Update – Israel re-opens Gaza crossings as truce with Palestinians holds

Update – Israel re-opens Gaza crossings as truce with Palestinians holds

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel reopened border crossings into Gaza on Monday following an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with the militant Islamic Jihad group that ended the most serious outbreak of fighting around the volatile Palestinian enclave in more than a year. At least 44 people, including 15 children, were killed in 56 hours of violence that began when Israeli airstrikes hit a senior Islamic Jihad commander. Israel said its action was a pre-emptive strike against an attack planned by the Iranian-backed group. Hundreds more people were wounded and several houses destroyed in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian militants fired more than 1,000 rockets…
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UPDATE: Juventus, Atletico called-off Tel Aviv friendly on security fears, to be played in Contanissa on Sunday

UPDATE: Juventus, Atletico called-off Tel Aviv friendly on security fears, to be played in Contanissa on Sunday

Aug 6 (Reuters) - The match between Juventus and Atletico Madrid will be held on Sunday at the Juventus training grounds in Contanissa. Earlier Juventus and Atletico Madrid have called off their friendly match in Israel due to the "current security situation" in the country, both clubs said in a joint statement on Saturday. Israeli aircraft struck in Gaza and Palestinians fired rockets at Israel on Saturday after an Israeli operation against the militant group Islamic Jihad ended more than a year of relative calm along the border.  The soccer friendly had been scheduled to be played at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv later…
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Israel says Biden visit may augur common Mideast market, with Saudis

Israel says Biden visit may augur common Mideast market, with Saudis

TEL AVIV, July 11 (Reuters) - Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday he hoped a regional visit by U.S. President Joe Biden this week will lead to a common Middle East market that includes Saudi Arabia. Biden arrives in Israel on Wednesday and continues to Saudi Arabia on Friday. The White House has said the visit's aims include "expanding regional economic and security cooperation". Asked at an economic conference hosted by Calcalist newspaper what he expects to arise from Biden's visit, Lieberman said: "The creation of a new, common market in the Middle East. That's the big challenge." "It will…
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Disney+ takes on rivals in Middle East streaming market

Disney+ takes on rivals in Middle East streaming market

DUBAI, June 9 (Reuters) - Disney+launched its steaming service in the Middle East and North Africa on Wednesday, vying for market share in a region where the population is young but few people so far use such services. Disney+ said it had gone live in 16 Arab countries and was tailoring content for the region, including offering Arabic subtitles on most offerings, particularly popular content. Netflix currently leads in the region, with more than 6.8 million subscribers, according to Digital TV Research. Starzplay, an Abu Dhabi-based competitor, ranks second with just under 2 million, followed by Amazon with 1.4 million. Some competitors…
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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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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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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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Israeli forces kill 2 Palestinian attackers -Israeli officials

Israeli forces kill 2 Palestinian attackers -Israeli officials

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -A Palestinian stabbed and wounded an Israeli policeman in Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday and was then killed when officers opened fire at him, a police spokesperson said. Later in the day, Israeli soldiers shot a Palestinian who threw a fire bomb at an army post outside Jerusalem, said a military spokesperson. Palestinian officials identified him as 16-year-old who later died of his wounds. In the walled Old City, a 19-year-old walked up to two officers who were stationed at one of the city gates, "pulled out a knife and stabbed one of them," the police spokesperson said.…
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COVID infections, deaths on the rise in Middle East

COVID infections, deaths on the rise in Middle East

Middle Eastern countries have seen a rise in coronavirus infections in the last six weeks because of low vaccination rates, officials at the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office said. Reported COVID-19 cases rose to a daily average of 110,000 in the past six weeks, while average daily deaths rose to 345 in the last three weeks, WHO regional director Ahmed Al-Mandhari said. More than 35% of the region's population is fully vaccinated. But one quarter of the countries have not yet reached 10% vaccination coverage, said Rana Hajjeh, director of programme management. The WHO's Eastern Mediterranean region comprises the Middle…
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U.S. approves potential weapons sales to Mideast allies

U.S. approves potential weapons sales to Mideast allies

WASHINGTON  (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department has approved several potential weapons sales to Mideast allies including Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon said. The approvals included the possible sale of F-16 fighter jets and related equipment to Jordan at an estimated cost of $4.21 billion, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement. There have been increased rocket and drone attacks on the United Arab Emirates in recent weeks. The State Department approved Jordan's request for 12 F-16 C Block 70 fighter jets, radios targeting pods and associated munitions components…
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Oil price climbs to more than 7-year high on Mideast tensions, tight supply

Oil price climbs to more than 7-year high on Mideast tensions, tight supply

Oil prices rose more than $1 on Tuesday to a more than seven-year high on worries about possible supply disruptions after Yemen's Houthi group attacked the United Arab Emirates, escalating hostilities between the Iran-aligned group and a Saudi Arabian-led coalition. The "new geopolitical tension added to ongoing signs of tightness across the market," ANZ Research analyst said in a note. Brent crude futures rose 85 cents, or 1%, to $87.33 a barrel by 0525 GMT, after earlier hitting a peak of $87.55, their highest since Oct. 29, 2014. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures jumped $1.13, or 1.4%, from Friday's…
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COVID-19 cases surged in Mideast in early Jan but deaths fell – WHO official

COVID-19 cases surged in Mideast in early Jan but deaths fell – WHO official

CAIRO, Jan 13 (Reuters) - A "shocking" surge in COVID-19 cases across the World Health Organization's Eastern Mediterranean region is probably due to the Omicron variant, a WHO official said, warning that some countries in the group still have very low vaccination rates. Reported cases in the region rose 89% in the first week of January from a week earlier but deaths fell by 13%, WHO regional director Ahmed Al-Mandhari said on Thursday. Out of 22 mostly Middle Eastern countries in the region, 15 have officially reported cases of the highly infectious Omicron variant. "While Omicron appears to cause less…
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Photo Story – Middle East Mourning

Photo Story – Middle East Mourning

Palestinians relatives of Isra Ekhzemiya mourn during her funeral at Qabatya village near the West Bank City of Jenin, 20 November 2021. According to medical sources, Isra was killed on 30 September by Israeli soldiers after she carried out stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City. EPA-EFE/ALAA BADARNEH
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Pentagon chief seeks to reassure concerned Middle East allies

Pentagon chief seeks to reassure concerned Middle East allies

MANAMA, Nov 20 (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin sought on Saturday to reassure allies in the Middle East that President Joe Biden's administration was committed to the region despite Washington increasingly turning its attention towards countering China. It was unclear how much impact Austin's speech would have with Washington's allies in the Middle East, since it was not backed by any announcements of further deployments or new weapon sales in the region. Gulf Arab states, heavily reliant on the U.S. military umbrella, have expressed uncertainty about Biden's focus on the region, especially after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.…
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Ransomware takes center stage in U.S. official’s Middle East trip

Ransomware takes center stage in U.S. official’s Middle East trip

U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo will travel to the Middle East on Friday, a Treasury spokesperson told Reuters, where he will seek to build partnerships on ransomware and cybersecurity as hackers wreak havoc among some of America's more vital industries. Adeyemo, in the highest-ranking visit of a Treasury official to the region under President Joe Biden's administration, will also discuss countering terrorist financing and proliferation as well as economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic in his visits to Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. In Israel, Adeyemo will raise how to focus technology to counter ransomware…
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Israel says it will loan Palestinians money after highest-level talks in years

Israel says it will loan Palestinians money after highest-level talks in years

Israel will lend the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority more than $150 million after the sides held their highest-level meeting in years, Israeli officials said on Monday, while playing down prospects of any major diplomatic breakthrough. Defence Minister Benny Gantz, who has overall responsibility for the Israeli-occupied West Bank, travelled to the Palestinian self-rule area of the territory for previously undisclosed talks on Sunday with President Mahmoud Abbas. A source close to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the premier had approved the Gantz-Abbas meeting and deemed it a "routine" matter. "There is no diplomatic process with the Palestinians, nor will there be one," the source…
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Israel strikes Hamas sites in Gaza in response to fire balloons – military

Israel strikes Hamas sites in Gaza in response to fire balloons – military

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israeli aircraft bombed Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip on Saturday in response to incendiary balloons launched from the Palestinian enclave, Israel's military said. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the strike that targeted what the military said was a rocket launching site and a compound belonging to Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza. Hamas had no immediate comment. Since a May 21 ceasefire ended 11 days of Israel-Hamas fighting, Palestinians in Gaza have sporadically launched balloons laden with incendiary material across the border, causing fires that have burned fields in Israel. Palestinians say the balloons aim to pressure Israel to ease restrictions on the coastal enclave that were tightened during the May fighting. Balloon launches had mostly ebbed after Israel eased some restrictions on Gaza.…
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Risk of ‘catastrophic’ coronavirus surge in Middle East- WHO

Risk of ‘catastrophic’ coronavirus surge in Middle East- WHO

A surge of coronavirus cases in several Middle Eastern countries could have dire consequences, aggravated by the spread of the Delta variant and low vaccine availability, the World Health Organisation said. After a decline in cases and deaths in the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean region for eight weeks, the agency said there had been significant increases in cases in Libya, Iran, Iraq and Tunisia, with sharp rises expected in Lebanon and Morocco. Next week countries across the region will mark the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, which traditionally includes religious and social gatherings where infections could spread. "WHO is concerned that the…
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New Israeli government seals coalition deals as Netanyahu era approaches its end

New Israeli government seals coalition deals as Netanyahu era approaches its end

The new Israeli government set to end Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year tenure as prime minister signed its final coalition agreements on Friday, pointedly including term limits. The coalition of parties from far-right to left is expected to focus mostly on economic and social issues rather than risk exposing internal rifts by trying to address major diplomatic issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving leader, will be succeeded on Sunday by a coalition that includes for the first time a party from Israel's Arab minority. Under a power-sharing agreement, Naftali Bennett, of the ultra-nationalist Yamina (Rightwards) party, will serve as…
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U.N. Security Council urges ‘full adherence’ to Israeli Hamas ceasefire

U.N. Security Council urges ‘full adherence’ to Israeli Hamas ceasefire

The United Nations Security Council on Saturday called for “the full adherence” to a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas-led Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and stressed the immediate need for humanitarian aid for Palestinian civilians. The 15-member council issued a statement, which had to be agreed by consensus, after being unable to speak during the 11-day conflict due to opposition by the United States. The French mission to the United Nations said it has put on hold its push for a resolution on the issue. Egyptian mediators try to build on Israel-Hamas ceasefire Egyptian mediators sought to reinforce a…
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UPDATED – Israel and Hamas agree Gaza truce, to be monitored by Egypt

UPDATED – Israel and Hamas agree Gaza truce, to be monitored by Egypt

Israel and Hamas will cease fire across the Gaza Strip border as of 2 a.m. on Friday (2300 GMT Thursday), an official with the Palestinian Islamist faction said, bringing a potentially tenuous halt to the fiercest fighting in decades. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said his security cabinet had voted unanimously in favour of a "mutual and unconditional" Gaza truce proposed by Egypt, but added that the hour of implementation had yet to be agreed. Within minutes of the announcements, in the countdown to the ceasefire, the sides were trading blows again. Sirens warned of incoming rockets in Israeli…
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U.N. chief Guterres calls Gaza ‘hell on earth’ for children

U.N. chief Guterres calls Gaza ‘hell on earth’ for children

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday described Gaza as "hell on earth" for children, appealing to Israel for rapid and unhindered aid access and telling the 193-member General Assembly he would launch an appeal for humanitarian funding. Diplomatic efforts toward a ceasefire in the Gaza war gathered pace on Thursday amid a worsening humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territory, but fighting between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas continued. The 193-member U.N. General Assembly met on Thursday to discuss the renewed violence, but no action was expected.  "If there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children…
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EU to seek Israel-Palestinian peace talks with US, Russia – Malta foreign Minister Bartolo

EU to seek Israel-Palestinian peace talks with US, Russia – Malta foreign Minister Bartolo

An emergency European Union video meeting on Tuesday is set to call for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, offer more humanitarian aid and try to relaunch peace talks, Malta's foreign minister said. Malta's Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo told Reuters that new U.S. President Joe Biden's openness to seek a solution to the decades-old conflict was crucial, "because unless we address the root causes (the violence) will happen again." "I think I'm not being too optimistic (to say) that at a minimum, what will probably come out (of the EU meeting) is the call for a ceasefire, an…
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Abbas gets his first phone call from Biden amid Israel-Gaza fighting

Abbas gets his first phone call from Biden amid Israel-Gaza fighting

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas received an "important" phone call on Saturday from U.S. President Joe Biden, Abbas's spokesman said, the first call between the two leaders since Biden took office in January. The conversation came amid heavy fighting between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip. Biden dispatched an envoy to the region on Friday to help work for calm. (Reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah. Editing by Mark Potter) Reuters
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Update: Israel-Gaza conflict rages, U.S. tells Israel to protect media after tower hit

Update: Israel-Gaza conflict rages, U.S. tells Israel to protect media after tower hit

GAZA/JERUSALEM, May 15 (Reuters) - Israel pounded Gaza, destroying a tower block that housed media organisations and which it said had militant assets, while Palestinian rocket salvoes hit Tel Aviv on Saturday, with no sign of an end to almost a week of fighting. The death toll is rising from the worst escalation since 2014 and diplomacy has so far failed to quell it. Smoke rises as the building collapses after an Israeli airstrike hits Al-Jalaa tower, which houses apartments and several media outlets, including The Associated Press and Al Jazeera, in Gaza City, 15 May 2021. EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED SABER Israel's…
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Malta’s Foreign Minister calls for ceasefire in Gaza to stop the killing of many innocent people including children

Malta’s Foreign Minister calls for ceasefire in Gaza to stop the killing of many innocent people including children

Malta's foreign minister Evarist Bartolo called for a ceasefire in Gaza on Saturday during a meeting with his counterpart from the Palestinian National Authority.  The two ministers agreed on the need for a ceasefire to stop the killing of so many innocent people, including children, the Maltese foreign ministry said in a statement.  In their discussion, the two Ministers said that the Palestinian people must be involved in any potential solution, which should include the right of Palestinians to live in their homes in East Jerusalem and to have full respect for the practice of the three religions in Jerusalem. They…
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Three rockets launched at Israel from Lebanon, no damage – Israeli military

Three rockets launched at Israel from Lebanon, no damage – Israeli military

Three rockets were launched from Lebanon toward northern Israel on Thursday but landed in the Mediterranean sea, causing no damage or casualties, the Israeli military said. It said after the rocket attack “according to protocol no sirens were sounded.” The rockets were launched from the Qlaileh area north of Naqoura, near the border with Israel. Israel’s public broadcaster Kann news said residents in Western Galilee report hearing explosions (Writing by Dan Williams)
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Gaza conflict intensifies with rocket barrages and air strikes

Gaza conflict intensifies with rocket barrages and air strikes

Palestinian militants fired more rockets into Israel's commercial heartland on Thursday as Israel kept up a punishing bombing campaign in Gaza and massed tanks and troops on the enclave's border. The four days of cross-border fighting showed no sign of abating and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the campaign "will take more time". Violence has also spread to mixed communities of Jews and Arabs in Israel, a new front in the long conflict. Synagogues were attacked and fighting broke out on the streets of some towns, prompting Israel's president to warn of civil war. At least 87 people have been killed…
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EU urges Israelis and Palestinians to prevent broader conflict

EU urges Israelis and Palestinians to prevent broader conflict

BRUSSELS, May 12 (Reuters) - The European Union's foreign policy chief on Wednesday called for an immediate end to violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories that has killed more than 50 people since Monday. "Everything must be done to prevent a broader conflict, which will, first and foremost, affect the civilian populations on both sides," Josep Borrell said in a statement that condemned actions by both sides. At least 53 people have been killed in Hamas-ruled Gaza and six people in Israel since the violence escalated, according to officials, with Palestinian militants raining rockets into Israel and Israel…
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U.S. airlines cancel flights to Tel Aviv amid escalating conflict

U.S. airlines cancel flights to Tel Aviv amid escalating conflict

May 12 (Reuters) - United Airlines, Delta Air Lines , and American Airlines have canceled flights from the United States to Tel Aviv on Wednesday and Thursday, according to data by flight tracker FlightAware. Spokespeople for United and Delta confirmed the cancellations and said the airlines were monitoring the situation in Israel, where violence has escalated this week amid a conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Delta has "no determination about resumption at this juncture," a spokesman said. (Reporting by Tracy Rucinski, Editing by Franklin Paul)
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Arab League, Turkey condemn Israeli actions in Jerusalem, Gaza

Arab League, Turkey condemn Israeli actions in Jerusalem, Gaza

The Arab League on Tuesday condemned deadly Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip and called on the international community to move urgently to stop escalating violence that it blamed on Israeli actions against Palestinians in Jerusalem. The violence began with confrontations between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces at al Aqsa Mosque, a compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in the heart of Jerusalem's walled Old City. Israel carried out air strikes on Gaza, killing at least 28 people, after Palestinian militant groups based there unleashed barrages of rockets, some close…
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Death toll rises in Gaza and Israel in most intense hostilities in years

Death toll rises in Gaza and Israel in most intense hostilities in years

Israel carried out hundreds of air strikes in Gaza into Wednesday morning as the Islamist group Hamas and other Palestinian militants fired multiple rocket barrages over the border at Tel Aviv and the southern city of Beersheba. At least 35 people have been killed in Gaza and five in Israel in the most intense exchanges for years. In Gaza, one multi-story residential building, whose occupants were warned in advance by Israel to evacuate, collapsed and another was heavily damaged after they were repeatedly hit by Israeli air strikes. Israel said its warplanes had targeted and killed several Hamas intelligence leaders…
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War crimes court concerned over violence in West Bank – prosecutor

War crimes court concerned over violence in West Bank – prosecutor

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is concerned about escalating violence in the West Bank and the possibility that war crimes are being committed there, its prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said on Wednesday. "I note with great concern the escalation of violence in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as in and around Gaza, and the possible commission of crimes under the Rome Statute", Bensouda wrote on Twitter. Hostilities between Israel and Hamas escalated on Wednesday, with at least 35 killed in Gaza and five in Israel so far in the most intensive aerial exchanges for years. The ICC prosecutor in March announced an official investigation into possible war crimes committed in the Palestinian Territories. Bensouda, who will be replaced by British prosecutor Karim Khan on June…
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Analysis – Israel-Palestinian violence: why East Jerusalem has become a flashpoint in a decades-old conflict

Analysis – Israel-Palestinian violence: why East Jerusalem has become a flashpoint in a decades-old conflict

Weeks of tensions between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem have boiled over in recent days, unleashing some of the worst violence between Israel and the Palestinians in years. Israeli airstrikes in Gaza have left 30 Palestinians dead, including ten children, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promising not to ease up anytime soon. Palestinians militants, meanwhile, have launched hundreds of missiles into Israel, killing three people. Ostensibly, the rocket launches by Hamas were a response to Israeli police storming the al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem on Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Power, one of the…
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U.N. Security council to meet Wednesday over Mideast violence

U.N. Security council to meet Wednesday over Mideast violence

NEW YORK, May 11 (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council will meet privately on Wednesday, diplomats said, to discuss the most serious outbreak of fighting since 2019 between Israel and armed factions in Hamas Islamist-run Gaza. (Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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Israeli energy pipeline hit in Gaza rocket attack, sources say

Israeli energy pipeline hit in Gaza rocket attack, sources say

JERUSALEM, May 11 (Reuters) - A pipeline belonging to an Israeli state-owned energy company was hit in a rocket attack from Gaza late on Tuesday, an Israeli government official and an energy sector official told Reuters. Video broadcast by Channel 12 showed flames rising from what appeared to be a large fuel vat near the Israeli Mediterranean city of Ashkelon, south of Tel Aviv. Operations at a power plant in Ashkelon were not interrupted, Channel 13 TV said. (Reporting by Dan Williams and Ari Rabinovitch Writing by Rami Ayyub Editing by Leslie Adler and Rosalba O'Brien)
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35 killed in Gaza, 5 in Israel, as violence escalates

35 killed in Gaza, 5 in Israel, as violence escalates

GAZA/JERUSALEM, May 12 (Reuters) - Hostilities between Israel and Hamas escalated overnight, with at least 35 killed in Gaza and five in Israel in the most intensive aerial exchanges for years. Israel carried out hundreds of air strikes in Gaza into the early hours of Wednesday, as the Islamist group and other Palestinian militants fired multiple rocket barrages at Tel Aviv and Beersheba. One multi-story residential building in Gaza collapsed and another was heavily damaged after they were repeatedly hit by Israeli air strikes. Israel said its jets had targeted and killed several Hamas intelligence leaders early on Wednesday. Other strikes targeted what the military said…
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Malta calls for de-escalation of tensions in the Middle East

Malta calls for de-escalation of tensions in the Middle East

The Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Malta has been closely monitoring developments in Palestine and expresses its serious concern on the violent escalation over the past days in East Jerusalem and the launch of rockets into Israel from Gaza. The Ministry for foreign Affairs called on all sides to take immediate and urgent action to de-escalate tensions, and cease the violence. The Ministry expresses its condolences to the families of the victims, including civilian casualties and recalls the right of the Palestinians not to be deprived of their homes in East Jerusalem. Malta reiterates its…
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Gaza’s Hamas militants fire 130 rockets towards Tel Aviv – Hamas statement

Gaza’s Hamas militants fire 130 rockets towards Tel Aviv – Hamas statement

Gaza's Islamist ruler Hamas said it had fired over 130 rockets towards Tel Aviv on Tuesday night in response to an Israeli air strike that had flattened a tower block in the Strip. "We are carrying (out) now our promise (by) launching a massive rocket strike against Tel Aviv and its suburbs, with 130 rockets, in response to the enemy's targeting of residential towers,” Hamas's armed wing said in a statement.  Earlier: Gaza block collapses after Israeli strike, rocket hits Tel Aviv building Palestinians inspect a destroyed Hanadi tower after Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, 11 May 2021. At least one…
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Syria shoots down Israeli missiles over Damascus – SANA

Syria shoots down Israeli missiles over Damascus – SANA

Syrian air defences shot down several Israeli missile strikes over the capital Damascus on Tuesday, state news agency reported. "At 22:35 (2035 GMT) this evening the Israeli enemy carried out an aggression from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights on some targets in the Damascus area," Syrian state news agency SANA cited a military source as saying. "Our air defences intercepted the attack and shot down most of" the missiles, it said, adding there were no casualties. SANA / France 24
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ICC prosecutor to probe war crimes in Palestinian Territories, angering Israel

ICC prosecutor to probe war crimes in Palestinian Territories, angering Israel

THE HAGUE, March 3 (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court prosecutor said on Wednesday her office will formally investigate war crimes in the Palestinian Territories, a move welcomed by the Palestinian Authority and denounced by Israel. The decision comes after the court ruled on Feb. 5 that it has jurisdiction in the case, prompting swift rejection from Washington and Jerusalem. "The decision to open an investigation followed a painstaking preliminary examination undertaken by my office that lasted close to five years," outgoing Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement. "In the end, our central concern must be for the victims…
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ICC ruling brings hope for Palestinians, dismay for Israelis

ICC ruling brings hope for Palestinians, dismay for Israelis

JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters/Sky) - The International Criminal Court (ICC) has determined it has the jurisdiction to investigate Israel and the leaders of the Palestinian faction Hamas for alleged war crimes. In a ruling with significant implications, judges in a pre-trial chamber of the ICC in The Hague, agreed that it is within the court's legal remit to hear war crimes allegations made against Israel in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem and also against Hamas in Gaza. Many Palestinians see the ruling by the International Criminal Court that it has jurisdiction over the Palestinian territories as a belated chance of justice for victims…
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Distrust, division and doubt cloud Palestinian election call

Distrust, division and doubt cloud Palestinian election call

GAZA/RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Beset by political infighting, split between three territories and distrustful of their institutions, many Palestinians are sceptical that their first national elections in 15 years will bring change - or even happen at all. President Mahmoud Abbas said on Friday that parliamentary and presidential elections would be held later this year in a bid to heal long-standing divisions. His main rival, the militant Islamist group Hamas, welcomed the move.  The announcement is widely seen as a gesture aimed at pleasing U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, with whom the Palestinians want to reset relations after they reached…
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After 54 years, first Mass on the site of the Baptism of Jesus

After 54 years, first Mass on the site of the Baptism of Jesus

St. John the Baptist Chapel, on the West Bank, has announced that it will reopen for Mass in January 2021. For over 50 years, the site has been unapproachable because it was scattered with landmines. Now, after clearing the field, this historic site will begin to welcome tourists and pilgrims once more. The first Mass will be fittingly on the Feast of St. John the Baptist.  Franciscan Father Ibrahim Faltas, chancellor of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land announced that the first Mass will resume on January 10, 2021. He said “It will be a very special day. After…
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Gaza gets vital medical aid as hospitals struggle with rising infections

Gaza gets vital medical aid as hospitals struggle with rising infections

The World Health Organization delivered 15 ventilators to Gaza hospitals on Sunday amid a spike in COVID-19 infections that has tested the Palestinian territory's under-developed health system. The donation of the intensive care devices, funded by Kuwait, came a week after local and international public health advisers said hospitals in the enclave could soon become overwhelmed. "These devices will help medical teams provide better service to patients, but it is not enough," said Abdullatif Alhaj of Gaza's health ministry. Alhaj said hospitals had suffered acute shortages in oxygen essential in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Gaza has logged nearly 20,000…
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Palestinians welcome Trump exit, but are cautious about Biden

Palestinians welcome Trump exit, but are cautious about Biden

The Palestinians have been holding out for a change of U.S. president for three years, hoping for a chance to hit the reset button on relations with Washington. There was no response from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after Joe Biden was declared winner of the U.S. presidential election by major television networks on Saturday, but the first key decision facing Abbas is whether he will resume political contacts with the United States. Three years ago Abbas cut off contact with President Donald Trump's White House, accusing it of pro-Israel bias over Trump's decisions to break with decades of U.S. policy…
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PhotoStory – Extreme working conditions

PhotoStory – Extreme working conditions

Palestinians cross an Israeli security fence into Israeli area near the West Bank city of Hebron, 30 August 2020. Palestinian workers are entering Israel despite an entry ban was imposed amid concerns over the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus which causes the COVID-19 disease. EPA-EFE/ABED AL HASHLAMOUN
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Geopolitics Insights – A Match in the Middle East Tinderbox

Geopolitics Insights – A Match in the Middle East Tinderbox

by Tonio Galea From CorporateDispatch PRO Amid a resurgence of the Covid-19 virus in many regions around the world and turmoil in Belarus and other countries, the United Arab Emirates decided to normalise relations with Israel. This makes the UAE only the third Arab country to normalise relations after Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1979, followed by Jordan in 1994. It is also the first of the six Arab Gulf states to do so. https://issuu.com/corporatedispatch/docs/cdp_issue_9?fr=sN2JhZDE4NTQyOTc Read more insights on CorporateDispatch PRO It is important to note that Israel and the UAE, as other Gulf states, reportedly already have security…
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Israeli tanks shelled Hamas positions in Gaza

Israeli tanks shelled Hamas positions in Gaza

Israeli tanks shelled Hamas positions early on Saturday, hours after it said a rocket was launched at southern Israel. A statement from the military said the Israeli "tanks targeted Hamas military posts in the southern Gaza Strip" in response to Friday's fire. The rocket, which set off sirens in southern Israel, was intercepted by air defences without causing any casualties or damage, it said. Gaza security sources told AFP news agency Israeli tank fire targeted Hamas observation posts east of Rafah and east of Khan Younis, causing no casualties. Israel has bombed Gaza almost daily since August 6 in response…
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Coronavirus cases surge in the West Bank

Coronavirus cases surge in the West Bank

The number of COVID-19 cases in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza reached 13,457 on Friday, according to the ministry of health, after a surge in infections in the second half of July. Of the 8,796 active cases, more than half of have been reported in Hebron governorate in the southern West Bank. According to the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London, the rate at which the disease is transmitted in the occupied West Bank has reached 1.58, meaning that every two infected individuals are likely to spread the virus to three more.…
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Photo Story: Palestinians celebrate Eid al-Adha

Photo Story: Palestinians celebrate Eid al-Adha

A Palestinian lights firework to celebrate Eid al-Adha in Khan Younis town, southern Gaza Strip, 30 July 2020. Eid al-Adha is the holiest of the two Muslims holidays celebrated each year, it marks the yearly Muslim pilgrimage (Hajj) to visit Mecca, the holiest place in Islam. Muslims slaughter a sacrificial animal and split the meat into three parts, one for the family, one for friends and relatives, and one for the poor and needy. Via EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED SABER
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Middle East has recorded a million cases of Covid-19

Middle East has recorded a million cases of Covid-19

The Middle East has recorded a million cases of Covid-19, and is at a “critical threshold”, the World Health Organisation has warned. The global health body confirmed on Sunday there were more than one million confirmed cases of the Covid-19 disease across the 22 countries that the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean region covers, stretching from Morocco to Pakistan. Over 80% of all deaths in the region were reported in five countries: Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. “We are at a critical threshold in our region,” the WHO’s Middle East head, Ahmed al-Mandhari, said in an online press conference. Mandhari…
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More than 320,000 coronavirus cases in Middle East

More than 320,000 coronavirus cases in Middle East

There are now more than 320,000 officially reported cases of Covid-19 in the Middle East. The virus continues to spread slowly in most countries, although in the Gulf daily increases tend to exceed five percent. In addition, several countries that reported few cases are now seeing rises, including Yemen and Sudan. In Israel, there are now 230 people who have died of the novel coronavirus in Israel, the Health Ministry reported Sunday morning. Some 6,329 people are infected with the virus, including 103 in serious condition, among them 82 on ventilators.So far, 9,634 people have recovered from COVID-19. The largest…
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Israel warns about coronavirus resurgence next winter

Israel warns about coronavirus resurgence next winter

Israeli Health Ministry Director Moshe Bar Siman Tov said Israel has to prepare for a second wave of coronavirus in the winter.   According to Bar Siman Toc, "We are trying to find the balance between the economic needs and the needs of the people, but public health has to be protected. Further discussions regarding loosening the regulations will be held tomorrow but it has to be noted that we cannot say the danger is behind us. We can even say what the World Health Organization is saying, that the peak is ahead of us and we have to view…
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Middle East braces for bleak Ramadan

Middle East braces for bleak Ramadan

From cancelled iftar feasts to suspended mosque prayers, Muslims across the Middle East are bracing for a bleak month of Ramadan fasting as the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic lingers. Ramadan is a period for both self-reflection and socialising. Believers fast from dawn to dusk and then gather around a family or community meal each evening of Islam's holiest month, which begins later this week and ends with Eid al-Fitr festivities. Dispiriting for many devout Muslims is that congregational worship -- including taraweeh night prayers -- is prohibited in mosques across the region, with many closed in a bid to…
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Passover amid coronavirus lockdown in Jerusalem

Passover amid coronavirus lockdown in Jerusalem

Orthodox Jews cover their heads with prayer shawls as they keep distance from each other while reciting the Priestly Blessing on the high holiday of Passover, in front of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel, 12 April 2020. According to media reports, Israeli police have approved small prayer gatherings in ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods across the country amid the ongoing coronavirus lockdown. EPA-EFE/ABIR SULTAN
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