Israeli army fatally shoots Palestinian boys, 8 and 15, Health Ministry says

Israeli army fatally shoots Palestinian boys, 8 and 15, Health Ministry says
Residents and rescuers check the damage of a house following an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin. (File/AFP)
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Updated 29 November 2023
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Israeli army fatally shoots Palestinian boys, 8 and 15, Health Ministry says

Israeli army fatally shoots Palestinian boys, 8 and 15, Health Ministry says
  • Adam Al-Ghul, Bassem Abu El-Wafa killed in raid on refugee camp

LONDON: Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinian children on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, the Palestinian health ministry reported.

“Adam Al-Ghul, 8 years old, and Bassem Abu El-Wafa, 15 years old, were killed by Israeli bullets,” it said.

CCTV footage of both shootings has been shown on news programs and gone viral online. One clip shows Abu El-Wafa writhing in agony on the ground for at least 30 seconds after being shot.

The killings happened as Israel continued its arrest campaign in Damj neighborhood of the Jenin refugee camp, where residents were forced to flee amid violent clashes, the Palestine News and Information Agency reported.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, the Israeli army prevented its paramedics from reaching people with life-threatening injuries inside the besieged neighborhood.
 


Jordan’s King Abdullah warns of dangers of Israel’s planned Rafah assault

This picture shows President Mahmud Abbas (L) being welcomed by Jordan's King Abdullah II ahead of their meeting in Amman.
This picture shows President Mahmud Abbas (L) being welcomed by Jordan's King Abdullah II ahead of their meeting in Amman.
Updated 56 min 52 sec ago
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Jordan’s King Abdullah warns of dangers of Israel’s planned Rafah assault

This picture shows President Mahmud Abbas (L) being welcomed by Jordan's King Abdullah II ahead of their meeting in Amman.
  • King also said only way to end the decades-old conflict was to find a “political horizon” for Palestinians that would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state

AMMAN: Jordan’s King Abdullah warned on Monday of the dangers of a military operation planned by Israel in Rafah and reiterated his appeal for an immediate ceasefire to help protect civilians in Gaza and bring in aid, the royal palace said.
The king also said the only way to end the decades-old conflict was to find a “political horizon” for Palestinians that would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state on territory Israel occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, including east Jerusalem.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this week the Israeli security cabinet would approve military plans for Rafah — including the evacuation of more than a million displaced Palestinian civilians who have been sheltering there, and whose fate worries world powers.
Almost 30,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, Gaza medical officials say. The Hamas raid of Oct. 7 killed 1,200 people in Israel, which has also lost 241 soldiers in Gaza ground fighting that followed, according to official tallies.
The Jordanian army also arranged on Monday the biggest air drop operation so far to deliver aid to Gaza where the mostly displaced population of 2.3 million is facing crisis levels of hunger, an army statement said.
The operation deployed four C-130 planes including one belonging to the French air force, army spokesperson Mustafa Hiyari said.
Aid was dropped to 11 sites along the Gaza coast from its northern edge to the south for civilians to collect, Hiyari told Reuters. Previous air drops that parachuted in medicines and humanitarian provisions were sent to hospitals the Jordanian army runs in Gaza.


Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile 27 times limit of 2015 deal: IAEA

Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile 27 times limit of 2015 deal: IAEA
Updated 26 February 2024
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Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile 27 times limit of 2015 deal: IAEA

Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile 27 times limit of 2015 deal: IAEA

VIENNA: The UN nuclear watchdog said Tuesday that Iran’s estimated stockpile of enriched uranium had reached 27 times the limit set out in the 2015 accord between Tehran and world powers.
According to a confidential International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report seen by AFP, Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile was estimated at 5,525.5 kilogrammes as of February 10, up by 1,038.7 kilogrammes from the last quarterly report in November.


UN voices alarm as Israel says preparing for Rafah invasion

Palestinians visit a cemetery, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
Palestinians visit a cemetery, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
Updated 26 February 2024
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UN voices alarm as Israel says preparing for Rafah invasion

Palestinians visit a cemetery, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
  • Guterres said Rafah is “the core of the humanitarian aid operation” in the besieged Gaza Strip
  • Israel’s military campaign has killed at least 29,782 people in Gaza, mostly women and children

GAZA STRIP: The UN chief warned Monday that an invasion of Rafah in far-southern Gaza would “put the final nail in the coffin” of aid operations, after Israel said its army had readied a plan to move civilians out of the packed city.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Rafah — where 1.4 million Palestinians live in crowded shelters near the Egyptian border — is also “the core of the humanitarian aid operation” in the besieged Gaza Strip.
As tensions simmered across the region, Israel fired the first strikes on Lebanon’s east since the start of the Gaza war, killing two Hezbollah fighters.
In another shock impact of the almost five-month-old war, Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in the occupied West Bank handed in his government’s resignation to the head of the Palestinian Authority, president Mahmud Abbas.
Shtayyeh cited “the new reality” in Gaza and “the escalation in the West Bank and Jerusalem,” where deadly violence has surged since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7 with the Palestinian group’s attack.
Israel’s top ally Washington and other powers discussing a post-war Gaza have called for a reformed Palestinian Authority to take charge of both the West Bank and Gaza, which has been ruled by Hamas since 2007.
Shtayyeh urged intra-Palestinian consensus after years of rift and the “extension of the Authority’s rule over the entire land of Palestine.”
Heavy fighting raged on in Gaza, where Israeli forces launched strikes and ground operations, killing 92 people overnight according to the Hamas-ruled territory’s health ministry.
Displaced Gazan Sharif Muammar said his son’s body had been pulled from the rubble in Rafah.
“There was no one here — only children, they are all children,” he told AFP.
“There were no fighters at all. We weren’t launching missiles... We barely live.”
Israel’s military campaign has killed at least 29,782 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the ministry.
The war broke out after Hamas launched their unprecedented attack which killed 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official figures.
Militants also took about 250 hostages, 130 of whom remain in Gaza, including 31 presumed dead, according to Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed Sunday that, despite ongoing talks toward a ceasefire, the army will launch a ground invasion of Rafah to achieve “total victory” over Hamas.
Once land operations are launched there, an Israeli victory would be “weeks away,” he said, adding that any truce deal would delay, not prevent, the operation.
On Monday Netanyahu’s office said the military had shown Israel’s war cabinet its plan for evacuating civilians from Rafah.
But no details have been released on where those displaced people could go in war-torn Gaza.
Neighbouring Egypt has built a large walled enclosure next to Gaza, but Cairo has denied any plans to allow the mass flight of refugees across the border.
Foreign governments and aid groups have issued dire warnings that a Rafah invasion would inflict mass casualties.
Guterres warned “an all-out Israeli offensive on the city would not only be terrifying for more than a million Palestinian civilians sheltering there; it would put the final nail in the coffin of our aid programs.”
He said that “nothing can justify Hamas’s deliberate killing, injuring, torturing and kidnapping of civilians” and “nothing justifies the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”
Desperate families in Gaza’s north have scavenged for food as most aid trucks have been halted, with many people eating animal fodder and the meat of slaughtered horses.
“We have no food or drink for ourselves or our children,” Omar Al-Kahlout told AFP, as he waited near Gaza City for aid to arrive.
Dire food shortages in northern Gaza are “a man-made disaster” that can be mitigated, said Philippe Lazzarini, chief of the UN aid agency for Palestinians.
“Famine can still be avoided through genuine political will to grant access and protection to meaningful assistance.”
Aid entering Gaza has halved in February from the previous month, he said.
Mediators meanwhile continued stuttering negotiations toward a ceasefire and hostage release deal, with hopes it can be in place before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in about two weeks.
Media reports suggest the warring parties are weighing a six-week halt to fighting and the initial exchange of dozens of hostages for several hundred Palestinian detainees held by Israel.
An unnamed Israeli official told news site Ynet the “direction is positive,” and Israeli media reported that military and intelligence officials were headed to Qatar for further talks on a deal.
Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani — whose country hosts Hamas leaders and helped broker a one-week truce in November — is due in Paris this week, the French presidency said.
Sheikh Tamim has met Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in Doha and discussed efforts “aimed at reaching an immediate and permanent ceasefire agreement” in Gaza, the official Qatar News Agency said.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned that fighting during Ramadan “will increase the threat of expanding the conflict” which has drawn in armed groups elsewhere in the Middle East.
Israel has exchanged near-daily cross-border fire with Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hamas ally Hezbollah since early October.
Israeli strikes near the Hezbollah-dominated city of Baalbek killed two group members Monday, security sources told AFP, in a rare attack far from the border.
Israel confirmed the strike and said it targeted sites used by Hezbollah for its aerial defense system, after a missile downed an Israeli drone earlier Monday.
Hezbollah fired a volley of 60 rockets at an Israeli military base in response, the group said.


Israel strikes deeper into Lebanon after drone downed by Hezbollah

Israel strikes deeper into Lebanon after drone downed by Hezbollah
Updated 26 February 2024
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Israel strikes deeper into Lebanon after drone downed by Hezbollah

Israel strikes deeper into Lebanon after drone downed by Hezbollah
  • Strikes among deepest into Lebanon since Israel-Hamas war began
  • Three airstrikes hit near Baalbek, targeting convoy of trucks

BEIRUT: Israeli warplanes struck Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley on Monday, killing at least two Hezbollah members in its deepest attack into Lebanese territory since hostilities erupted with the Iran-backed group last October, sources in Lebanon said.
Underlining the risks of escalation, Hezbollah responded by firing 60 rockets at an Israeli army headquarters in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the group’s Al-Manar television reported. An Israeli army spokesperson said dozens of rockets were fired toward the Golan Heights from Lebanon.
The attacks marked an intensification of the worst violence between the heavily armed Hezbollah and Israel since their 2006 war, fueling concern of the potential for further escalation and regional spillover of the Gaza war.
The Israeli army said its fighter jets had struck Hezbollah air defenses in the Bekaa Valley in response to the downing of an Israeli drone, which Hezbollah said it had shot down with a surface-to-air missile earlier on Monday.
The airstrikes hit part of the Bekaa Valley region near the Syrian border which is a political stronghold of the Shiite Islamist Hezbollah. The targeted area was some 18 km (11 miles) from the city of Baalbek, which is known for its ancient ruins.
The sources said Israel had carried out simultaneous strikes in the area. A Lebanese security source and a source familiar with the matter said two Hezbollah members had been killed.
Lebanese television station Al-Jadeed broadcast images of plumes of smoke rising from the area.
Hezbollah politician Hassan Fadlallah said Israel had widened its strikes by hitting Baalbek and other areas, and was seeking to “compensate” for the downing of its drone.
“Its aggression on Baalbek or any other areas will not remain without response,” he said in televised remarks delivered at the funeral of a Hezbollah fighter killed in recent days.
An Israeli airstrike also hit a car in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV reported. A security source in Lebanon said at least one person had been killed.
The Israeli military said it would “continue operating to defend the State of Israel from the threat of Hezbollah terrorist organization, including in aerial operations above Lebanese territory.”
Hezbollah has been waging a campaign of attacks on targets at the border with Israel since the Oct. 7 raid from the Gaza Strip by its Palestinian ally Hamas. Hezbollah describes it as an effort to support Palestinians under Israeli fire in Gaza.

ISRAEL SAYS TO ‘INCREASE THE FIRE’ ON HEZBOLLAH
The hostilities have largely played out in areas near the Lebanese-Israeli border, but last week widened when Israel struck an area just south of the coastal city of Sidon.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant indicated on Sunday that Israel planned to increase attacks on Hezbollah in the event of a possible ceasefire in the Gaza conflict.
“If a temporary pause is reached in Gaza, we will increase the fire in the north separately, and will continue until the full withdrawal of Hezbollah [from the border] and the return of Israeli citizens to their homes,” he said.
The violence has uprooted tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border.
Hezbollah said earlier on Monday it had shot down an Israeli Hermes 450 drone over Lebanese territory with a surface-to-air missile.
The Israeli military said two missile launches had targeted an Israeli Air Force unmanned aerial vehicle operating over Lebanon. The first, it said, was intercepted by Israel’s “David’s Sling” Aerial Defense System but the drone “fell inside Lebanese territory” after a second launch.
Israeli strikes since October have killed some 50 civilians in Lebanon, in addition to some 200 Hezbollah fighters.
Attacks from Lebanon into Israel have killed a dozen Israeli soldiers troops and five civilians. 


Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh resigns

Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh resigns
Updated 26 February 2024
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Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh resigns

Palestinian Prime Minister Shtayyeh resigns
  • Move comes amid growing US pressure on President Mahmoud Abbas to shake up Palestinian Authority
  • Shtayyeh says he is resigning to allow broader consensus among Palestinians following Israel’s war on Gaza

RAMALLAH: Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday he was resigning to allow for the formation of a broad consensus among Palestinians about political arrangements following Israel’s war against the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.
The move comes amid growing US pressure on President Mahmoud Abbas to shake up the Palestinian Authority as international efforts have intensified to stop the fighting in Gaza and begin work on a political structure to govern the enclave after the war.
His resignation must still be accepted by Abbas, who may ask him to stay on as caretaker until a permanent replacement is appointed.
In a statement to cabinet, Shtayyeh, an academic economist who took office in 2019, said the next stage would need to take account of the emerging reality in Gaza, which has been laid waste by nearly five months of heavy fighting.
He said the next stage would “require new governmental and political arrangements that take into account the emerging reality in the Gaza Strip, the national unity talks, and the urgent need for an inter-Palestinian consensus.”
In addition, it would require “the extension of the Authority’s authority over the entire land, Palestine.”
The Palestinian Authority, formed 30 years ago under the interim Oslo peace accords, exercises limited governance over parts of the occupied West Bank but lost power in Gaza following a struggle with Hamas in 2007.
Fatah, the faction that controls the PA, and Hamas have made efforts to reach an agreement over a unity government and are due to meet in Moscow on Wednesday. A senior Hamas official said the move had to be followed by a broader agreement on governance for the Palestinians.
“The resignation of Shtayyeh’s government only makes sense if it comes within the context of national consensus on arrangements for the next phase,” senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters.