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Israel says at ‘war’ after rocket barrages, militant infiltration

Palestinian militants have begun a "war" against Israel, the country's defense minister said Saturday after a barrage of rockets were fired and fighters from the Palestinian enclave infiltrated Israel, a major escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Violence between Israel and the Palestinians has been surging for almost two years, with fatalities in the occupied West Bank hitting a scale not seen in years. At least two people were killed in Israel, officials said. Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Palestinian militant group Hamas has "launched a war against the State of Israel." "Troops are fighting against the enemy at every location," he said in a statement. AFP journalists said Israel's military began air strikes on Gaza, following the rocket barrage from inside the territory which is sealed off from Israel by a militarized border barrier. "Dozens of IDF fighter jets are currently striking a number of targets belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip," the military said. Rockets had earlier streamed across the sky repeatedly after the first launches from multiple locations across the Palestinian territory from 6:30 am (0330 GMT), AFP journalists in Gaza City reported. The armed wing of Hamas, which controls Gaza, said it was behind the aerial assault, saying its militants had launched thousands of rockets and its fighters seized an Israeli tank. Israel's army did not immediately comment on the tank claim when contacted by AFP. Israeli security chiefs convened over the violence, which occurred on Shabbat and during a Jewish holiday. Air raid sirens wailed across southern and central Israel, and the army urged people to stay near bomb shelters. AFP journalists in Jerusalem heard multiple rockets being intercepted by Israeli air defense systems. Sirens blared across the city on more occasions than in any Gaza conflict in the past three years. "We decided to put an end to all the crimes of the occupation (Israel). Their time for rampaging without being held accountable is over," the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades said. "We announce Operation Al-Aqsa Flood and we fired, in the first strike of 20 minutes, more than 5,000 rockets." Hundreds of Gazans flee Hundreds of residents fled their homes in eastern Gaza to move away from the border with Israel, an AFP correspondent said. Men, women and children carrying blankets and food left their homes, mostly in the northeastern part of the territory, the reporter said. Israel's military said Hamas launched "massive shooting of rockets", while at the same time "terrorists infiltrated into Israeli territory in a number of different locations". Hamas "will face the consequences and responsibility for these events", it said in a statement. In Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, some Palestinian residents cheered and blew their car horns as sirens blared. A regional council for Israeli communities northeast of Gaza said its president was killed in an exchange of fire with attackers from Gaza. Separately, a woman in her 60s was killed "due to a direct hit" in Israel, the Magen David Adom emergency services said. Fifteen others were wounded, two of them seriously, medics said. An AFP photographer in the coastal city of Tel Aviv saw a gaping hole in a building, with residents gathered outside. Hamas calls to 'join battle' Hamas called on "the resistance fighters in the West Bank" as well as "our Arab and Islamic nations" to join the battle, in a statement posted on Telegram. The United States condemned the Hamas fire and urged "all sides to refrain from violence and retaliatory attacks." "Terror and violence solve nothing," the US Office of Palestinian Affairs wrote on X, formerly Twitter. Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza since 2007 after Hamas took power. Palestinian militants and Israel have fought several devastating wars since. The latest violence follows heightened tensions in September, when Israel closed the border to Gazan workers for two weeks. The shutdown of the crossing came as Palestinian demonstrators along the border burned tires and threw rocks and petrol bombs at Israeli troops, who responded with tear gas and live bullets. Resuming workers' passage on 28 September had raised hopes of calming the situation in impoverished Gaza, home to 2.3 million people. In May, an exchange of Israeli air strikes and Gaza rocket fire killed 34 Palestinians and one Israeli. So far this year at least 247 Palestinians, 32 Israelis and two foreigners have been killed in the conflict, including combatants and civilians on both sides, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials. The vast majority of fatalities have occurred in the West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. There has been a rise in army raids, Palestinian attacks targeting Israelis and Israeli settler violence against Palestinians and their property. The rising violence this year came against the backdrop of divisive judicial reforms introduced by the hard-right government of President Benjamin Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption charges he denies. Several far-right ministers in Netanyahu's cabinet live in West Bank settlements deemed illegal under international law. The post Israel says at ‘war’ after rocket barrages, militant infiltration appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource: abscbn abscbnOct 7th, 2023

‘Shame on int’l media’

As the conflict between the state of Israel and the Hamas terror organization intensifies, international media coverage has thus far been described as dismal and heavily slanted against the Jewish nation. Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss cited as an example the Hamas missile attack on the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, which was hit directly a few days after the 7 October attack by a rocket fired from Gaza, resulting in Israeli deaths and injuries. In contrast, an explosion on 17 October at the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City that resulted in a massive number of fatalities and injuries was splashed all over broadcast and print media and was immediately blamed on an Israeli air strike, a narrative peddled by Hamas. Investigations by Israel and the United States proved that a missile launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,  a Gaza-based terror group more radical than Hamas, had misfired and landed on the hospital grounds. “Nobody in the media reported that an Israeli hospital was bombed in Ashkelon, which had so many patients injured and killed. The rockets were shot at the hospital. No media picked it up and condemned nobody,” Fluss lamented during an interview with Daily Tribune editors. “So, for me, this incident is a shame on the international media. These news (outfits) and (media) people sort of still live with this image that it is the ratings that must (dictate the news coverage),” Fluss said. New York Times sorry US publication The New York Times issued on Monday an unprecedented admission that it had “relied too heavily on claims by Hamas” in its reporting of an explosion at a Gaza hospital. The newspaper issued the statement five days after running a headline on its front page, above the fold, reading: “Israeli Strike Kills Hundreds in Hospital, Palestinians Say.” “The Times’ initial accounts attributed the claim of Israeli responsibility to Palestinian officials and noted that the Israeli military said it was investigating the blast,” according to NYT’s editor’s note. “However, the early versions of the coverage — and the prominence it received in a headline, news alert, and social media channels — relied too heavily on claims by Hamas and did not make clear that those claims could not immediately be verified,” the  NYT continued. NYT editors also acknowledged that “the report left readers with an incorrect impression about what was known and how credible the account was.” The note said Times reporters quickly edited the story on the website, as Israeli officials denied striking the hospital. Nonetheless, it added, “Given the sensitive nature of the news during a widening conflict and the prominent promotion it received, Times editors should have taken more care with the initial presentation and been more explicit about what information could be verified.” Islamic Jihad missile Israeli officials have vehemently denied responsibility for the explosion at the Al-Ahli Hospital and have released audio files of Hamas officials admitting that the blast was caused by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad projectile that fell onto Gaza. Also provided were images showing that the parking lot where the blast occurred did not have a crater in the ground, and there was no structural damage to nearby buildings, both of which typically would have been left by an Israeli Defense Forces strike. Recurring phenomena Media bias, as Fluss indicated, is a persistent issue. Terror groups like Hamas know this and take full advantage to sway public opinion. “As a result, coverage is often selective, stories get framed misleadingly, or certain perspectives go missing,” according to the American Jewish Committee, or AJC, which is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. “Instead of focusing on Hamas’ massacre of Israeli civilians, Israel’s efforts to thwart terrorists, destroy terrorist headquarters and weapons sites, and prevent more civilian deaths, some major media outlets characterize Israel’s targeted response as attacks on innocent and beleaguered Palestinians — feeding an unequivocally false narrative,” the AJC said. It added that Western media outlets often use the term “militant” to describe Hamas and other terrorist groups. For example, in the New York Times coverage of Hamas’ unprovoked attack on Israel on 7 October, the word “terrorists” was nowhere to be found on the front page of its website. The AJC said, “Hamas is not a militant group. It is a terrorist organization internationally designated as such by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Israel, Japan, and others that has fired thousands of rockets and slaughtered Israeli civilians in cold blood.” Hamas has set two long-term goals articulated in its charter: The end of the Jewish state and the creation of an Islamic state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. In the current conflict, Hamas has murdered over 300 Israelis and wounded nearly 2,000. “Using the term ‘militant’ to describe Hamas diminishes the true threat that the terror group poses. Media outlets need to call a terrorist a terrorist,” the AJC added. No occupation Some media accounts on the Gaza Strip often blame Israel’s “occupation” as the root cause of the conflict. Fluss pointed out, however, that Israel does not occupy the Gaza Strip and has had no presence in the coastal enclave for nearly two decades. From 1948 to 1967, the Gaza Strip was occupied by Egypt, which took control of the territory during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, also known as Israel’s War of Independence. After the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel took control of the Gaza Strip from Egypt. In 2005, Israel, facing huge political pushback, withdrew from the Gaza Strip, and dismantled its settlements and military forces in the name of peace and in hopes of creating a better future. However, those hopes were shattered after Hamas came to power through elections and, with it, violence and rocket attacks on Israeli civilian population centers. Since 2007, when Hamas violently ousted Fatah from the Gaza Strip, it began launching tens of thousands of rockets from Gaza into Israel. Hamas terrorists also infiltrated Israel through land, sea, and air incursions from Gaza to murder and abduct Israeli civilians. Over 600 Israelis were murdered on the 7 October large-scale infiltration into Israeli territory from Gaza. The post ‘Shame on int’l media’ appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 24th, 2023

The Israel-Hamas military balance

Israel has one of the best-resourced militaries in the world, heavily supported by Washington. In Hamas, it faces a highly trained armed group with powerful regional allies. With both sides poised for an Israeli ground offensive in the wake of the deadly attack on Israel by Hamas on 7 October, here is an overview of their military resources. Israel The Israel Defense Forces number 169,500, of which 126,000 are army, according to Britain's International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). On top of that, it has 400,000 reservists, of which 360,000 have been mobilized since the Hamas attack. Israel also has some of the most technologically advanced defenses in the world, including the "Iron Dome" anti-missile system. IISS says it has around 1,300 tanks and other armored vehicles, 345 fighter jets, and a vast arsenal of artillery, drones, and state-of-the-art submarines. Though not a declared nuclear state, Israel's nuclear weapons cache is an open secret and the Arms Control Association puts its number of warheads at 90. US ally Washington provides $3.8 billion per year to Israel in military aid under a 10-year agreement running until 2028. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Sunday that he had activated deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery and additional Patriot battalions "throughout the region". He added that he had put "an additional number of forces on prepare-to-deploy orders ... to increase their readiness and ability to quickly respond as required." Washington had already delivered increased munitions to Israel and deployed two aircraft carriers to the eastern Mediterranean -- the USS Gerald Ford, the world's largest warship, and the USS Eisenhower -- to deter not just Hamas but also its allies Iran and the Lebanese Islamist movement Hezbollah. The US military on Tuesday ordered 2,000 personnel to prepare for deployment to the Middle East as a show of force. Hamas Hamas has a diverse arsenal built up over many years. Its armed forces, called the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, numbers 15,000 men according to IISS, though it notes that Arab media have put the figure at 40,000. They have heavy weapons obtained from across the Middle East -- particularly Iran, Syria, and Libya -- and have also sourced handguns and assault rifles from China and other regions. It also has a variety of locally made, improvised explosives and Western sources say enough drones, mines, anti-tank guided missiles, grenade launchers, and mortar shells to hold out for a long period, though precise figures are unavailable. The majority of its rockets are also locally manufactured and technologically rudimentary. Hezbollah There have already been exchanges across the border between Israel and Lebanon, where the Iran-backed Hezbollah is based. "Hezbollah can tie up IDF resources without having to fully commit to the fight, instead relying on occasional rocket or missile strikes to prevent the Israelis from growing complacent and forcing the IDF to commit manpower and materiel along the northern border," said the Soufan Center, a US think tank. In 2021, the group claimed to have 100,000 fighters. The Institute for National Security Studies, an Israeli think tank, says the number is half that. "Most Hezbollah militants are not full-time fighters but rather engage in militant activity as and when required by the group's commanders," according to Elliot Chapman of the British defense analysis firm Janes. Hezbollah mobilized 40,000 men at the outbreak of Syria's civil war, he noted. INSS says the group's arsenal counts 150,000 to 200,000 rockets and missiles, including "hundreds" of precision rockets. "Strategically, Hezbollah's rocket arsenal is the group's most significant capability for fighting Israel," Chapman said. Iran Since its Islamic revolution in 1979, Iran has made support for Palestinians one of the pillars of its ideology. Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned Sunday that "The region is like a powderkeg ... I warn the United States and its proxy (Israel) that if they do not immediately stop the crime against humanity and genocide in Gaza, anything is possible at any moment and the region will go out of control". Western analysts minimize the threat of Iran becoming directly involved and point rather to its support from Hamas, Hezbollah, and Huthi rebels in Yemen -- a so-called "axis of resistance" of Israel's enemies. Raz Zimmt, of INSS, said Iran currently had "no interest in Hezbollah engaging in an all-out war" that might threaten such a key "strategic asset". But he added that Tehran's hand could be forced by "an Israeli ground invasion, and especially Israeli military success, which will threaten the very survival of Hamas and/or its ability to maintain effective control over the Gaza Strip". The post The Israel-Hamas military balance appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 22nd, 2023

First relief convoy enters Gaza devastated by ‘nightmare’ war

The first aid trucks arrived in war-torn Gaza from Egypt on Saturday, bringing urgent humanitarian relief to the Hamas-controlled Palestinian enclave suffering what the UN chief labelled a "godawful nightmare". Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas after the Islamist militant group carried out the deadliest attack in the country's history on October 7. Hamas militants killed at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated or burnt to death, and took more than 200 hostages, according to Israeli officials. Israel has retaliated with a relentless bombing campaign on Gaza that has killed more than 4,300 Palestinians, mainly civilians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. An Israeli siege has cut food, water, electricity and fuel supplies to the densely populated and long-blockaded territory of 2.4 million people, sparking fears of a humanitarian catastrophe. AFP journalists on Saturday saw 20 trucks from the Egyptian Red Crescent, which is responsible for delivering aid from various UN agencies, pass through the Rafah border crossing from Egypt into Gaza. The crossing -- the only one into Gaza not controlled by Israel -- closed again after the trucks passed. The lorries had been waiting for days on the Egyptian side after Israel agreed to a request from its main ally the United States to allow aid to enter. UN chief Antonio Guterres warned Friday that the relief supplies were "the difference between life and death" for many Gazans, more than one million of whom have been displaced. "Much more" aid needs to be sent, he told a peace summit in Egypt on Saturday. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the aid and urged "all parties" to keep the Rafah crossing open. But a Hamas spokesman said "even dozens" of such convoys could not meet Gaza's needs, especially as no fuel was being allowed in to help distribute the supplies to those in need. 'Reeling in pain'  Tens of thousands of Israeli troops have deployed to the Gaza border ahead of an expected ground offensive that officials have pledged will begin "soon". As international tensions soar, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was hosting a peace summit in Cairo on Saturday attended by regional and some Western leaders. "The time has come for action to end this godawful nightmare," Guterres told the summit, calling for a "humanitarian ceasefire". The region "is reeling in pain and one step from the precipice", he said. Guterres said "the grievances of the Palestinian people are legitimate and long" after "56 years of occupation with no end in sight". But he stressed that "nothing can justify the reprehensible assault by Hamas that terrorised Israeli civilians". "Those abhorrent attacks can never justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people," he added. Egypt, historically a key mediator between Hamas and Israel, has urged "restraint" and the relaunch of the long-frozen peace process. But diplomatic efforts to end the violence have made little headway, without the participation of Israel and its enemy Iran, a supporter of Hamas and other armed groups. 'Sliver of hope'  A full-blown Israeli ground offensive carries many risks, including to the hostages Hamas took and whose fate is shrouded in uncertainty. So the release of two Americans among the hostages -- mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Raanan -- offered a rare "sliver of hope", said Mirjana Spoljaric, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross. US President Joe Biden thanked Qatar, which hosts Hamas's political bureau, for its mediation in securing the release. He said he was working "around the clock" to win the return of other Americans being held. Natalie Raanan's half-brother Ben told the BBC he felt an "overwhelming sense of joy" at the release after "the most horrible of ordeals". Hamas said Egypt and Qatar had negotiated the release and that it was "working with all mediators to implement the movement's decision to close the civilian (hostage) file if appropriate security conditions allow". Traumatised families with loved ones missing in Gaza demanded more action. "We ask humanity to interfere and bring back all those young boys, young girls, mothers, babies," Assaf Shem Tov, whose nephew was abducted from a music festival where Hamas killed hundreds, said Friday. Devastation  Almost half of Gaza's residents have been displaced, and at least 30 percent of all housing in the territory has been destroyed or damaged, the United Nations says. Thousands have taken refuge in a camp set up in the city of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza. Fadwa al-Najjar said she and her seven children walked for 10 hours to reach the camp, at some points breaking into a run as missiles struck around them. "We saw bodies and limbs torn off and we just started praying, thinking we were going to die," she told AFP. In Al-Zahra in central Gaza, Rami Abu Wazna was struggling to take in the destruction wreaked by Israeli missile strikes. "Even in my worst nightmares, I never thought this could be possible," he said. Israel's operation will take not "a day, nor a week, nor a month" and will result in "the end of Israel's responsibilities in the Gaza Strip", Defence Minister Yoav Gallant warned on Friday. Regional tensions flare  In Gaza, retired general Omar Ashour said the destruction was "part of a clear plan for people to have no place left to live". "This will cause a second Nakba," he added, referring to the 760,000 Palestinians who were expelled from or fled their homes when Israel was created in 1948. The United States has moved two aircraft carriers into the eastern Mediterranean to deter Iran or Lebanon's Hezbollah, both Hamas allies, amid fears of a wider conflagration. Fire across Israel's border with Lebanon continued overnight, with one Israeli soldier killed, Israeli public radio said. The military said it hit Hezbollah targets after rocket and missile fire. Violence has also flared in the West Bank, where 84 Palestinians have been killed since October 7, according to the Palestinian health ministry. The post First relief convoy enters Gaza devastated by ‘nightmare’ war appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 21st, 2023

Evidence shows Hamas militants likely used some North Korean weapons in attack on Israel

SEOUL, South Korea — Hamas fighters likely fired North Korean weapons during their Oct. 7 assault on Israel, a militant video and weapons seized by Israel show, despite Pyongyang’s denials that it sells arms to the militant group. The video was analyzed by two experts on North Korean arms. Along with an Associated Press analysis of weapons captured on the battlefield and South Korean military intelligence, the video indicates that Hamas used the F-7 rocket-propelled grenade, a shoulder-fired weapon that fighters typically use against armored vehicles. The evidence shines a light on the murky world of the illicit arms shipments that sanction-battered North Korea uses as a way to fund its arms programs. Rocket-propelled grenade launchers fire a single warhead and can be quickly reloaded, making them valuable weapons for guerrilla forces in running skirmishes with heavy vehicles. The F-7 has been documented in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, said N.R. Jenzen-Jones, a weapons expert who works as the director of the consultancy Armament Research Services. “North Korea has long supported Palestinian militant groups, and North Korean arms have previously been documented amongst interdicted supplies,” Jenzen-Jones told The Associated Press. Hamas has published images of their training that show fighters with a weapon with a rocket-propelled grenade with a distinctive red stripe across its warhead, and other design elements matching the F-7, said Matt Schroeder, a senior researcher with Small Arms Survey who wrote a guide to Pyongyang’s light weapons. “It is not a surprise to see North Korean weapons with Hamas,” Schroeder said. The North Korean F-7 resembles the more widely distributed Soviet-era RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade, with a few noticeable differences. A militant video examined by the AP shows one fighter carrying the F-7. Weapons seized by the Israeli military and shown to journalists also included that red stripe and other design elements matching the F-7. In a background briefing with journalists Tuesday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff specifically identified the F-7 as one of the North Korean weapons it believed Hamas used in the attack. The Israeli military declined to answer questions from the AP about the origin and the manufacturer of those rocket-propelled grenades, saying the ongoing war with Hamas prevented it from responding. North Korea’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the AP. However, Pyongyang last week through its state-run KCNA news agency dismissed.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 20th, 2023

Saudi urges nationals to leave Lebanon

As tensions increased along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel, Saudi Arabia yesterday urged all its citizens to leave Lebanon “immediately.” The embassy of the Gulf state in Beirut said it was “closely following developments” in southern Lebanon, where at least 18 people have been killed in clashes between Israel and Hezbollah. Most of those killed were fighters, but two civilians and a Reuters journalist were among them. On the Israeli side, at least three people have died. Last 7 October, the Palestinian militant organization Hamas launched a massive attack against Israel, killing more than 1,400 people — mostly civilians — by shooting, stabbing, and setting properties on fire. Israeli retaliatory airstrikes on the Gaza Strip resulted in the deaths of almost 3,500 persons, predominantly civilians. Since then, Israel and Hezbollah, a militant group with roots in Lebanon and supported by Iran, like Hamas, have engaged in several hit-for-hit episodes. Hezbollah demanded a “day of rage” following a rocket attack on a Gaza hospital that resulted in the deaths of hundreds on Tuesday. Despite Israel’s denial, hundreds of Hezbollah supporters gathered in the southern suburbs of Beirut on Wednesday to protest the airstrike. Saudi Arabian citizens still in Lebanon were advised to “exercise caution and avoid areas where gatherings and demonstrations are taking place,” said a statement from the Saudi embassy. This week, Kuwait issued a similar travel advisory to its residents. The foreign ministry of Kuwait advised people who wanted to go to Lebanon to “be patient and postpone travel during this stage” and to those who were already there to “return voluntarily if there is no urgent need for their presence.” The post Saudi urges nationals to leave Lebanon appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 19th, 2023

Biden, in Israel, says hospital blast appears to be caused by ‘the other team’

Palestinian officials blames an Israeli air strike for the fireball that engulfed the Al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital, but Israel says the blast was caused by a failed rocket launch by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group.....»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsOct 19th, 2023

Hundreds dead in Israel-Gaza war as Hezbollah launches attacks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday warned of a "long and difficult" war, as fighting with Hamas left hundreds dead on both sides after a surprise attack on Israel by the Palestinian militant group. The conflict's bloodiest escalation in decades saw Hamas carry out a massive rocket barrage and ground, air and sea offensive Saturday that Israel's army said had killed more than 200 Israelis and wounded 1,000, while soldiers and civilians were taken hostage. Gaza officials said intense Israeli air strikes on the coastal enclave had brought the Palestinian death toll to at least 256, with nearly 1,788 wounded. As fighting raged Sunday, Lebanon's powerful Iran-backed Hezbollah movement said it had fired "large numbers of artillery shells and guided missiles" at Israeli positions in a contested border areas "in solidarity" with Hamas. Israel's army had earlier said it fired artillery on southern Lebanon in response to a shot from the area without identifying the attackers. "We are embarking on a long and difficult war that was forced on us by a murderous Hamas attack," Netanyahu said on X, formerly Twitter, early Sunday. "The first stage is ending at this time by the destruction of the vast majority of the enemy forces that infiltrated our territory," he added, pledging no "respite" until victory. Overnight Israel battered the Gaza Strip with air strikes as rockets from the blockaded Palestinians territory rained on Israel. Sunday morning gun still battles raged between Israeli forces and hundreds of Hamas fighters in multiple locations, including at the Sderot police station across the border from Gaza. Police and Israeli army special forces "neutralized 10 armed terrorists" who were holed up inside the station, a police statement said. The bloody air, sea and land attack launched Saturday by Hamas came half a century after the outbreak of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, taking Israel and the world by surprise. As the UN Security Council called an emergency meeting for Sunday, President Joe Biden voiced "rock solid and unwavering" support for the US ally and warned "against any other party hostile to Israel seeking advantage in this situation". - Hostages and 'so many bodies' - The Israeli army said overnight its forces were still engaged in gun battles in a string of Israel locations, in an operation labelled "Swords of Iron", as reservists were being called up. Hamas earlier released images of several Israelis taken captive, and another army spokesman, Daniel Hagari, confirmed that soldiers and civilians had been kidnapped. "I can't give figures about them at the moment," he said late Saturday, adding there was also a "severe hostage situation" in the Negev desert communities of Beeri and Ofakim east of Gaza. According to Ynet Israeli news website "dozens of Israeli captives, including numerous women, children and elders, are believed to have been taken into the Gaza Strip". The fighting prompted Israel to cut off Gaza's electricity, fuel and goods supplies, Netanyahu said. The Islamist group started the multi-pronged attack around 6:30 am (0330 GMT) on Saturday with thousands of rockets aimed as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, some bypassing the Iron Dome defense system and hitting buildings. Hamas fighters -- traveling in ground vehicles, motorized paragliders and boats -- breached Gaza's security barrier and attacked nearby Israeli towns and military posts, opening fire on residents and passersby. "Send help, please!" one Israeli woman sheltering with her two-year-old child pleaded as militants outside opened fire and tried to break into their safe room, Israeli media reported. Bodies were strewn on the streets of the Israeli town of Sderot near Gaza and inside cars, the windscreens shattered by a hail of bullets. "I saw many bodies, of terrorists and civilians," one man told AFP, standing beside covered corpses on a road near Gevim Kibbutz in southern Israel. "So many bodies, so many bodies." AFP journalists witnessed Palestinian armed men gather around a burning Israeli tank, and others driving a seized Israeli military Humvee vehicle back into Gaza, where they were met by cheering crowds. - 'Gates of hell' - Israeli army Major General Ghasan Alyan warned Hamas had "opened the gates of hell". An AFP journalist in Gaza saw clouds of dust from the remains of bombed residential towers which Gaza's interior ministry said contained 100 apartments. Israel's military said it had warned residents to evacuate before targeting the multi-story buildings used by Hamas. The escalation follows months of rising violence, mostly in the occupied West Bank, and tensions around Gaza's border and at contested holy sites in Jerusalem. Before Saturday, at least 247 Palestinians, 32 Israelis and two foreigners had been killed this year, including combatants and civilians, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials. Hamas labeled its attack "Operation Al-Aqsa Flood" and called on "resistance fighters in the West Bank" as well as in "Arab and Islamic nations" to join the battle. Its armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, claimed to have fired more than 5,000 rockets, while Hecht said Israel had counted more than 3,000 incoming rockets. Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said the group was on the "verge of a great victory", vowing to press ahead with "the battle to liberate our land and our prisoners languishing in occupation prisons must be completed". - 'Dangerous precipice' - Air raid sirens wailed across southern and central Israel, as well as in Jerusalem on Saturday, and there were major disruptions at Tel Aviv airport where many carriers canceled flights. Israel said schools would remain closed on Sunday which marks the start of the week. Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, leading to Israel's crippling blockade of the impoverished enclave of 2.3 million people. Israel and Hamas have since fought several wars. The last major military exchange, in May, killed 34 Palestinians and one Israeli. Violence also erupted across the West Bank, including annexed east Jerusalem, with five Palestinians killed and 120 wounded in clashes with Israeli forces and settlers, Palestinian medical services said. Countries around the world condemned the wave of attacks by Hamas, which Israel, the United States and European Union consider a terrorist group. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called the attack "terrorism in its most despicable form". But Hamas drew support from other foes of Israel, with Iran's supreme leader declaring he was "proud". UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland warned of "a dangerous precipice" and called on all sides to "pull back from the brink". (Rosie Scammell with Adel Zaanoun in Gaza) az-rsc-jd/hkb © Agence France-Presse The post Hundreds dead in Israel-Gaza war as Hezbollah launches attacks appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 8th, 2023

Gaza ceasefire takes effect

Rocket fires by Palestinian militants in Gaza targeting Israel and retaliatory air strikes by the Jewish state’s military halted on Sunday after the two sides agreed to a ceasefire. The ceasefire brokered by Egypt took effect at 10 p.m. on Saturday, though two rockets were fired from Gaza after 11 p.m. with no victims, the Israel army said. “Israel’s National Security Adviser Tsahi Hanegbi... thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and expressed the State of Israel’s appreciation for Egypt’s vigorous efforts to bring about a ceasefire,” a statement from the Israeli prime minister’s office said. “We want to thank Egypt for its efforts,” Islamic Jihad political department official Mohammad al-Hindi told Agence France-Presse. He has been in Cairo since the fighting erupted on Tuesday. The current bout of violence erupted on Tuesday when Israeli strikes on Gaza killed three leading IJ members. Three other senior figures from the Palestinian militant group were killed in later strikes. They are among at least 34 lives lost in the fighting inside Gaza, according to the territory’s health ministry. There have been two deaths in Israel, a Gazan laborer and an Israeli in Rehovot. The army said nearly 1,100 rockets had been fired from Gaza towards Israel with 300 intercepted by its air defenses. The post Gaza ceasefire takes effect appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 14th, 2023

Gaza ceasefire takes effect after five days of deadly fighting

A ceasefire took effect in and around the Gaza Strip on Saturday after five days of cross-border exchanges that have killed at least 33 Palestinians in Gaza and two people in Israel. The truce was due to take effect at 1900 GMT, Egyptian and Palestinian sources said. But in the final 30 minutes running up to 1900 GMT, dozens of rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel, prompting renewed air strikes, AFP correspondents in the territory said. Most of the rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defences. Egypt, a longtime mediator in Gaza, secured the agreement of both Israel and the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad to its latest ceasefire proposal, an Egyptian security official said. "Israel's National Security Adviser Tsahi Hanegbi... thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and expressed the State of Israel's appreciation for Egypt's vigorous efforts to bring about a ceasefire," a statement from the Israeli prime minister's office said. He said Israel's response to the Egyptian initiative means "quiet will be answered by quiet, and if Israel is attacked or be threatened it will continue to do everything it needs to do in order to defend itself". A Palestinian source confirmed Islamic Jihad's agreement. "We want to thank Egypt for its efforts," Islamic Jihad political department official Mohammad al-Hindi told AFP. He has been in Cairo since the fighting erupted on Tuesday. On Saturday, Israel had again pounded Gaza with air strikes targeting the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad following a new barrage of rocket fire into Israel to mark the funeral of its military commander Iyad al-Hassani, who was killed on Friday. 'What have we done?' For days, life in Gaza and in Israeli communities near the border has been a daily routine of air strikes and sirens warning of incoming rocket fire. Residents in the crowded Gaza Strip cowered indoors as the fighting raged, with streets empty and only a few shops and pharmacies open. "The whole Palestinian people are suffering," Muhammad Muhanna, 58, told AFP in the ruins of his home. "What have we done?" In Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, a dead donkey lay in the ruins of a row of buildings levelled in an Israeli strike. "No one is safe in their homes," said Imad Rayan, 64. A spokesman for the interior ministry in Gaza said on the final day of its campaign the Israeli military had concentrated on "targeting civilians, residential and civilian buildings". There had been mounting calls for a ceasefire to be agreed, including from Israel's closest ally, the United States. US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, in a call to Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, "stressed the urgency of reaching a ceasefire agreement in order to prevent any further loss of civilian life", the State Department said. Egypt had kept up its mediation effort despite repeated setbacks. On Saturday, shrapnel from a rocket fired from Gaza hit a building site in Sdot Negev, just over the border into Israel, killing one man and wounding another. Both were day labourers from Gaza. Islamic Jihad said its fighters were pursuing "missile strikes on Israeli cities" in revenge for Israeli "assassinations" of their commanders and strikes on populated areas. The exchange of fire came after the Palestinian health ministry reported the death of two men aged 19 and 32 in an Israeli army raid on a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus. The Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said the two men killed in the raid were members of its armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Deadliest fighting since August The current bout of violence erupted on Tuesday when Israeli strikes on Gaza killed three leading Islamic Jihad members. Three other senior figures from the Palestinian militant group were killed in later strikes. They are among at least 33 lives lost in the fighting inside Gaza, according to the territory's health ministry. There have been two deaths in Israel, one of them the Gazan day labourer. The army said nearly 1,100 rockets had been fired from Gaza towards Israel in the current fighting, including 300 intercepted by its air defences. Gaza, a coastal enclave that is home to 2.3 million Palestinians, has been plagued by poverty and unemployment since Israel imposed a blockade in 2007 when the Islamist movement Hamas took control. The territory has seen numerous wars between militant groups and Israel since the Hamas takeover. This week's fighting was the worst in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since an August flare-up that killed nearly 50 Palestinians. The conflict has escalated since veteran Israeli politician Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power late last year, heading a coalition with the extreme right and ultra-Orthodox parties. The post Gaza ceasefire takes effect after five days of deadly fighting appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 13th, 2023

Israel bombs Gaza as war resumes after truce with Hamas collapses

Israel resumed its deadly bombardment of Gaza on Friday despite international calls for a renewed truce, killing at least 178 people according to Hamas authorities as five hostages held by the militant group were also confimed dead. Clouds of grey smoke from strikes shot up on the Gaza skyline and rockets fired from the territory.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2023

War with Hamas damaging Israel s economy - Moody s

The country spends $270 million a day on the military campaign in Gaza, according to the credit rating agency The war with the Palestinian militant group Hamas is costing Israel at least $269 million a day and is expected to hit the country's economy harder than previous conflicts, ratings agency Moody's has said in a.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsNov 28th, 2023

Musk tours site of Hamas attack with Israeli PM

Tech tycoon Elon Musk visited the site of a Hamas attack in southern Israel Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the two discussed artificial intelligence with defence chiefs, officials said. Musk and Netanyahu held a brief interview on the billionaire's online platform X, formerly Twitter, following their tour of Kfar Aza, one of the kibbutzim -- communal farms -- in southern Israel attacked by the Palestinian militant group on October 7. "We have to demilitarise Gaza after the destruction of Hamas," Netanyahu said, calling for a campaign to "deradicalise" the Palestinian territory. "Then we also have to rebuild Gaza, and I hope to have our Arab friends help in that context." Netanyahu told Musk he hoped to resume US-mediated normalisation talks with Saudi Arabia after Hamas's defeat and "expand the circle of peace beyond anything imaginable". None of the prime minister's public statements addressed charges of rampant anti-Semitism on Musk's social media outlet. Earlier in the day, Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi said Israel had reached an understanding in principle on the use of Starlink satellites, operated by Musk's company SpaceX, in Israel and the Gaza Strip "with the approval of the Israeli Ministry of Communications". Musk and Netanyahu also "held an extended meeting on the security aspects of artificial intelligence," a statement from the Israeli prime minister's office said. "Senior security establishment officials in the fields of artificial intelligence and cyber participated in the meeting." The American tycoon was also set to meet with President Isaac Herzog during his visit to Israel.  Herzog would address "the need to act to combat rising anti-Semitism online", the office of Israel's figurehead president said Sunday. Musk has come under fire over what critics say is a proliferation of hate speech on X since his takeover of the social media site in October 2022. He has also been accused by the White House of "abhorrent promotion" of anti-Semitism after endorsing a conspiracy theory seen as accusing Jews of trying to weaken white majorities. Herzog's office said the meeting would be joined by "representatives of families of hostages held by Hamas, who will speak about the horrors of the Hamas terror attack on October 7, and of the ongoing pain and uncertainty for those held captive". Israel bombarded the Gaza strip for weeks and launched a ground assault in response to the attacks, before a four-day ceasefire took effect on November 24. In September, Netanyahu urged Musk "to stop not only anti-Semitism, or rolling it back as best you can, but any collective hatred" on X. Musk, the world's richest person, said while his platform could not stop all hate speech before it was posted, he was "generally against attacking any group, no matter who it is". X Corp is currently suing nonprofit Media Matters on the grounds that it has driven away advertisers by portraying the site as rife with anti-Semitic content. Musk has also threatened to file suit against the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group, over its claims that problematic and racist speech has soared on the site since he completed his $44-billion takeover......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsNov 27th, 2023

Israel and Hamas complete second day of swaps after tense delay

The Israeli military said on Saturday that the Palestinian militant group Hamas had released 13 Israelis and four foreign nationals in the second round of swaps under a cease-fire deal. The news comes after Egypt said that it had received positive signals from all parties over a possible extension of the Gaza truce for one or two days. Read our blog to see how the day's events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsNov 27th, 2023

Israel reviews list of hostages set to be freed by Hamas on Saturday

Israel has received a list of hostages to be freed from Gaza on Saturday by Palestinian militant group Hamas, officials said, following the release of 24 hostages the previous day, the first of a planned four-day truce.Israeli security officials were reviewing the list, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement, after his government's vow to work for the release of all hostages taken by.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsNov 26th, 2023

Israel and Hamas complete second day of swaps after tense delay

The Israeli military said on Saturday that the Palestinian militant group Hamas had released 13 Israelis and four foreign nationals in the second round of swaps under a cease-fire deal. The news comes after Egypt said that it had received positive signals from all parties over a possible extension of the Gaza truce for one or two days. Read our blog to see how the day's events unfolded. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsNov 26th, 2023

Israel reviews list of hostages set to be freed by Hamas on Saturday

Israel has received a list of hostages to be freed from Gaza on Saturday by Palestinian militant group Hamas, officials said, following the release of 24 hostages the previous day, the first of a planned four-day truce.Israeli security officials were reviewing the list, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement, after his government's vow to work for the release of all hostages taken by.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsNov 25th, 2023

Hamas truce with Israel close, says chief of militant group 

GAZA/JERUSALEM—The chief of Hamas told Reuters on Tuesday that the Palestinian militant group was near a truce agreement with Israel, even as the deadly assault on Gaza continued and rockets were being fired into Israel. Hamas officials are “close to reaching a truce agreement” with Israel and the group has delivered its response to Qatari.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 21st, 2023

With mapping robots and blast gel, Israel wages war on Hamas tunnels

Clearing the tunnels is an important part of Israel's military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in response to the Palestinian militant group's deadly attack on southern Israel on October 7.....»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 16th, 2023

Israeli forces are in the heart of Gaza City , says defence minister

Israeli soldiers are operating in the "heart of Gaza City", the stronghold of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on Tuesday. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told US media earlier that Israel would consider "tactical little pauses" in the fighting to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid or allow the exit of hostages held by Hamas. Follow our live blog for the latest updates. A.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsNov 9th, 2023

Israeli forces are in the heart of Gaza City , says defence minister

Israeli soldiers are operating in the "heart of Gaza City", the stronghold of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on Tuesday. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told US media earlier that Israel would consider "tactical little pauses" in the fighting to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid or allow the exit of hostages held by Hamas. Follow our live blog for the latest updates. A.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsNov 8th, 2023