Israeli warplanes hit a refugee camp in Gaza Strip, killing dozens
Jerusalem: Here’s what is happening in the latest Israel-Hamas war:
SOME PALESTINIANS HEED ISRAEL’S ORDERS AND HEAD SOUTH ON FOOT
Bureij (Gaza Strip): Some Palestinians appear to have heeded Israeli orders to head to the southern part of the Gaza Strip during a four-hour window Sunday as intense bombardment rages on in the northern part of the territory.
Crowds of people, including women and children, were seen walking down Gaza’s main north-south highway with only what they could carry in their arms. Others were seen leading donkey carts on the road.
One man said they had to walk 500 metres (yards) with their hands raised while passing Israeli troops and tanks on the road. Another described seeing dead bodies in damaged cars along the road linking northern Gaza to the southern part.
“We saw tanks, we saw bodies lying around…the children saw tanks for the first time. Oh world, have mercy on us, have mercy on us,” said one Palestinian, who declined to give his name.
Israeli planes earlier once again dropped leaflets urging people to head south as its forces advance in the outskirts of Gaza City.
POLICE IN TURKEY PREVENT PRO-PALESTINIAN PROTESTERS FROM APPROACHING US BASE
Istanbul: Police fired tear gas and water cannon as thousands of pro-Palestine protesters converged on a US air base in southern Turkey on Sunday, Turkish media reported.
The intervention came as demonstrators tried to cross fields to enter the base, according to the Karar newspaper and other outlets.
The protest at Incirlik, home to the US Air Force 39th Air Base Wing, was the culmination of a convoy that set off on a 940-km (585-mile) journey from Istanbul on Friday.
Hundreds of vehicles arrived in Incirlik Sunday afternoon and a large crowd gathered near the base to listen to speeches. Many waved placards and Turkish and Palestinian flags.
The convoy and demonstration was organised by the IHH aid group, which Israel has accused of links to Hamas. In 2010, the group organised an aid flotilla that sought to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Ten Turkish citizens were killed after Israeli commandos stormed one of the vessels, the Mavi Marmara.
The Incirlik protest came hours before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was due to arrive in Turkey for talks with Turkish officials over Gaza.
HEZBOLLAH SAYS IT TARGETED AN ISRAELI MILITARY VEHICLE
Beirut: The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah said it targeted an Israeli military vehicle across the border with guided missiles Sunday, killing and wounding its crew members.
The Israeli military confirmed in a statement that an antitank missile was launched from Lebanon at Yiftah in northern Israel, and said it was striking the sources of fire. It did not confirm whether there were casualties.
Hezbollah announced several other missile launches Sunday and said it had destroyed Israeli equipment along the border. The Israeli military said Israel’s Iron Dome defence system had intercepted a drone flying toward Israel from Lebanon.
ABBAS SAYS PA WOULD TAKE OVER GAZA ONLY AS PART OF COMPREHENSIVE SOLUTION
Cairo: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday that the Palestinian Authority would only assume power in Gaza as part of a “comprehensive political solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to the official WAFA news agency.
Abbas condemned Israel’s bombardment of Gaza as a “genocidal war,” urging Blinken “to immediately stop them from committing such crimes,” WAFA reported.
He also called for an immediate delivery of humanitarian aid and fuel, and the restoration of water and electricity in Gaza.
The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, headed by Abbas, has not been a factor in Gaza since Hamas took it over by force in 2007.
Abbas said that security and peace would be achieved only through ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 Mideast war borders with east Jerusalem its capital.
FRANCE REITERATES CALL FOR CEASE-FIRE, URGENT AID
Paris: France is repeating its call for a cease-fire in Gaza and urgent aid for civilians caught in the Israel-Hamas war.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna voiced “the need for an immediate truce” in a tweet Sunday after meeting with Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
She said they shared the view that lasting humanitarian aid for Gaza civilians and a cease-fire are needed and added: “We are working on it together.”
France is looking to Qatar for help as it seeks the release of French-Israeli citizens held hostage by Hamas since its Oct 7 surprise attack on Israel that ignited the war. France has confirmed the deaths of 39 of its citizens in the attack and lists nine other French citizens as missing, including some confirmed hostages.
BLINKEN MAKES A STOPOVER IN CYPRUS
Larnaca (Cyprus): US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is making a short detour on his urgent Mideast diplomacy tour, stopping in Cyprus where he’s meeting the nation’s leader.
The State Department said Blinken was meeting briefly on Sunday with Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides and Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos mainly to thank them for Cyprus’ role in temporarily hosting some American citizens who fled from Israel in the first weeks of the Gaza war.
The US chartered at least one cruise liner that took Americans from the Israeli port of Haifa to Larnaca as Israel’s military operations against Hamas intensified and the group accelerated rocket attacks on Israel following its Oct 7 surprise attack.
Blinken is on his way to Turkey to meet senior officials on Monday.
POPE FRANCIS PRAYS FOR CEASE-FIRE
Vatican City: Pope Francis, addressing the combatants in the Israel-Hamas war, prayed that “in the name of God, you will stop and will cease fire”.
“I hope that all possible paths are pursued so an enlargement of the conflict can absolutely be avoided,” Francis told the public gathered in St Peter’s Square on Sunday.
A cease-fire would “allow the wounded to be assisted” and aid to arrive to alleviate “a very grave humanitarian situation”, Francis said.
“Free all the hostages, immediately. Among them are also so many children. May they return to their families,” the pontiff continued in an appeal he delivered from his studio window. “Yes, let’s think of children, of all the children caught up in this war, as well in Ukraine and in other conflicts. They’re killing their future this way.”
He invited prayers so “they’ll have the strength to say enough!” (AP)