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IDF begins ‘air and ground’ operations against Gaza to quell ongoing terror attacks

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IDF begins ‘air and ground’ operations against Gaza to quell ongoing terror attacks

… As Senior Hamas official says: ‘We can continue fighting for many months’***

Anticipating a response by Hamas, the military ordered Israelis living within four kilometers of the border to remain in their bomb shelters.

The Israeli Defense Forces began a heavy bombardment against Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip late Thursday evening.

“IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking,” the IDF wrote on Twitter, without providing more details on the scope of the operation.

It does not appear that the military has launched a full ground operation or yet entered Gaza, though earlier in the day, it called up thousands of reserve troops.

Anticipating a heavy response by Hamas, the IDF ordered all Israelis living within four kilometers of the Gaza border to remain in their bomb shelters until further notice.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas will pay a heavy price.

Also read: Heavy rocket barrage on central Israel, hitting Tel Aviv, causes fatalities and injures dozens

“I said that we would exact a very heavy price on Hamas, we are doing this and we will continue with great force. The final word has not been said, and this operation will continue for as long as needed,” declared the Israeli leader, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Earlier on Thursday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved the call-up of 9,000 reservists after the previous approval of 7,000 reservists.

The military personnel will enter combat units and support headquarters as part of “Operation Guardian of the Walls,” Gantz’s office said in a statement, adding that they will be stationed in the IDF’s Southern, Central and Northern Command in place of other units mobilized to other missions.

In another development, Saleh Al-Arouri, deputy chairman of Hamas’s political bureau said in an interview on Gaza’s Al-Aqsa TV on Wednesday that Jewish immigration to Palestine was based on myths and so is the claim that Jerusalem belongs to the Jews, reported MEMRI.

“The Jews’ immigration to Palestine from all corners of the world, in order to establish their state, was based on the myth that Jerusalem had been their capital and that they had a temple there, that Jerusalem belongs to them, and that it is their Promised Land. These are the myths that they have invented out of thin air,” said Arouri.

He also said, according to the report, that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and commander of the ‘Izz al-Din al-Qasam Brigades Mohammad Deif have said that Hamas is ready to fight for many months.

“The resistance was designed to last for a long while. The commanders of the resistance in Gaza have said—brother Abu Ibrahim [Al-Sinwar] said it clearly more than once, and [Mohammed] ‘Abu Khaled’ Deif also talked about it. … They said that we are ready for a war that would last months. Months!”

Arouri continued: “The resistance will not allow [Israel] to create an image of victory.

In the 2014 war, the image of victory was of the [Israeli] soldier under the boots of the mujahideen. In this war, the bombing of the streets and towers will not be the image of victory.

The image of victory will be painted by our jihadi Brigades.”

 

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Libya’s Flood-ravaged Derna Struggles To Cope With Thousands Of Corpses

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Residents and rescue workers in the devastated Libyan city of Derna are struggling to cope with the thousands of corpses washing up or decaying under rubble.

This is happening after a flood that smashed down buildings and swept people to sea.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and other aid groups urged authorities in Libya to stop burying flood victims in mass graves, saying these could bring long-term mental distress to families or cause health risks if located near water.

A UN report said more than 1,000 people had so far been buried in that manner since Libya, a nation divided by a decade of conflict and political chaos, was hit on Sunday by torrential rain that caused two dams to burst.

Thousands were killed and thousands more are missing.

“Bodies are littering the streets, washing back on shore, and are buried under collapsed buildings and debris.

“In just two hours, one of my colleagues counted over 200 bodies on the beach near Derna,” Bilal Sablouh, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) forensics manager for Africa, told a briefing in Geneva.

Ibrahim al-Arabi, health minister in Libya’s Tripoli-based western government, told Reuters he was certain groundwater was polluted with water mixed up with corpses, dead animals, refuse, and chemical substances.

“We urge people not to approach the wells in Derna,” he said.

Mohammad al-Qabisi, head of Derna’s Wahda Hospital, said a field hospital was treating people with chronic illnesses needing regular attention.

He said there were fears waterborne diseases would spread, but no cholera had been recorded so far.

Swathes of Derna, the centre point of the destruction in Libya’s east, were obliterated when the dams above the city broke, and the flood that swept down a usually dry riverbed brought down whole residential blocks while families were asleep.

The International Organization for Migration mission in Libya said more than 5,000 people were presumed dead, with 3,922 deaths registered in hospitals, and over 38,640 were displaced in the flood-stricken region.

The true death toll could be far higher, officials say.

“We should be afraid of an epidemic,” 60-year-old Nouri Mohamed said, at a bakery offering loaves for free. “There are still bodies underground … Now there are corpses starting to smell.”

The U.N. health agency together with the ICRC and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies called for burials to be managed better.

“We urge authorities in communities touched by tragedy to not rush forward with mass burials or mass cremations,” Kazunobu Kojima, medical officer for biosafety and biosecurity in the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said in the statement.

It called for individual graves, demarcated and documented, saying that hasty interments could lead to mental anguish for families as well as social and legal problems.

The bodies of victims of trauma from natural disasters “almost never” posed a health threat, it said, unless they were in or near freshwater supplies since corpses may leak excrement.

A doctor in Derna said this week that photos were being taken of unidentified bodies before burial, in case relatives could identify them later on.

Thursday’s UN report said more than 1,000 bodies in Derna and over 100 in Al Bayda, another coastal city hit by flooding, had been buried in mass graves.

The Norwegian Refugee Council, which has a team of 100 in Libya, said dead body management was the most pressing concern.

“I’ve heard from my team that there are mass graves where rescue workers were appealing: ‘Don’t bring us food, don’t bring us water, bring us body bags’,” the NRC’s Ahmed Bayram said. 

– Reuters

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Without France, there’d be no Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger – Macron

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Malian president condoles with Macron over killing of French soldiers by jihadists

Without France’s military operations in the Sahel, “there would probably no longer be a Mali … Burkina Faso, and I’m not sure there would still be Niger”, French President Emmanuel Macron told French publication Le Point.

Macron is referring to the former colonial power’s interventions in the mid-2000s, Operations Serval and Barkhane.

French troops were moved from Mali to Niger after its military leaders cut ties with the former colonial power.

He said the interventions were done “at the request of African states” and were “successful” as his policy is facing scrutiny in the face of losing the allyship of the last remaining ally, Niger, and increasing negative sentiment from Africans.

*Niger Uranium site

He went on to explain that while these operations reflect France’s “honour” and “responsibility”, France could no longer remain involved “when there is a coup d’état, and the priority of the new regimes is not to fight terrorism” even though this is “tragic for the states concerned”.

In the interview, Macron defended his administration’s policy in the Sahel as one of partnership rather than focusing on security.

France refuses to acknowledge coup leader General Abdurahman Tchiani’s announcement that all military deals between Niger and France are terminated, and more than a thousand French troops remain stationed at a military base there. 

– Sputnik

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Ukraine Says Special Operation Troops Landed In Crimea

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Ukraine says its troops landed in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014 and which Kyiv says it is committed to retaking.

Ukraine’s military intelligence (HUR) carried out the landing as part of a special operation and all tasks were fulfilled, said Andrey Yusov, a spokesman for the agency, on Thursday.

Russian media reported the attack took place at Cape Tarkhankut, in the far west of Crimea, and that the Ukrainian forces had been repelled.

According to the Russian news outlets Mash and Shot, which delivers their reports on the social media platform Telegram, the Ukrainians landed in rubber boats near a campsite.

Holidaymakers there were startled by gunshots and explosions, they reported.

Shots reported, citing Russian intelligence circles, that the crews of four inflatable boats about 15 to 20 men were later killed.

Yusov denied Ukrainian losses in the course of the commando action and said it was Russian forces who were weakened, although he did not give a precise number of casualties.

The battlefield claims could not be independently verified. 

– dpa

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