Israel’s Netanyahu calls on Hamas militants to ‘surrender now’

Israel’s Netanyahu calls on Hamas militants to ‘surrender now’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023. (AP)
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Updated 11 December 2023
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Israel’s Netanyahu calls on Hamas militants to ‘surrender now’

Israel’s Netanyahu calls on Hamas militants to ‘surrender now’
  • The militants late on Sunday boasted of success in their fight with Israeli forces in Gaza

JERUSALEM: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called for Hamas militants to lay down their arms, saying the Palestinian Islamist group’s end was near, as the war in the Gaza Strip raged more than two months after it began.
“The war is still ongoing but it is the beginning of the end of Hamas. I say to the Hamas terrorists: It’s over. Don’t die for (Yahya) Sinwar. Surrender now,” Netanyahu said in a statement, referring to the chief of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“In the past few days, dozens of Hamas terrorists have surrendered to our forces,” Netanyahu said.
The military has, however, not released proof of militants surrendering, and Hamas has rejected such claims.
Almost one month ago, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Hamas had “lost control” of Gaza.
The militants late on Sunday boasted of success in their fight with Israeli forces in Gaza.
Izzat Al-Rishq, a senior member of the Hamas political bureau, said history would “remember Gaza as the clearest of victories” for the Palestinian militants.
“The end of the occupation has begun in Gaza,” Rishq said.
Hamas triggered the conflict with the deadliest-ever attack on Israel on October 7 in which it killed around 1,200 people, according to Israeli figures, and dragged around 240 hostages back to Gaza.
Israel has responded with a relentless military offensive that has reduced much of Gaza to rubble and killed at least 17,997 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.


Arab Parliament denounces Israel for constructing watchtower on Al-Aqsa’s western wall

Arab Parliament denounces Israel for constructing watchtower on Al-Aqsa’s western wall
Updated 47 min 47 sec ago
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Arab Parliament denounces Israel for constructing watchtower on Al-Aqsa’s western wall

Arab Parliament denounces Israel for constructing watchtower on Al-Aqsa’s western wall
  • Arab Parliament said that the Israeli occupation aims to change the historical, political, demographic, and legal reality of the occupied city of Jerusalem
  • Parliament called for urgent international intervention to end Israeli violations at Islam’s third holiest site and to take all measures to stop the ethnic cleansing

The Cairo-based Arab Parliament has condemned the construction of a watchtower on the western wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the installation of surveillance cameras on it by Israeli authorities.

It held Israel accountable for the consequences of such practices, saying it “exceeded all limits of provoking Muslims around the world and expanding the circle of ongoing aggression against the Palestinian people.”

It added that the “occupation’s measures are invalid, illegitimate, illegal, and a blatant violation of international law and UN and UNESCO resolutions, in light of the genocidal war and ethnic cleansing” in Gaza.

The organization said that the “Israeli occupation aims to change the historical, political, demographic, and legal reality of the occupied city of Jerusalem and its sanctities and to erase the Palestinian Arab identity.”

The Arab Parliament called for urgent international intervention to end Israeli violations at Islam’s third holiest site and to take all measures to stop the “ethnic cleansing to which the Palestinian people are subjected.”

On Sunday, Israeli forces installed surveillance cameras on the watchtower they built on the western wall of the mosque, according to the Palestinian WAFA news agency.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned the move and denounced the Israeli forces’ daily incursions into the mosque compound and Israeli attempts to “change the historical, political, demographic, and legal reality of Jerusalem.”


Palestinian FM says Hamas knows it cannot be in new govt

Palestinian FM says Hamas knows it cannot be in new govt
Updated 28 February 2024
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Palestinian FM says Hamas knows it cannot be in new govt

Palestinian FM says Hamas knows it cannot be in new govt
  • “The time now is not for a government where Hamas will be part of it, because, in this case, then it will be boycotted by a number of countries, as happened before,” he said

GENEVA: Palestinian foreign minister Riyad Al-Maliki said Wednesday he believes Hamas understands why it should not be part of a new government in the Palestinian territories.
Maliki told a press conference that a “technocratic” government was needed, without the group which is fighting a bitter war against Israel.
“The time now is not for a national coalition government,” Al-Maliki said.
“The time now is not for a government where Hamas will be part of it, because, in this case, then it will be boycotted by a number of countries, as happened before,” he told the UN correspondents’ association.
“We don’t want to be in a situation like that. We want to be accepted and engaging fully with the international community,” he explained.
Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced Monday the resignation of his government, which rules parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, citing the need for change after the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza ends.
A decree from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said the government will stay on in an interim capacity until a new one is formed.
Maliki said the priority was engaging the international community on to help provide emergency relief to Palestinians, and then looking at how Gaza could be reconstructed.
“Later, when the situation is right, then we could contemplate that option. But what comes first is how to salvage the situation. How to salvage innocent Palestinian lives. How to stop this insane war and how to be able to protect Palestinian people,” he said.
“That’s why I think Hamas should understand this, and I do believe that they are in support of the idea to establish, today, a technocratic government.
“A government that is based on experts, individuals who are completely committed to take up the reins and the responsibility for this period — a difficult one — and to move the whole country into a period of transition into a stable kind of situation where, at the end, we might be able to think about elections.
“And after elections, the outcome of the elections will determine the type of government that will govern the state of Palestine later.”
Maliki is in Geneva to attend the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The war in Gaza began after Hamas launched an attack on October 7 that killed about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli figures.
Hamas militants also took hostages, 130 of whom remain in Gaza.
Israel’s retaliatory bombardment and ground offensive in Gaza have killed at least 29,954 people, most of them women and children, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.


Turkish drones kill 3 in an attack on a local Christian militia in northeastern Syria, officials say

Turkish drones kill 3 in an attack on a local Christian militia in northeastern Syria, officials say
Updated 28 February 2024
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Turkish drones kill 3 in an attack on a local Christian militia in northeastern Syria, officials say

Turkish drones kill 3 in an attack on a local Christian militia in northeastern Syria, officials say
  • The force that was targeted, the local Christian Syriac police known as Sutoro, works under the US-backed and Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria
  • The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said three Suturo police members were killed, as well as one civilian

BEIRUT: Turkish drone strikes in northeastern Syria on Wednesday killed at least three members of a local Christian force and wounded others, including civilians, a Kurdish official and a Syrian opposition war monitor said.
There was no immediate comment from Ankara on Wednesday’s airstrikes. Turkiye has been attacking Kurdish fighters in Syria for years but attacks on the fighters from the country’s Christian minority have been rare.
The force that was targeted, the local Christian Syriac police known as Sutoro, works under the US-backed and Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.
Siamand Ali of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces told The Associated Press that the Turkish drones initially hit three Suturo vehicles near the northeastern town of Malikiyah. When a fourth vehicle, a pick-up truck, arrived at the scene to retrieve the casualties from the strike, it also came under attack, he said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said three Suturo police members were killed, as well as one civilian.
The Observatory said the attack was the latest of 65 such strikes so far this year in northeastern Syria that have killed 18 people, mostly Kurdish fighters.
Turkiye often launches strikes against targets in Syria and Iraq it believes to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK — a banned Kurdish separatist group that has waged an insurgency against Turkiye since the 1980s. Turkiye says that the main Kurdish militia in Syria, known as People’s Defense Units, or YPG, is an affiliate of the PKK.
Turkiye’s state-run Anadolu Agency however, reported on Tuesday that the Turkish intelligence agency, MIT, had killed a senior Kurdish fighter member in an operation in the northern Syrian town of Qamishli.
The report identified the woman operative as Emine Seyid Ahmed, a Syrian national, who allegedly went by the code name of “Azadi Derik.”
She reportedly joined the Kurdish Women Protection Units, or YPJ, in 2011 and allegedly planned a number of attacks against Turkish security forces as well as cross-border missile attacks targeting civilians in Turkiye, Anadolu reported.


Syrian man dies of wounds from anti-Assad protest

Syrian man dies of wounds from anti-Assad protest
Updated 28 February 2024
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Syrian man dies of wounds from anti-Assad protest

Syrian man dies of wounds from anti-Assad protest
  • It was the first fatality linked to demonstrations about economic conditions that swept across Sweida

DAMASCUS: A Syrian man died of gunshot wounds sustained in a protest against President Bashar Assad in the southern flashpoint province of Sweida on Wednesday, a medical source and two local monitors said.
It was the first fatality reported that was linked to the demonstrations about economic conditions that swept across Druze-majority Sweida last year and quickly spiralled into rallies against Assad.
Suwayda 24, a local news website, reported that a 52-year-old man succumbed to gunshot wounds after security forces guarding a government building shot at nearby protesters.
A local medical source and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the 13-year war, confirmed the fatality.
Suwayda 24 said the spiritual head of the Druze sect Sheikh Hikmat Al-Hijri met with protesters on Wednesday and said the man was a “martyr.”
Last August, steep gasoline prices sparked mass protests across Sweida, a province that had largely been spared the violence that has ravaged the rest of Syria since 2011, when Assad’s crackdown on demonstrations against him sparked a full-blown war.
The demonstrators swiftly turned their criticism to Assad and demanded sweeping political changes. Across the province, scores of local branches of the ruling Baath party were forced shut by protesters tearing down posters of the president and his father, a rare show of defiance in areas under government rule.


Hamas claims rocket fire on north Israel from south Lebanon

Hamas claims rocket fire on north Israel from south Lebanon
Updated 28 February 2024
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Hamas claims rocket fire on north Israel from south Lebanon

Hamas claims rocket fire on north Israel from south Lebanon
  • Hamas’s armed wing the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement it targeted two Israeli military sites with two barrages of “Grad rockets“
  • The Israeli military said in a statement that “approximately 10 launches which crossed from Lebanon into northern Israel were identified“

BEIRUT: The military wing of Palestinian group Hamas on Wednesday said it fired a volley of rockets toward northern Israel from south Lebanon, amid escalating exchanges at the Lebanon-Israel border in recent days.
Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, has exchanged near-daily fire with the Israeli army since war erupted between Israel and the Gaza-based Palestinian militant group in October, while Palestinian groups in Lebanon have also occasionally claimed attacks.
Hamas’s armed wing the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement it targeted two Israeli military sites with two barrages of “Grad rockets.”
The attack from south Lebanon came in “response to Zionist massacres against civilians in the Gaza Strip and the assassination of martyred leaders and their brothers in the southern suburbs” of Beirut, the statement added.
The Israeli military said in a statement that “approximately 10 launches which crossed from Lebanon into northern Israel were identified,” adding that sirens had sounded in north Israel’s Kiryat Shmona area.
Air defenses “successfully intercepted a number of the launches,” the statement said, adding that the army “struck the sources of the fire in Lebanon.”
Israeli police reported property damage in the Kiryat Shmona area but no wounded.
A strike in January, which a United States defense official said was carried out by Israel, killed Hamas’s deputy leader Saleh Al-Aruri and six militants in Hezbollah’s south Beirut stronghold — the most high-profile Hamas figure to be killed during the war.
This month, security sources told AFP a senior Hamas officer had survived an assassination attempt south of Beirut.
The escalating cross-border exchanges since October 8, the day after the Israel-Hamas war erupted, have stoked fears of all-out war on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.
The exchanges have killed at least 284 people on the Lebanese side, most of them Hezbollah fighters but also including 44 civilians, according to an AFP tally.
At least 24 fighters from Palestinian groups including from 10 Hamas are also among the dead.
On the Israeli side, 10 soldiers and six civilians have been killed, according to the Israeli army.