Israel keeps pounding central Gaza as Palestinian death toll in hostage rescue raid rises to 274

Update Israel keeps pounding central Gaza as Palestinian death toll in hostage rescue raid rises to 274
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An injured child is assisted at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the aftermath of an Israeli strike in the central Gaza Strip on June 8, 2024. (Reuters)
Update Israel keeps pounding central Gaza as Palestinian death toll in hostage rescue raid rises to 274
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A Palestinian woman is assisted as she arrives at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the aftermath of an Israeli strike in the central Gaza Strip on June 8, 2024. (Reuters)
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Updated 09 June 2024
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Israel keeps pounding central Gaza as Palestinian death toll in hostage rescue raid rises to 274

Israel keeps pounding central Gaza as Palestinian death toll in hostage rescue raid rises to 274
  • Killing of so many Palestinians, including women and children, show the heavy cost of such operations

CAIRO: Israeli forces pounded central Gaza anew on Sunday, a day after killing 274 Palestinians during a hostage rescue raid, and tanks advanced into further into Rafah in an apparent bid to seal off part of the southern city, residents and Hamas media said.
Palestinians remained in shock over Saturday’s death toll, the worst over a 24-hour period of the Gaza war for months and including many women and children, Palestinian medics said.
In an update on Sunday, Gaza’s health ministry said 274 Palestinians were killed — up from 210 it reported on Saturday — and 698 were injured when Israeli special force commandos stormed into the densely populated Al-Nuseirat camp to rescue four hostages held since October by Hamas militants.
Sixty-four of the dead were children and 57 were women, the Hamas-run Gaza government media office said on Sunday.
Israel’s military said a special forces officer was killed in exchanges of fire with militants emerging from cover in residential blocks, and that it knew of “under 100” Palestinians killed, though not how many of them were fighters or civilians.
In central Gaza on Sunday, separate Israeli airstrikes on houses in the city of Deir Al-Balah and in nearby Al-Bureij killed three Palestinians in each location, while tanks shelled parts of Al-Nuseirat and Al-Maghazi, medics said.
Al-Maghazi, Al-Nuseirat and Al-Bureij are historic, urbanized refugee camps often caught up in the current war.
The Israeli military said in a statement its forces were continuing operations east of Al-Bureij and Deir Al-Balah, killing a number of Palestinian gunmen and destroying militant infrastructure.
Israel sent forces into Rafah in May in what it called a mission to wipe out Hamas’ last intact combat units after eight months of war, in which Israeli forces have bombed much of the rest of Gaza to rubble while advancing against fierce resistance from militants embedded in crowded cities and built-up camps.
Israeli tank forces have since seized Gaza’s entire border strip with Egypt running through Rafah to the Mediterranean coast and invaded many districts of the city of 280,000 residents, prompting around one million displaced people who had been sheltering in Rafah to flee elsewhere.

ISRAELI TANKS ADVANCE FURTHER IN RAFAH
On Sunday, tanks advanced into two new districts in an apparent effort to complete the encirclement of the entire eastern side of Rafah, touching off clashes with dug-in Hamas-led armed groups, according to residents trapped in their homes.
As of June 5, all but around 100,000 displaced people who took refuge in eastern Rafah after taking flight from Israeli offensives further north in Gaza had left, according to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA.
“All UNRWA shelters in Rafah have been vacated. Many of the people who were based in Rafah have fled up the coast seeking safer locations in both Khan Younis and the middle area (of Gaza),” UNRWA said in a statement.
Palestinian medics said an Israeli airstrike on a house in Tel Al-Sultan in western Rafah killed two people.
The Israeli military said troops of its 162nd division were raiding some districts of Rafah where they had located “numerous additional terror tunnel shafts, mortars, and (other) weapons” belonging to Palestinian Islamist militants.
Hamas precipitated the war with a lightning cross-border attack into Israel last Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing over 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. About half the hostages were freed during a brief November truce.
Israel’s ensuing air and ground war in Gaza has killed at least 37,084 Palestinians, the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory said in its Sunday update. The ministry says thousands more dead are feared buried under the rubble.
Attempts by the United States and regional countries to broker a deal that would release all remaining hostages in return for a ceasefire have repeatedly stumbled on Israeli and Hamas intransigence over terms for an end to the war.
A humanitarian catastrophe has unfolded as the war has dragged on, with over three-quarters of Gaza’s 2.3 million population displaced, malnutrition widespread and basic infrastructure in ruins.
Gaza’s conflict has destabilized the wider Middle East, drawing in Hamas’ main supporter Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, which has been clashing with Israel along its northern border for months, raising fears of all-out war.
Concern about an escalation in Israeli-Hezbollah hostilities and a sharp decline in expectations of a Gaza ceasefire have weakened Israel’s shekel currency by 3 percent to 3.75 to the dollar since June 4.


Palestinian Authority at risk of collapse, Norway says

Palestinian Authority at risk of collapse, Norway says
Updated 17 sec ago
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Palestinian Authority at risk of collapse, Norway says

Palestinian Authority at risk of collapse, Norway says
  • Norway chairs the international donor group to the Palestinians and is a backer of the Palestinian Authority
OSLO: The Palestinian Authority could collapse in the coming months, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said on Monday, citing a lack of funding, continuing violence and the fact that half a million Palestinians are not allowed to work in Israel.
“The Palestinian Authority, with whom we work closely, are warning us that they might be collapsing this summer,” Barth Eide said.
Norway chairs the international donor group to the Palestinians and is a backer of the PA.

Jordan braces for scorching heatwave as temperatures soar

Jordan braces for scorching heatwave as temperatures soar
Updated 7 min 48 sec ago
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Jordan braces for scorching heatwave as temperatures soar

Jordan braces for scorching heatwave as temperatures soar
  • The Gulf of Aqaba reached highs of 45 celsius
  • Temperatures in Jordan are set to rise slightly, with the heatwave persisting

AMMAN: The Jordan Meteorological Department forecast extreme heat for Monday, with most regions of the country — particularly the desert areas, Jordan Valley, Dead Sea and Aqaba — experiencing intense temperatures.

The Gulf of Aqaba reached highs of 45 celsius, the Southern Jordan Valley 44 celsius, Dead Sea 43 celsius, while the Desert Regions and the Northern Jordan Valley reached highs of 41 celsius. 

Cloud cover at medium and high altitudes is expected in the south and east of the Kingdom, state news agency Petra reported, with moderate northwesterly winds occasionally becoming brisk.

The JMD cautioned people against prolonged sun exposure, which could lead to dehydration, especially for vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with health conditions. It also highlighted the risk of forest fires and the dangers of leaving children or flammable items, like perfumes and sanitizers, inside vehicles.

Looking ahead to Tuesday, temperatures in Jordan are set to rise slightly, with the heatwave persisting. Most areas will remain hot, the JMD said, and desert regions will face sweltering conditions. Northeasterly winds will prevail, shifting to moderate northwesterly by evening.

The heatwave will continue into Wednesday, with another slight increase in temperatures. Conditions will be blistering and dry across the highlands, the JMD warned, with extreme heat persisting elsewhere. Northeasterly winds will turn to moderate northwesterly later in the day.

Thursday will bring a modest reprieve as temperatures dip slightly. However, the weather will remain hot across most areas, with the desert, Jordan Valley, Dead Sea, and Aqaba continuing to sizzle. Moderate northwesterly winds will occasionally become brisk.


Iran calls for joint action by Islamic nations to stop Gaza war

Iran calls for joint action by Islamic nations to stop Gaza war
Updated 51 min 20 sec ago
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Iran calls for joint action by Islamic nations to stop Gaza war

Iran calls for joint action by Islamic nations to stop Gaza war
  • Israel’s military offensive on Gaza has killed at least 37,337 people so far

TEHRAN: Iran’s Acting Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani has called for joint action on the part of Islamic countries to pressure Israel into ending its brutal military activities in Gaza, which have devastated most of the enclave and killed thousands of Palestinians there.

Israel’s military offensive on Gaza has killed at least 37,337 people, mostly civilian women and children, since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza.

Humanitarian supplies for millions of Palestinians displaced by the conflict have been squeezed despite the Israeli military declaring it would “pause” fighting daily around a southern route to facilitate aid flows.

The Iranian official also spoke with his Afghan counterpart Amir Khan Muttaqi via telephone on Sunday, with the two discussing bilateral relations as well as the situation in war-ravaged Gaza.

Kani reiterated Iran’s readiness to help Kabul resolve its challenges and achieve growth, Iran’s news agency IRNA reported.


Kuwaiti citizen detained for alleged involvement in extremist group

Kuwaiti citizen detained for alleged involvement in extremist group
Updated 17 June 2024
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Kuwaiti citizen detained for alleged involvement in extremist group

Kuwaiti citizen detained for alleged involvement in extremist group

KUWAIT CITY: The Public Prosecution in Kuwait has ordered the detention of a citizen on charges of joining a group aimed at illegally undermining the country’s basic systems, state news agency KUNA reported on Sunday.

The individual is also accused of receiving training in making explosives and preparing poisons for illicit purposes, as well as planning to leave the country to fight with the group, though he was unable to do so.

The Public Prosecution interrogated the accused and presented him with the charges, according to a statement released on its official account on X. Investigation procedures are ongoing.


Yemen’s Houthis announce new maritime operations in support of Gaza

Yemen’s Houthis announce new maritime operations in support of Gaza
Updated 17 June 2024
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Yemen’s Houthis announce new maritime operations in support of Gaza

Yemen’s Houthis announce new maritime operations in support of Gaza
  • The Houthis declared that attacks on Israel-linked shipping will persist until Israel ends its war on Gaza and lifts the siege on Palestinian territories

SANAA: The Houthi militia’s army spokesman, Yahya Saree, announced on Sunday that an American destroyer and two Israel-linked ships were targeted in recent operations in the Red and Arabian seas.

Saree said that the US destroyer was hit by ballistic missiles in the Red Sea, while the two ships — Captain Paris and Happy Condor — were targeted in the Arabian Sea using naval missiles and drones, respectively.

He stated that these ships were targeted because they were en route to ports in Israeli-occupied territories.

Saree reaffirmed Yemen’s stance, declaring that attacks on Israel-linked shipping will persist until Israel ends its war on Gaza and lifts the siege on Palestinian territories.

He also emphasized that the Yemeni army would continue to defend its territory against US-UK “aggression,” referring to joint airstrikes by the two Western nations, which the latter claim were launched to protect international shipping.

The Houthis have rejected these claims, asserting that their military operations in international waters, ongoing since mid-November, only target Israeli ships or vessels heading to Israeli-occupied ports.