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Hamas suffers fresh tunnel collapse in Gaza Strip

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  •  As Wave of arrests begins in West Bank’s Kabatiya, following deadly Jerusalem attack

A tunnel constructed by the Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip collapsed Wednesday evening, (February 3, 2016) hours after members of the terrorist organization buried two fighters killed in another shaft collapse a day before.

The tunnel was located in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, according to Palestinian reports. It was not immediately clear whether there were any casualties.

There were also reports of a second tunnel collapse near Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

Hamas forces were said to block off areas around both collapses.

The collapses would be the third and fourth in recent days, amid reports that the terror group has ramped up activity in digging underground passages beneath the Gaza Strip, some of which are believed to extend into Israeli territory.

Palestinian members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas terrorist movement, mourn during the funeral of fellow militant Ahmed al-Zahar in the village of Al-Moghraga near the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on February 3, 2016. Zahar was killed in a tunnel collapse. (AFP / MAHMUD HAMS)

IDF Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, refused to say whether Israel was involved in the tunnel collapses when asked by the Palestinian Ma’an news agency.

“God knows,” he answered, according to the news agency. “I would suggest the residents of the Gaza Strip not to occupy themselves with the tunnels and to get away from them, especially after seeing the results in recent days,” he added.

IDF officials and southern residents have expressed concern in recent days that Hamas is rebuilding a series of subterranean passages, used for attacking Israel, which were destroyed during the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza fighters.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to critics charging his government was failing to deal with newly dug tunnels under the Israel-Hamas frontier, threatening to blow up the underground passages if need be.

“We are working methodically and calmly against all threats, including threats from Hamas, both with defensive and offensive measures. And of course, in the event we are attacked from tunnels in the Gaza Strip, we will act very forcefully against Hamas, and with much more force than Operation Protective Edge,” Netanyahu told a conference of Israeli diplomats, referring to the 50-day war in the Gaza Strip in 2014.

During that war, Israeli troops uncovered and destroyed dozens of tunnels, but only after Netanyahu approved a ground invasion of the Strip amid heavy pressure from coalition allies to expand what had — to that point — been an air campaign.

Hamas built dozens of tunnels into Israel, many of which were used to carry out attacks against soldiers during the 2014 war.

Last week, a senior defense official said Hamas’s military wing had rehabilitated itself and was ready for a fresh round of hostilities with Israel. Other military leaders have said intensive tunnel rebuilding is underway.

Over the weekend, residents of areas near the Gaza Strip complained that tunnel digging into Israel from the Hamas-run territory has come so close to their homes that it has caused their floors to shake.

The Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip said the two men killed in Tuesday night’s tunnel collapse belonged to its armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Hundreds of men, many armed and wearing balaclavas, took part in the funeral.

Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar, December 14, 2015.

Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar said Wednesday that the Islamist group’s attack tunnels in the Gaza Strip had already reached into Israeli territory.

“The tunnels reach deep into the territory occupied in 1948,” said the Hamas official during the funeral for one of the fighters. “The [tunnels] reach [further] than Gaza.”

Later, however, al-Zahar toned down the rhetoric, and seemed to deny his earlier statements.

“The resistance tunnels are defensive tunnels for the protection of our people in the face of any Israeli aggression,” he added.

Ismail Haniyah, Hamas’s leader in Gaza, called the two men “martyrs” and praised “those who work silently underground for us to live in dignity on earth.”

Another tunnel collapse caused by bad weather on January 26 killed seven Al-Qassam fighters.

Meanwhile,the IDF on Wednesday made some arrests and placed some home village of terrorists under semi-closure, following Wednesday’s attack in Jerusalem.

Security forces, it was learnt, made a number of arrests in Kabatiya overnight between Wednesday and Thursday, operating in the West Bank village near Jenin from where three Arab terrorists launched a deadly gun and knife attack on Border Police officers in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

The IDF has placed the village under a semi-closure, allowing all humanitarian goods and passage, but placing restrictions on ordinary movements by residents in and out of Kabatiya.

IDF Engineering Corps units mapped out the homes of the three terrorists in the village ahead of their expected demolition.

The three terrorists were identified as Ahmed Rajeh Zakarneh, Muhammad Ahmed Kmail, and Ahmed Najeh Abu al-Rub – all from Kabatiya.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened top security officials Wednesday evening and decided to surround the terrorists’ home village and conduct arrests, as well as reinforce troops in Samaria. The security establishment, including the IDF and police were set to provide additional support for reserve forces previously mobilized in the West Bank.

In the attack Wednesday at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, a 19-year-old border policewoman was killed and another female officer critically wounded by the three Arab terrorists wielding machine guns, pipe bombs and knives.

All three assailants were shot dead at the scene. Their explosives did not detonate and were later neutralized by a police bomb disposal team.

Border Police Cpl. Hadar Cohen, 19, died of her wounds shortly after being rushed to Hadassah-University Medical Center at Mount Scopus. Her unidentified partner was seriously wounded and underwent emergency surgery there. On Thursday, the Jerusalem hospital treating the partner said her condition had improved to moderate.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, who was at the scene, described the violence as a planned attack.

~TIMES OF ISRAEL AND AFP, with additional reports from Jpost.com .

Accidents

Tanker Tyre Explosion Sparks Chaos In Surulere

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Tanker Tyre Explosion Sparks Chaos In Surulere

 Pandemonium engulfed Ekololu, a community in the Surulere area of Lagos, on Monday night when the back tyres of a tanker transporting fuel to a Conoil filling station burst into flames near the station.

The News Correspondent who resides in the area reports that the explosion of the tyres and the ensuing billows of smoke made residents living near the filling station flee for safety.

Observations by the newsmen revealed that staff from the filling station hurried out with fire extinguishers to combat the fire, which erupted around 9:00 p.m., just a few meters from the station’s entrance.

Emergency responders, including Federal and State Fire Services, as well as the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA), swiftly arrived at the scene following distress calls from the community.

The ill-fated tanker that caused the pandemonium

Upon arrival, the emergency teams assessed the unregistered truck carrying the petrol and raised concerns about safety measures while questioning the driver and filling station management.

They provided guidance and oversaw the safe discharge of the fuel using a long hose to transfer the petroleum product from the stranded tanker into the filling station’s reservoirs.

The Station Manager of the Conoil filling station, Mr Kunle Oniya, informed the emergency responders that the station possessed 20 fire extinguishers, which were promptly utilised to contain the fire and prevent its spread.

The incident led to a traffic gridlock, with vehicles unable to move in the area for nearly an hour.

Some residents shared their experiences of the ordeal with the newsmen.

A resident, Malam Shehu, recounted abandoning his dinner upon witnessing the fiery explosion.

He expressed gratitude that the fire was contained before causing further damage.

Another resident, known as Iya Abigail, described hearing people shouting while she was playing games, prompting her to flee in confusion wearing her nightclothes.

She prayed for continued safety in the community.

An elderly resident, who preferred anonymity, urged filling stations in the area to prioritise safety and the welfare of residents.

She noted that filling stations typically had insurance against fire and other disasters and suggested extending such coverage to vulnerable buildings in their host communities.

Recalling the chaotic events, she said that she heard the sound of an emergency whistle to alert the neighbourhood before hastily evacuating her home.

“I was watching TV and when the incident occurred, I had to blow the emergency whistle to alert the neighbourhood but I quickly dressed up before running out of the house,” she said. 

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Overspeeding Claims 7 Lives In Ibadan- Iseyin Road Crash- FRSC

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Overspeeding Claims 7 Lives In Ibadan- Iseyin Road Crash- FRSC

…As 15 people sustain varying degrees of injuries

Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has confirmed the death of seven persons in a road accident that occurred on Ibadan-Iseyin road on Thursday.

The Public Relations Officer, FRSC, Oyo Sector Command, Mr Mayowa Odewo, said in a statement that the deceased were five male adults, one female adult and one female child.

Odewo said that 15 people also sustained varying degrees of injuries out of the 22 people involved in the crash.

He attributed the accident, involving a Nissan Urvan commercial bus, with registration number: SEY 254 ZY and a Mazda commercial bus, with registration number LGB 343 XA, to speed violations and fatigue.

Odewo stated that the 13 injured victims, including three male adults, nine female adults and one female child, had been taken to a nearby hospital for medical attention.

He said that four of the seven corpses of the victims had been claimed by their families, while the remaining three had been deposited at a morgue.

“The police from Motor Traffic Division (MTD) Police Division, Moniya, Ibadan, have taken possession of the two crashed vehicles, including bags and other valuables recovered from the scene,” he said.

The FRSC spokesperson noted that no victim was saved by the seat belt or other defensive gadgets.

He urged motorists to always obey traffic rules and regulations as well as adhere to all traffic cautions on the road to prevent avoidable crashes. 

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Man Dies After Falling Off Cruise Ship in Australia

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Man Dies After Falling Off Cruise Ship in Australia

Australian police had found a man’s body off Sydney’s coast while searching for a cruise ship passenger who went overboard on Monday.
The man fell overboard before dawn near Sydney Heads, about 18 kilometers from the shore, with police and other emergency services launching a search, New South Wales police said.

At about 10.30 a.m. (0030 GMT), officers located the body and retrieved it, police said.

Police would now prepare a report for the Coroner and have launched an investigation into how the incident unfolded.

P&O Cruises’ ship Pacific Adventure was due to arrive in Sydney Harbour on Monday.

“We thank guests for their care, understanding, and patience on what’s been a distressing day for guests and crew,’’
a statement from the company said, as quoted by local media.

“Our thoughts are with the family of the guest at this difficult time.’’

The ship was returning to Sydney from a three-day trip to Queensland’s Morton Island.

– dpa

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