Israeli army orders evacuation of battle-torn Gaza City

Palestinians mourn over the bodies of loved ones following Israeli bombardment in Deir El-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on July 10, 2024. (AFP)
Palestinians mourn over the bodies of loved ones following Israeli bombardment in Deir El-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on July 10, 2024. (AFP)
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Updated 10 July 2024
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Israeli army orders evacuation of battle-torn Gaza City

Palestinians mourn over the bodies of loved ones following Israeli bombardment in Deir El-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.
  • Across Gaza, deadly strikes have hit four schools used as shelters in four days, killing at least 49 people according to medics

GAZA STRIP: Israel’s army dropped thousands of leaflets over war-torn Gaza City on Wednesday urging all residents to flee a heavy offensive through the main city of the besieged Palestinian territory.
The leaflets, addressed to “everyone in Gaza City,” set out designated escape routes and warned that the urban area, which had a pre-war population of over half a million, would “remain a dangerous combat zone.”
The warning came as Israeli troops, backed by tanks and aircraft, have fought Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants in the heaviest combat the city has seen in months in the war raging since October 7.
The United Nations said the latest evacuations “will only fuel mass suffering for Palestinian families, many of whom have been displaced many times.”
“The civilians must be protected,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.
An Israeli government spokesman said the aim was “to put civilians out of harm’s way” as troops battle militants “where they are.”
One woman carrying her scant belongings through the ruins, Umm Nimr Al-Jamal, told AFP on Tuesday that “this is the 12th time” her family has had to flee.
“How many times can we endure this? A thousand times? Where will we end up?“
The upsurge in fighting, bombardment and displacement came as talks were to resume in Qatar toward a truce and hostage release deal in the war now grinding on into its 10th month.
Hamas official Hossam Badran, asked about the increased military operations, told AFP that Israel was “hoping that the resistance will relinquish its legitimate demands” in truce negotiations.
But “the continuation of massacres compels us to adhere to our demands,” he said.
Heavy fighting also raged in Gaza’s far-southern Rafah, where witnesses told AFP that Israeli tanks had rumbled into the city center and unleashed intense fire on buildings.
Across Gaza, deadly strikes have hit four schools used as shelters in four days, killing at least 49 people according to medics and officials in the Hamas-run territory, and sparking rebukes from France and Germany which both labelled the attacks “unacceptable.”
“We call for these strikes to be fully investigated,” said the French foreign ministry, highlighting a deadly strike on Tuesday on a school near the southern city of Khan Yunis.
“It is unacceptable that schools, especially those housing civilians displaced by the fighting, should be targeted.”
Israel said the strikes had targeted militants hiding in schools.
In Gaza City’s eastern district of Shujaiya, where major battles raged since an Israeli evacuation order on June 27, a spokesman for the civil defense agency said there was widespread “destruction.”
Shujaiya has become a “ghost city,” said Mahmud Bassal.
Bassal as well as witnesses said Israeli troops have withdrawn from the area, though the military told AFP its forces were “still operating” there.
Meanwhile, an Israeli delegation led by spy chief David Barnea arrived in Doha for truce talks, said a source with knowledge of the sensitive negotiations.
CIA director William Burns was also expected in the Qatari capital after holding talks in Cairo on Tuesday.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meanwhile met US President Joe Biden’s special envoy for the Middle East, Brett McGurk.
Netanyahu “emphasized his commitment” to a proposed truce plan, “as long as Israel’s red lines are preserved,” his office said.
Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel that sparked the war 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 responded with a military offensive that has killed at least 38,295 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to figures from the territory’s health ministry.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told Israeli lawmakers that 60 percent of Hamas fighters had been “eliminated or wounded” during the war.
Israel has imposed a punishing siege on Gaza’s 2.4 million people, eased only by sporadic aid deliveries.
Aid group Doctors Without Borders has warned of “critical” shortages of medical supplies in Gaza, with no resupply for more than two months.
Independent UN rights experts on Tuesday accused Israel of carrying out a “targeted starvation campaign,” a claim strongly rejected by Israel.
Relatives of Israeli hostages, who have piled pressure on Netanyahu demanding swift action to rescue their loved ones, began a four-day march from Tel Aviv to the seat of government in Jerusalem.
“We want all of Israel to come out with us” and “remind Netanyahu that... he needs to sign a deal to bring them back and stop this terrible war,” said Ayala Metzger, daughter-in-law of hostage Yoram Metzger who died in captivity.
Since the start of the Gaza war, Israeli forces have also traded regular fire with Hezbollah militants in Lebanon, allies of Hamas, sparking fears of a broader regional conflagration.
As the cross-border clashes have intensified, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said Wednesday his group would end the attacks if fighting in Gaza ends.
“If a ceasefire is reached, and we all hope for that... our front will cease fire without any discussion.”


US criticizes ICJ opinion that Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal

US criticizes ICJ opinion that Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal
Updated 24 sec ago
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US criticizes ICJ opinion that Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal

US criticizes ICJ opinion that Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal
WASHINGTON: The United States criticized “the breadth” of the top UN court’s opinion in which the International Court of Justice said Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal, with Washington saying it will complicate efforts to resolve the conflict.
“We have been clear that Israel’s program of government support for settlements is both inconsistent with international law and obstructs the cause of peace,” a US State Department spokesperson said on Saturday in an email.
“However, we are concerned that the breadth of the court’s opinion will complicate efforts to resolve the conflict and bring about an urgently needed just and lasting peace, with two states living side-by-side in peace and security,” the State Department added.

Hezbollah, Hamas say launched rocket salvos at north Israel

Smoke rises from a fire after Hezbollah fired a barrage of projectiles towards Israel from Lebanon.
Smoke rises from a fire after Hezbollah fired a barrage of projectiles towards Israel from Lebanon.
Updated 51 min 57 sec ago
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Hezbollah, Hamas say launched rocket salvos at north Israel

Smoke rises from a fire after Hezbollah fired a barrage of projectiles towards Israel from Lebanon.
  • Hezbollah said it launched “dozens of Katyusha rockets” on Dafna, an area in Israel’s north, “in response to the attack on civilians”

BEIRUT: Hezbollah and its Palestinian ally Hamas said they launched rocket barrages at Israeli positions Saturday to avenge a strike that injured civilians in south Lebanon and the Gaza war toll.
Hezbollah has traded near-daily fire with Israeli forces in support of Hamas since the Palestinian militant group’s October 7 attack on southern Israel triggered war in the Gaza Strip.
Earlier Saturday, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said Syrian nationals, including children, had been injured after an “enemy drone targeted an empty four-wheel drive” near their tent, less than four kilometers from the border.
Doctor Mouenes Kalakesh who heads the Marjayoun government hospital said a woman and her three children, two of them minors, had been admitted for shrapnel injuries after the strike outside Burj Al-Muluk.
Among them was an 11-year-old boy in critical condition after he sustained shrapnel injuries and a head wound, Kalakesh told AFP.
Hezbollah said it launched “dozens of Katyusha rockets” on Dafna, an area in Israel’s north that the group said it was targeting for the first time, “in response to the attack on civilians.”
On Wednesday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had warned his Iran-backed group would hit new targets in Israel if more civilians were killed in Israeli strikes.
Later Saturday, Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, said they fired a rocket salvo from south Lebanon toward an Israeli military position in the Upper Galilee “in response to the Zionist massacres against civilians in the Gaza Strip.”
The Israeli army said a total of 45 “projectiles” had been fired from Lebanon Saturday afternoon, toward the occupied Golan Heights and the Galilee, reporting no casualties.
The army said it struck “the launcher... in southern Lebanon from which the projectiles were launched toward the Golan Heights,” also targeting “an additional Hezbollah launcher.”
On Thursday, Israeli strikes killed at least five people, including the commander of a Hamas-allied group in Lebanon, militant groups and a security source said.
On Tuesday, Lebanese official media said separate Israeli strikes in south Lebanon killed five Syrians, three of them children, with Hezbollah announcing rocket fire at Israel in retaliation.
The violence since October has killed at least 515 people in Lebanon, according to an AFP tally.
Most of the dead have been fighters, but they have included at least 104 civilians.
On the Israeli side, 18 soldiers and 13 civilians have been killed, according to Israeli authorities.


Israeli warplanes pound Houthi-held Hodeidah

Israeli warplanes pound Houthi-held Hodeidah
Updated 11 min 13 sec ago
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Israeli warplanes pound Houthi-held Hodeidah

Israeli warplanes pound Houthi-held Hodeidah
  • Houthi officials vowed to retaliate. “We will respond more violently and harshly to this Zionist-American orgy,” Abdul Sallam Jahaf, a member of the Houthi Shura Council

AL-MUKALLA: Israeli warplanes struck the Houthi-held western Yemeni city of Hodeidah on Saturday, apparently in retaliation for the Houthi drone strike on Tel Aviv earlier this week.

Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV reported that Israeli planes hit a power plant and a gasoline storage facility, killing and injuring several people.

Images circulating on social media showed a massive ball of fire and thick fog billowing from the targets.

Mohammed Abdul Sallam, the Houthi chief negotiator based in Muscat, said the airstrikes targeted “civilian” facilities to “pressure them to stop supporting Gaza,” vowing to continue attacks on ships and Israel itself until Israel ends its war in the enclave.

“We emphasize that this brutal aggression will only strengthen the determination and steadfastness of the Yemeni people and their valiant armed forces in their support for Gaza,” he said in a post on X.

Other Houthi officials vowed to retaliate. “We will respond more violently and harshly to this Zionist-American orgy,” Abdul Sallam Jahaf, a member of the Houthi Shura Council.

On Friday, the Houthis launched an explosive-laden drone into a Tel Aviv residential area, killing one person and injuring at least 10.

Critics of the militia argue the Houthis will use the bombings to legitimize their rule and crush dissidents in regions under their control.

“An Israeli airstrike is precisely what the #Houthis have long sought to legitimize their power consolidation. This event offers a pretext for increased repression of the population & violence in #Yemen and beyond. The Houthis excel at inviting conflict to sustain their authority,” Nadwa Al-Dawsari, a non-resident fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. said on X.

 


UAE launches investigation into Bangladeshi expats arrested for alleged riots

UAE launches investigation into Bangladeshi expats arrested for alleged riots
Updated 20 July 2024
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UAE launches investigation into Bangladeshi expats arrested for alleged riots

UAE launches investigation into Bangladeshi expats arrested for alleged riots

DUBAI: UAE Attorney-General Hamad Saif Al-Shamsi has ordered an investigation into the arrest of several Bangladeshi nationals who were apprehended for inciting riots across multiple streets in the UAE on Friday.

A dedicated team from the public prosecution has promptly begun investigating the arrested individuals, Emirates News Agency, WAM, reported on Saturday.

Preliminary findings suggest that the suspects engaged in criminal activities, including assembling in public spaces and protesting against their home government, WAM added.

These actions were allegedly intended to incite unrest, obstruct the enforcement of law, disrupt individual interests, endanger others and violate their rights, impede traffic, and cause damage to both public and private property.

It is alleged that the suspects deliberately disrupted transport networks, organized and promoted these demonstrations, and recorded and disseminated audiovisual footage of their actions online.

Such activities are considered offenses against state security and public order in the UAE.

The public prosecution has ordered the pre-trial detention of the suspects pending further investigations. Al-Shamsi has also directed that the suspects be referred to an expedited trial.

Massive protests have broken out in Bangladesh over student anger against quotas that set aside 30% of government jobs for the families of those who fought for independence from Pakistan.
Police have fired tear gas to scatter protesters in some areas while the government has banned public gatherings, imposed communications restrictions, deployed the army in some parts and imposed a curfew. Dozens have been killed in the past week.


Jordan sends 83 aid trucks to Gaza

Jordan sends 83 aid trucks to Gaza
Updated 20 July 2024
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Jordan sends 83 aid trucks to Gaza

Jordan sends 83 aid trucks to Gaza
  • Contents of the trucks include food parcels, blankets, clothes and health care supplies

AMMAN: Jordan announced that a convoy of 83 trucks containing humanitarian aid was headed to Gaza on Saturday, Jordan News Agency reported.

The contents of the trucks, including food parcels, blankets, clothes and health care supplies, will be distributed to Palestinian civilians via partner associations and organization in the Strip.

The convoy was sent by the Jordanian Armed Forces-Arab Army and the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization. It was sent in collaboration with the World Food Programme and funded by the Helping Hand Society and Human Appeal.

JHCO Secretary-General Hussein Shibli highlighted the scale of Jordan’s aid initiative to Gaza, noting that the substantial donations from local, regional and international bodies underscored the trust Jordan commands globally and its capability to deliver aid effectively to the region.

Shibli said that to date, the number of trucks to have entered Gaza had reached 2,694, in addition to 53 planes via El-Arish in Egypt.