Israel kills Lebanese man ‘responsible for supplying weapons to Hamas’

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Emergency and security service members and residents gather around the carcass of a car at the site of an Israeli strike in al-Khiyara town in Lebanon's Western Bekaa area on June 22, 2024, which killed a member of the Jamaa Islamiya group according to a Lebanese security source. (AFP)
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Emergency and security service members and residents gather around the carcass of a car at the site of an Israeli strike in Al-Khiyara town in Lebanon’s Western Bekaa area on June 22, 2024, which killed a member of the Jamaa Islamiya group according to a Lebanese security source. (AFP)
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Updated 22 June 2024
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Israel kills Lebanese man ‘responsible for supplying weapons to Hamas’

  • UN peacekeepers warn against attacks on its sites in Lebanon or along the Blue Line
  • Kuwaiti citizens told by Foreign Ministry to leave Lebanon ‘as soon as possible’
  • Hezbollah tells peace delegations: ‘Don’t tire yourselves out; stop the war in Gaza, and all fronts will calm down’

BEIRUT: Israel faced accusations of violating the rules of engagement on Saturday after a military drone attacked a car in Khiara village in western Bekaa, killing the Lebanese driver.

Khiara, about 24 km from Shebaa Farms on the border and 58 km from Beirut, was targeted for the first time since the start of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

A Lebanese security source said the drone strike on a SUV killed the driver, Ayman Ghotmeh, from Lala village in Bekaa.

Reports in Bekaa suggested that the victim had links with Hamas or was affiliated with a radical group allied with Hezbollah.

BACKGROUND

Since the Israel-Hamas war broke out on Oct. 7, Hezbollah movement and other groups allied with the Palestinian fighters have traded near-daily fire with Israel across the southern border.

The Israeli army later said that Ghotmeh was a commander in the Islamic Group in Lebanon, and “was in charge of supplying Hamas with weapons.”

According to Israeli media outlets, the army also targeted Hamas commander Raed Saad in a strike inside Gaza.

Israeli shelling reached Khiam, the outskirts of Deir Mimas, and Kfarkila amid continued confrontations with Hezbollah on Saturday, while Israeli warplanes struck Yaroun with two air-to-surface missiles, with no casualties reported.

Hezbollah said it struck a building used by Israeli soldiers in the Manara settlement.

It has also been reported that UNIFIL was fortifying its military positions in the border area.

Candice Ardell, deputy director of the UNIFIL Media Office, said that “the international forces reject the use of UNIFIL locations or nearby areas to carry out attacks through the Blue Line.”

In an official statement, Ardell said: “Since October, we’ve been witnessing many incidents targeting our locations and vehicles from both sides. In some situations, our peacekeepers sustained some injuries, which fortunately weren’t serious.

“We reiterate to all parties that targeting UN locations or using nearby areas to carry out attacks through the Blue Line is unacceptable and constitutes a violation” of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

She added: “We have strong measures in place to ensure peacekeepers’ safety and ability to fulfill their duties. This includes updating our buildings when needed.”

The UNIFIL reaction came as Hezbollah parliamentary bloc member MP Hassan Ezzeddine said all the “pressure and intimidation on Lebanon is aimed at pressuring the resistance.”

Ezzeddine said: “We have faced threats and temptations, the aim of which was to give up our heavy weapons in favor of what we want inside Lebanon, but we refused and continued our path.

“The threats made by the enemy against Lebanon are to stop the front of northern occupied Palestine because this front, by everyone’s admission, especially the enemy’s leaders, is very influential in weakening them, paralyzing their capabilities, and preventing them from defeating Gaza.”

Ezzeddine addressed “all those working behind the scenes, and openly, those delegations coming to Lebanon with various initiatives,” saying: “Do not waste your time and efforts in Lebanon, because they are going in the wrong direction, and do not tire yourselves out.

“There is only one way, and that is to go to Israeli leaders and pressure them to stop their aggression on Gaza. Then, all fronts will calm down.

“But if this enemy continues its aggression and expands the scope of this war, the resistance is ready to fight a battle that may ultimately be decisive.”

The Hezbollah MP’s remarks came as the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised all its citizens to avoid travel to Lebanon due to security developments in the region.

The ministry asked “Kuwaiti citizens already in Lebanon, with no pressing reasons to remain, to leave the country as soon as possible. Those unable to leave must contact the Kuwaiti Embassy in Lebanon immediately via the embassy’s emergency phone number: 0096171171441.”

Kuwait Airways announced an increase in the capacity of its planes heading to Beirut to accommodate passengers wishing to return to Kuwait.

In a statement on its X account, the airline said: “These measures come in coordination with the Foreign Ministry in light of the current circumstances in the region.”

 

 


Egypt condemns Israeli airstrikes on Al-Mawasi area west of Khan Younis

Updated 4 sec ago
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Egypt condemns Israeli airstrikes on Al-Mawasi area west of Khan Younis

  • Egypt called on Israel to cease its disregard for the lives of unarmed civilians and to adhere to international humanitarian law

CAIRO: Egypt has condemned the Israeli airstrikes on the Al-Mawasi area west of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

The deaths in Al-Mawasi, an Israeli-designated “safe zone” where aid groups said hundreds of thousands of people were sheltering, drew condemnation from governments across the region.

The Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip said at least 92 people had been killed, more than half of them women and children, and 300 wounded in Saturday’s strike

In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Emigration and Egyptian Expatriates, Egypt condemned in the strongest terms the Israeli bombing of Al-Mawasi, which is crowded with displaced people, resulting in the death and injury of dozens of innocent Palestinian civilians.

Egypt called on Israel to cease its disregard for the lives of unarmed civilians and to adhere to international humanitarian law.

It also stressed that such crimes would not be subject to a statute of limitations and could not be justified under any pretext.

Egypt emphasized that these continuous violations against Palestinian civilians add serious complications to the current efforts aimed at reaching de-escalation and a ceasefire and exacerbate their suffering amid disgraceful international silence and inaction.

 


Palestinian president Abbas blames Hamas for continuing war in Gaza

Updated 34 min 40 sec ago
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Palestinian president Abbas blames Hamas for continuing war in Gaza

  • His comments signal rising tension between Abbas’s Fatah faction and the Islamist Hamas group

RAMALLAH: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel and the US were responsible for an attack that killed dozens in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, but the Western-backed leader also blamed Hamas for the continuing war in Gaza.
His comments signal rising tension between Abbas’s Fatah faction and the Islamist Hamas group, which accused the Palestinian president of taking Israel’s side.
Israel said the attack was aimed at killing the Hamas military chief Mohammad Deif and his aide. It remained unclear whether Deif or his deputy were killed in the strike that left at least 90 Palestinians dead and 300 wounded, according to Gaza health ministry.
“The Palestinian presidency condemns the slaughter and holds the Israeli government fully responsible, also the US administration that provides all kinds of support to the occupation and its crimes,” said Abbas in a statement published by his office.
But Abbas, whose authority maintains a limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, assigned some blame to Hamas, whose Oct 7 attack inside Israel, in which 1,200 people were killed and around 250 others were abducted, kicked off the nine-month war in Gaza.
“The presidency sees that by escaping national unity, and providing free pretexts to the occupation state, the Hamas movement is a partner in bearing legal, moral and political responsibility for the continuation of the Israeli war of genocide in Gaza Strip,” the statement said.
Hamas has run Gaza since its 2007 takeover of the coastal territory from Abbas loyalists.
Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters Abbas’s statement meant the Palestinian Authority “has chosen to be in the same trench with the occupation.”
“Such an attitude will not succeed in blackmailing the resistance or pressuring it,” said Abu Zuhri.
Efforts by Arab mediators, led by Egypt, have so far failed to reconcile power struggles between the two sides.
Another Hamas leader, Basem Naim, who took part in previous reconciliation talks with Abbas’s Fatah faction, said Abbas was to blame for the failure to reach a unity deal.
Naim said Abbas’s comments made him and his authority “partner to the Zioinist enemy and its crimes not only in Gaza but also in all of the Palestinian land.”


Iraq recovers remains of 139 likely Daesh victims from mass grave

Updated 38 min 33 sec ago
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Iraq recovers remains of 139 likely Daesh victims from mass grave

  • The Alo Antar hole — a natural desert feature turned into a mass grave by Daesh extremists — is located in Tal Afar

MOSUL: Iraqi authorities have removed the remains of 139 people from a large pit believed to contain victims of Daesh, an official said on Sunday.
The Alo Antar hole — a natural desert feature turned into a mass grave by Daesh extremists — is located in Tal Afar, some 70 kilometers (40 miles) west of Mosul in northern Iraq.
It is not known how many bodies were dumped in the pit, but search efforts for other victims are ongoing.
“We have removed the remains of 139 persons and also human body parts,” said Dia Karim, director of the mass graves department at the Foundation of Martyrs — a government institution tasked with finding mass graves and identifying remains.
“They include women and men,” Karim said, adding that “according to testimonies, the victims date back to Daesh rule” or before when Al-Qaeda was present in the area.
Testimonies also suggest, according to Karim, that “the victims are Yazidis, Shiite Turkmen and security forces personnel from Mosul,” the de facto capital of Daesh’s self-declared “caliphate.”
At its peak, the group ruled over swathes of Syria and Iraq, while its fighters committed beheadings, torture and enslavement, turning life into a living hell and leaving behind many mass graves.
In northern Iraq, they committed some of their worst atrocities against the Yazidis — an ethnic and religious minority — including mass executions and sexual slavery.
Ahmed Assadi from the Foundation of Martyrs said the victims “were not buried but dumped in the hole,” whose full depth ranges between 42 and 12 meters.
“Some of the victims had been shot and others were found with their throats cut,” and several bodies were found in body bags.
Assadi added that some of the clothing found on them indicated that they might have been Yazidis or Turkmen, adding that other bodies were found in orange jumpsuits of the kind typically worn by Daesh hostages.
The bodies recovered from Alo Antar were taken to forensic departments to be identified using DNA testing.
The mass grave was discovered after Iraqi forces retook control of the area in 2017, but the work to recover the bodies only started in May of this year.
Iraqi authorities frequently announce the discovery of mass graves of Daesh victims, as well as those containing Daesh extremists themselves and others dating to the rule of dictator Saddam Hussein, but the identification process is slow, costly and complicated.
The United Nations estimates the extremists left behind more than 200 mass graves which might contain as many as 12,000 bodies.
A similar but much larger sinkhole known as Al-Khasfa in northern Iraq is also thought to contain the bodies of many Daesh victims.
In northern Syria, a 50-meter-deep gorge has been used as a dumping site for dead bodies during and after Daesh rule, according to a 2020 Human Rights Watch report.


UAE delivers medical aid to Gaza after Israeli attack on refugee camps

Updated 14 July 2024
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UAE delivers medical aid to Gaza after Israeli attack on refugee camps

  • The initiative follows Israel’s targeting of displaced Palestinians at camps in Khan Younis on Saturday

DUBAI: The UAE delivered three tonnes of medical supplies and a range of medicines to support the healthcare sector and hospitals still operating in the Gaza Strip, the UAE state news agency reported on Sunday.

The initiative follows Israel’s targeting of displaced Palestinians at camps in Khan Younis on Saturday.

The medical aid includes medical supplies for hospitals facing shortages, medicines for various injuries, insulin for diabetic patients, and other solutions to bolster the healthcare sector during the crisis.

The UAE on Sunday condemned Israel’s attack on refugee camps in Khan Younis, which claimed the lives of 100 people.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday expressed its strongest condemnation and denunciation of what it termed “continued genocidal massacres against the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli war machine.”


US, UK strike Houthi targets in Yemen’s northern Hajjah

Updated 14 July 2024
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US, UK strike Houthi targets in Yemen’s northern Hajjah

  • Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV said on Sunday that the US and UK “aggression” struck Medi district in Hajjah province

AL-MUKALLA: US and UK forces on Sunday hit a Houthi target in an area of north Yemeni region, while an EU naval operation destroyed a Yemeni militia drone in the Gulf of Aden. 

Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV said on Sunday that the US and UK “aggression” struck Medi district in Hajjah province on Sunday, the latest round of strikes by the US and UK against the Houthis in retribution for the militia’s anti-ship operation.

The Houthi TV station did not provide details on the targeted area or any human or property damage.

This comes as the EU military operation in the Red Sea, known as Aspides, said on Sunday that its Greek warship Psara shot down a drone suspected to have been launched by the Houthis in the Gulf of Aden.

The warship was repelling a barrage of Houthi explosive-laden drones aimed at a commercial ship escorted by the EU mission. 

“This operation aims to protect the lives of seafarers, ensure global trade, protect global common goods, uphold freedom of navigation, and contribute to regional peace and security,” the EU naval mission said on X. 

In response to Houthi attacks on ships, which began in November, the US formed a coalition marine task force in the Red Sea, designated the Houthis as a terrorist organization, and launched strikes on Houthi military locations and mobile drone and missile launchers in Hodeidah, Sanaa and other areas of Yemen controlled by the Houthis.

The Houthis claim that their campaign against the ship is solely aimed at targeting Israel-bound ships and those linked to Israel to put pressure on Israel to halt its military operations in the Gaza Strip, as well as targeting US and UK ships after the two countries bombarded Yemeni territory under Houthi control.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s army said its soldiers in the southern city of Taiz repelled a Houthi attack on Saturday, killing and injuring six Houthis, according to SABA, the official news agency. 

In an attempt to take control of more areas in the besieged city of Taiz, the Houthis attacked the army’s mountainous sites in the city’s northeast on Saturday, resulting in fighting that killed two Houthis and injured four more.

The army said the Houthis were compelled to cease their attack and flee after failing to make any military advances. 

Despite a considerable decline in hostilities throughout Yemen since the UN-brokered ceasefire went into effect in April 2022, scores of government troops have been killed or injured in Houthi strikes on positions in Dhale, Taiz, Marib and other disputed districts.

Separately, one Yemeni soldier was killed and another was wounded on Saturday night while battling Al-Qaeda militants in a valley in the southern province of Abyan.

According to media channels funded by the Southern Transitional Council, Al-Qaeda assaulted the council’s soldiers in Abyan’s Omaran Valley with drones and heavy machine guns, killing one soldier and injuring another.

Since late 2022, more than 100 Yemeni soldiers have been killed in Al-Qaeda guerrilla raids as STC forces moved into the militia’s long-held hiding areas in rough and isolated valleys and mountains in Abyan and Shabwa.