Palestinian Authority Hopes for Gaza Ceasefire by Ramadan

Palestinians inspect the destroyed Al Bokhari mosque following an Israeli airstrike in Deir Al Balah, southern Gaza Strip, 02 March 2024. EPA/MOHAMMED SABER
Palestinians inspect the destroyed Al Bokhari mosque following an Israeli airstrike in Deir Al Balah, southern Gaza Strip, 02 March 2024. EPA/MOHAMMED SABER
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Palestinian Authority Hopes for Gaza Ceasefire by Ramadan

Palestinians inspect the destroyed Al Bokhari mosque following an Israeli airstrike in Deir Al Balah, southern Gaza Strip, 02 March 2024. EPA/MOHAMMED SABER
Palestinians inspect the destroyed Al Bokhari mosque following an Israeli airstrike in Deir Al Balah, southern Gaza Strip, 02 March 2024. EPA/MOHAMMED SABER

The Palestinian Authority hopes a ceasefire can be agreed in the Gaza war in time for Ramadan, its foreign minister, Riyad al-Maliki, said on Saturday.

Speaking at a news conference at a diplomatic forum in Antalya, Türkiye, Maliki said the PA would be "the only legitimate authority" to run Gaza after the war.

The PA, which exercises limited self-rule in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, lost control of Gaza to Hamas in 2007.

Israel and Hamas have been negotiating through mediators over a possible ceasefire in Gaza, with the aim of halting fighting in time for Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month, due to begin this year on March 10.



Jordan Demands Investigation of 'War Crimes' in Gaza

Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli strike on a house, in Nuseirat, in the central Gaza Strip, May 19, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed
Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli strike on a house, in Nuseirat, in the central Gaza Strip, May 19, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed
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Jordan Demands Investigation of 'War Crimes' in Gaza

Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli strike on a house, in Nuseirat, in the central Gaza Strip, May 19, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed
Palestinians inspect the site of an Israeli strike on a house, in Nuseirat, in the central Gaza Strip, May 19, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Sunday that the kingdom demanded an international investigation into what it said were many war crimes committed during Israel's military campaign in Gaza.

In remarks made during a press conference with the head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), Safadi said those responsible for documented crimes should be brought to justice.

An Israeli airstrike killed 20 people in central Gaza, mostly women and children, and fighting raged across the north on Sunday as Israel's leaders aired divisions over who should govern Gaza after the war, now in its eighth month.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has faced criticism from his own War Cabinet, with his main political rival, Benny Gantz, threatening to leave the government if a plan is not formulated by June 8 that includes an international administration for postwar Gaza.

The war has killed at least 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza's Health Ministry. Around 80% of the population of 2.3 million Palestinians have been displaced within the territory, often multiple times.


Britain's Cameron: Violence in Darfur May be Crime Against Humanity

Internally displaced women wait in a queue to collect aid from a group at a camp in Gadaref on May 12, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Internally displaced women wait in a queue to collect aid from a group at a camp in Gadaref on May 12, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
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Britain's Cameron: Violence in Darfur May be Crime Against Humanity

Internally displaced women wait in a queue to collect aid from a group at a camp in Gadaref on May 12, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Internally displaced women wait in a queue to collect aid from a group at a camp in Gadaref on May 12, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

British foreign minister David Cameron said on Sunday violence in the Darfur region of Sudan may be a crime against humanity.

"I am deeply concerned by highly credible reports that some of the violence in Darfur is ethnically motivated," Cameron said in a statement published on the government website.

"The ongoing pattern of violence in Darfur, including apparent systematic attacks against civilians, may amount to crimes against humanity."

The UN human rights chief said on Friday he was "horrified" by escalating violence near Sudan's al-Fashir and held discussions with commanders from both sides of the conflict, warning of a humanitarian disaster if the city is attacked.

Hundreds of thousands of people are sheltering in al-Fashir without basic supplies amid fears that nearby fighting will turn into an all-out battle for the city, the Sudanese army's last stronghold in the western Darfur region.

Its capture would be a major boost for the rival Rapid Support Forces (RSF) as regional and international powers try to push the sides to negotiate an end to a 13-month war.


Israel Launches Strikes Across Gaza

Mourners grieve during the funeral of Palestinians killed in an Israeli strike, at Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, May 19, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed
Mourners grieve during the funeral of Palestinians killed in an Israeli strike, at Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, May 19, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed
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Israel Launches Strikes Across Gaza

Mourners grieve during the funeral of Palestinians killed in an Israeli strike, at Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, May 19, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed
Mourners grieve during the funeral of Palestinians killed in an Israeli strike, at Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, May 19, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed

Israeli planes and tanks pounded areas across the Gaza Strip overnight, residents said.

Israel has been pushing into the southern city of Rafah that it says is the last bastion of Hamas forces. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have fled the area that was one of their few remaining places of refuge.

Israeli forces also pushed deeper into the narrow alleyways of Jabalia in northern Gaza, returning to an area that they said they had cleared earlier in the conflict, residents said.

The Gaza Civil Emergency Service said in a statement rescue teams have so far recovered the bodies of 150 Palestinians killed by the army in recent days, while their count showed that 300 houses had been struck by Israeli aerial and ground fire.

At least 35,386 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes since Oct. 7, according to the enclave's health ministry. Aid agencies have warned of widespread hunger and shortages of fuel and medical supplies.


Hamdok, Abdul Wahid Nur Sign Declaration Urging Sudan War Halt

Former Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Abdel Wahid Mohamed Nur of the Sudan Liberation Movement in Paris (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Former Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Abdel Wahid Mohamed Nur of the Sudan Liberation Movement in Paris (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Hamdok, Abdul Wahid Nur Sign Declaration Urging Sudan War Halt

Former Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Abdel Wahid Mohamed Nur of the Sudan Liberation Movement in Paris (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Former Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Abdel Wahid Mohamed Nur of the Sudan Liberation Movement in Paris (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Former Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, leading the “Tagaddum” anti-war civilian coalition, and Abdel Wahid Mohamed Nur of the Sudan Liberation Movement joined forces in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, to sign a political agreement.

This deal aims to end the conflict and establish civilian rule in Sudan. Both leaders pledge to work together to tackle Sudan’s challenges and find lasting solutions.

Both parties urged an immediate ceasefire to pave the way for ending the war, with support from international and regional efforts, including the Jeddah platform.

The Nairobi declaration called on the warring factions to abide by international humanitarian law by removing obstacles to aid delivery and ensuring access for all citizens in conflict zones.

It also stressed the importance of protecting humanitarian workers from international and local organizations.

Tagaddum and the Sudan Liberation Movement have agreed to establish a security and military system meeting international standards.

This system aims to create a unified national army dedicated to safeguarding national security under a new military doctrine aligned with the constitution.

The agreement also calls for a federal democratic civilian government in Sudan, ensuring equal participation for all Sudanese in power and resources.

The Nairobi declaration stressed the need for an inclusive discussion involving all national stakeholders supporting these principles.

Both sides called on international and regional actors to pressure the warring factions and step up efforts for an immediate end to the war.


Two Israeli Soldiers Killed in South Gaza

Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment in eastern Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 19, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment in eastern Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 19, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
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Two Israeli Soldiers Killed in South Gaza

Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment in eastern Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 19, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment in eastern Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 19, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Two Israeli soldiers were killed in a battle in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, the military said on Sunday.

Israel's military has been focusing its offensive in the southern part of Gaza where it says the remaining Hamas brigades are holed up.


UNSMIL Calls for Locating Kidnapped Libyan Parliament Member

Libyan members of the parliament meet during a session. Reuters file photo
Libyan members of the parliament meet during a session. Reuters file photo
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UNSMIL Calls for Locating Kidnapped Libyan Parliament Member

Libyan members of the parliament meet during a session. Reuters file photo
Libyan members of the parliament meet during a session. Reuters file photo

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has called upon the competent authorities to locate and secure the prompt release of Ibrahim Aldrasi, a member of parliament, who has gone missing.

The House of Representatives (HoR) member for Benghazi is missing after a robbery at his home, the media manager of the ministry said in a statement on Friday evening.

On Saturday, UNSMIL expressed “deep concern” about the abduction and called upon “the competent authorities to locate and secure his prompt release.”

The Mission also urged the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding Aldrasi’s disappearance and to hold those accountable under the law.

It condemned all forms of arbitrary detention throughout Libya. “Such acts undermine the rule of law and create a climate of fear,” it said on X.

The Mission also reminded the authorities of their obligation to respect fundamental freedoms and uphold human rights and the rule of law.


Tunisia Recovers Bodies of 4 Migrants Off its Coast, Rescues Dozens

Activists demonstrate outside the delegation of the European Union to Tunisia against migrant deals with EU, in the capital Tunis, Thursday, May 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Anis Mili)
Activists demonstrate outside the delegation of the European Union to Tunisia against migrant deals with EU, in the capital Tunis, Thursday, May 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Anis Mili)
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Tunisia Recovers Bodies of 4 Migrants Off its Coast, Rescues Dozens

Activists demonstrate outside the delegation of the European Union to Tunisia against migrant deals with EU, in the capital Tunis, Thursday, May 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Anis Mili)
Activists demonstrate outside the delegation of the European Union to Tunisia against migrant deals with EU, in the capital Tunis, Thursday, May 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Anis Mili)

Tunisia recovered the bodies of four migrants off the country's coast on Saturday, the national guard said, amid an increase in migrant boats heading from Tunisia toward Italy in recent weeks.
According to Reuters, the force said the coast guard separately rescued 52 migrants. The national guard arrested nine smugglers, and boats were seized.
At least 23 Tunisian migrants were missing after setting off in a boat for Italy, the national guard said earlier on Saturday.
Tunisia is facing a migration crisis and has replaced Libya as the main departure point for people fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East in the hope of a better life in Europe.


Report: One Killed, Six Injured in Clashes in Western Libyan City

 A Libyan flag is seen outside an oil refinery in Zawiya on Sept. 23, 2011. (AFP/Getty Images)
A Libyan flag is seen outside an oil refinery in Zawiya on Sept. 23, 2011. (AFP/Getty Images)
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Report: One Killed, Six Injured in Clashes in Western Libyan City

 A Libyan flag is seen outside an oil refinery in Zawiya on Sept. 23, 2011. (AFP/Getty Images)
A Libyan flag is seen outside an oil refinery in Zawiya on Sept. 23, 2011. (AFP/Getty Images)

At least one person was killed and six injured when fierce clashes broke out on Saturday in the city of Zawiya in western Libya, prompting calls for a ceasefire to rescue families trapped in the conflict area, a Libyan TV channel said.

Ali Ahneesh, head of the Red Crescent branch in Zawiya, told the Istanbul-based Libya Alahrar TV channel that 10 families had been evacuated, and called for “a ceasefire to evacuate families stuck in the areas where the clashes have taken place”.

Red Crescent volunteers had been receiving calls from families in the conflict area asking to be evacuated, he said.

There was no immediate indication of who had taken part in the violence or why they were fighting.

Imad Ammar, a member of Zawiya's elders and notables council, said the fighting appeared to involve individuals rather than armed groups.

Zawiya, 40 km (25 miles) west of the capital Tripoli, is home to Libya's biggest functioning refinery, with a capacity of 120,000 barrels per day.

"The clashes in the morning were fierce, and the casualties are one killed and six injured," Tripoli-based Ambulance and Emergency Services spokesperson Osama Ali told the TV channel.

Ali said rescue teams had been unable to reach the conflict zone, and it was not clear if the casualties were civilian or military.

Zawiya has witnessed repeated armed clashes that have at times forced the closure of the coastal road to the border with Tunisia.

Reports of unrest in the city were circulated on the internet with unverified footage of gunmen exchanging fire.

Libya's state electricity firm (GECOL) said in a statement that the unrest had led to power cuts in some areas in the city.

"The situation was very bad in the morning. There is calm now, but the security and government authorities must use all their power to end this conflict," said Ammar.

He said there had been no response from the city's security authorities to what he described as "a fight between persons and not specific parties" for which civilians were paying the price.


US Intelligence Suggests American Who Vanished in Syria in 2017 Has Died, Daughter Says

Maryam Kamalmaz holds a photo of her father with some of his 14 grandchildren in Grand Prairie, Texas, Jan. 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
Maryam Kamalmaz holds a photo of her father with some of his 14 grandchildren in Grand Prairie, Texas, Jan. 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
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US Intelligence Suggests American Who Vanished in Syria in 2017 Has Died, Daughter Says

Maryam Kamalmaz holds a photo of her father with some of his 14 grandchildren in Grand Prairie, Texas, Jan. 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
Maryam Kamalmaz holds a photo of her father with some of his 14 grandchildren in Grand Prairie, Texas, Jan. 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

US officials have developed specific and highly credible intelligence suggesting that an American citizen who disappeared seven years ago while traveling in Syria has died, the man's daughter said Saturday.

Maryam Kamalmaz said in an interview with The Associated Press that during a meeting in Washington this month with eight senior American officials she was presented with detailed intelligence about the presumed death of her father, Majd, a psychotherapist from Texas.

The officials told her that on a scale of one to 10, their confidence level about her father's death was a "high nine." She said she asked whether other detained Americans had ever been successfully recovered in the face of such credible information, and was told no.

"What more do I need? That was a lot of high-level officials that we needed to confirm to us that he’s really gone. There was no way to beat around the bush," Maryam Kamalmaz said.

She said officials told her they believe the death occurred years ago, early in her father's captivity. In 2020, she said, officials told the family that they had reason to believe that he has died of heart failure in 2017, but the family held out hope and US officials continued their pursuit.

But, she said, "Not until this meeting did they really confirm to us how credible the information is and the different levels of (verification) it had to go through."

She did not describe the intelligence she learned.

Spokespeople for the White House and the FBI, which investigates abductions in foreign countries, did not immediately return messages seeking comment Saturday.

Majd Kamalmaz disappeared in February 2017 at the age of 59 while traveling in Syria to visit an elderly family member. The FBI has said he was stopped at a Syrian government checkpoint in a suburb of Damascus and had not been heard from since.

Kamalmaz is one of multiple Americans who have disappeared in Syria, including the journalist Austin Tice, who went missing in 2012 at a checkpoint in a contested area west of Damascus. Syria has publicly denied holding Americans in captivity.

In 2020, in the final months of the Trump administration, senior officials visited Damascus for a high-level meeting aimed at negotiating release of the Americans. But the meeting proved unfruitful, with the Syrians not providing any proof-of-life information and making demands that US officials deemed unreasonable. US officials have said they are continuing to try to bring home Tice.

The New York Times first reported on the presumed death of Majd Kamalmaz.


Dozens Killed and Wounded as Israeli Forces Thrust Deeper in Gaza’s Jabalia and Rafah

 Children stand near a crater caused by Israeli bombardment in a street in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 18, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (AFP)
Children stand near a crater caused by Israeli bombardment in a street in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 18, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (AFP)
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Dozens Killed and Wounded as Israeli Forces Thrust Deeper in Gaza’s Jabalia and Rafah

 Children stand near a crater caused by Israeli bombardment in a street in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 18, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (AFP)
Children stand near a crater caused by Israeli bombardment in a street in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 18, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (AFP)

Israeli troops and tanks pushed on Saturday into parts of a congested northern Gaza Strip district that they had previously skirted in the more than seven-month-old war, killing and wounding dozens of Palestinians, medics and residents said.

Israel's forces also took over some ground in Rafah, a southern city next to the Egyptian border that is packed with displaced people and where the launch this month of a long-threatened incursion to crush Hamas hold-outs has alarmed Cairo and Washington.

Israel has conducted renewed military sweeps this month of parts of northern Gaza where it had declared the end of major operations in January. At the time, it also predicted its forces would return to prevent a regrouping by the Palestinian group that rules Gaza.

One site has been Jabalia, the largest of Gaza Strip's eight historic refugee camps. On Saturday, troops and tanks edged into streets so far spared the ground offensive, residents said. In one strike, medics said 15 Palestinians were killed and dozens wounded.

The Gaza health ministry and the Civil Emergency Service said teams received dozens of calls about possible casualties but were unable to carry out any searches because of the ongoing ground offensive and the aerial bombardment.

"Today is the most difficult in terms of the occupation bombardment, air strikes and tank shelling have going on almost non-stop," said one resident in Jabalia, Ibrahim Khaled, via a chat app.

"We know of dozens of people, martyrs (killed) and wounded, but no ambulance vehicle can get into the area," he told Reuters.

The Israeli military said forces have continued to operate in areas across the Gaza Strip including Jabalia and Rafah, carrying out what it called "precise operations against terrorists and infrastructure".

"The IAF (air force) continues to operate in the Gaza Strip, and struck over 70 terror targets during the past day, including weapons storage facilities, military infrastructure sites, terrorists who posed a threat to IDF troops, and military compounds," the military said in a statement.

Armed wings of Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Fatah said fighters attacked Israeli forces in Jabalia and Rafah with anti-tank rockets, mortar bombs, and explosive devices already planted in some of the roads, killing and wounding many soldiers.

Israel's military said 281 soldiers have been killed in fighting since the first ground incursions in Gaza on Oct 20.

At least 35,386 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes since Oct. 7, according to figures from the enclave's health ministry, while aid agencies have warned repeatedly of widespread hunger and dire shortages of fuel and medical supplies.

In the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, 1,200 people died in Israel and 253 were taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies. About 125 people are still being held in Gaza.

In Rafah, where Israeli tanks thrust into some of the eastern suburbs and clashed with Palestinian fighters there, residents said Israeli bombing from the air and ground persisted all night.

Rafah had been sheltering more than one million displaced Gazans. UNRWA, the main UN aid agency for Palestinians, said more than 630,000 people had fled Rafah since the offensive there began on May 6. Israel says it must capture Rafah to destroy Hamas and ensure the country's security.