Israeli army says biggest Hamas tunnel found

Israeli army says biggest Hamas tunnel found
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Israeli soldiers operate on December 15, 2023, in an iron-girded tunnel designed by Hamas to disgorge carloads of Palestinian fighters for a surprise storming of the border. (Reuters)
Israeli army says biggest Hamas tunnel found
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Israeli soldiers are seen near the opening of an iron-girded tunnel designed by Hamas to disgorge carloads of Palestinian fighters for a surprise storming of the border. (Reuters)
Israeli army says biggest Hamas tunnel found
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In this picture taken during a media tour organized by the Israeli military on December 15, 2023, soldiers stand at the entrance of a tunnel that Hamas reportedly used to attack Israel through the Erez border crossing on October 7. (AFP)
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Updated 18 December 2023
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Israeli army says biggest Hamas tunnel found

Israeli army says biggest Hamas tunnel found
  • The Gaza war started when Hamas militants burst through high-security border fence on October 7 and carried out the worst-ever attack on Israel
  • French FM, visiting Tel Aviv, calls for an “immediate and durable” truce as Netanyahu says Israel will fight until Hamas is eliminated

GAZA STRIP, Palestinian Territories: Israel’s army said Sunday it had found a vast Hamas tunnel as it pressed its offensive in Gaza despite growing international calls for a ceasefire and pleas from relatives to bring home the remaining hostages.

Israel’s army said it had uncovered the biggest Hamas tunnel so far near the border crossing at Erez — large enough for small vehicles to use, an AFP photographer reported.
Israel said the tunnel cost millions of dollars and took years to construct, featuring rails, electricity, drainage and a communications network.

The Gaza war started when Hamas militants burst through Gaza’s high-security border fence on October 7 and carried out the worst-ever attack on Israel, killing 1,139 people, mostly civilians, and abducting around 250, according to updated Israeli figures.
The Israeli army says 121 soldiers have died in the ground operations that began late in October to accompany relentless aerial and artillery bombardment.




Israeli soldiers operate on December 15, 2023, in an iron-girded tunnel designed by Hamas to disgorge carloads of Palestinian fighters for a surprise storming of the border. (Reuters)

The bloodiest ever Gaza war has devastated much of the Palestinian territory, sparking global concern.
Dozens more were killed in Israeli strikes on Sunday, said the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory where authorities report more than 18,800 people, mostly women and children, have been killed.
Most of Gaza’s population has been displaced as homes are bombed and they struggle to find fuel, food, water and medicine.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again vowed: “We will fight until the end. We will achieve all of our aims” — eliminating Hamas, freeing all hostages and ensuring that Gaza will not again become “a center for terrorism.”
But French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, visiting Tel Aviv, was the latest envoy to call for an “immediate and durable” truce.
“Too many civilians are being killed,” she said.
France also condemned an Israel bombardment that caused the death of one of its foreign ministry officials who had taken refuge in Rafah, southern Gaza.
Colonna’s British and German counterparts, David Cameron and Annalena Baerbock, also said too many civilians had been killed. But it was not, they said, the right time to call for “a general and immediate ceasefire, hoping it somehow becomes permanent.”
That, they wrote in Britain’s Sunday Times, would ignore the threat Israel faces from Hamas.
Pope Francis deplored the death of a Christian mother and daughter who, according to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, were shot dead by an Israeli soldier at Gaza’s only Catholic church, where families were sheltering.
“This happened even inside the parish of the Holy Family where there are no terrorists, but families, children, sick or disabled people,” the pope said.
The United Nations estimates that 1.9 million Gazans — around 80 percent — have been displaced by the war.
“I would not be surprised if people start dying of hunger, or a combination of hunger, disease, weak immunity,” said Philippe Lazzarini, head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.
They have also faced repeated communications outages but on Sunday Gaza’s main telecoms firm said mobile and Internet service had been gradually restored after field teams fixed “the main damaged site.”

In what was once the courtyard of Kamal Adwan hospital in northern Gaza, Palestinians waded through the rubble, searching for corpses.
The Hamas health ministry had reported on Tuesday that Israeli troops stormed the hospital during a days-long “siege.” Israel’s army said Hamas had used the facility as a command center. It has made similar accusations about other hospitals, claims Hamas had denied.
Outside the hospital courtyard, which showed tank and bulldozer tracks, Abu Mohammed, who came to look for his son, stood crying.
“I don’t know how I will find him,” he said, pointing to the debris.
The Israeli government has come under growing pressure, including from its top ally the United States, but also from families of hostages, to either slow, suspend or end the military campaign.
Washington provides Israel with billions of dollars in military aid.
There are 129 hostages still in Gaza, Israel says, and relatives again rallied in Tel Aviv on Saturday to call for a deal to bring them home after the army admitted to mistakenly killing three of the captives in the territory.
On Sunday weeping relatives of one of the three men, Alon Shamriz, 26, wept and clung to each on grief at his burial near Tel Aviv.
At the funeral, Shamriz’s brother said the government “abandoned” and “murdered you.”
Israel’s military has said the soldiers had violated rules of engagement.
Netanyahu said the killing of the three “broke the whole nation’s heart” but that military pressure was necessary to bring back the other captives and win the war.
One hostage already freed, German-Israeli Raz Ben-Ami, 57, spoke of the “daily humiliation, mental, physical,” she endured, including one meal a day and no proper toilets.
Qatar, which helped mediate a truce last month that saw 80 Israeli hostages exchanged for 240 jailed Palestinians, said there were “ongoing diplomatic efforts to renew the humanitarian pause.”
But Hamas said on Telegram it was “against any negotiations for the exchange of prisoners until the aggression against our people ceases completely.”

The Gaza war has also seen violence spiral in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Israeli forces killed five Palestinians Sunday morning at a West Bank refugee camp, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Israel’s army said air strikes had targeted militants who had endangered soldiers.
More than 290 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the West Bank since the war erupted, health officials say.
The war has also raised fears of a broader Middle East conflict.
Israeli forces and Iran-backed Hezbollah militants are exchanging regular fire across Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.
Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, saying they want to pressure Israel, have launched attacks on passing vessels in the vital Red Sea shipping zone, forcing major companies to redirect vessels.
Israeli air strikes against targets near Damascus on Sunday wounded two Syrian soldiers, the Syrian defense ministry said.
Israel primarily targets Iran-backed forces and Hezbollah fighters, as well as Syrian army positions in the country, and has stepped up such attacks since October 7.
 


UK Foreign Secretary visits Israel and West Bank and calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza

UK Foreign Secretary visits Israel and West Bank and calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza
Updated 5 sec ago
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UK Foreign Secretary visits Israel and West Bank and calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza

UK Foreign Secretary visits Israel and West Bank and calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza
TEL AVIV: The new British foreign secretary called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories on Sunday, his second international trip since Labour’s resounding victory in elections earlier this month.
David Lammy said the ongoing war in Gaza is “intolerable” and stressed in meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leadership that Britain wants to assist with diplomatic efforts “securing a ceasefire deal and creating the space for a credible and irreversible pathway toward a two-state solution.”
Lammy met Sunday in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and in the West Bank city of Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He will meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Monday. During his visit, Lammy will also meet with families of hostages currently being held in Gaza who have ties to the UK He called for the release of all hostages and a dramatic increase in the amount of humanitarian aid entering Gaza.
Lammy demanded Israel halt settlement expansion in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, and said that the Palestinian Authority needs to be “reformed and empowered.”
Both Lammy’s Labour Party and the previous Conservative government initially avoided calling for an immediate ceasefire in the war, using phrases like “humanitarian pause.” But the language has got stronger. Prime Minister Keir Starmer told Netanyahu last week there was a “clear and urgent need for a ceasefire.”
Labour’s stance on the Gaza war cost it votes in this month’s UK election. Although the party won in a landslide, pro-Palestinian independents defeated Labour candidates in several seats with large Muslim populations.
Lammy’s comments came the day after Israel said it had targeted Hamas’ shadowy military commander in a massive strike Saturday in the crowded southern Gaza Strip that killed at least 90 people, including children, according to local health officials.
Top Hamas officials said on Sunday that the negotiations for a possible ceasefire deal had not been halted because of the attack. Hamas also denied that Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif, the target of the strike, was killed and said Israel’s “false claims are merely a cover-up for the scale of the horrific massacre.”
Deif and Hamas’ top official in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, are believed by Israel to be the chief architects of the Oct. 7 attack that killed some 1,200 people in southern Israel and kidnapped 250, triggering the Israel-Hamas war.
Since then, Israeli ground offensives and bombardments have killed more than 38,400 people in Gaza and wounded more than 88,000, according to the territory’s Health Ministry. The ministry does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count.

Israeli police kill car-ramming suspect after pedestrians injured

Israeli police kill car-ramming suspect after pedestrians injured
Updated 14 July 2024
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Israeli police kill car-ramming suspect after pedestrians injured

Israeli police kill car-ramming suspect after pedestrians injured
  • Paramedics said two of the injured were in a serious condition

JERUSALEM: Israeli police shot dead a car driver supected of ramming into pedestrians waiting at a bus stop in a town on Sunday and injured four people, a spokesman said.
Police called it a “suspected terrorist attack” and said the driver had been “neutralized” during the incident at Nir Tzvi near the city of Lod, in central Israel.
Video footage widely shared on social media and broadcast on Israeli television showed a white car on the pavement next to a bus shelter and uniformed men firing at the car. Traffic is halted on the major highway.
The four wounded were taken to hospital. Paramedics said two of the injured were in a serious condition, with police saying one of the victims was in a “critical” state.
In a statement released by a first aid group, the paramedic Michelle Rashkovski said, “When we arrived at the scene, we saw a vehicle that had hit pedestrians stopped at a bus shelter. We immediately called additional forces to the scene.”


UAE appoints Hamdan bin Mohammed as deputy PM in cabinet reshuffle

UAE appoints Hamdan bin Mohammed as deputy PM in cabinet reshuffle
Updated 14 July 2024
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UAE appoints Hamdan bin Mohammed as deputy PM in cabinet reshuffle

UAE appoints Hamdan bin Mohammed as deputy PM in cabinet reshuffle

DUBAI: The UAE has announced a cabinet reshuffle that includes the appointment of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum as minister of defense and deputy prime minister, Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, said on X on Sunday.

“Sheikh Hamdan is a leader who loves his people and his people love him. We have immense confidence that he will be a great addition to the UAE government and a major contributor to shaping the country’s future,” Sheikh Mohammed said on X.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan has also been named a deputy prime minister while he retains his role as minister of foreign affairs.

Other major appointments included naming Sarah Al-Amiri as Minister of Education; Ahmed Belhoul as Minister of Sports; Abdul Rahman Al-Awar as acting minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research; and Alia Al-Mazroui as Minister of State for Entrepreneurship. 

 


EU naval mission says it destroyed aerial drone in Gulf of Aden

EU naval mission says it destroyed aerial drone in Gulf of Aden
Updated 14 July 2024
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EU naval mission says it destroyed aerial drone in Gulf of Aden

EU naval mission says it destroyed aerial drone in Gulf of Aden

ATHENS: The EU naval mission protecting ships crossing the Red Sea said that its frigate Psara had destroyed an unmanned aerial drone in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday.
The Aspides mission began in February in response to drone and missile attacks by Iranian-aligned Houthi militants on vessels in the region. The Houthis describe the attacks as acts of solidarity with Palestinians in Israel’s war in Gaza.
Other countries, including the United States, also have naval forces operating in the area.


Hamas says it has not withdrawn from ceasefire talks after latest Israeli attacks

Hamas says it has not withdrawn from ceasefire talks after latest Israeli attacks
Updated 14 July 2024
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Hamas says it has not withdrawn from ceasefire talks after latest Israeli attacks

Hamas says it has not withdrawn from ceasefire talks after latest Israeli attacks
  • Senior Hamas official tells AFP group has withdrawn from Gaza ceasefire talks because of Israeli “massacres”
  • Another Hamas official confirms Gaza ceasefire talks are still on
  • Militant group says leader Mohammed Deif is ‘fine’ after Israeli strike

GAZA STRIP: Hamas has not withdrawn from ceasefire talks after this weekend's deadly Israeli attacks in Gaza, one of the group's senior officials said on Sunday.
The statement from Izzat El-Reshiq, a member of the political office of Hamas, also accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of trying to derail efforts by Arab mediators and the United States to reach a ceasefire deal, according to Reuters.
The escalation in attacks by Netanyahu and his government aims to thwart efforts to end conflict, Reshiq said.
Conflicting reports emerged earlier on Sunday when a senior Hamas official told AFP Sunday that the Palestinian militant group has withdrawn from talks on a ceasefire in the Gaza war because of Israeli “massacres” and its attitude in negotiations.
Another Hamas official said the group’s military leader Mohammed Deif was “fine” and working despite Israel’s huge bomb attack on a southern Gaza camp that it said targeted the wanted Hamas commander.
Gaza’s health ministry said the attack left 92 dead.

The senior official quoted by AFP said Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh told international mediators Qatar and Egypt of the end of the talks on a ceasefire plan first outlined by US President Joe Biden in May.

Haniyeh said Hamas would “halt negotiations due to the occupation’s (Israel) lack of seriousness, continued policy of procrastination and obstruction, and the ongoing massacres against unarmed civilians,” according to the official.
“Hamas has shown great flexibility to reach an agreement and end the aggression and is ready to resume negotiations when the occupation government demonstrates seriousness in reaching a ceasefire agreement and a prisoner exchange deal.

However, two Egyptian security sources at ceasefire talks in Doha and Cairo said on Saturday that negotiations had been halted after three days of intense talks.

ATTACKS ON AL-MAWASI CAMP 
The first phase of the deal would have seen a six-week ceasefire with the exchange of most hostages taken in Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Haniyeh said in a statement late Saturday that he had called the mediators and other countries to urge them to put pressure on Israel to halt the attacks.
Israel said Deif, who it considers one of the “masterminds” of the October 7 attacks, was the target of the strikes on the Al-Mawasi camp in southern Gaza where tens of thousands of displaced Palestinians from other districts have gathered.
But Hamas, without confirming that Deif was at the camp, said he was alive and working.
“Commander Mohammed Deif is well and directly overseeing Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades and resistance operations,” the official said, referring to Hamas’s armed wing.
The October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.
The militants also seized 251 hostages, 116 of whom remain in Gaza, including 42 the military says are dead.
Israel has responded with a military offensive that has killed at least 38,443 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to figures from the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.