Hamas officials say Gaza war deaths top 24,000

Relatives mourn over one body during the funeral of Ahmed and Jalal Jabarin, who were shot dead by Israeli troops when their car broke through a checkpoint near the city of Hebron, in the southern West Bank village of Sair, east of Hebron, on January 15, 2024. (AFP)
Relatives mourn over one body during the funeral of Ahmed and Jalal Jabarin, who were shot dead by Israeli troops when their car broke through a checkpoint near the city of Hebron, in the southern West Bank village of Sair, east of Hebron, on January 15, 2024. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 15 January 2024
Follow

Hamas officials say Gaza war deaths top 24,000

Hamas officials say Gaza war deaths top 24,000
  • A missile struck a US-owned cargo ship off Yemen on Monday, a British security agency and maritime risk company said, a day after the Houthis fired a cruise missile at an American destroyer
  • United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres again called for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, “to ensure sufficient aid gets to where it is needed

GAZA STRIP, Palestinian Territories: Health officials in Hamas-run Gaza reported on Monday more than 24,000 deaths in the war with Israel which has rocked the region, and militants released a video announcing the death of two Israeli hostages.
Deadly violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, exchanges of fire over Israel’s border with Lebanon, and strikes by United States forces and Iran-backed Yemeni rebels in the Red Sea, have all raised fears of an escalation beyond the Gaza Strip.
The war, sparked by unprecedented Hamas attacks on Israel, has created a humanitarian catastrophe for the 2.4 million people in the besieged strip, the United Nations and aid groups warn, and reduced much of the territory to rubble.
The health ministry in Gaza, ruled by Hamas since 2007, reported more than 60 “martyrs” overnight, in what the group’s media office described as “intense” Israeli bombardment.
The Hamas government media office said two hospitals, a girls’ school and “dozens” of homes were hit.
In a statement released with the video, Hamas’s armed wing the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades blamed “the Zionist army’s bombing” for the death of two male hostages.
The video showed a woman hostage, speaking under duress, revealing that two men she was held captive with had been killed in captivity.
Hospitals in Gaza have been hit repeatedly since the war erupted, and the World Health Organization (WHO) says most of them are no longer functioning.
The Israeli military accuses Hamas militants of operating out of civilian facilities or from tunnels under them, a charge the Islamist group denies.
AFPTV footage showed smoke billowing over Khan Yunis, southern Gaza’s main city, as explosions could be heard from nearby Rafah, on the territory’s southern border with Egypt.
Israel’s army said it had struck “two terrorists loading weapons into a vehicle” in Khan Yunis, raided “a Hamas command center” there and seized weapons.
In central Israel, which has been largely spared the current violence, a suspected car ramming attack on Monday killed one woman and injured 17 other people, medics said, and police arrested two Palestinian suspects.

Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack that triggered the war resulted in about 1,140 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.
The militants also seized about 250 hostages, 132 of whom Israel says remain in Gaza, including at least 25 believed to have been killed.
Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel launched a relentless military campaign that has killed at least 24,100 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the territory’s health ministry.
The UN says more than three months of fighting have displaced roughly 85 percent of Gaza’s population, crowded into shelters and struggling to get food, water, fuel and medical care.
As temperatures plunge, families living in makeshift tents in Rafah have resorted to burning plastic to ward off the chill, despite the noxious fumes.
“At night, I feel like we’re going to die from the cold,” said Haneen Adwan, 31, a mother of six children who was forced to flee from central Gaza’s Nuseirat refugee camp.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres again called for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, “to ensure sufficient aid gets to where it is needed. To facilitate the release of the hostages. To tamp down the flames of wider war,” he said.
Echoing earlier warnings of a fast-approaching famine, UN agencies earlier called on Israel to allow access to its Ashdod port, north of Gaza, for critical aid deliveries.
They sought “a fundamental step change in the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza,” arguing current levels are far below what is needed.
On Sunday, thousands of Palestinians swamped two aid trucks delivering flour and tinned food to warehouses in Gaza City, an AFP correspondent said.
“We are only eating rice, but rice is not enough for a human being,” said 53-year-old Omar Al-Shandogi.
Israel has faced international pressure over surging civilian casualties in Gaza, with King Abdullah II of neighboring Jordan warning on Monday that continuing Israeli attacks could cause the conflict to expand across the region.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under intense domestic pressure to return the hostages and account for political and security failings surrounding the October 7 attacks.
Hagit Chen said it was “hard to live, to sleep, to breathe, to eat” because she has heard nothing from her son Itay, 19, since Hamas took him captive on October 7.
“The hostages have no time. Everyone is ill and injured,” she said in Berlin, where hostage relatives met German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Monday.
Violence involving regional allies of Iran-backed Hamas — considered a “terrorist” group by the United States and the European Union — has surged since the war began.
Attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who say they act in solidarity with Gaza, have disrupted shipping in the vital Red Sea maritime trade route, triggering strikes on scores of rebel targets last Friday by US and British forces.
A missile struck a US-owned cargo ship off Yemen on Monday, a British security agency and maritime risk company said, a day after the Houthis fired a cruise missile at an American destroyer. US warplanes shot that missile down.
Since October, violence has also surged in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where three Palestinians were killed Monday in separate clashes with the Israeli army, the Palestinian health ministry said.
International efforts to avoid escalation will see Australia’s top diplomat Penny Wong in the region this week to support “diplomatic efforts toward a durable peace in the Middle East,” her office said.
In Turkiye, a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, authorities have accused Israeli footballer Sagiv Jehezkel of “incitement to hate and hostility” over a goal celebration.
Jehezkel, who left the country on Monday after being sacked by his Turkish team, showed a message written on a wrist bandage, which read “100 days. 07/10” along with a Star of David.
In a testimony to the police, Jehezkel said he wanted to call attention to the hostages taken by Hamas.
 

 

 


Gaza hospital says 20 killed in Israeli strike on Nuseirat

Gaza hospital says 20 killed in Israeli strike on Nuseirat
Updated 13 sec ago
Follow

Gaza hospital says 20 killed in Israeli strike on Nuseirat

Gaza hospital says 20 killed in Israeli strike on Nuseirat
  • Hospital statement: Israeli air strike targeted a house belonging to the Hassan family in Al-Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza
GAZA STRIP, Palestinian Territories: A Gaza hospital said Sunday that an Israeli air strike targeting a house at a refugee camp in the center of the Palestinian territory killed at least 20 people.
“We received 20 fatalities and several wounded after an Israeli air strike targeted a house belonging to the Hassan family in Al-Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza,” the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital said in a statement.
Witnesses said the strike occurred around 3:00 a.m. local time. The Israeli army said it was checking the report.
Palestinian official news agency Wafa reported that the wounded included several children, and rescuers were searching for missing people trapped under the rubble.
Fierce battles and heavy Israeli bombardments have been reported in the central Nuseirat camp since the military launched a “targeted” operation focussing on the southern city of Rafah in early May.
Palestinian militants and Israeli troops have also clashed in north Gaza’s Jabalia camp for days now.
Witnesses said several other houses were targeted in air strikes during the night across Gaza, and that air strikes and artillery shelling also hit parts of Rafah during the night.
The Israeli military said two more soldiers were killed in Gaza the previous day.
The military said 282 soldiers have been killed so far in the Gaza military campaign since the start of the ground offensive on October 27.

Houthi missile strikes China-bound oil tanker in Red Sea

Houthi missile strikes China-bound oil tanker in Red Sea
Updated 19 May 2024
Follow

Houthi missile strikes China-bound oil tanker in Red Sea

Houthi missile strikes China-bound oil tanker in Red Sea
  • The vessel and crew are safe and continuing to its next port of call: UKMTO
  • The incident occurred 76 nautical miles (140 kilometers) off Yemen’s Hodeidah

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s Houthi militia launched an anti-ship ballistic missile into the Red Sea on Saturday morning, striking an oil tanker traveling from Russia to China, according to US Central Command, the latest in a series of Houthi maritime strikes. 

CENTCOM said that at 1 a.m. on Saturday, a Houthi anti-ship ballistic missile struck a Panamanian-flagged, Greek-owned and operated oil tanker named M/T Wind, which had just visited Russia and was on its way to China, causing “flooding which resulted in the loss of propulsion and steering.”

Slamming the Houthis for attacking ships, the US military said: “The crew of M/T Wind was able to restore propulsion and steering, and no casualties were reported. M/T Wind resumed its course under its power. This continued malign and reckless behavior by the Iranian-backed Houthis threatens regional stability and endangers the lives of mariners across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.”

Earlier on Saturday, two UK naval agencies said that a ship sailing in the Red Sea suffered minor damage after being hit by an item thought to be a missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia from an area under their control.

The UK Maritime Trade Operations, which monitors ship attacks, said on Saturday morning that it received an alarm from a ship master about an “unknown object” striking the ship’s port quarter, 98 miles south of Hodeidah, inflicting minor damage.

“The vessel and crew are safe and continuing to its next port of call,” UKMTO said in its notice about the incident, encouraging ships in the Red Sea to exercise caution and report any incidents.

Hours earlier, the same UK maritime agency stated that the assault happened 76 nautical miles northwest of Hodeidah.

Ambrey, a UK security firm, also reported receiving information regarding a missile strike on a crude oil tanker traveling under the Panama flag, around 10 nautical miles southwest of Yemen’s government-controlled town of Mokha on the Red Sea, which resulted in a fire on the ship.

The Houthis did not claim responsibility for fresh ship strikes on Saturday, although they generally do so days after the attack.

Since November, the Houthis have seized a commercial ship, sunk another, and claimed to have fired hundreds of ballistic missiles at international commercial and naval ships in the Gulf of Aden, Bab Al-Mandab Strait, and Red Sea in what the Yemeni militia claims is support for the Palestinian people.

The Houthis claim that they solely strike Israel-linked ships and those traveling or transporting products to Israel in order to pressure the latter to cease its war in Gaza.

The US responded to the Houthi attacks by branding them as terrorists, forming a coalition of marine task forces to safeguard ships, and unleashing hundreds of strikes on Houthi sites in Yemen.

Local and international environmentalists have long warned that Houthi attacks on ships carrying fuel or other chemicals might lead to an environmental calamity near Yemen’s coast.

The early warning came in February when the Houthis launched a missile that seriously damaged the MV Rubymar, a Belize-flagged and Lebanese-operated ship carrying 22,000 tonnes of ammonium phosphate-sulfate NPS fertilizer and more than 200 tonnes of fuel while cruising in the Red Sea. 

The Houthis have defied demands for de-escalation in the Red Sea and continue to organize massive rallies in regions under their control to express support for their campaign. On Friday, thousands of Houthi sympathizers took to the streets of Sanaa, Saada, and other cities under their control to show their support for the war on ships.

The Houthis shouted in unison, “We have no red line, and what’s coming is far worse,” as they raised the Palestinian and militia flags in Al-Sabeen Square on Friday, repeating their leader’s promise to intensify assaults on ships.

Meanwhile, a Yemeni government soldier was killed and another was injured on Saturday while fending off a Houthi attack on their position near the border between the provinces of Taiz and Lahj.

According to local media, the Houthis attacked the government’s Nation’s Shield Forces in the contested Hayfan district of Taiz province, attempting to capture control of additional territory.

The Houthis were forced to stop their attack after encountering tough resistance from government troops.

The attack occurred a day after the Nation’s Shield Forces sent dozens of armed vehicles and personnel to the same locations to boost their forces and repel Houthi attacks. 


Israel war cabinet minister says to quit unless Gaza plan approved

Israel war cabinet minister says to quit unless Gaza plan approved
Updated 19 May 2024
Follow

Israel war cabinet minister says to quit unless Gaza plan approved

Israel war cabinet minister says to quit unless Gaza plan approved
  • The Israeli army has been battling Hamas militants across the Gaza Strip for more than seven months

JERUSALEM: Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz said Saturday he would resign from the body unless Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved a post-war plan for the Gaza Strip.

“The war cabinet must formulate and approve by June 8 an action plan that will lead to the realization of six strategic goals of national importance.. (or) we will be forced to resign from the government,” Gantz said, referring to his party, in a televised address directed at Netanyahu.

Gantz said the six goals included toppling Hamas, ensuring Israeli security control over the Palestinian territory and returning Israeli hostages.

“Along with maintaining Israeli security control, establish an American, European, Arab and Palestinian administration that will manage civilian affairs in the Gaza Strip and lay the foundation for a future alternative that is not Hamas or (Mahmud) Abbas,” he said, referring to the president of the Palestinian Authority.

He also urged the normalization of ties with Saudi Arabia “as part of an overall move that will create an alliance with the free world and the Arab world against Iran and its affiliates.”

Netanyahu responded to Gantz’s threat on Saturday by slamming the minister’s demands as “washed-up words whose meaning is clear: the end of the war and a defeat for Israel, the abandoning of most of the hostages, leaving Hamas intact and the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

The Israeli army has been battling Hamas militants across the Gaza Strip for more than seven months.

But broad splits have emerged in the Israeli war cabinet in recent days after Hamas fighters regrouped in northern Gaza, an area where Israel previously said the group had been neutralized.

Netanyahu came under personal attack from Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Wednesday for failing to rule out an Israeli government in Gaza after the war.

The Gaza war broke out after Hamas’s attack on October 7 on southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

The militants also seized about 250 hostages, 124 of whom Israel estimates remain in Gaza, including 37 the military says are dead.

Israel’s military retaliation against Hamas has killed at least 35,386 people, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run Gaza’s health ministry, and an Israeli siege has brought dire food shortages and the threat of famine.


Iran to send experts to ally Venezuela to help with medical accelerators

Medical accelerators are used in radiation treatments for cancer patients. (AFP file photo)
Medical accelerators are used in radiation treatments for cancer patients. (AFP file photo)
Updated 19 May 2024
Follow

Iran to send experts to ally Venezuela to help with medical accelerators

Medical accelerators are used in radiation treatments for cancer patients. (AFP file photo)
  • “Venezuela has a number of accelerators in its hospitals that have been stopped due to the embargo,” the message said

CARACAS: Iran on Saturday said it will send experts to its ally Venezuela to help with medical accelerators in hospitals it said had been stopped due to Western sanctions.
Venezuela requested Iran’s help, according to a message on the social media platform X by the Iranian government attributed to the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
“Venezuela has a number of accelerators in its hospitals that have been stopped due to the embargo,” the message said.
Medical accelerators are used in radiation treatments for cancer patients.
Venezuela is also an ally of Russia and China.
The return of US sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry has made its alliance with Iran critical to keeping its lagging energy sector afloat. Washington last year temporarily relaxed sanctions on Venezuela’s promise to allow a competitive presidential election. The US now says only some conditions were met. 

 


Three Syrians missing after cargo ship sinks off Romania

Eight sailors were rescued by one of the nearby commercial vessels. (AFP file photo)
Eight sailors were rescued by one of the nearby commercial vessels. (AFP file photo)
Updated 19 May 2024
Follow

Three Syrians missing after cargo ship sinks off Romania

Eight sailors were rescued by one of the nearby commercial vessels. (AFP file photo)
  • Eight sailors were rescued by one of the nearby commercial vessels, while the search for the other three, “all of Syrian nationality,” was continuing, the statement said

BUCHAREST: Romanian rescue teams on Saturday were scouring the Black Sea for three Syrian sailors who went missing when their cargo ship sank off the coast, the naval authority said.
The Mohammed Z sank with 11 crew on board, 26 nautical miles off the Romanian town of Sfantu Gheorghe in the Danube delta in the Black Sea on Saturday morning, officials said in a statement.
The ship sailing under the Tanzanian flag was carrying nine Syrian and two Egyptian nationals, it said.
After receiving an alert at “around 4:00am,” naval authorities and border police were dispatched, with two nearby commercial vessels also joining the search and rescue operation.
Eight sailors were rescued by one of the nearby commercial vessels, while the search for the other three, “all of Syrian nationality,” was continuing, the statement said.
The cause of the accident was unclear.
According to the specialist website Marine Traffic, the ship departed from the Turkish port of Mersin and was heading to the Romanian port of Sulina.
Since the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, drifting sea mines have posed a constant threat for ships in the Black Sea, with countries bordering it doubling down on demining efforts.
Ensuring safe passage through the Black Sea has gained particular importance since Romania’s Danube ports became hubs for the transit of grain following the Russian blockade of Ukraine’s ports.