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Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital devastated In two-week battle



Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital Devastated In Two-Week Battle

Israeli forces on Monday pulled out of Gaza’s largest hospital complex after an intensive two-week military operation, leaving behind charred buildings and bodies strewn at the sprawling complex.

Israel said it had battled Palestinian militants hiding inside Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital, killed at least 200 enemy fighters and recovered large stockpiles of weapons, explosives and cash.

The health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza said that, after heavy Israeli air strikes and tank fire, “the scale of the destruction inside the complex and the buildings around it is very large”.

“Dozens of bodies, some of them decomposed, have been recovered from in and around the Al-Shifa medical complex,” the ministry said, adding that the hospital was now “completely out of service”.

A doctor told AFP more than 20 bodies had been recovered, some crushed by withdrawing vehicles.

Battles have also flared around other Gaza hospitals almost six months into the war sparked by Hamas’s October 7 attacks which have destroyed swathes of the besieged coastal territory.

The Hamas government press office said the army had blown up more than 20 houses within 24 hours in the main southern city of Khan Yunis, where battles have raged around the Nasser and Al-Amal hospitals.

Israel street protests
US, Qatari and Egyptian mediators have long pushed for a ceasefire and hostage release deal, but Hamas official Osama Hamdan said “there is no talk so far about any new round of negotiations”.

UN agencies and humanitarian aid groups have warned that many of Gaza’s 2.4 million people are on the brink of famine, and donor countries have sporadically trucked in and airdropped food.

A second ship carrying relief goods via the Mediterranean was just off Gaza’s coast on Monday, according to website, days after leaving Cyprus.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — whose office said he underwent a “successful” hernia operation Sunday — has vowed to destroy Hamas, including in Gaza’s far-southern city of Rafah.

The premier was “in good shape and beginning to recover”, his office said in a statement.

Netanyahu is under rising pressure from the hostages’ families and supporters as well as anti-government protesters, whose nightly street rallies have gathered pace and drawn many thousands onto the streets.

The right-wing premier has also been at odds with Israel’s top ally the United States, which has objected to his plans to invade Rafah because the city is crowded with about 1.5 million people.

After Netanyahu earlier cancelled an Israeli government delegation’s visit to Washington to discuss the Rafah operation, a meeting is set for Monday via video conference, an Israeli source told AFP.

“There may be a meeting in person later this week,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Hamas chief’s sister arrested
The bloodiest ever Gaza war erupted when Hamas launched its unprecedented October 7 attack which resulted in about 1,160 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel’s retaliatory campaign has killed at least 32,782 people, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

Deadly air strikes again pounded Gaza early Monday, and battles raged in Gaza City and Khan Yunis, as the health ministry said at least 60 people had died during the night.

The Israeli military said Monday that 600 soldiers had been killed since the start of the war — including 256 in the Gaza ground invasion since late October.

Palestinian militants also seized around 250 hostages. Israel believes about 130 remain in Gaza, including 34 who are presumed dead.

Israeli police meanwhile said they had arrested the sister of Qatar-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, as part of a terror probe, in the southern Israel town of Tel Sheva.

Police told AFP that Sabah Abdel Salam Haniyeh, 57, who is an Israeli citizen, was taken into custody as part investigation also involving Israel’s security agency Shin Bet.

A police spokesman said she is “suspected of having contact with Hamas operatives and identifying with the organisation, while inciting and supporting acts of terrorism in Israel”.

Battle destroys hospital
Over the past two weeks, the Israeli army carried out what it labelled “precise operational activity” at the Al-Shifa complex, before declaring on Monday that the forces had withdrawn.

The scene left behind was one of devastation, with windows blown out, concrete walls blackened and volunteers carrying away shrouded corpses across the sandy wasteland.

Dozens of air strikes and shelling had hit the area around the complex in the morning, in heavy fire which the Hamas government media office said served to provide cover for the withdrawing troops and tanks.

The army has in recent days released footage of its fighters moving through the hospital’s corridors, and pictures of large numbers of assault rifles, grenades and other weapons it said were recovered from the maternity ward.

The military has said 200 Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants were killed in fighting in and around Al-Shifa.

Hamas has denied operating from Al-Shifa and other health facilities.

An Israeli strike also hit “a tent camp” inside central Gaza’s Al-Aqsa hospital compound, killing four people, said World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on social media platform X.

Israel’s military denied that the hospital was damaged, saying on X that an aircraft had “struck an operational Islamic Jihad command centre and terrorists positioned in the courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Hospital”.

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We’ve not received any external attack – Iran official insists



Iran officials have said the country has no plan for immediate retaliation against Israel. A senior Iranian official

Iran officials have said the country has no plan for immediate retaliation against Israel.

A senior Iranian official told Reuters on Friday, hours after sources said Israel launched an attack on Iranian soil.

Iran has continued to deny the attack which was launched early Friday morning, targeting its nuclear station in Isfahan.

The attack, according to reports, was similarly targeted at a military site and calibrated to avoid damage and further Iranian aggression.

“The foreign source of the incident has not been confirmed,” a senior official said, according to the Guardian UK.

“We have not received any external attack, and the discussion leans more towards infiltration than attack,” the Iranian official said on condition of anonymity.

According to Reuters, an Iranian analyst also told state TV on Friday that mini drones shot down by air defences in Isfahan were flown by “infiltrators from inside Iran”.

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US vetoes UN resolution to recognize Palestine as State



The United States has blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have recognised a Palestinian state

The United States has blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have recognised a Palestinian state.

CNN reports that 12 members of the Security Council on Thursday had voted in favor of the resolution, while two countries, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, abstained.

However, the United States vetoed the resolution.

In a statement, the Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, criticized the US veto, saying it was “unfair, immoral, and unjustified, and defies the will of the international community”.

According to him, the international community strongly supports the State of Palestine obtaining full membership in the United Nations.

But Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz praised the US for vetoing what he called a “shameful proposal.”

“The proposal to recognize a Palestinian state, more than 6 months after the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust and after the sexual crimes and other atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists was a reward for terrorism”, Katz wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, after the US veto.

Vedant Patel, deputy spokesperson for the US State Department had announced earlier Thursday that the US would vote against the Security Council resolution.

He said the US has “been very clear, consistently, that premature actions in New York, even with the best intentions, will not achieve statehood for the Palestinian people,” referring to the headquarters of the United Nations.

Palestinian attempts for recognition as a full member state began in 2011. They are currently a non-member observer state, a status that was granted in November 2012.

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EU leaders agree to new sanctions on Iran after Israel attack



The EU has agreed to expand sanctions on Iranian producers of drones and missiles following Tehran’s unprecedented

The EU has agreed to expand sanctions on Iranian producers of drones and missiles following Tehran’s unprecedented attack on Israel.

“It’s very important to do everything to isolate Iran,” European Council President Charles Michel said.

The bloc already has multiple sanctions in place against Iran, including for selling drones to Russia for use in its war against Ukraine.

The EU’s new sanctions were agreed upon during a summit in Brussels which marked the first meeting between the bloc’s 27 leaders since Iran’s direct assault on Israel on Saturday, involving more than 300 missiles and drones fired from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen which were mostly downed by Israel and its allies.

Tehran has maintained it was retaliation for a presumed Israeli air strike on its consulate in Syria on 1 April, in which 13 people were killed.

Israel – which appears to have only countered with a diplomatic offensive so far – has not ruled out a response.

But world leaders have continued to urge restraint, in a bid to prevent a wider conflict in the Middle East.

Israel has called on its allies to sanction Tehran’s missile programme and for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – a major military and political force in Iran – to be designated a terrorist organisation, something the US has done but the EU and UK have not.

The EU already has a wide range of measures in place which target Iran over its human rights abuses, nuclear proliferation activities and military support for Russia.

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Drones, missile attack legitimate responese against Israel – Iran



Drones, missile attack legitimate responese against Israel – Iran

Iran has said its attack on Israel was a “legitimate response” to Israel’s airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Syria.

An Israeli airstrike on Iran’s embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus had killed two senior members of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

In retaliation, Iran had sent a barrage of drones and missiles towards Israel on Saturday but they were intercepted.

However, the spokesperson of Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Nasser Kanani, said Iran “does not seek to escalate tensions in the region.”

According to Kanani: “Iran’s action was completely legitimate and in accordance with the United Nations Charter granting states the right to self-defense.”

He added that the United States and the international community at large should “appreciate” Iran’s “responsible behavior.”

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Iran’s missiles, drone attack declaration of war – Israeli president



Iran’s missiles, drone attack declaration of war – Israeli president

The President of Israel, Isaac Herzog has said Tel Aviv was “considering all options” following Iran’s overnight missile and drone attacks.

Herzog said Iran’s missile and drone attack on Israel was a “declaration of war.”

Speaking with Sky News, Herzog said: “Every one of us should look and ask, what would we do had we been attacked in such an aggressive way as we were attacked last night.”

When asked if Israel would retaliate the attack against Iran, the Israeli president said they are “considering all options.”

“This is like a real war … this is a declaration of war.”

Herzog added that he was “happy that we are part of an incredible coalition of nations that have been part and parcel in preventing most of these missiles and drones and weapons to come into Israel.”

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Trump’s hush-money trial begins



Trump’s hush-money trial begins

Former President Donald Trump makes history on Monday, as he becomes the first current or former president in the nation’s history to go on trial.

Fox News reports that Trump’s hush-money trial, which will get underway in a New York City courtroom, will have an instant impact on his 2024 election rematch with President Joe Biden.

The former president is being tried on 34 state felony charges and is accused of falsifying business records in relation to hush-money payments during the 2016 election, which he made to Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about his alleged affair with the adult film actress.

The former President has repeatedly denied falsifying business records, as well as the alleged sexual encounter with Daniels.

Trump’s legal team has tried numerous times, unsuccessfully, to further delay or postpone the trial.

The unprecedented trial is the first of Trump’s four criminal cases, including two for his alleged attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Biden and another for mishandling classified documents — to go to trial.

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