Phone app allows Gaza women to report domestic abuse anonymously

Phone app allows Gaza women to report domestic abuse anonymously

A phone app that allows women in the Palestinian Gaza Strip to report domestic abuse anonymously is allowing growing numbers of victims to seek help while avoiding the shame and reprisals that put many off going to the authorities directly. The "Masahatuna" or "Our Spaces" app was developed by local computer engineer Alaa Huthut, who saw the need for a way to seek advice safely in a society where family pressures keep much domestic violence hidden out of sight. "Privacy was very important as fear is usually the main cause women don't contact or visit centres," she told Reuters. The…
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Syria says damage to Damascus airport from Israeli strike ‘significant’

Syria says damage to Damascus airport from Israeli strike ‘significant’

An Israeli airstrike that struck Damascus International Airport caused “significant” damage to infrastructure and rendered the main runway unserviceable until further notice, Syria said. The statement by the Transportation Ministry was the first detailing the extent of damage from Friday’s airstrike. Syrian media reported earlier that Syria suspended all flights to and from the airport and the ministry confirmed all flights were suspended because “some technical equipment stopped functioning at the airport.” Israel’s military has declined to comment on the airstrike. A billboard depicting Syrian President Bashar Assad is seen outside the Damascus International Airport, Damascus, Syria. EPA-EFE/YOUSSEF BADAWI The…
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Israel budget deficit almost zero, lowest in 14 years

Israel budget deficit almost zero, lowest in 14 years

JERUSALEM, June 9 (Reuters) - Israel's budget deficit fell to 0.04% of gross domestic product in May over the prior 12 months, its lowest level in 14 years, from 0.6% of GDP in April, the Finance Ministry said on Thursday. Israel has a deficit target for 2022 of 3.9% of GDP. Helped by a 20% annual rise in tax revenue in May amid a continuation of an economic rebound from the COVID crisis, Israel posted a budget surplus of 1.4 billion shekels ($420 million) for the month, bringing the surplus to 33.3 billion shekels over the first five months of 2022 and…
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Israeli PM Bennett on unannounced visit to Abu Dhabi

Israeli PM Bennett on unannounced visit to Abu Dhabi

JERUSALEM, June 9 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday and will meet its president, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, an Israeli statement said. Bennett's Abu Dhabi visit had not previously been announced. The statement quoted Bennett as saying that he aimed to "build an additional level" in Israel-UAE ties founded two years ago. A handout photo made available by the Government Press Office (GPO) of Israel shows Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (L) being greeted by UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates,…
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Lebanon warns against any Israeli ‘aggression’ in disputed waters

Lebanon warns against any Israeli ‘aggression’ in disputed waters

BEIRUT, June 5 (Reuters) - Lebanon warned Israel on Sunday against any "aggressive action" in disputed waters where both states hope to develop offshore energy, after a ship arrived off the coast to produce gas for Israel. President Michel Aoun said any activity in the disputed area would amount to an act of aggression and a provocation, after the arrival of the vessel operated by London-based Energean. Israel says the field in question is within its exclusive economic zone, not in disputed waters. But in a statement, the Lebanese presidency said Aoun discussed with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati the vessel's entry…
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Lebanese security chief fears political paralysis, social collapse

Lebanese security chief fears political paralysis, social collapse

A senior Lebanese security official has said the risk of political paralysis has increased since an election produced a fractured parliament last month, warning of a possible "disaster" because there is no majority to legislate. Major General Abbas Ibrahim also said he was concerned about social instability, saying this worried him more than political instability in a country suffering one of the world's sharpest financial meltdowns. "The results of this election could cause a disaster since we have large political blocs with widening gaps between them on various issues and no majority to pass laws," Ibrahim told General Security magazine,…
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Israel prefers diplomacy on Iran but could act alone, Bennett tells IAEA chief

Israel prefers diplomacy on Iran but could act alone, Bennett tells IAEA chief

JERUSALEM, June 3 (Reuters) - Israel told the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Friday that it would prefer a diplomatic resolution to the standoff over Iran's nuclear programme but could take independent action, reiterating a long-standing veiled threat to launch preemptive war. The warning to visiting International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi followed calls by Western powers on the IAEA Board of Governors to rebuke Tehran for failing to answer questions on uranium traces at undeclared sites.Read full story That dispute has further clouded so-far fruitless attempts by negotiators to resurrect a 2015 Iran nuclear deal that former U.S. President Donald Trump quit in 2018. Since Washington's walkout, Iran…
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Israeli troops shoot knife-wielding Palestinian woman in West Bank

Israeli troops shoot knife-wielding Palestinian woman in West Bank

HEBRON, West Bank, June 1 (Reuters) - A knife-wielding Palestinian woman threatened an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank and was shot on Wednesday, the army said, and a local hospital said she died of her wounds. In a statement, the Israeli army said "an assailant armed with a knife advanced toward an IDF (Israel Defence Force) soldier who was conducting routine security activity". "The soldiers responded with live fire," it said. An Israeli soldier fires into the air to stop a masked Palestinian man, during a protest to prevent Israeli settlers from removing Palestine flags at the village…
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Israel signs major trade deal with Gulf state UAE

Israel signs major trade deal with Gulf state UAE

Israel signed a free trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, its first big trade accord with an Arab state and a move aimed at boosting trade between the two Middle East nations. The pact was signed in Dubai after months of negotiations. "Done," Israel's Ambassador to the UAE Amir Hayek said on Twitter, replying to another tweet he posted earlier saying "the UAE and Israel will sign FTA in the next hour." President of the UAE-Israel Business Council Dorian Barak said the trade agreement defined tax rates, imports and intellectual property, which would encourage more Israeli companies…
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Israel warns against travel to Turkey citing Iran assassination

Israel warns against travel to Turkey citing Iran assassination

Israel on Monday warned its citizens against travel to Turkey, citing Iranian threats of revenge for the assassination last week of a Revolutionary Guards colonel. Teheran has blamed Israel for the killing of Hassan Sayad Khodai, who was shot dead at the wheel of his car by two people on a motorcycle and has vowed retaliation. Israel’s National Security Council said in a statement that Tehran could be looking to harm Israelis in Turkey and classified it as a “high-risk country.” Turkey is a popular tourist destination for Israelis and the two countries have been mending their ties after more…
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Iranian ‘immunity’ is over, Israeli Prime Minister Bennett says

Iranian ‘immunity’ is over, Israeli Prime Minister Bennett says

JERUSALEM, May 29 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday Iran would not go unpunished for instigating attacks through its proxies, speaking a week after the assassination in Tehran of a Revolutionary Guards colonel that has been blamed on Israel. Hassan Sayad Khodai, accused by Israel of plotting attacks against its citizens worldwide, was shot dead at the wheel of his car by two people on a motorcycle. The tactic echoed previous killings in Iran that focused on nuclear scientists and were widely pinned on Mossad. Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency said members of an Israeli intelligence…
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Fears of Iran-Israel escalation after assassination of Revolutionary Guard officer

Fears of Iran-Israel escalation after assassination of Revolutionary Guard officer

The brazen daylight assassination of an Iranian military officer in Tehran a week ago has prompted calls for revenge and shined a spotlight on the ongoing shadow war being fought between the Islamic Republic and Israel. Col Hassan Sayyad Khodai was an officer in the Revolutionary Guard corps involved in operations abroad, including Syria and possibly elsewhere. He was shot dead by gunmen on a motorcycle on Sunday afternoon at around 4pm. He was returning from work in his car and had just approached his home in east-central Tehran when the killers fired five rounds at him, state media reported.…
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UPDATED: Clashes at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque before contested Israeli flag march

UPDATED: Clashes at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque before contested Israeli flag march

JERUSALEM, May 29 (Reuters) - Israeli police faced off with Palestinians holed up inside Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque on Sunday as hundreds of Jews visited the holy compound ahead of a contentious Jewish nationalist march through the heart of the Old City. The annual Jerusalem procession celebrates Israel's capture of the Old City in the 1967 Middle East war and draws thousands of cheering, chanting participants to its narrow, stone streets. Palestinian factions have warned that the flag-waving parade through the city's Muslim quarter could re-ignite their decades-old conflict with Israelis. Tensions have been rising in the city for weeks. Hours…
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Benjamin Netanyahu eyes comeback as Israeli government loses majority

Benjamin Netanyahu eyes comeback as Israeli government loses majority

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's pugnacious ex-prime minister, is planning a political comeback this Wednesday after the government led by his former protégé lost its majority last week. Mr Netanyahu's Right-wing Likud party is poised to raise a motion to dissolve the government following the resignation of one of its key coalition members last Thursday. The coalition, led by Naftali Bennett, was left reeling after the lawmaker Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi stepped down in protest at extreme Right-wing rhetoric from senior figures. It means Mr Bennett now heads a minority government, commanding just 59 seats out of the 120 in the Knesset, the…
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Israeli forces kill Palestinian teen militant during clash

Israeli forces kill Palestinian teen militant during clash

RAMALLAH, West Bank, May 21 (Reuters) - Israeli forces shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian militant in clashes in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Saturday, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group said. The Israeli military said Palestinian suspects fired on its soldiers and threw fire-bombs at them. "The soldiers responded with live fire toward the suspects. Hits were identified," the military said. It was not immediately clear whether the teen killed was one of those suspects. The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed his death. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group described the teen as one of its members and said…
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Hezbollah and allies lose majority in Lebanese parliament, final results show

Hezbollah and allies lose majority in Lebanese parliament, final results show

Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies have lost their majority in Lebanon's parliament in a general election, a Reuters tally of final results showed on Tuesday, a major blow to the heavily armed group reflecting anger with Lebanon's ruling elite. The Shi'ite Muslim movement and factions that support its possession of arms won around 62 of parliament's 128 seats in Sunday's election, a reversal of the 2018 result when they secured a majority of 71. In the first election since Lebanon's devastating economic collapse and the Beirut port explosion of 2020, reform-minded political newcomers won 12 seats, an unexpectedly strong breakthrough into a system…
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Lebanon vote brings blow for Hezbollah allies in preliminary results

Lebanon vote brings blow for Hezbollah allies in preliminary results

BEIRUT, May 16 (Reuters) - Iran-backed Hezbollah has been dealt a blow in Lebanon's parliamentary election with preliminary results showing losses for some of its oldest allies and the Saudi-aligned Lebanese Forces party saying it had gained seats. With votes still being counted, the final make-up of the 128-member parliament has yet to emerge. The heavily armed Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah and its allies won a majority of 71 seats when Lebanon last voted in 2018. The current election is the first since Lebanon's devastating economic meltdown blamed by the World Bank on ruling politicians after a huge port explosion in 2020…
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Factbox: Who is running in Lebanon’s election?

Factbox: Who is running in Lebanon’s election?

Lebanon holds a parliamentary election on May 15, with candidates vying for 128 seats that are divided among 11 religious groups according to a sectarian power-sharing system. The vote takes place against a backdrop of devastating economic collapse and a boycott by leading Sunni Muslim politician Saad al-Hariri. While reform-minded independents hope to dislodge ruling factions, established parties are still expected to maintain a grip. Here are the main players: HEZBOLLAH Heavily armed, Shi'ite Muslim Hezbollah is Lebanon's most powerful faction. Founded in 1982 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Hezbollah is deemed a terrorist organisation by Western nations including the United…
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Polls open in Lebanese parliamentary election

Polls open in Lebanese parliamentary election

BEIRUT, May 15 (Reuters) - Polls opened on Sunday in Lebanon's first parliamentary election since the country's economic collapse. Voting was due to begin from 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) across 15 electoral districts, with candidates vying for 128 seats divided among 11 religious groups according to a sectarian power-sharing system. The last vote in 2018 saw the heavily armed, Iran-backed Shi'ite movement Hezbollah and its allies win 71 of the 128 seats. (Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by William Mallard)
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Lebanon to vote in first election since financial meltdown

Lebanon to vote in first election since financial meltdown

Vote is first since economic collapse, Beirut port blast BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese vote on Sunday in the first election since their country's economic collapse, a test of whether Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies can preserve their parliamentary majority amidst soaring poverty and anger at ruling parties. Expectations are however low for a big shake-up of Lebanon's sectarian politics and government, despite the severity of a crisis which the World Bank says was orchestrated by the ruling class, and fury over the devastating Beirut port blast of 2020. The meltdown marks Lebanon's most destabilising crisis since the 1975-90 civil war. It has seen…
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UPDATED: Police clash with mourners at Palestinian journalist’s funeral

UPDATED: Police clash with mourners at Palestinian journalist’s funeral

JERUSALEM, May 13 (Reuters) - Israeli police clashed with Palestinian mourners packed around the coffin of killed Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh at the start of her funeral procession in Jerusalem on Friday. Masked police officers faced scores of flag-waving and chanting Palestinians in the compound of St. Joseph's Hospital in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, television footage showed. Officers then charged the crowd and at one point the group carrying her coffin backed against a wall and almost dropped the casket, recovering it just before one end hit the ground. https://twitter.com/collinsdyl/status/1525077904136208385 The violent scenes underlined the growing anger over Abu…
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Photo Story: Official funeral of Al-Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh

Photo Story: Official funeral of Al-Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh

Palestinian honour guard carry the coffin of Al-Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh during an official funeral at the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank city of Ramallah, 12 May 2022. According to the Palestinian health ministry, Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed on 11 May 2022 by Israeli forces during an Israeli raid in the West Bank town of Jenin. Photo: EPA-EFE/ATEF SAFADI
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UPDATED: Al Jazeera reporter killed during Israeli raid in West Bank

UPDATED: Al Jazeera reporter killed during Israeli raid in West Bank

JENIN, West Bank, May 11 (Reuters) - An Al Jazeera reporter was shot dead during an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, with Palestinians and the news channel accusing Israel of killing her and Israel's leader saying she was likely hit by Palestinian fire. Shireen Abu Akleh, 51,a Palestinian-American, was wearing a press vest that clearly marked her as a journalist while reporting in the city of Jenin, the Qatar-based outlet said. She was covering the latest arrest operation launched by the Israeli military amid deadly Arab attacks in Israel. The death of a prominent, veteran reporter for the popular…
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Photo Story: Parliamentary elections in Lebanon get underway

Photo Story: Parliamentary elections in Lebanon get underway

A European Union election observer monitors the parliamentary elections taking place outside Lebanon in an operation room to observe the voting process through screens at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, 06 May 2022. Lebanese parliamentary elections for Lebanese citizens residing outside Lebanon will be held on 06 and 08 May 2022, expatriates are expected to take part in legislative elections in nearly 60 countries. Lebanese parliamentary elections in Lebanon are scheduled for 15 May 2022. Via EPA-EFE/WAEL HAMZEH
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Israel says Putin apologised for foreign minister’s Hitler remarks

Israel says Putin apologised for foreign minister’s Hitler remarks

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had apologised for his foreign minister's comments claiming Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins. Putin also told Bennett in a phonecall that Russia would allow civilian passage from the besieged Azovstal steel works in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol via a humanitarian corridor handled by the United Nations and Red Cross. Bennett's office said Israel's prime minister had requested civilian passage from the steel works after an earlier conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Israel lambasted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov this week for saying Adolf Hitler had Jewish roots,…
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Three people killed in suspected Palestinian attack in Elad, Israel

Three people killed in suspected Palestinian attack in Elad, Israel

ELAD, Israel, May 6 (Reuters) - At least three people were killed in what police suspect was a Palestinian attack in the central Israeli city of Elad on the country's independence day. Witnesses and emergency responders said the attackers used axes. https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/1522278183835516928 Police set up roadblocks to try to catch the assailants who fled the scene, about 15 km (9 miles) from Tel Aviv. On television, Elad's mayor urged residents to stay indoors while security forces were still operating. Health officials said three people were killed and two others were being treated with serious slash wounds. "The joy of Independence…
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Israeli Prime Minister Bennett’s family receives another death threat letter and bullet in mail

Israeli Prime Minister Bennett’s family receives another death threat letter and bullet in mail

The family of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has received a death threat and bullet in the mail for the second time this week, the police said. This time the letter was addressed to premier's teenage son, whereas the first parcel targeted Bennett's wife. Police and the Shin Bet have said they are investigating both incidents. They have placed a gag order on the investigations and released few details. The letter sent to the Bennett family on Tuesday included threats directed at prime minister's wife Gilat and his 17-year-old son, Yoni. In light of the threats, the police and Shin Bet…
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Israeli missile strike kills soldiers near Damascus

Israeli missile strike kills soldiers near Damascus

April 27 (Reuters) - Four Syrian soldiers were killed on Wednesday, Syria's defence ministry said, in an Israeli missile attack on positions near Damascus that a war monitor said had hit an arms depot. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported a higher death toll of five Syrian troops and four soldiers of other nationalities, adding that the strike had hit at least five different positions outside the capital. The monitor did not provide more details and Reuters could not immediately confirm its report. An Israeli military spokesperson declined to comment. The Syrian ministry, in a posting on Facebook,…
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Biden plans to visit Israel in the coming months – Israeli PM’s office

Biden plans to visit Israel in the coming months – Israeli PM’s office

JERUSALEM, April 24 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden has accepted an invitation from Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to visit Israel and intends to make the trip in the coming months, Bennett's office said in a statement on Sunday. The two leaders spoke on Sunday and Bennett briefed Biden on efforts "to stop the violence and incitement in Jerusalem", the statement said, in reference to Israeli-Palestinian clashes at the site of the Al-Aqsa mosque in the holy city. At least 57 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli police within the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Friday, raising concern of a repeat…
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Lebanon maternal deaths triple, children’s health at risk amid crisis, UNICEF says

Lebanon maternal deaths triple, children’s health at risk amid crisis, UNICEF says

The number of women in Lebanon dying from pregnancy-related complications has nearly tripled amid a crushing three-year economic crisis that has seen doctors and midwives leave the country, the U.N. children's agency UNICEF said. The crisis is also affecting children, especially among Syrian refugees who have fled over the border into Lebanon. UNICEF said a third of children could not access healthcare by October 2021, and the number of children who die within the first four weeks after birth "increased dramatically among refugees in four provinces assessed, from 65 neonatal deaths in the first quarter of 2020 to 137 in…
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Easter chants echo in ancient cistern near birthplace of Christianity

Easter chants echo in ancient cistern near birthplace of Christianity

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A few steps from Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a small opening leads to an underground cistern where clerics have found the perfect place to practise chants ahead of the holiest day in the Christian calendar. As Eastern churches prepared to mark Easter one week after the Roman Catholic celebration, Barakat al-Masri stood deep underneath Saint Helena's Coptic Orthodox church, chanting hymns in Coptic and Arabic. The cistern is not much to look at, but al-Masri, the cantor at the Coptic church, says the sound it produces is unique. "There’s an echo,” the 35-year-old Egyptian-born student…
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Palestinians clash with Israeli police at Jerusalem holy site

Palestinians clash with Israeli police at Jerusalem holy site

JERUSALEM, April 22 (Reuters) - At least 31 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli police at Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on Friday, Palestinian medics said, the latest outbreak in a recent upsurge of violence at a site revered by Muslims and Jews alike. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service, 14 Palestinians were taken to the hospital, two with serious injuries. Israeli police said its forces intervened when hundreds of people began hurling rocks and fireworks and drew close to the Western Wall, where Jewish worship was under way. Palestinians clash with Israeli police (not pictured) inside…
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Israeli war planes strike Gaza after rocket attack

Israeli war planes strike Gaza after rocket attack

GAZA, April 21 (Reuters) - Israel carried out air strikes in central Gaza before dawn on Thursday after a rocket launched from the Palestinian territory landed in Israel, Hamas officials and Israeli military sources said. Two training camps used by Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the blockaded enclave, and no casualties were reported, witnesses said. Israeli war planes struck a security post and part of an underground site used to produce rocket engines, the Israeli military said in a statement. Earlier, a rocket fired from Gaza struck southern Israel, causing slight damage to a house but no injuries, police…
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America stresses importance of status quo at Jerusalem holy sites

America stresses importance of status quo at Jerusalem holy sites

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed recent violence in Israel and the West Bank with his Jordanian counterpart and stressed the importance of maintaining the status quo at Jerusalem holy sites, the State Department said in a statement on Tuesday. On Friday, at least 152 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli riot police inside the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the latest outbreak in an upsurge of violence that has raised fears of a slide back to wider conflict. Israel shot down a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on Monday, the Israeli military said, the first such attack in months as…
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WATCH: Israel fires at Hamas target in Gaza after rocket attack

WATCH: Israel fires at Hamas target in Gaza after rocket attack

Israel fired on a target in the Gaza Strip, in response to a rocket attack, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said early on Tuesday. The rocket attack was the first in nearly four months, ending one of the longest periods of quiet on the Gaza border in years. https://twitter.com/IDF/status/1516198839706923026 The Israeli military said in a statement that it bombed a number of targets, including a site used by Hamas to manufacture weapons. Hamas-affiliated media reported that the Israeli airstrikes targeted a site operated by Palestinian factions west of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Witnesses and security sources in…
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Putin discusses Russia-Ukraine talks, Middle East with Palestinian leader Abbas

Putin discusses Russia-Ukraine talks, Middle East with Palestinian leader Abbas

Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, the Kremlin said on Monday. They also talked about "the problems of the Middle East settlement in the context of escalating tensions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem", the Kremlin said. Last Friday, at least 152 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli riot police inside the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the latest outbreak in an upsurge of violence that has raised fears of a slide back to wider conflict. via Reuters
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Jerusalem violence puts strain on Israel’s coalition government

Jerusalem violence puts strain on Israel’s coalition government

JERUSALEM, April 17 (Reuters) - Clashes in Jerusalem that have stoked tensions during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan spread into Sunday, triggering 18 arrests and putting further strain on Israel's coalition government. Israeli riot police faced off with fireworks-hurling Palestinians in the alleyways of the walled Old City after a visit by Jews to a disputed holy site. Several passengers on two buses were lightly wounded when stone-throwing Palestinians smashed the vehicles' windows. And a small group of Jewish worshippers was attacked. Sunday's confrontations were less violent than clashes at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound two days earlier, but they…
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Israeli police arrest nine as Palestinians seethe over Jerusalem shrine

Israeli police arrest nine as Palestinians seethe over Jerusalem shrine

Israeli riot police faced off with fireworks-hurling Palestinians in the alleyways of Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday as a visit by Jews to a disputed holy site stoked tensions during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Violence at the Al Aqsa mosque compound, which erupted on Friday, has raised fears about a slide back into deeper conflict over the site as Ramadan coincides with the Jewish festival of Passover. Christians also marked Easter in Jerusalem on Sunday. Sunday's confrontations were less violent, but Israeli police said several passengers on two buses had been lightly wounded when stone-throwing Palestinians smashed the…
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Passover, Easter, Ramadan 2022 fall simultaneously

Passover, Easter, Ramadan 2022 fall simultaneously

In a rare conjunction, three major holidays of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are occurring at the same time this year. On Friday, Christians commemorated the crucifixion of Jesus, and on Sunday celebrate Easter, marking their belief in his resurrection. On Friday, Jewish people celebrated the eve of Pesach, commonly called Passover, which commemorates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and the end of their slavery. And this weekend as well, Muslims around the world mark another Friday, their weekly holiday, within the month of Ramadan, which began on April 2 and ends on May 2. This coincidence of dates…
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UPDATED: Palestinians clash with Israeli police at Jerusalem holy site, 152 injured

UPDATED: Palestinians clash with Israeli police at Jerusalem holy site, 152 injured

JERUSALEM, April 15 (Reuters) - At least 152 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli riot police inside Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Friday, the latest outbreak in a recent upsurge of violence that has raised fears of a slide back to wider conflict. Most of the Palestinian injuries were incurred by rubber bullets, stun grenades and beatings with police batons, the Palestine Red Crescent said, at the most sensitive site in the generations-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli security forces have been on high alert after a series of deadly Arab street attacks throughout the country over the past two weeks. Confrontations at…
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Church of the Holy Sepulchre’s ancient altar rediscovered

Church of the Holy Sepulchre’s ancient altar rediscovered

JERUSALEM, April 13 (Reuters) - Pressed against a wall in a back corridor of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a stone slab bore testimony only to the graffiti etched on it by multitudes of pilgrims through the ages. But the 2.5 x 1.5 metre stone turned out to be far more precious when its other side was exposed during recent renovations at the church, the traditional site of Jesus's crucifixion and burial. Researchers believe the elaborate looping ornaments they found on the long-hidden part of the slab indicate it was once the decorated front of a medieval high altar…
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Lebanon strives to temporarily avert bread crisis

Lebanon strives to temporarily avert bread crisis

Lebanon's government has agreed to disburse $15 million to temporarily resolve growing bread shortages in the country, Economy Minister Amin Salam told Reuters, while saying that the funds would only last a few weeks. Long lines had begun forming outside bakeries across the country since Monday after industry insiders warned that the government had not extended a long-promised credit line for the subsidized good. "I've been looking around since the morning but I couldn't find any bread - there's none at all," Mohammad Mustapha, one shopper in the southern city of Sidon, told Reuters. "I have small children to feed,…
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Israel and West Bank on edge after more bloodshed

Israel and West Bank on edge after more bloodshed

Israeli forces killed two Palestinian women after one ran towards troops and the other stabbed a soldier in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank, Israeli security officials said. With violence surging after a string of deadly Arab attacks in Israel, a Palestinian man was killed by Israeli soldiers during what local residents said were confrontations with stone-throwers near the West Bank town of Bethlehem, the Palestinian health ministry announced. The Israeli military said troops shot a Palestinian throwing petrol bombs towards an Israeli vehicle. The bloodshed has coincided with the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when Israeli-Palestinian violence has erupted in the past and, last May, spiralled…
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Jerusalem’s Holy Sepulchre ‘resurrected’ for Palm Sunday mass as pilgrims return

Jerusalem’s Holy Sepulchre ‘resurrected’ for Palm Sunday mass as pilgrims return

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prayers in Arabic and Latin echoed in the rotunda of Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Sunday as Christians from around the world were once again able to attend Palm Sunday mass after two years of COVID-19 travel restrictions. Around 500 worshippers passed through the huge wooden doors of the church that is the focus of the most important festival in the Christian calendar as the site where Jesus is believed to have been crucified and resurrected. "After two years of COVID, of restrictions, of closed churches, today we are in a normal atmosphere. We have…
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UPDATED: Israeli forces shoot Palestinian who killed two in Tel Aviv bar

UPDATED: Israeli forces shoot Palestinian who killed two in Tel Aviv bar

JERUSALEM, April 8 (Reuters) - A Palestinian who killed two people in a Tel Aviv bar was shot to death on Friday by Israeli security forces after an hours-long manhunt through the city. The bar attack was the latest in a string of deadly street assaults that have left 13 people dead and shaken the country. https://twitter.com/Ostrov_A/status/1512138423166980096 Defence Minister Benny Gantz said Israel would broaden its operations against the "wave of terror" and that the attackers and those who send them will pay a "heavy price." The officers found the shooter hiding near a mosque in Jaffa, just south of…
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Second booster shields elderly from COVID but protection wanes quickly –  Israeli study

Second booster shields elderly from COVID but protection wanes quickly –  Israeli study

April 6 (Reuters) - A fourth dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine lowered rates of COVID-19 among the elderly but the protection against infection appeared short-lived, a large study in Israel has found. The second booster's protection against infection dwindled after four weeks, Israeli researchers showed in their study published on Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Protection against severe illness did not wane during the six weeks after the dose but more follow-up study was needed to evaluate its longer-term protection, the researchers said. The study on 1.3 million people aged 60 and older looked at data from the Israeli Ministry of…
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Israel says UAE free trade deal reached

Israel says UAE free trade deal reached

JERUSALEM, April 1 (Reuters) - Israel and the United Arab Emirates have concluded negotiations for a free trade agreement, Israel's Economy Ministry and the UAE foreign trade minister said on Friday, after formally establishing ties in 2020. The trade agreement includes 95% of traded products, which will be customs free, immediately or gradually, including food, agriculture and cosmetic products, as well as medical equipment and medicine, the Israeli Economy Ministry said in a statement. The agreement included regulation, customs, services, government procurement and electronic trade and will come into effect when signed by the countries' economy ministers and ratified, the statement said, though no timetable…
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Israeli forces on West Bank raid kill two Palestinians during clashes

Israeli forces on West Bank raid kill two Palestinians during clashes

RAMALLAH, West Bank, March 31 (Reuters) - Israeli forces killed at least two Palestinians on Thursday, the Palestinian health ministry said, in clashes that erupted during a raid in the occupied West Bank that followed deadly Arab attacks in Israel. The Israeli military said its forces and border police entered the refugee camp in the city of Jenin to "apprehend terrorist suspects". "During the operation, terrorists opened fire at our forces. Israeli troops returned fire that struck the gunmen. An Israeli soldier was slightly wounded," the military said in a statement. The Palestinian health ministry said two Palestinians, aged 17…
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Climate-related disasters pose ‘major’ growth threat in Middle East, Central Asia – IMF

Climate-related disasters pose ‘major’ growth threat in Middle East, Central Asia – IMF

WASHINGTON, March 30 (Reuters) - The frequency and severity of climate-related disasters are rising faster in the Middle East and Central Asia than anywhere in the world, posing a "major threat" to growth and prosperity, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said. A new International Monetary Fund paper showed that climate disasters in the region injured and displaced 7 million people in an average year, causing more than 2,600 deaths and $2 billion in physical damage. "Droughts in North Africa, Somalia and Iran. Epidemics and locust infestations in the Horn of Africa. Severe floods in the Caucasus and Central Asia. The list of…
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Five killed in latest deadly attack in Israel

Five killed in latest deadly attack in Israel

An Arab gunman killed at least five people in a Tel Aviv suburb on Tuesday night before he was fatally shot, the national ambulance service said, in the third deadly attack in Israel in a week. "Israel is facing a wave of murderous Arab terror," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted after the shootings in Bnei Brak, a Jewish ultra-Orthodox city on the outskirts of Israel's commercial capital. The shooting raised to 11 the number of people killed by Arab gunmen in Israel over the past week, the sharpest spike in attacks on city streets in years. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas…
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Israel’s U.S., Arab partners close ranks on Iran and urge Palestine talks

Israel’s U.S., Arab partners close ranks on Iran and urge Palestine talks

The top diplomats of the United States and four Arab countries convened in Israel on Monday in a display of unity against Iran but also used the rare summit to press their host to revive long-stalled peacemaking with the Palestinians. Concluding the two days of discussions at a desert retreat where its founding father David Ben-Gurion is buried, Israel said the event would be repeated and expanded as it builds up commercial and security ties with like-minded Sunni Arab states. "This new architecture - the shared capabilities we are building - intimidates and deters our common enemies, first and foremost…
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Two Arab gunmen kill two police officers in Israel and are shot dead – Israeli officials

Two Arab gunmen kill two police officers in Israel and are shot dead – Israeli officials

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Two Arab gunmen killed two police officers on a city street in Israel on Sunday and were then shot dead, as the U.S. secretary of state and three Arab foreign ministers visited the country for a summit. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on its Telegram account. The two assailants in Hadera, a city about 50 km (30 miles) north of Tel Aviv, were Arab citizens of Israel and sympathisers of the group, Israeli security officials said. "We condemn today's terrorist attack in Hadera, Israel," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote on…
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Blinken to attend Israeli-Arab summit, eyes Iran and Ukraine in Mideast tour

Blinken to attend Israeli-Arab summit, eyes Iran and Ukraine in Mideast tour

JERUSALEM, March 27 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken kicks off a Middle East trip on Sunday in Israel, where he will take part in a rare Arab-Israeli summit and hold talks with regional partners on stalled Iran nuclear talks and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Blinken will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on the first leg of a Middle East and North Africa trip lasting until March 30. Topping the agenda are the Iran nuclear talks, about which Israel and Gulf Arab states have voiced strong misgivings, and Russia's month-long invasion of Ukraine,…
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Israel to host ‘historic’ regional summit next week

Israel to host ‘historic’ regional summit next week

JERUSALEM, March 25 (Reuters) - Israel will host a "historic" five-way regional conference next week, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Friday, as talks to revive a nuclear deal with Iran remain in limbo. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco will arrive in Israel for a series of diplomatic meetings on Sunday and Monday, Lapid said in a statement. The UAE and Bahrain normalised ties with Israel in 2020 under a U.S.-brokered deal known as the Abraham Accords, creating a new regional dynamic based on mutual concern over…
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Some Syrian veterans ready for Ukraine fight

Some Syrian veterans ready for Ukraine fight

AMMAN/BEIRUT, March 20 (Reuters) - Some Syrian paramilitary fighters say they are ready to deploy to Ukraine to fight in support of their ally Russia but have not yet received instructions to go, two of their commanders told Reuters. Nabil Abdallah, a commander in the paramilitary National Defence Forces (NDF), said he was ready to use expertise in urban combat gained during the Syrian war to aid Russia, speaking to Reuters by phone from the Syrian town of Suqaylabiyah. "Once we get instructions from the Syrian and Russian leadership, we will fight this righteous war," Abdallah said on March 14,…
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Iran says it thwarted nuclear site sabotage it ascribes to Israel

Iran says it thwarted nuclear site sabotage it ascribes to Israel

Iranian state television said its security forces had thwarted a planned sabotage at the country's major Fordow nuclear site by a network it accused Israel of recruiting. It said the forces made arrests. The Israeli prime minister's office had no immediate comment on the report. The television said an Israeli officer first contacted a neighbour of an employee of the uranium enrichment plant and managed to recruit them both after paying them in cash and digital currency. Revolutionary Guards security agents were monitoring the network and were able to break it up before the sabotage could be carried out, arresting…
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Israel insists no haven for sanctioned Russians as Abramovich jet in Israel

Israel insists no haven for sanctioned Russians as Abramovich jet in Israel

JERUSALEM, March 14 (Reuters) - A jet suspected to be used by sanctioned oligarch Roman Abramovich was in Israel on Monday, but the foreign minister said the country was not a haven for Russian businessmen subject to international asset freezes over the invasion of Ukraine. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Israel's financial, banking and aviation authorities were coordinating on the issue. "Israel will not be a route to bypass sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and other Western countries," Lapid said in a statement during a visit to Slovakia, which borders Ukraine. A person with knowledge of the…
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