Israel Deepens its Operation in Gaza City

A child walks past destroyed vehicles and buildings along a street in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on July 8, 2024. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A child walks past destroyed vehicles and buildings along a street in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on July 8, 2024. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
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Israel Deepens its Operation in Gaza City

A child walks past destroyed vehicles and buildings along a street in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on July 8, 2024. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A child walks past destroyed vehicles and buildings along a street in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on July 8, 2024. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)

Israeli forces deepened an operation in the Gaza Strip's largest city, sending thousands of Palestinians fleeing on Monday from an area already ravaged in the early weeks of the nine-month-long war.

The incursion into the eastern part of Gaza City expands Israel’s engagement in the northern part of the beleaguered territory, an area Israel said it had seized control of months ago yet which has seen pockets of militant resurgence that have scaled back Israeli military gains and drawn forces back into such operations. Israel had ordered evacuations in the area before the raid was launched, the military said.

Heavy fighting in the area in the initial weeks of the war all but emptied out Gaza City and its environs, and the Israeli military has prevented most people from returning to their homes there. But several hundred thousands of Palestinians remain in the area, living in the shells of their homes or shelters. The fresh fighting meant new displacement for many residents there.

While diplomatic efforts to bring an end to the war were ramping up, people in Gaza were seeing no end in sight to their suffering.

Residents fleeing eastern Gaza Strip neighborhoods early Monday said Israel was carrying out heavy strikes on the area, which prompted some Palestinians sheltering in neighborhoods that were not under evacuation orders to seek refuge elsewhere.

Fadel Naeem, the director of the Al-Ahli hospital said patients and their companions fled the facility in panic even though there was no specific evacuation for the area around the hospital. He said people had “left for fear of the worst,” adding that patients in critical condition had been evacuated to other hospitals in northern Gaza.

The Israeli military said it launched the operation after it received intelligence that showed the area was housing militants from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad group as well as weapons and investigation and detention rooms. The military said a facility belonging to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, was also being used by the militants, without providing evidence.

It said in a statement it was mounting an operation against militant infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, and that it had taken out of action more than 30 fighters.

Mahmoud Bassal, a spokesman for the Hamas-linked civil defense department, said the neighborhoods of Tufah, Daraj, Shijaiyah — the latter still enduring an Israeli incursion launched last month — had become inaccessible because of intense Israeli bombing.

In a voice message late Sunday, he said the Israeli military shelled residential houses in the Jaffa area of Gaza City, and that first responders “saw people lying on the ground and were not able to retrieve them because of the bombing.”

The Gaza Civil Emergency Service said it believed dozens of people were killed but emergency teams were unable to reach them because of ongoing offensives in Daraj and Tuffah in the east and Tel Al-Hawa, Sabra and Rimal further west.



Ruling Baath Party Controls Syrian Parliament

Voters cast their ballots at a polling station in Damascus (EPA)
Voters cast their ballots at a polling station in Damascus (EPA)
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Ruling Baath Party Controls Syrian Parliament

Voters cast their ballots at a polling station in Damascus (EPA)
Voters cast their ballots at a polling station in Damascus (EPA)

The ruling Baath Party took control of the Syrian Parliament, winning 170 seats out of 250 in the parliamentary elections announced Thursday.
The National Front parties, allied with the Baath, won 14 seats, bringing the total number of the Front alliance to 184 deputies, while 66 independent candidates reached the parliament.
According to the lists announced by the Baath Party’s regional leadership, members of the Baath Party topped the election results by a wide margin. The highest voter turnout was registered in the Homs Governorate, which accounted for more than 600,000 voters.
The Higher Judicial Elections Committee announced on Thursday the results of the People’s Assembly elections for the fourth legislative term, which took place on Monday.
The Syrian Arab Agency (SANA) quoted the head of the committee, Judge Jihad Murad, as saying that the participation rate in the elections reached 38.16 percent.
In a press conference at the Ministry of Justice, Murad announced the names of the winning candidates, noting that petitions can be submitted before the Supreme Constitutional Court on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
He added that the committee has sought to guarantee a democratic climate to ensure a smooth and fair voting process.
“The committee was keen to provide a democratic atmosphere by taking all necessary procedures to ensure freedom of voters and integrity of the elections,” he said.
Murad also pointed to the interaction of citizens and keenness to exercise their electoral right in choosing their representatives for membership in the People’s Assembly.
He stressed that the winning candidates possess scientific competence, various experiences, and social standing, which allows the new council to perform its national role to the fullest extent.
The Syrian People’s Assembly consists of 250 members. 1,516 candidates participated in the electoral race, while 8,151 polling stations were distributed in areas controlled by the Syrian government.
No elections took place in the regions of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeastern Syria, nor in those controlled by the Syrian opposition in the country’s north-west.