Thousands of Gazans apply for Israeli work permits

Palestinians gather to apply for Israeli work permits, in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday. (Reuters)
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Updated 06 October 2021
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Thousands of Gazans apply for Israeli work permits

  • In Jabalia, a crowd of men holding their identity papers lined up hoping to obtain a permit to work in Israel, AFP journalists said
  • The total number of permits being granted by Israel to Palestinian laborers in Gaza is 7,000

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: Thousands of Gazans applied Wednesday for work permits for Israel, which has been reopening its gates to laborers from the Palestinian enclave following the latest war in May.
In Jabalia, a refugee camp in northern Gaza, a crowd of men holding their identity papers lined up hoping to obtain a permit to work in Israel, AFP journalists said.
“There is no work in the Gaza Strip,” said Fathi Abu Nur, a 40-year-old unemployed man.
“Yesterday I heard that workers are registering to get permits (for Israel),” he said.
“I hope things will get better because the current situation is really difficult,” the father of five said.
The total number of permits being granted by Israel to Palestinian laborers in Gaza is 7,000, an Israeli security official told AFP, up from 5,000 workers and traders allowed in August.
In May, Israel and Hamas reached a truce following 11 days of the deadliest fighting in years.
Israel has since been easing restrictions on the Palestinian enclave, including reopening crossings, expanding the fishing zone and permitting the entry of certain goods.
Many Palestinians want to work in Israel, where wages are higher than in Gaza.
The impoverished territory of two million inhabitants with an unemployment rate of about 50 percent has been blockaded by Israel for nearly 15 years.
Palestinian economic analyst Omar Shaaban said Israeli work permits could help alleviate “the unemployment crisis and poverty” within the territory, ruled by the Islamist movement Hamas.
According to Shaaban, Gaza’s income would increase by three million dollars per day ($3 million), if Israel granted 20,000 work permits.
Meanwhile, the increase in permits was “the result of a political process, including discussions in Cairo between the Hamas movement and Egyptian officials,” a Palestinian official at the chamber of commerce said on condition of anonymity.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has put forth a plan to improve living conditions in Gaza in exchange for a Hamas commitment to “long-term quiet.”
Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since 2008.


Hezbollah fires rockets after Israel strike on Lebanon

Updated 14 sec ago
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Hezbollah fires rockets after Israel strike on Lebanon

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Hezbollah on Sunday said it fired Katyusha rockets at northern Israel in response to an overnight Israeli strike that, according to state media, hit a weapons depot and wounded six people.
Hezbollah has traded near-daily cross-border 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.
The Iran-backed Hezbollah said it targeted northern Israel’s Dafna area with Katyusha rockets “in response to the Israeli enemy’s attacks that targeted civilians in the town of Adloun, injuring several of them.”
This comes after the Israeli military said its air force “struck two Hezbollah weapons storage facilities in southern Lebanon, containing rockets and additional weaponry.”
Late on Saturday, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said “the Israeli enemy launched a raid” on the town of Adloun, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the border with Israel, later saying the target was “an ammunition depot.”
“Six civilians sustained moderate injuries,” the NNA said on Sunday, revising the figure up from three the night before.
Rockets were still exploding about an hour after the strike was first reported, the NNA said, with videos circulating online showing several large explosions in Adloun.
“Shrapnel from the explosions flew to surrounding villages,” the NNA said.
Hezbollah on Sunday said in separate statements that three of its fighters were killed.
Earlier on Saturday, Hezbollah and its Palestinian ally Hamas had fired rocket salvos and explosive-laden drones at Israeli positions.
Hezbollah said it had launched “dozens of Katyusha rockets” toward northern Israel “in response” to a strike blamed on Israel that injured civilians.
Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, said they also fired a rocket salvo from south Lebanon toward an Israeli military position in the Upper Galilee.
The violence since October has killed at least 518 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.

Iran condemns Israeli attack on Yemen’s Hodeida port

Updated 29 min 1 sec ago
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Iran condemns Israeli attack on Yemen’s Hodeida port

  • Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman said the attack was “an expression of the aggressive behavior of the child-killing Israeli regime.”

TEHRAN: Iran has condemned Israel’s deadly retaliatory strike on the Houthi-controlled port of Hodeida in Yemen that the miltia say killed six people and wounded dozens more.
Late on Saturday, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani “strongly condemned” the attack saying it was “an expression of the aggressive behavior of the child-killing Israeli regime.”
Israeli warplanes on Saturday struck the vital port of Hodeida in response to a deadly drone attack by the Iran-backed Houthis on Tel Aviv, which killed one civilian.
The Houthis have since threatened a “huge” retaliation against Israel.
Kanani added that Israel and its supporters, including the United States, were “directly responsible for the dangerous and unpredictable consequences of the continued crimes in Gaza, as well as the attacks on Yemen.”
Regional tensions have soared since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October, drawing in Iran-backed militant groups in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen.
Yemen’s Houthis, along with the Hezbollah group in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza are part of a Tehran-aligned “axis of resistance” against Israel and its allies.
The Islamic republic has reiterated support for the groups but insisted they were independent in their decision-making and actions.


Iraq to import electricity from Turkiye

Updated 21 July 2024
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Iraq to import electricity from Turkiye

  • PM Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani said the new line is a “strategic” step to link Iraq with neighboring countries

BAGHDAD: Iraq said Sunday a new power line will bring electricity from Turkiye to its northern provinces as authorities aim to diversify the country’s energy sources to ease chronic power outages.
The 115-kilometer (71-mile) line connects to Kisik power plant west of Mosul and will provide 300 megawatts from Turkiye to Iraq’s northern provinces of Nineveh, Salah Al-Din and Kirkuk, according to a statement by the prime minister’s office.
PM Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani said the new line is a “strategic” step to link Iraq with neighboring countries.
“The line started operating today,” Ahmed Moussa, spokesperson for the electricity ministry, told AFP.
Decades of war have left Iraq’s infrastructure in a pitiful state, with power cuts worsening the blistering summer when temperatures often reach 50 Celsius (122 Fahrenheit).
Many households have just a few hours of mains electricity per day, and those who can afford it use private generators to keep fridges and air conditioners running.
Despite its vast oil reserves, Iraq remains dependent on imports to meet its energy needs, especially from neighboring Iran, which regularly cuts supplies.
Sudani has repeatedly stressed the need for Iraq to diversify energy sources to ease the chronic outages.
To reduce its dependence on Iranian gas, Baghdad has been exploring several possibilities including imports from Gulf countries.
In March, a 340-kilometer (210-mile) power line started operating to bring electricity from Jordan to Al-Rutbah in Iraq’s southwest.


Yemen’s Hodeida battles port blaze after deadly Israel strike

Updated 21 July 2024
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Yemen’s Hodeida battles port blaze after deadly Israel strike

  • Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said the militia’s “response to the Israeli aggression against our country is inevitably coming and will be huge.”
  • The strike killed six people and wounded 80, many of them with severe burns

HODEIDA: Firefighting teams on Sunday were still battling a blaze at the Houthi-run port in Yemen’s Hodeida, hours after an Israeli strike on the harbor triggered a massive fire and killed six people, according to the militia.
Saturday’s strike on the vital port, a key entry point for fuel and humanitarian aid, is the first claimed by Israel in the Arabian peninsula’s poorest country, about 2,000 kilometers (1,300 miles) away.
It killed six people and wounded 80, many of them with severe burns, the rebel-run health ministry said in a statement carried by Houthi media.

On Sunday, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said the militia’s “response to the Israeli aggression against our country is inevitably coming and will be huge.” 

Israel said it carried out the strike in response to a drone attack by the Houthis on Tel Aviv which killed one person on Friday.
More operations against the Houthis would follow “if they dare to attack us,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said.
Following the strike, the Israeli military said Sunday it intercepted a missile fired from Yemen toward the Red Sea resort town of Eilat, noting that “the projectile did not cross into Israeli territory.”
Saree, the Houthi spokesman, said the militia had fired ballistic missiles toward Eilat, the latest in a string of Houthi attempts to hit the port city.
The militia announcement came as firefighters struggled to contain the blaze at the Hodeida port, with thick plumes of black smoke shrouding the sky above the city, said an AFP correspondent in the area.
Fuel storage tanks and a power plant at the port where still ablaze amid “slow” firefighting efforts, said a Hodeida port employee.
The port employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for security concerns, said it could take days to contain the fire, a view echoed by Yemen experts.
“There is concern that the poorly equipped firefighters may not be able to contain the spreading fire, which could continue for days,” said Mohammed Albasha, senior Middle East analyst for the US-based Navanti Group, warning that it could reach food storage facilities at the harbor.
Hodeida port, a vital entry point for fuel imports and international aid for militia-held areas of Yemen, had remained largely untouched through the decade-long war between the Houthis and the internationally recognized government propped up by neighboring Saudi Arabia.
The Houthis control swathes of Yemen, including much of its Red Sea coast, and the war has left millions of Yemenis dependent on aid supplied through the port.
Despite Houthi assurances of sufficient fuel stocks, Saturday’s strike triggered fears of worsening shortages, which war-weary Yemenis are ill-equiped to handle.
The attack is “going to have dire humanitarian effects on the millions of ordinary Yemenis living in Houthi-held Yemen,” Nicholas Brumfield, a Yemen expert, said on social media platform X.
It will drive up prices of fuel but also any goods carried by truck, the analyst said.
Yemen’s internationally-recognized government, which has been battling the Houthis for nearly a decade, condemned the strike, and held Israel responsible for a worsening humanitarian crisis.
A statement carried by the official Saba news agency said the Yemeni government holds “the Zionist entity fully responsible for any repercussions resulting from its air strikes, including the deepening of a humanitarian crises.”
It also warned the huthi militia against dragging the country into “senseless battles that serve the interests of the Iranian regime and its expansionist project in the region.”


‘Deeply concerned’ UN chief calls for restraint after Israel’s attack on Yemen

Updated 21 July 2024
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‘Deeply concerned’ UN chief calls for restraint after Israel’s attack on Yemen

  • The internationally recognised government of Yemen also condemned Israel's airstrikes as a violation of international laws

DUBAI: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed deep concern over Israel’s airstrikes on Saturday in and around the port of Hodeidah in Yemen.

Guterres called on all parties to “avoid attacks that could harm civilians and damage civilian infrastructure.”

In a statement, the secretary-general said that he “remains deeply concerned about the risk of further escalation in the region and continues to urge all to exercise utmost restraint.”

Israel’s stike on Hodeidah, apparently in retaliation for the Houthi drone strike on Tel Aviv earlier this week, left several dead and more than 80 people injured.

Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV reported that Israeli planes struck a power plant and a fuel storage facility.

Meanwhile, the internationally recognised government of Yemen on Sunday condemned Israel's airstrikes as a violation of international laws, holding Israel responsible for worsening the humanitarian crisis and strengthening Houthi militias.

The government, in a statement, urged the Houthis to prioritize national interests and engage in peace, while calling on the international community to support Yemen's authority and implement Resolution 2216.

The government also reiterated support for the Palestinian people and called for an end to Israeli aggression.