Killed Israeli hostage’s brother says army ‘murdered’ him

From left: Israeli hostages Alon Shamriz, Samer Al-Talalka and Yotam Haim were mistakenly shot to death by Israeli troops on Dec. 15, 2023 in the Gaza City area of Shijaiyah. (AP)
From left: Israeli hostages Alon Shamriz, Samer Al-Talalka and Yotam Haim were mistakenly shot to death by Israeli troops on Dec. 15, 2023 in the Gaza City area of Shijaiyah. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 18 December 2023
Follow

Killed Israeli hostage’s brother says army ‘murdered’ him

Killed Israeli hostage’s brother says army ‘murdered’ him
  • Israeli troops mistook hostages for a threat and opened fire, killing them

SHEFAYIM, Israel: An Israeli hostage mistakenly killed by soldiers in the Gaza Strip was buried on Sunday, with his brother accusing the army of having “abandoned” and “murdered” him.
Alon Shamriz, 26, was one of the three Israeli hostages shot dead Friday by soldiers during combat in the Gaza City district of Shejaiya, even as they carried a white flag and cried for help in Hebrew.
Shamriz, Yotam Haim and Samer El-Talalqa were killed when troops mistook them for a threat and opened fire, the army said.
“Those who abandoned you also murdered you after all that you did right,” Ido, Shamriz’s brother, said at the funeral attended by dozens of relatives and family members north of Tel Aviv.




Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu poses for a photo with soldiers as he visits an Israeli army base in Tze'elim, Israel November 7, 2023. (REUTERS)

“You survived 70 days in hell,” Shamriz’s mother, Dikla, said in her eulogy. “Another moment and you would have been in my arms.”
Israeli media reported that Talalqa was buried on Saturday, while the funeral for Haim was scheduled on Monday.
The deaths of the three men, all in their twenties, have sparked protests in Tel Aviv, where demonstrators demanded that the authorities offer a new plan for bringing home the remaining 129 hostages still held in the Gaza Strip.
On Sunday military spokesman Richard Hecht said the deaths were being investigated and what the soldiers did was “violation of the rules of engagement.”
Late on Sunday, in a brief statement, the army said a search at a building adjacent to where the incident happened found signs calling for help.
The signs were made using “leftover food.”
“Based on a field investigation, it appears that the three hostages were in the building where the signs were located for some period of time,” the army said.
Photographs of initial findings from the building released along with the statement showed signs of “SOS” and “Help, three hostages.”
Around 250 people were taken captive when Hamas militants attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,139 people, mostly civilians, according to updated Israeli figures.
Vowing to destroy Hamas and bring back the hostages, Israel launched a massive military offensive against the Palestinian Islamist movement which has left much of the Gaza Strip in ruins. The territory’s Hamas government says the war has killed at least 18,800 people, mostly women and children.


More than 569 tons of aid delivered across floating pier into Gaza, says US CENTCOM

More than 569 tons of aid delivered across floating pier into Gaza, says US CENTCOM
Updated 56 min 32 sec ago
Follow

More than 569 tons of aid delivered across floating pier into Gaza, says US CENTCOM

More than 569 tons of aid delivered across floating pier into Gaza, says US CENTCOM

CAIRO: The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Tuesday more than 569 metric tons of humanitarian assistance has been delivered so far across a temporary floating pier to Gaza, but not all the aid has reached warehouses.

Aid deliveries began arriving at a US-built pier on Friday as Israel comes under growing global pressure to allow more supplies into the besieged coastal enclave.

The UN said that 10 truckloads of food aid — transported from the pier site by UN contractors — were received on Friday at a World Food Programme warehouse in Deir El Balah in Gaza.

But on Saturday, only five truckloads made it to the warehouse after 11 others were cleaned out by Palestinians during the journey through an area that a UN official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said has been hard to access with humanitarian aid.

The UN did not receive any aid from the pier on Sunday or Monday.


US says Iran sought help over president crash

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller. (video grab/@StateDeptSpox)
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller. (video grab/@StateDeptSpox)
Updated 21 May 2024
Follow

US says Iran sought help over president crash

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller. (video grab/@StateDeptSpox)
  • “Ultimately, largely for logistical reasons, we were unable to provide that assistance”

WASHINGTON: The United States said Monday that arch-enemy Iran sought assistance over a helicopter crash that killed president Ebrahim Raisi, as Washington meanwhile offered condolences despite saying he had “blood on his hands.”
The State Department said Iran, which has had no diplomatic relations with Washington since the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution, reached out afer Raisi’s aging chopper crashed in foggy weather Sunday.
“We were asked by the Iranian government for assistance,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.
“We said that we would be willing to assist — something that we would do with respect to any government in this situation,” he said.
“Ultimately, largely for logistical reasons, we were unable to provide that assistance.”
He declined to go into detail or describe how the two countries communicated. But he indicated Iran was seeking help in the immediate aftermath to find the helicopter of Raisi, who died along with his foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and seven others.
The crash came after the United States and Iran reportedly held their latest quiet talks in Oman aimed at increasing stability following open clashes between Iran and Israel.
The State Department in a statement offered “official condolences” over the deaths.
“As Iran selects a new president, we reaffirm our support for the Iranian people and their struggle for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” it said.
President Joe Biden’s administration described condolences as standard and not showing support for Raisi, who as a judge presided over mass executions of politicial prisoners and under whose presidency authorities have cracked down on mass protests led by women.
“This was a man who had a lot of blood on his hands,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters, saying Raisi was responsible for “atrocious” abuses.
Kirby said, however, that “as in any other case, we certainly regret in general the loss of life and offered official condolences as appropriate.”
The United States has often but not always offered condolences in the past to leaders it opposed with such messages sent over Joseph Stalin, Kim Il Sung and Fidel Castro.
But the condolence message, along with similar words from European nations, brought anger to some opponents of the clerical state who saw Raisi’s death as reason to celebrate.
Masih Alinejad, a women’s rights activist who US investigators say was the target of an assassination plot in New York engineered by Tehran, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, “Your condolences only pour salt on the wounds of the oppressed.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin indicated that US forces have not changed their posture after the crash in Iran, where decisions are ultimately made by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“I don’t necessarily see any broader regional security impact,” Austin told reporters.
He preemptively denied any US role and said there was no reason to think it was anything other than an accident.
“The United States had no part to play in that crash. That’s a fact, plain and simple,” Austin said.
“It could be a number of things — mechanical failure, pilot error, you name it,” he said.
Iran’s military ordered an investigation. It has often in the past blamed security incidents on Israel and the United States, which both in recent years have struck Iranian targets.
Former foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed the crash on continued US sanctions which have impeded the sale of aviation parts.
Asked about Zarif’s remark, Miller said: “Ultimately, it’s the Iranian government that is responsible for the decision to fly a 45-year-old helicopter in what was described as poor weather conditions, not any other actor.”
 

 


Amal Clooney helped ICC weigh Gaza war crimes evidence

Amal Clooney helped ICC weigh Gaza war crimes evidence
Updated 21 May 2024
Follow

Amal Clooney helped ICC weigh Gaza war crimes evidence

Amal Clooney helped ICC weigh Gaza war crimes evidence
  • Clooney said she was asked by prosecutor Karim Khan to join an expert panel

WASHINGTON: Amal Clooney helped the International Criminal Court weigh evidence that led to the decision to seek arrest warrants for top Israeli and Hamas leaders, the human rights lawyer said Monday.
The high-profile British-Lebanese barrister posted a statement on the website of the Clooney Foundation for Justice, which she founded with her husband, American actor George Clooney.
Both she and the foundation had previously been criticized on social media for not speaking out over the civilian death toll in Gaza.
Clooney said she was asked by prosecutor Karim Khan to join an expert panel to “evaluate evidence of suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and Gaza.”
The statement came the same day Khan said he was seeking arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as top Hamas leaders.
“Despite our diverse personal backgrounds, our legal findings are unanimous,” Clooney said, adding there were “reasonable grounds to believe” that Hamas’ Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh engaged in “hostage-taking, murder and crimes of sexual violence.”
With Netanyahu and Gallant, meanwhile, there are “reasonable grounds to believe” the two have engaged in “starvation as a method of warfare, murder, persecution and extermination.”
Khan thanked Clooney in his statement announcing the decision to seek the arrest warrants.
Clooney and other members of the panel also wrote an opinion piece in the Financial Times on Monday supporting ICC prosecutions for war crimes in the conflict.
As Hamas, Israel and top ally the United States all denounced the move, the experts wrote that they “unanimously agree that the prosecutor’s work was rigorous, fair and grounded in the law and the facts.”
Clooney, in her statement, said that “my approach is not to provide a running commentary of my work but to let the work speak for itself.”
“I served on this panel because I believe in the rule of law and the need to protect civilian lives,” she added.
“The law that protects civilians in war was developed more than 100 years ago and it applies in every country in the world regardless of the reasons for a conflict.”


Israel says retrieved bodies of hostages were in Gaza tunnels

Israel says retrieved bodies of hostages were in Gaza tunnels
Updated 21 May 2024
Follow

Israel says retrieved bodies of hostages were in Gaza tunnels

Israel says retrieved bodies of hostages were in Gaza tunnels
  • Israel has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry

JERUSALEM: The Israeli army said Monday that the bodies of four hostages retrieved from Gaza last week were found in tunnels under Jabalia, where troops have been engaged in fierce fighting in recent days.
The army said last week it had recovered the bodies of Ron Benjamin, Yitzhak Gelerenter, Shani Louk, and Amit Buskila, all of whom it said had been killed in Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel.
Their remains were recovered “from underground tunnels in Jabalia in northern Gaza,” the army said late Monday in a statement.
During a military operation, Israeli soldiers searched a suspected building in which a tunnel shaft was located, the army said.
“Soldiers then entered the underground tunnel route in a night operation and inside it conducted combat,” it said.
During the fighting the soldiers “located the bodies of the hostages and rescued them from the tunnels,” the army said.
Gelerenter, Louk, and Buskila were killed and abducted from the Nova music festival, while Benjamin was killed at the Mefalsim intersection from where his body was taken to Gaza, the army said last week.
Thousands of young people had gathered on October 6 and 7 to dance to electronic music at the Nova festival event held near Re’im kibbutz, close to the Gaza border.
Fighters from Hamas crossed over from Gaza and killed more than 360 people at the festival, Israeli officials have said.
The Nova festival victims accounted for nearly a third of the more than 1,170 people killed in the October 7 attack, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.
Out of the 252 people taken hostage that day, 124 are still being held inside the Gaza Strip, including 37 the army says are dead.
Israel’s retaliatory offensive against Hamas has killed at least 35,562 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to data provided by the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.
Since early May the Israeli military has been engaged in renewed street battles in northern and central Gaza.
On Friday, the army told AFP that the fighting in the northern town of Jalalia was “perhaps the fiercest” in over seven months of war.
Fighting in north and central Gaza erupted again when the military began its assault in the far-southern city of Rafah on May 7.
 

 


Iran’s Raisi ‘unbefitting of condolences’: son of ousted shah

Iran’s Raisi ‘unbefitting of condolences’: son of ousted shah
Updated 21 May 2024
Follow

Iran’s Raisi ‘unbefitting of condolences’: son of ousted shah

Iran’s Raisi ‘unbefitting of condolences’: son of ousted shah

PARIS: Iran’s former president Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash, is not worthy of condolences due to the rights abuses he is accused of overseeing, the son of the late Iranian shah said Monday.

US-based Reza Pahlavi, whose father Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was ousted in the 1979 Islamic revolution and died in exile in 1980, warned the death of Raisi would not affect the policies of the Islamic republic at home or abroad.

“Today, Iranians are not in mourning. Ebrahim Raisi was a brutal mass-murderer unbefitting of condolences,” Pahlavi said in a post on his official Instagram.

“Sympathy with him is an insult to his victims and the Iranian nation whose only regret is that he did not live long enough to see the fall of the Islamic republic and face trial for his crimes,” the former crown prince added.

Rights groups including Amnesty International have long accused Raisi of being a member of a four-man “death committee” involved in approving the executions of thousands of political prisoners, mostly suspected members of the outlawed opposition group People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), in 1988.

As a key figure in the judiciary ever since and then president from 2021, Raisi has also been accused of responsibility over deadly crackdowns on protesters and other violations.

But Pahlavi warned the death of Raisi, as well as that of his foreign minister Hossein-Amir Abdollahian in the same crash, will “not alter the course” of the Islamic republic, where supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has final say.

“This regime will continue its repression at home and aggression abroad,” Pahlavi said.

Pahlavi was a key member of a broad coalition of Iranian exiled opposition groups that joined together in the wake of nationwide protests that erupted in September 2022.

The coalition broke up amid tensions, but he remains an influential figure for some in the diaspora.

Pahlavi’s father the late shah, who was groomed by the West to be a Cold War ally, grew increasingly autocratic during his decades-long rule, using his feared Savak security service to crush political opposition and leading to criticism from Washington of his human rights abuses.