Israel hits Gaza after rockets disrupt Netanyahu rally

Israeli fighter jets “hit 15 terrorist targets in the north and center of the Gaza Strip,” the army said. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 September 2019
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Israel hits Gaza after rockets disrupt Netanyahu rally

  • Netanyahu was hustled off stage when sirens warning of incoming rockets blared in the southern city of Ashdod late Tuesday
  • It came just hours after the premier pledged to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank if re-elected

JERUSALEM: Israel bombed Hamas positions in Gaza overnight in retaliation for rocket fire across the border, which cut short an election rally by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the military said Wednesday.
Netanyahu was hustled off stage when sirens warning of incoming rockets blared in the southern city of Ashdod late Tuesday, public television reported.
It came just hours after the premier pledged to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank if re-elected.
Israeli fighter jets “hit 15 terrorist targets in the north and center of the Gaza Strip,” including a weapons factory, an attack tunnel and naval targets, the army said.
It said it would “continue to hold Hamas responsible for everything that comes from the Gaza Strip,” regardless of who actually fired the weapons.
The Islamists of Hamas have been the de facto rulers of Gaza since they ousted forces loyal to president Mahmud Abbas in deadly fighting in 2007.
Both rockets fired from Gaza were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system.
Video posted on WhatsApp by Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party showed him returning to the stage after the all-clear and saying that Hamas was scared of him winning next Tuesday’s general election.
“If it attacks us on live TV, you understand that it doesn’t want us here,” he told his audience.
Arch-foes Hamas and Israel have fought three wars since 2008.


Merkel urges return to Iran nuclear deal to defuse Middle East tensions

Updated 17 September 2019
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Merkel urges return to Iran nuclear deal to defuse Middle East tensions

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday called for a return to an international deal curbing Iran’s nuclear activities as the only way to defuse tensions in the Middle East.
“We believe that the deal to stop Iran from acquiring military nuclear capabilities is a building block we need to get back to,” Merkel said during a news conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah.
“But there is also a long list of other burdens coming from Iran like the ballistic missiles program and its engagement in Syria,” she said. “In recent days tensions in the region rose and Germany will always be in favor of de-escalation and long-term solutions are only possible through a political process.”