Germany, France condemns Israeli strikes on Gaza schools

Update Germany, France condemns Israeli strikes on Gaza schools
Palestinians look at the site of an Israeli airstrike on a UN school sheltering displaced people in Nuseirat camp in central Gaza Strip. (Reuters)
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Updated 10 July 2024
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Germany, France condemns Israeli strikes on Gaza schools

Germany, France condemns Israeli strikes on Gaza schools
  • ‘People seeking shelter in schools getting killed is unacceptable. Civilians, especially children, must not get caught in the crossfire’

BERLIN: Germany said Wednesday that a deadly Israeli strike on a school in southern Gaza being used as a shelter was “unacceptable” and called for a rapid investigation into the incident.

“People seeking shelter in schools getting killed is unacceptable. Civilians, especially children, must not get caught in the crossfire,” the foreign ministry posted on X. “The repeated attacks on schools by the Israeli army must stop and an investigation must come quickly.”

France also condemned Israel’s recent deadly air strikes on schools sheltering displaced Palestinians in Gaza, declaring such tactics “unacceptable.”

“We call for these strikes to be fully investigated,” the foreign ministry said, highlighting a strike on Tuesday on a school near the southern city of Khan Younis.


Hezbollah in revenge mission following fatal drone attack

Hezbollah in revenge mission following fatal drone attack
Updated 9 sec ago
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Hezbollah in revenge mission following fatal drone attack

Hezbollah in revenge mission following fatal drone attack
  • Member of group killed on the outskirts of Shaqra by Israeli strike
  • Hezbollah retaliated with a drone attack on an Israeli army base on Mount Neria

BEIRUT: A Lebanese man was killed and another injured on Tuesday while in a pickup truck used for selling candy and snacks in the southern villages of Lebanon.

The fatality occurred when an Israeli military drone targeted the vehicle on the outskirts of Shaqra. The victim was identified as Sadek Atawi, a member of the Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Israeli strikes also targeted the outskirts of Naqoura, Markab, Hula, Talusah, and Aita Al-Shaab with shells and incendiary bombs.

Against the backdrop of the attack, alarm sirens sounded in several towns in Upper Galilee, with reports of rockets falling in that area and the region of Western Galilee.

Israeli media outlets reported that “most of the alarm sirens sounded in settlements where residents were not evacuated.”

Sirens were heard in the areas of Jabal Al-Jarmaq, Meron, Netua, Basuta, Shomera, Even Menachem, Kiryat Shmona, and Beit Hillel, along with neighboring towns.

A spokesperson for the Israeli military said that “several drones originating from Lebanon detonated in the vicinity of Mount Meron, while rockets were detected in the areas of Kiryat Shmona and Margaliot.”

Hezbollah said in a statement that it had conducted “an aerial attack using a squadron of drones on the Mount Neria base, in retaliation for the assassination carried out by the enemy in the town of Shaqra.”

Israeli fighter jets once again flew at low altitude over Beirut and its surrounding areas, including Khaldeh, Hadath, Aramoun, Damour, Jiyeh, and Iqlim Al-Kharroub, and traveled all the way to Keserwan and the Jezzine District, causing loud sonic booms as they broke the sound barrier.

Hezbollah targeted on Monday night, for the first time, the Tsurial settlement in Western Galilee with dozens of Katyusha rockets. The group said that the strike was in retaliation for “the attack that targeted civilians in the town of Hanin,” resulting in injuries.

Two Israelis were injured by missiles during the attack on the Tsurial settlement, according to reports in Israel.

Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee, in a post on X, said: “The locations targeted by the Israeli army included a Hezbollah weapons depot and infrastructure in Aita Al-Shaab.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Minister of Education Yoav Kisch said on Tuesday that “the next school year will not start in the north due to security complications in this region.”

According to Israeli media, Kisch has urged the prime minister and heads of the security apparatus to “act now and with force against the state of Lebanon. Deciding to carry out war with utmost force against Lebanon is inevitable to restore calm and stability for the residents of the north, and (for) the future of the state of Israel.”

On the subject of the future of the conflict, Israel’s Alma Research and Education Center, which specializes in military affairs, has published a report warning of “the ability of Hezbollah’s Radwan force to invade the Galilee.”

It added: “Despite months of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, this force can execute plans to take over lands in Israel, just like Hamas did.

“The Radwan force can operate independently, without constant instructions or external logistical assistance.

“Division commanders are significantly independent when making quick tactical decisions on the ground, while the force is equipped with all the infantry and commando weapons currently available on the arms market.”


Houthis and Yemeni government agree to end economic hostilities, expand Yemenia flights

Houthis and Yemeni government agree to end economic hostilities, expand Yemenia flights
Updated 23 July 2024
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Houthis and Yemeni government agree to end economic hostilities, expand Yemenia flights

Houthis and Yemeni government agree to end economic hostilities, expand Yemenia flights
  • UN’s special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, welcomes deal and acknowledges ‘significant role’ of Saudi Arabia in achieving it
  • Following the surprise announcement, Grundberg said the UN was ready to work with all parties to implement the agreed measures

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s internationally recognized government have reached an agreement with the Houthis, facilitated by Saudi Arabia, to lift economic sanctions and increase the number of Yemenia Airways flights from Houthi-held Sanaa.
Hans Grundberg, the UN’s special envoy for Yemen, said both parties agreed to ease economic hostilities by canceling their most recent actions taken against banks in areas the other controls and pledged to halt all such measures in the future.
They agreed to increase the frequency of national carrier Yemenia’s flights from Sanaa to Jordan from one to three a day and to introduce daily flights from the capital to Cairo and India. In addition, the two sides will hold discussions about administrative, technological and budgetary issues related to the airline.
They will also hold talks on the humanitarian and economic challenges under an UN-proposed peace plan known as “the road map.”
Following the surprise announcement, Grundberg said the UN was ready to work with all parties to implement the agreed measures. He also “recognized the significant role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in bringing this agreement about.”
The economic dispute between the government and the Houthis escalated in recent weeks when the government’s Central Bank sanctioned six banks in Houthi-held Sanaa and withdrew their licenses after they refused to relocate their headquarters from Sanaa to government stronghold Aden. The Central Bank had also withdrawn banknotes printed before 2016, which were in extensive use in Houthi-controlled areas, and shut down currency-exchange companies.
The economic sanctions were introduced after the Houthis this year, for the first time since the start of the civil war a decade ago, minted a new currency. The Yemeni government viewed this as an effort by the militia to establish an autonomous economy. The government also ordered Yemenia and telecoms companies to relocate their headquarters to Aden.
In an attempt to put pressure on the government to end its severe economic sanctions, the Houthis seized control of four Yemenia aircraft last month, announced that they would run the airline from Sanaa and threatened to fully restart the war. The militia previously attacked oil terminals in the government-controlled provinces of Shabwa and Hadramout, halting oil exports and preventing the circulation of banknotes printed by the Central Bank. They also banned traders in areas under their control from importing goods through the government and blocked the import of gas from the central city of Marib.
The Yemeni government said it eased its economic sanctions and reached an agreement with the Houthis to avoid exacerbating the economic crisis in militia-controlled areas, in response to requests from the business community and to comply with UN, regional and international mediation efforts.
“The government reiterates its steadfast determination not to subject Yemeni citizens in regions violently controlled by Houthi militia to additional living costs as a consequence of the militants’ unilateral actions, and to allow them to travel,” the official SABA news agency reported.
However critics of the deal, such as Kamel Al-Khoudani from the political bureau of the Yemeni National Resistance, said the government had conceded to Houthi demands for additional flights and an end to punitive measures against banks in Sanaa even though the militia had failed to meet counter-demands, including the resumption of oil exports.
Supporters, such as Yemeni journalist Sami Al-Kaf, argued that the government had successfully coerced the Houthis, who have previously rejected all demands to participate in negotiations, into agreeing to economic talks.


UN investigators decry patterns of grave violations in Sudan

UN investigators decry patterns of grave violations in Sudan
Updated 23 July 2024
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UN investigators decry patterns of grave violations in Sudan

UN investigators decry patterns of grave violations in Sudan
  • The people they spoke to had detailed firsthand accounts of “horrific acts of killings, sexual violence, including gang rape,” the team said
  • The investigators said that many of the violations appeared to be particularly targeted against professionals

GENEVA: A team of UN investigators said Tuesday they had met in Chad with victims of violence in Sudan’s brutal civil war and had documented “disturbing patterns” of grave abuses.
The recently established UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the situation in Sudan said it had spent three weeks in Chad meeting with survivors of the conflict in Sudan, members of Sudanese civil society and other observers.
The people they spoke to had detailed firsthand accounts of “horrific acts of killings, sexual violence, including gang rape,” the team said in a statement.
“These brutal acts must stop and the perpetrators must be brought to justice,” mission member Mona Rishmawi said.
The fact-finding mission, which was created by the UN Human Rights Council late last year to investigate alleged abuses in the conflict, also described “arbitrary detention, torture (and) enforced disappearances.”
It had also heard of “looting, the burning of houses, and the use of child soldiers,” it said.
The investigators said that many of the violations appeared to be particularly targeted against professionals like lawyers, rights defenders, teachers and doctors.
“Forced displacement was a common feature.”
War has raged in the northeast African country for more than a year between the regular military under army chief Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.
Both sides have been accused of war crimes including deliberately targeting civilians, indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and blocking humanitarian aid, as famine threatens.
The war, which began in April 2023, has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and uprooted more than 10 million people inside the country while two million more have fled across borders, according to the UN.
More than 600,000 of those have made their way to Chad.
The independent experts, who do not speak on behalf of the United Nations, called on the international community to urgently step up efforts to end the conflict.
“This crisis requires the support of the international community as a whole,” said mission chair Mohamed Chande Othman.


Egypt’s El-Sisi checks on Trump after assassination attempt

Egypt’s El-Sisi checks on Trump after assassination attempt
Updated 23 July 2024
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Egypt’s El-Sisi checks on Trump after assassination attempt

Egypt’s El-Sisi checks on Trump after assassination attempt

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi spoke on the phone with former US President Donald Trump to check on his health after an assassination attempt, the Egyptian presidency said.
Trump had expressed strong support to El-Sisi during his term in face of protests against him in 2019, calling El-Sisi a great leader.


Israel tanks advance deeper in southern Gaza as more ceasefire talks expected

People carry children injured during Israeli bombardment as people flee at the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip
People carry children injured during Israeli bombardment as people flee at the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip
Updated 23 July 2024
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Israel tanks advance deeper in southern Gaza as more ceasefire talks expected

People carry children injured during Israeli bombardment as people flee at the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip
  • Gaza health officials said Israeli military strikes since Monday killed at least 80 Palestinians in the Khan Younis area
  • UN officials described scenes of despair on Tuesday as Israeli airstrikes hit the area

CAIRO/JERUSALEM: Palestinian residents of eastern neighborhoods of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip fled their homes on Tuesday as Israeli tanks advanced deep into the area after Israel ordered the population to evacuate.
The tanks pushed into the Khan Younis town of Bani Suhaila and several districts nearby were bombed for a second day, forcing tens of thousands of civilians to seek refuge elsewhere. Israel said its action was to prevent Hamas fighters from regrouping.
Gaza health officials said Israeli military strikes since Monday killed at least 80 Palestinians in the Khan Younis area — adding to a death toll of more than 39,000 in nearly 10 months of warfare, according to Gaza authorities’ figures.
The Israeli military said Hamas and other groups used those areas to renew attacks, including firing rockets.
UN officials described scenes of despair on Tuesday as Israeli airstrikes hit the area.
“The situation is impossible,” the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA said on X.
In a later post, it said there was nowhere safe to go in Gaza.
“People are exhausted from the continuous displacement and unlivable conditions & they are trapped in increasingly small & overcrowded areas,” it said.
The Israeli military said dozens of militants had been killed in Khan Younis by its tanks and warplanes or in close-quarter combat. Weapon caches and tunnels used by the militants had been destroyed, it said.
Palestinian medics said one person was killed in an Israeli airstrike in the area on Tuesday. The Gaza health ministry does not distinguish between combatants and non-combatants. Health officials have said most of those killed have been civilians.
Residents in Khan Younis said tanks remained stationed deep inside Bani Suhaila. Soldiers were seen searching inside the town’s main cemetery, while others commandeered roofs of high-rise buildings, firing their guns toward the western areas from time to time, residents said.
In the Bureij camp in the central Gaza Strip, where six Palestinians were killed by an Israeli airstrike on a house, some residents said they had received calls from Israeli security officers ordering them to leave their homes. Some families headed toward the Nuseirat camp to the west.
Later on Tuesday, residents said Israeli forces had blown up several homes in Rafah, where Israel said its operation since May aimed to dismantle the last Hamas battalions.

Ceasefire hopes 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told families of hostages held in Gaza that a deal that would secure their release could be near, his office said on Tuesday.
The hostages were seized in a Hamas raid into southern Israel on Oct. 7 in which about 1,200 people were killed and around and 250 taken captive, according to Israeli tallies, an action that triggered the assualt on Gaza.
Hamas and other militants are still holding 120 hostages, around a third of whom have been declared dead in absentia by Israeli authorities.
Netanyahu is currently in Washington and is expected to meet US President Joe Biden later this week after making an address to Congress.
Speaking in the US capital on Monday to families of hostages, he said: “The conditions (for a deal) are undoubtedly ripening. This is a good sign.”
Months of efforts mediated by Egypt and Qatar to reach a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas gained momentum in recent weeks under a proposal outlined by Biden in May before stalling again.
“Unfortunately, it will not take place all at once; there will be stages. However, I believe that we can advance the deal,” Netanyahu said.
Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters there was nothing new in Netanyahu’s stance.
“Netanyahu is still stalling and he is sending delegations only to calm the anger of Israeli captives’ families,” he said.
An Israeli negotiation team was due on Thursday to resume talks that would include hostages being released in return for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. In a week-long truce in November, 105 hostages were freed in return for 240 Palestinian prisoners.
According to two Egyptian security sources, Israel informed Egypt that an Israeli delegation would arrive in Cairo on Wednesday evening, saying it would bring positive responses in order to progress toward an agreement.