Israel’s Gallant Demands Clarity on Post-war Gaza Governance, Opposes Military Rule

This picture taken from Israel's southern border with the Gaza Strip shows destroyed buildings in the Palestinian territory on May 15, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
This picture taken from Israel's southern border with the Gaza Strip shows destroyed buildings in the Palestinian territory on May 15, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
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Israel’s Gallant Demands Clarity on Post-war Gaza Governance, Opposes Military Rule

This picture taken from Israel's southern border with the Gaza Strip shows destroyed buildings in the Palestinian territory on May 15, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
This picture taken from Israel's southern border with the Gaza Strip shows destroyed buildings in the Palestinian territory on May 15, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was publicly challenged over post-war plans for the Gaza Strip on Wednesday by his own defense chief, who vowed to oppose any long-term military rule by Israel over the ravaged Palestinian enclave.

In a televised news conference, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that, since soon after the conflict erupted with a shock Hamas attack on Oct 7, he had tried to promote a blueprint for an alternative Gaza administration made up of Palestinians.

Those efforts "got no response" from various decision-making cabinet forums under Netanyahu, said Gallant, who comes from the prime minister's Likud party.

"I call on the prime minister to announce that Israel will not rule over Gaza militarily," Gallant said. "An alternative to Hamas governance should be established ... Indecision will erode the military gains (of the war)."

There was no immediate response from Netanyahu, who earlier on Wednesday issued a statement that appeared to be a riposte to similar remarks aired by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Netanyahu has said Israel, if it achieves its war goal of dismantling Hamas' government and military apparatus in Gaza, would retain overall security control over the territory. He has stopped short of describing this scenario as an occupation.

He has also balked at proposals for the internationally-backed Palestinian Authority (PA), which wields some governance in the occupied West Bank, to move back into a post-war Gaza.

Netanyahu has accused the PA of being hostile to Israel, but his governing coalition also relies on ultra-nationalist partners which want the PA dismantled and for Jewish settlements to be expanded to Gaza.



Libya Begins Operating Pipeline from North Hamada Oilfield

A general view shows Libya's Sharara oilfield. (File photo: Reuters)
A general view shows Libya's Sharara oilfield. (File photo: Reuters)
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Libya Begins Operating Pipeline from North Hamada Oilfield

A general view shows Libya's Sharara oilfield. (File photo: Reuters)
A general view shows Libya's Sharara oilfield. (File photo: Reuters)

Libya has begun operating the new pipeline from its North Hamada oilfield with initial transfer capacity expected at 2,000 barrels per day (bpd), the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Sunday.

The North Hamada field, which is operated by Nafusah Oil Operations, is expected to increase transfer capacity through the line to 25,000 bpd before eventually reaching 10,000 bpd in September as part of the field's first development stage, NOC's statement said, Reuters reported.

The 50km pipeline to Mellitah port has design capacity of 70,000 bpd, NOC added.


Hundreds Rally in Support of Tunisia President Amid Series of Arrests

Tunisia's President Kais Saied gives a speech at the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis, Tunisia February 27, 2020. (Reuters)
Tunisia's President Kais Saied gives a speech at the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis, Tunisia February 27, 2020. (Reuters)
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Hundreds Rally in Support of Tunisia President Amid Series of Arrests

Tunisia's President Kais Saied gives a speech at the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis, Tunisia February 27, 2020. (Reuters)
Tunisia's President Kais Saied gives a speech at the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis, Tunisia February 27, 2020. (Reuters)

Hundreds of people rallied Sunday in downtown Tunis in support of President Kais Saied amid the recent arrests of journalists, lawyers, and other public figures in Tunisia.

The rally came days after an international backlash over the flurry of arrests, which the UN and the EU said were unlawful.

President Saied on Thursday blasted the international criticism as foreign "interference" and ordered the Tunisian foreign ministry to summon the ambassadors of several countries.

"No to foreign interference, because we are a sovereign state," said Saber Rzigue, a protester on Sunday, AFP reported.

"We support the Tunisian leadership, particularly President Kais Saied."

"We are against foreign interference and against traitors, even if they are Tunisian," said Mohamed Hentati, another protester.

"Today, we want to contribute to history and stand against anyone who wants to occupy our country and try to change its social fabric," he added.

Sunday's rally also came after a significant protest and strike by lawyers earlier in the week over police raids and arrests in the national bar association.

The head of the bar, Hatem Meziou, called for an end to "the abuse of power" and for President Saied to intervene.

But Saied, who seized sweeping powers in 2021, replied on Thursday by saying the arresting of two lawyers was "in full respect for Tunisian law, which guarantees equality and the right to a fair trial".

Demonstrators on Sunday defended the president.

"Kais Saied is above all of us," said Mahmoud, a protester who chose not to give his full name.

"It is in him that we trust. He brought us security and peace."


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.