Reports: Israel carried out Gaza strike that killed 5 minors

Relatives of the children of the Nijim family, who were killed in an Israeli raid, sit around their graves at Al-Faluja cemetery in Jabalia, in the northern Gaza Strip, on Aug.8, 2022. (AP)
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Updated 16 August 2022

Reports: Israel carried out Gaza strike that killed 5 minors

  • It was one of a number of blasts during the fighting that did not bear the tell-tale signs of an Israeli F-16 or drone strike
  • The five children, aged 4 to 16 years old, had gathered in the local cemetery

JEBALIYA, Gaza Strip: A Palestinian human rights group and an Israeli newspaper reported Tuesday that an explosion in a cemetery that killed five Palestinian children during the latest flare-up in Gaza was caused by an Israeli airstrike and not an errant Palestinian rocket.
It was one of a number of blasts during the fighting that did not bear the tell-tale signs of an Israeli F-16 or drone strike, and which the Israeli military said might have been caused by rockets misfired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group.
The five children, aged 4 to 16 years old, had gathered in the local cemetery, one of the few open spaces in the crowded Jebaliya refugee camp, on Aug. 7, hours before an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire ended three days of heavy fighting.
Residents said a projectile fell from the air and exploded in the cemetery. When The Associated Press visited the site, it saw none of the usual signs of an airstrike by an Israeli F-16 or drone, adding to suspicions that the blast was caused by an errant rocket. Both the Israeli military and Palestinian rights groups said at the time that they were still investigating the blast.
On Tuesday, the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights said its investigation of shrapnel and other evidence led it to conclude that the blast was caused by an Israeli airstrike.
“This was a missile fired from an Israeli aircraft,” said Raji Sourani, the director of the group, as he displayed pictures of what he said was a fragment showing the missile’s serial number.
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper meanwhile cited unnamed Israeli defense officials as saying the military’s investigation had concluded that the five were killed by an Israeli strike.
Asked about the Haaretz story, the military said it was still examining the event. It said that throughout the latest round of fighting, it had targeted militant infrastructure and “made every feasible effort to minimize, as much as possible, harm to civilians and civilian property.”
At a sit-in held by family members at the site of the explosion on Tuesday, Sahar Nijm said the loss of her son Mohammed was made even more painful by the suggestion he was killed by a Palestinian rocket.
“We always heard about other massacres, but when it happens to you, you really feel the oppression,” she said. “Especially when (Israel) denies this in order to portray us as oppressors and terrorists before the international community.”
Diana Nijim said her son Hamid was desperate to go outside after sheltering indoors for the first two days of fighting. She said he and the other children went to the cemetery because it was the only open space in the neighborhood where they could play.
“This is the cruelest crime in the world,” she said. “This is deliberate. They want to uproot us.”
The latest fighting in Gaza began with a wave of Israeli airstrikes on Aug. 5 that killed a senior Islamic Jihad commander as well as several civilians. Israel said it was responding to an imminent threat days after the arrest of a senior Islamic Jihad leader in the occupied West Bank.
Over the next three days, Israel carried out dozens of airstrikes across the narrow, crowded coastal strip. Islamic Jihad fired some 1,100 rockets at Israel, around 200 of which fell short and landed inside Gaza, according to the Israeli military.
Hamas, a larger and more militarily advanced group that has ruled Gaza since 2007, sat out this round of fighting. apparently in order to maintain understandings with Israel that have led to an easing of a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after it seized power. Israel and Hamas have fought four wars and several smaller skirmishes over the last 15 years.
A total of 49 Palestinians were killed in the latest fighting, including 17 children. Palestinian rights groups say at least 36 were killed in Israeli airstrikes, with investigations still underway into the deaths of 13 others. No Israelis were killed or seriously wounded.
The Israeli military said early estimates showed that at least 20 of those killed were militants, and that 14 people were killed by errant Islamic Jihad rocket fire. That count did not include the five killed in the Jebaliya cemetery.
The day before the blast at the cemetery, seven people were killed by an explosion on a busy street elsewhere in Jebaliya. The Israeli military blamed it on a rocket misfire by Islamic Jihad, saying the army had not carried out any strikes in the area at that time. The military later released video that appeared to show a militant rocket falling short.
Video footage of the aftermath of that blast showed what appeared to be a rocket casing sticking out of the ground. When the AP visited the site, the casing was gone and the hole had been filled in. Palestinians are usually keen to display evidence of Israeli airstrikes to international media.
Palestinians with direct knowledge of the suspicious incidents have been reluctant to speak on record. The Hamas-run Interior Ministry directed journalists not to report on rocket misfires in media guidelines that were rescinded after an outcry by foreign media outlets.
Many Palestinians view Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militant groups as freedom fighters resisting decades of Israeli military rule, and believe that criticism of such groups undermines the struggle for independence. Israel and Western countries consider them terrorist organizations because they have carried out scores of deadly attacks on Israeli civilians.
The four Gaza wars have killed more than 4,000 Palestinians, the vast majority of whom died in Israeli strikes. More than half were civilians, according to the UN Over 100 people have been killed on the Israeli side, including civilians, soldiers and foreign residents.

US allocates $73m to UNRWA amid funding crisis

Palestinians carry bags of flour received as aid to poor families, at the UNRWA distribution center, in the Rafah refugee camp.
Updated 42 min 40 sec ago

US allocates $73m to UNRWA amid funding crisis

  • UNRWA requires between $170 and $190 million just to keep its services running until the end of the year

LONDON: US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced an additional $73 million in funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, Jordan Press Agency reported on Sunday. 

The ambassador said that the funding would help supply food to needy families, provide healthcare for children and pregnant women, assist students in furthering their education, and support people affected by the conflict through mental health services.

It will also provide emergency humanitarian assistance to residents of Jenin and Ain Al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camps, both of which have suffered from recent violence. 

Earlier on Thursday, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said the funding crisis for Palestinian refugees in Jordan and other host countries has created an “absolutely unbearable” situation that could soon approach a tipping point. 

Lazzarini said that the agency required between $170 and $190 million just to keep its activities in Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza and elsewhere running until the end of the year. 

Jordan’s King Abdullah II told the UNGA in New York on Tuesday that the world must not abandon Palestinian refugees to the forces of despair. 

“In Jordan, where refugees make up over a third of our 11 million population, cuts have already thrown the lives of hundreds of thousands of refugees into uncertainty. The impact of such humanitarian shortfalls is never limited to a country or region,” the king said.

Despite several UN member states pledging Thursday to boost their contributions to UNRWA, the agency still only has the means to provide services until October.

Kuwait, China sign 7 agreements for major construction work

Updated 24 September 2023

Kuwait, China sign 7 agreements for major construction work

  • Projects include completion of port, renewable energy, low-carbon recycling, water treatment schemes

LONDON: Kuwait and China have signed seven memorandums of understanding on large-scale construction projects, Kuwait News Agency reported on Sunday.

The agreements were signed during Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s visit to Hangzhou at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping to attend the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games.

It was the crown prince’s second meeting with Xi since the Gulf Cooperation Council-China Summit for Cooperation and Development in December in Saudi Arabia.

Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister Saad Al-Barrak described the visit as “very important,” with the government working to update its 2035 vision.

The first agreement is for completion of Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port.

“Around 50 percent of the first phase of Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port is complete, and we seek to finalize the first phase in order to launch and operate the port as swiftly as possible,” Al-Barrak said.

“China excels in construction and other domains like management and operation of the port, so we have signed the MoU and will continue the talks on execution.”

Other agreements were signed for projects including renewable energy, creation of a low-carbon recycling green system, water treatment station infrastructure, and economic and free zones.

Jassem Al-Ostad, Kuwait’s minister of electricity, water and renewable energy, said the crown prince gave instructions to build renewable energy stations in order to supply clean and affordable energy, while also honoring Kuwait’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Another MoU outlines the development of advanced housing cities in Kuwait as part of the government plans to offer housing care for citizens.

During the visit, Sheikh Mishal and Xi discussed ways to expand bilateral relations.

Xi said that Kuwait was the first Gulf country to establish relations with Beijing in 1971, and that the Kuwait Fund was instrumental in providing loans to China in the 1980s.

The crown prince also met with Huawei executives to strengthen Kuwait’s partnership with the company in information technology and communication services.

UAE FM meets UN secretary general on sidelines of UNGA assembly

Updated 24 September 2023

UAE FM meets UN secretary general on sidelines of UNGA assembly

  • Discussions focused on partnerships in humanitarian aid, renewable energy, climate action

LONDON: UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Emirates News Agency reported.

Discussions focused on UAE-UN partnerships in a variety of sectors, including humanitarian aid, renewable energy, climate action and sustainable development.

Sheikh Abdullah and Guterres reviewed the outcomes of the UAE’s membership of the UN Security Council from 2022 to 2023, as well as its contributions to international peace and security, and humanitarian response operations and initiatives aimed at tackling global challenges.

The meeting discussed the UAE’s preparations for hosting the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in November in Dubai.

Sheikh Abdullah said that the UAE recognized the need to expedite the global response to climate change to achieve peace and security, and that the country looked forward to leveraging climate challenges into opportunities that drove sustainable and economic development.

The two officials also addressed developments in the Middle East, exchanged views on a number of regional and global issues of mutual interest, as well as challenges to international peace and security.

Guterres thanked the UAE for its strengthened engagement with the UN and its hosting of COP28.

The meeting was attended by several UAE officials, including Reem bint Ibrahim Al-Hashimy, minister of state for international cooperation, Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, permanent representative to the UN, Mohamed Issa Abu Shehab, deputy permanent representative to the UN, and Majid Al Suwaidi, special representative of COP28.


All 120 workers rescued after Nile cruise ship accident in Egypt

Nile cruise ships and feluccas are moored off the river bank of Egypt’s southern city of Luxor. (File/AFP)
Updated 24 September 2023

All 120 workers rescued after Nile cruise ship accident in Egypt

  • There were no guests on board the ship, which was heading to Luxor Governorate in the south of Egypt

CAIRO: All 120 workers on board a Nile cruise ship that partially sank after it collided with a bridge have been rescued. 

The collision caused a hole in the lower right side of the Tivoli Nile ship in Minya Governorate in Upper Egypt, officials said.

There were no guests on board the ship, which was heading to Luxor Governorate in the south of Egypt.

The Public Prosecution is investigating the incident.

Authorities said they were working with the company that owns the floating hotel, while Mohammed Amer, head of the Department of Hotel Establishments, Shops, and Tourist Activities at the ministry, said the ship’s tourism operating license expired last May and had not been renewed.

It was recently at a workshop in Helwan, south of Cairo, for necessary repairs and maintenance work to allow it to operate during the upcoming winter season, starting next month.

Amer said that, after completing all maintenance work, the management of the vessel obtained a passage permit from Cairo to Luxor for the necessary inspections by Ministry of Tourism officials to renew its license in preparation for the start of October.

The River Transport Authority said that it granted a temporary permit for the ship to leave the repair shop to its own berth on Aug. 23 until it obtained the rest of the necessary licenses from the other relevant authorities.

Jordan, UK delegations review bilateral cooperation

Updated 24 September 2023

Jordan, UK delegations review bilateral cooperation

  • Jordanian MPs advocated for increasing British investment in Jordan, medical tourism promotion

LONDON: The Jordanian-British Parliamentary Friendship Association met a UK delegation of Conservative MPs on Sunday in Amman to discuss opportunities for cooperation between the two countries, Jordan News Agency reported.

Dina Bashir, the association’s president, emphasized the strength of Jordanian-British relations, which she attributed to the country’s respective leaderships.

Bashir underscored Jordan’s commitment to political, economic and administrative modernization under the leadership of King Abdullah II, with the goal of improving Jordanians’ lives in a range of sectors.

Bashir expressed Jordan’s position on the Palestinian cause while applauding the king’s efforts to resolve the conflict on local, regional and international levels. She also emphasized the importance of Jordanian custodianship over Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem in sustaining the historical coexistence of Muslims and Christians.

Highlighting Jordan’s long-standing tradition of welcoming refugees, Bashir noted the influx of Syrian refugees and its impact on the host country’s infrastructure. She urged the international community to fulfill its responsibilities toward Jordan so it could continue to play its humanitarian role.

Bashir campaigned for the expansion and marketing of Jordanian products in the UK, as well as boosting economic and tourism collaboration.

Several Jordanian MPs also advocated for increasing British investment in Jordan, medical tourism promotion, and British tourists visiting the country.

The UK delegation highlighted the need to strengthen bilateral ties in the economic, commercial, agricultural and tourism sectors. They also acknowledged Jordan’s critical role in the refugee crisis as well as its efforts to ensure regional security and stability.