October and December that killed over 500 people.
Nearly every Palestinian family has suffered grievous, multiple losses.
But many have been decimated, particularly in the first months of the war.
AP geolocated and analyzed the strikes; consulted with weapons investigators; open data-analysts and legal experts; and drew on data by Airwars, a London-based conflict monitor.
They hit residential buildings and shelters with families inside. In no case was there an obvious military target or direct warning to those inside. In one case the family said they had raised a white flag on their building in a combat zone.
This war has proven even deadlier than the displacement from Israel in 1948, said Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American historian at Columbia University, when 20,000 were killed in what is known as the Nakbah
“I don’t think anything like this has happened in modern Palestinian history,” said Khalidi.
In Gaza City, medics at Al-Ahli Hospital said on Saturday at least five people were killed in two separate airstrikes, and witnesses reported tank shelling in the southern neighbourhood of Zeitun.
At least one strike hit Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, residents said.
Palestinian officials in the far-southern city of Rafah reported tank shelling early on Monday.
Jens Laerke, spokesman for the UN humanitarian agency OCHA, called for “further concrete measures by Israel to address longstanding issues” on humanitarian needs.
Gazans “urgently need food, water, sanitation, shelter, and healthcare, with many living near piles of solid waste, heightening health risks,” Laerke said.

 


US-UK forces launch strikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah and Kamaran Island: Houthi-run Al Masirah TV

US-UK forces launch strikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah and Kamaran Island: Houthi-run Al Masirah TV
Updated 17 June 2024
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US-UK forces launch strikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah and Kamaran Island: Houthi-run Al Masirah TV

US-UK forces launch strikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah and Kamaran Island: Houthi-run Al Masirah TV
  • Despite reprisals from US-British coalition, Houthis have in recent months escalated campaign of attacks in Red Sea

CAIRO: US and British forces have carried out at least six airstrikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah International Airport and four strikes on Kamaran Island near the port of Salif off the Red Sea, Al-Masirah TV, the main television news outlet run by Yemen’s Houthi movement, said on Monday.
The strikes on Kamaran mark the first time US-led coalition forces have targeted the island since airstrikes on Houthi targets began in early February.
Yemen’s internationally-recognized government believes Houthi fighters in the past have used Kamaran Island and Port Salif as a site to launch their Red Sea attacks as well as hide stockpiles of missiles and drones in its salt mines, two military sources within the government told Reuters.
The 10-kilometers of water that stretch from the port of Salif to Kamaran Island are also part of the route that ships must transit through to reach their next port of call.
The Houthis, who control Yemen’s capital and most populous areas, have attacked international shipping in the Red Sea since November in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.
Despite reprisals from the US-British coalition and other navies, the Houthis have in recent months escalated their campaign of attacks on commercial vessels in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.