Iran’s president discusses Gaza with Algerian counterpart — Algeria’s presidency

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune welcomes Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at El Mouradia Palace, in Algiers, Algeria March 3, 2024. (REUTERS)
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune welcomes Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at El Mouradia Palace, in Algiers, Algeria March 3, 2024. (REUTERS)
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Updated 04 March 2024
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Iran’s president discusses Gaza with Algerian counterpart — Algeria’s presidency

Iran’s president discusses Gaza with Algerian counterpart — Algeria’s presidency
  • Algeria, a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, backs the Palestinian cause and has called several times for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza

DUBAI: Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday discussed bilateral relations, energy cooperation, trade and Gaza with Algeria’s leader Abdelmadjid Tebboune in a one-day state visit, according to Algeria’s presidency.
Algeria, a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, backs the Palestinian cause and has called several times for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

 


Jordanian minister receives American delegation in bid to boost foreign investment

Jordanian minister receives American delegation in bid to boost foreign investment
Updated 11 sec ago
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Jordanian minister receives American delegation in bid to boost foreign investment

Jordanian minister receives American delegation in bid to boost foreign investment
  • Saqqaf highlighted Jordan’s extensive network of trade agreements with numerous economic blocs

AMMAN: Jordan’s Minister of Investment Kholoud Saqqaf on Tuesday welcomed a high-level delegation of executive directors and representatives from prominent American companies, who are visiting Jordan to explore investment opportunities, Jordan News Agency reported.

During the meeting, Saqqaf highlighted Jordan’s extensive network of trade agreements with numerous economic blocs, which have enabled Jordanian exports to reach non-traditional markets and more than 1.5 billion consumers worldwide.

The visit of the US delegation, organized in coordination with the New York-based Business Council for International Understanding, will include meetings with various Jordanian ministries and public and private sector institutions.

The BCIU is a non-partisan organization comprising 200 major US companies, which works to expand international trade, provide essential services to facilitate global growth opportunities, and foster mutually beneficial relationships between business and government leaders worldwide.

Saqqaf emphasized the importance of strengthening economic and investment relations between Jordan and the US, noting that the free trade agreement between the two countries had significantly increased trade volume and encouraged new investments in Jordan.

She outlined key reforms undertaken by Jordan, including the approval of the investment environment law, the initiation of public-private partnership projects, and the launch of an investment promotion strategy targeting various countries, with a particular focus on the American market.

Saqqaf also highlighted improvements in Jordan’s national economy, citing satisfactory economic growth rates, low inflation compared with regional and global levels, and robust foreign currency reserves.

She pointed to Moody’s recent upgrade of Jordan’s credit rating from B1 to BA3, with a stable outlook, as further evidence of Jordan’s attractiveness as an investment destination.

Encouraging the American businesses to invest in Jordan, Saqqaf assured the delegation of the country’s supportive environment for their ventures. She highlighted various investment opportunities available through the Invest in Jordan platform (invest.jo) and reaffirmed Jordan’s openness to business and investment.

Representatives from the BCIU praised Jordan’s stable and secure environment, as well as the reforms aimed at improving the business landscape.

They expressed their commitment to promoting Jordan’s investment environment to their members and other American companies.
 


Israeli tanks hit evacuation zone west of Rafah, 21 dead, Gaza health officials say

Israeli tanks hit evacuation zone west of Rafah, 21 dead, Gaza health officials say
Updated 40 sec ago
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Israeli tanks hit evacuation zone west of Rafah, 21 dead, Gaza health officials say

Israeli tanks hit evacuation zone west of Rafah, 21 dead, Gaza health officials say
  • It came two days after an Israeli airstrike on another camp stirred global condemnation
  • The attack site is a coastal area that Israel had advised civilians in Rafah to move to for safety

CAIRO: Israeli strikes on a tent camp in an evacuation area west of Rafah killed at least 21 on Tuesday, Gaza health authorities said, and tanks advanced to the center of the southern Gaza city for the first time after a night of heavy bombardment.
Two days after an Israeli airstrike on another camp stirred global condemnation, Gaza emergency services said four tank shells hit a cluster of tents in Al-Mawasi, a coastal area that Israel had advised civilians in Rafah to move to for safety.
At least 12 of the dead were women, according to medical officials in the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave. An Israeli military spokesperson said: “As of this time, we are not aware of this incident.”
In central Rafah, tanks and armored vehicles mounted with machine guns were spotted near Al-Awda mosque, witnesses told Reuters. The Israeli military said its forces continued to operate in the Rafah area, without commenting on reported advances into the city center.
International unease over Israel’s three-week-old Rafah offensive has turned to outrage after an attack on Sunday set off a blaze in a tent camp in a western district of the city, killing at least 45 people. Israel said it had targeted Hamas commanders and had not intended to cause civilian casualties.
Global leaders voiced horror at the fire in a designated “humanitarian zone” of Rafah where families uprooted by fighting elsewhere had sought shelter, and urged the implementation of a World Court order last week for a halt to Israel’s assault.
Tuesday’s attack occurred in an area designated by Israel as an expanded humanitarian zone, to which it had called on civilians in Rafah to evacuate for their own safety when it launched its incursion in early May.
In a diplomatic move purportedly aimed at reining in the violence, Spain, Ireland and Norway were to officially recognize a Palestinian state on Tuesday.
The three countries have said they hope their decision will accelerate efforts toward securing a ceasefire in Israel’s war against Hamas militants, now in its eighth month, that has reduced much of the densely populated territory to rubble.
Residents said Rafah’s Tel Al-Sultan neighborhood, the scene of Sunday’s night-time strike in which tents and shelters were set ablaze as families settled down to sleep, was still being bombarded.
“Tank shells are falling everywhere in Tel Al-Sultan. Many families have fled their houses in western Rafah under fire throughout the night,” one resident told Reuters via a chat app.
Around one million people — many repeatedly displaced by shifting waves of the war — have fled the Israeli offensive in Rafah since early May, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) reported on Tuesday.
A video obtained by Reuters showed families on the move again, carrying their belongings through Rafah’s shattered streets, their weary children trailing behind them.
“There are a lot of attacks, smoke and dust. It is death from God...The (Israelis) are hitting everywhere. We’re tired,” said Moayad Fusaifas, pushing along belongings on two bicycles.

Israel says it’s in combat near Egypt border

Since Israel launched its incursion by seizing control of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt three weeks ago, tanks had probed around the outskirts and entered some eastern districts but had not yet rumbled into the city in full force.
In recent days, Israeli tanks have thrust toward western neighborhoods and taken up positions on the Zurub hilltop in western Rafah. On Tuesday, witnesses reported gunbattles between Israeli troops and Hamas-led fighters in the Zurub area.
Witnesses in central Rafah said the Israeli military appeared to have brought in remote-operated armored vehicles and there was no immediate sign of personnel in or around them. An Israeli military spokesperson had no immediate comment.
The Israeli military said it operated overnight along the Philadelphi Corridor that separates Gaza from Egypt “based on intelligence indicating the presence of terror targets.”
Israeli troops were engaged in close-quarter combat and were locating tunnel shafts, weapons and militant infrastructure, it said in a statement.
Israel has kept up attacks despite the ruling by the International Court of Justice on Friday ordering it to stop given a high risk of civilian casualties. Israel has argued that the top UN court’s decision had left it some scope for military action there.
The ICJ also reiterated calls for the immediate and unconditional release of hostages held in Gaza by Hamas.
More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s offensive, Gaza’s health ministry says. Israel launched its air and ground war after Hamas-led militants attacked southern Israeli communities on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.
Israel says it wants to root out Hamas fighters holed up in Rafah and rescue hostages it says are being held in the area.
In Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, one of the largest of the enclave’s eight historic refugee camps, Israeli forces have been engaged in fierce fighting with Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters, residents said.
In some residential districts from which Israeli forces have retreated, civil emergency teams said they were recovering bodies from the ruins.


Jordanian minister calls for greater water cooperation with Iraq

Jordanian minister calls for greater water cooperation with Iraq
Updated 17 min 14 sec ago
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Jordanian minister calls for greater water cooperation with Iraq

Jordanian minister calls for greater water cooperation with Iraq
  • Abu Saud stressed pivotal role of the private sector in operating and maintaining water and sanitation facilities

AMMAN: Jordan’s minister of water and irrigation has called for increased regional cooperation in a bid to address water challenges through innovative and sustainable solutions.

On Tuesday, Raed Abu Saud met with a delegation from the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources who are visiting Jordan to bolster collaboration in managing water resources, Jordan News Agency reported.

The visit aims to facilitate an exchange of expertise, drawing from Jordan’s experience in water conservation, reducing waste, improving irrigation efficiency, utilizing treated water, and providing training as part of a joint program between the two countries.

During the visit, the Iraqi delegation toured the command and control center at the Jordanian ministry’s headquarters. They were also scheduled to visit various water sites to observe the management of irrigation water systems and the modern technologies employed.

Abu Saud highlighted the need for collective efforts to combat the effects of climate change, implement advanced water harvesting techniques, and enhance capacity building through specialized technical courses.

He pointed out the significant decline in Jordan’s water resources, which he attributed to erratic rainfall and climate change, and outlined the ministry’s initiatives in developing water and sanitation services, notably through Build-Operate-Transfer projects and other sustainable initiatives.

Abu Saud also stressed the pivotal role of the private sector in operating and maintaining water and sanitation facilities, underscoring the importance of strengthening partnerships with private entities.

He highlighted the water authority’s training center as a regional hub for training technical personnel in modern water management practices and thanked the Iraqi ministry’s efforts in fostering cooperation with Jordan’s water sector.
 


WHO condemns ‘abrupt halt’ to medical evacuations from Gaza

WHO condemns ‘abrupt halt’ to medical evacuations from Gaza
Updated 28 May 2024
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WHO condemns ‘abrupt halt’ to medical evacuations from Gaza

WHO condemns ‘abrupt halt’ to medical evacuations from Gaza
  • Thousands of Gazans are estimated to require urgent medical evacuation
  • WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris warned that the cut-off obviously meant more people will die waiting for treatment

GENEVA: Desperately needed medical evacuations from Gaza — already very limited — came to a full stop when Israel launched its military offensive on Rafah three weeks ago, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.
The United Nations health agency has long been pleading for Israeli permission to evacuate more critically ill and severely wounded people from Gaza.
Thousands of Gazans are estimated to require urgent medical evacuation but few have been able to leave the besieged Palestinian territory since war erupted there nearly eight months ago.
WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said that since Israel launched its military offensive in the densely crowded southern city of Rafah in early May, “there’s been an abrupt halt to all medical evacuations.”
She warned that the cut-off obviously meant more people will die waiting for treatment.
Before the war in the Gaza Strip erupted after Hamas’s October 7 attacks, around 50 to 100 people left the enclave every day with medical referrals for complex treatments that were not available in the Palestinian territory, including for cancer.
“Those people didn’t go away simply because conflict started, so they all still need a referral,” Harris told reporters in Geneva.
And since services in Gaza have been disastrously disrupted by the conflict, far more people need to leave to get services they used to access inside the strip, like chemotherapy or dialysis, she said.
In addition, thousands now need to evacuate after suffering severe trauma injuries in the war.
WHO estimates that there are now typically at any given time “around 10,000 people who need to be evacuated... to receive the much-needed medical treatment elsewhere,” Harris said.
They include more than 6,000 trauma-related patients and at least 2,000 patients with serious chronic conditions, like cancer, she said.
Since the complete halt to medical evacuations from Gaza on May 8, an additional 1,000 critically ill and wounded patients have been added to that list, Harris said.
Before the cut-off, WHO had received approval from Israel for 5,800 medical evacuations — around just half of the number it had requested since the war began.
Of those 5,800, only 4,900 patients had actually been able to leave, Harris said.
The Gaza war began after Hamas fighters attacked southern Israel on October 7, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.
Palestinian militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the Israeli army says are dead.
Israel’s relentless military retaliation has killed at least 36,096 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.


Israeli army says it used small munitions in Rafah airstrike, and fire was caused by secondary blast

Israeli army says it used small munitions in Rafah airstrike, and fire was caused by secondary blast
Updated 28 May 2024
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Israeli army says it used small munitions in Rafah airstrike, and fire was caused by secondary blast

Israeli army says it used small munitions in Rafah airstrike, and fire was caused by secondary blast
  • Daniel Hagari, the chief military spokesman, said Tuesday that the military fired two 17-kilogram munitions that targeted two senior Hamas militants
  • He said the military is looking into the possibility that weapons were stored in the area

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip: The Israeli military says an initial investigation into a strike that sparked a deadly weekend fire in a tent camp in the southern Gaza city of Rafah has found the blaze was caused by a secondary explosion.
Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the chief military spokesman, said Tuesday that the military fired two 17-kilogram (37-pound) munitions that targeted two senior Hamas militants. He said the munitions would have been too small to ignite a fire on their own and the military is looking into the possibility that weapons were stored in the area.
Palestinian health officials say at least 45 people, around half of them women and children, were killed in Sunday’s strike. The fire also could have ignited fuel, cooking gas canisters or other materials in the densely populated camp housing displaced people.
The strike caused widespread outrage, including from some of Israel’s closest allies. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was the result of a “tragic mishap.”
New strikes in the same western Tel Al-Sultan district of Rafah that was hit Sunday killed at least 16 Palestinians, the Palestinian Civil Defense and the Palestinian Red Crescent said Tuesday. Residents reported an escalation of fighting in the southern Gaza city once seen as the territory’s last refuge.
An Israeli incursion launched in early May has caused nearly 1 million to flee from Rafah, most of whom had already been displaced in the war between Israel and Hamas. They now seek refuge in squalid tent camps and other war-ravaged areas.
The United States and other allies of Israel have warned against a full-fledged offensive in the city, with the Biden administration saying that would cross a red line and refusing to provide offensive arms for such an undertaking. On Friday, the International Court of Justice called on Israel to halt its Rafah offensive, an order it has no power to enforce.
Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead, saying Israeli forces must enter Rafah to dismantle Hamas and return hostages taken in the Oct. 7 attack that triggered the war.
Israel says it is carrying out limited operations in eastern Rafah along the Gaza-Egypt border. But residents reported heavy bombardment overnight in Tel Al-Sultan.
“It was a night of horror,” said Abdel-Rahman Abu Ismail, a Palestinian from Gaza City who has been sheltering in Tel Al-Sultan since December. He said he heard “constant sounds” of explosions overnight and into Tuesday, with fighter jets and drones flying over the area.
He said it reminded him of the Israeli invasion of his neighborhood of Shijaiyah in Gaza City, where Israel launched a heavy bombing campaign before sending in ground forces in late 2023. “We saw this before,” he said.
Sayed Al-Masri, a Rafah resident, said many families have been forced to flee their homes and shelters, with most heading for the crowded Muwasi area, where giant tent camps have been set up on a barren coastline, or to Khan Younis, a southern city that suffered heavy damage during months of fighting.
“The situation is worsening” in Rafah, Al-Masri said.