US Senate Passes Legislation to Support Sudan’s Democratic Aspirations

After a failed military coup in Sudan, deep tensions between the military and the civilian administration erupted in Sudan amid rival protests in Khartoum. (AFP)
After a failed military coup in Sudan, deep tensions between the military and the civilian administration erupted in Sudan amid rival protests in Khartoum. (AFP)
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US Senate Passes Legislation to Support Sudan’s Democratic Aspirations

After a failed military coup in Sudan, deep tensions between the military and the civilian administration erupted in Sudan amid rival protests in Khartoum. (AFP)
After a failed military coup in Sudan, deep tensions between the military and the civilian administration erupted in Sudan amid rival protests in Khartoum. (AFP)

The US Senate has unanimously passed legislation condemning the October 25, 2021 coup in Sudan.

All council members voted in favor of the bill, with little or no objection when it was introduced for voting in Congress on Wednesday.

According to the non-binding legislation’s text, Congress stands with the people of Sudan in their democratic aspirations.

It called for Sudan’s military junta to “immediately release all civilian government officials, civil society members, and other individuals detained in connection with the coup.”

It underscored the need to ensure that security forces respect the right to peaceful protest and hold those who used excessive force and committed other abuses accountable in a transparent, credible process.

It further urged the military council to cease all attempts to change the civilian composition of the cabinet, Sovereign Council, and other government bodies and called on junta leaders to return immediately to the rule of law as set forth by the transitional constitution.

The legislation also called on the Secretary of State to immediately identify coup leaders, their accomplices, and enablers for consideration for targeted sanctions and coordinate with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development and other Federal Government agencies to pause all non-humanitarian bilateral assistance to Sudan until the restoration of the transitional constitutional order.

It called on international partners to join the United States' efforts to impose targeted sanctions on the junta and other accomplices to the coup, monitor, discourage and deter any effort by external parties to support the junta.

It stressed the need to suspend Sudan’s participation in all regional multilateral organizations until Sudan is returned to constitutional rule under the transitional constitution.



Israel Aims to Build 3,300 New Houses in Settlements in Occupied West Bank 

A picture taken in the village of Turmus Ayya near Ramallah city shows the nearby Israeli Shilo settlement in the background, in the occupied West Bank on February 18, 2024. (AFP)
A picture taken in the village of Turmus Ayya near Ramallah city shows the nearby Israeli Shilo settlement in the background, in the occupied West Bank on February 18, 2024. (AFP)
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Israel Aims to Build 3,300 New Houses in Settlements in Occupied West Bank 

A picture taken in the village of Turmus Ayya near Ramallah city shows the nearby Israeli Shilo settlement in the background, in the occupied West Bank on February 18, 2024. (AFP)
A picture taken in the village of Turmus Ayya near Ramallah city shows the nearby Israeli Shilo settlement in the background, in the occupied West Bank on February 18, 2024. (AFP)

Israel plans to approve the construction of more than 3,300 new homes in settlements in the occupied West Bank, a senior Cabinet minister from the far-right wing of the government announced.

Approval of new construction is bound to elicit condemnation from the United States at a time when the relationship between the allies is fraught because of disagreements over the course of Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said in a statement late Thursday that the new construction is meant as a response to a fatal Palestinian shooting attack near Jerusalem earlier in the day.

He said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant participated in the discussion leading to the decision.

The homes are to be built in the settlements of Maale Adumim, Efrat and Kedar, Smotrich said.

Consecutive Israeli governments have expanded settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank — war-won territories the Palestinians seek for a future state. Construction has accelerated under Netanyahu’s current right-wing government, which includes settlers such as Smotrich in key positions.


G20 Agrees Two-State Solution Only Way to Resolve Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, Says Brazil

A meeting on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AFP)
A meeting on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AFP)
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G20 Agrees Two-State Solution Only Way to Resolve Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, Says Brazil

A meeting on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AFP)
A meeting on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AFP)

Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira said on Thursday that foreign ministers of G20 countries were nearly unanimous in supporting a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Vieira was speaking at the end of the two-day meeting of the foreign ministers.

"There was virtual unanimity in the two-state solution as the only solution to the conflict," Vieira was quoted as saying by Reuters.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Thursday that there was consensus on the need for a two-state solution, supported by every speaker who addressed the conflict.

"Everybody here, everybody, I haven't heard anyone against it. There was a strong request for a two-state solution," Borrell told reporters. "It is consensus among us."

"There is not going to be peace ... not going to be sustainable security for Israel unless the Palestinians have a clear political prospect to build their own state," he said.

Borrell said he had asked G20 host country Brazil to "explain to the world that at the G20 everybody was in favor of this solution.”

"We have to mobilize our political capacity to push for this solution to be implemented. Otherwise is just wishful thinking," he said.

He said the crisis in Gaza extends to the West Bank, which is "absolutely boiling" as Israeli settlers are "attacking Palestinian civilians.”

Borrell said he expects Arab nations will make a peace proposal for Gaza in the coming days.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu largely rejects the creation of a Palestinian state. The United States, Israel's biggest international backer, also maintains that a two-state solution is the feasible way to bring sustainable peace to the region.


Amnesty International Demands Release of Algerian Hirak Detainees

Amnesty International said the Algerian authorities continue to suppress the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, five years after the start of the Hirak movement. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Amnesty International said the Algerian authorities continue to suppress the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, five years after the start of the Hirak movement. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Amnesty International Demands Release of Algerian Hirak Detainees

Amnesty International said the Algerian authorities continue to suppress the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, five years after the start of the Hirak movement. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Amnesty International said the Algerian authorities continue to suppress the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, five years after the start of the Hirak movement. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Algerian authorities must release “immediately and unconditionally” detainees of the Hirak popular protests, who were arrested for exercising their freedom of speech, Amnesty International demanded on Thursday on the fifth anniversary of the eruption of the movement.

“Algerian authorities continue to clamp down on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly five years after the Hirak protest movement first began by targeting critical voices of dissent, whether they be protesters, journalists or people expressing their views on social media,” it added.

“Algeria’s authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all those detained solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association. They must ensure that human rights defenders, journalists, activists, trade unionists and others are able to exercise their rights and freely express critical views without fear of reprisals,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“It is a tragedy that five years after brave Algerians took to the streets in their masses to demand political change and reforms, the authorities have continued to wage a chilling campaign of repression,” Morayef added.

The Hirak protest movement began in February 2019 when largely peaceful mass demonstrations took place across Algeria opposing then-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

“After the Hirak protest movement was halted due to Covid-19 in 2020, the Algerian authorities escalated their repression of peaceful dissent. Hundreds of people have been arbitrarily arrested and detained. Dozens of peaceful protesters, journalists, activists, and human rights defenders continue to languish behind bars for criticizing the authorities,” noted amnesty.

It stated that Algeria’s authorities “must make the five-year anniversary of the Hirak protest movement a turning point by putting an end to this climate of repression and ordering the immediate release of those arbitrarily detained and allowing peaceful protests.”

Last week, France’s Le Monde newspaper published an article, “From Hirak to repression, Algeria enters a new era”, about the protests. It said: “Nearly four years after a peaceful uprising, the political climate in Algeria is deteriorating as the regime intensifies its crackdown on last dissidents.”


US Prepares for ‘Day After’ the War in Sudan

Sudanese refugees (AFP)
Sudanese refugees (AFP)
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US Prepares for ‘Day After’ the War in Sudan

Sudanese refugees (AFP)
Sudanese refugees (AFP)

The US administration voiced its concern over reports of arms shipments sent by Iran to the Sudanese army in its war with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which is allegedly receiving support from Russia and other parties.
Washington is mainly concerned with the day after the war in Sudan, focusing on returning governance to civilians after the conflict.
The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Molly Phee, recently traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in connection with the African Union Summit.
She was accompanied by USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa Monde Muyangwa, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Mike Hammer, and Ambassador to Sudan John Godfrey, where they held a series of meetings focused on addressing Sudan's continuing conflict and humanitarian crisis.
The State Department reported that the officials' engagements in Sudan focused on stopping the conflict, facilitating humanitarian assistance, and uplifting pro-democracy civilians working to advocate for the Sudanese people and prepare for post-conflict governance.

Phee underscored that the US has long stood with the Sudanese people and against military governance and that ending the Sudan conflict and restoring civilian governance are high priorities for Washington.
In a meeting with women civil society representatives from different groups and regions across Sudan, the Assistant Secretary stressed the importance of Sudanese women's participation in a political process and a post-conflict civilian government.
She also discussed the severe impact that the fighting has had on women and girls, who have increasingly been targets for conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV), and ways to ensure that perpetrators of CRSV and other atrocities are held accountable.
- Popular organizations
The senior official also had the opportunity to speak with leaders of grassroots organizations and Resistance Committee members.
She commended these individuals' courageous efforts to rally support for and provide support to those most affected by the conflict, including by expanding international community engagement with local actors working to provide humanitarian assistance.
They discussed efforts to press the Sudanese army and the RSF leaders to end the fighting and facilitate humanitarian access to address the increasingly dire conditions on the ground.
According to the State Department's Statement, Phee also met with members of the "Taqaddum pro-democracy front and encouraged its further diversification – focusing on women, youth, civil society, grassroots organizations, and representatives of historically marginalized communities."
They aim to enable Sudanese civilians to speak with a more unified voice, calling for facilitating humanitarian assistance, ending the fighting, and returning governance to civilians after the conflict.
The US official consulted with key stakeholders on multilateral efforts to end the conflict, facilitate humanitarian assistance, and support Sudanese civilians.
- "Great concern"
Godfrey told reporters that Washington is "deeply concerned by external support" to the Sudanese Army and RSF.
He added, "There are reports about resumed ties between Sudan and Iran that could reportedly include Iranian materiel support to SAF, which is also very troubling and a source of great concern for us."
He stated that the US "urges external actors to refrain from providing material assistance" because it "prolongs the fighting, extends the war; it also reduces the prospects for finding a negotiated exit from the conflict."


US Report Reveals Exaggeration in Israeli Claims on UNRWA Links with Hamas

Israeli soldiers during a tour organized by the army for journalists in Gaza. (AFP)
Israeli soldiers during a tour organized by the army for journalists in Gaza. (AFP)
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US Report Reveals Exaggeration in Israeli Claims on UNRWA Links with Hamas

Israeli soldiers during a tour organized by the army for journalists in Gaza. (AFP)
Israeli soldiers during a tour organized by the army for journalists in Gaza. (AFP)

A new US intelligence assessment found it is likely that some employees of a United Nations agency took part in Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault on Israel but says the US can’t verify Israeli allegations that a larger number of UN workers have links to the attack, people familiar with the report said.
Washington and other Western capitals last month suspended funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which supplies aid to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan after Israel shared findings that at least 12 UNRWA employees were connected to the attack of Hamas.
Israeli intelligence agencies said they concluded that 10% of all UNRWA workers had some kind of affiliation, usually political, with Hamas. UNRWA employs around 12,000 people in Gaza.
According to a report by Wall Street Journal, the new intelligence assessment, as described by the officials, doesn’t dispute Israel’s allegations of links between some staff at UNRWA and militant groups, but it provides a more measured appraisal of Israel’s assertions than public statements by US and Israeli officials.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month called Israel’s assertions “highly, highly credible” but also said the agency played an essential role in providing relief to people in Gaza.
UNRWA fired the employees allegedly involved in the Oct. 7 attack.
In the new report, which was completed last week, the US’s National Intelligence Council, a group of veteran intelligence analysts, said it assessed with “low confidence” that a handful of UNRWA staffers participated in the Oct. 7 attack, those familiar with the findings said.
A low-confidence assessment indicates that the US intelligence community believes the claims are plausible but cannot make a stronger assertion because it doesn’t have its own independent confirmation.
US officials said that American spy agencies haven’t traditionally focused on gathering intelligence on Gaza, and that Israel hadn’t shared the raw intelligence behind its assessments with the US, limiting their ability to reach clearer conclusions.
The council’s findings, in a roughly four-page report, were circulated within the US government last week, those familiar with the document said. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence—which includes the National Intelligence Council—the State Department and the White House declined to comment.
Tamara Alrifai, UNRWA’s director of external relations and communications, said that the organization takes steps to aggressively protect its neutrality.
“We went the extra mile and fired people on the basis of how serious the allegations are,” she said.
Days after the initial charges, Israeli officials distributed to news organizations a six-page dossier, a summary of a larger report, that included details of the allegations.
Israeli officials say they based the claim on lists of UNRWA employees found in Gaza during the current military campaign that were then cross-checked with other sources of intelligence. UNRWA says it regularly gave updated lists to Israel’s government.
The report also notes what it says is Israel’s longstanding dislike of the UN agency, two of those familiar with the document said.
“There is a specific section that mentions how Israeli bias serves to mischaracterize much of their assessments on UNRWA and says this has resulted in distortions,” one person familiar with the report said.
The US assessment also says that the reality of Hamas’s control in Gaza means that the UN agency has to interact with the group to deliver humanitarian relief, but that that doesn’t mean that the agency is collaborating with the group, the person said.

 

 


Syrian Observatory: Israeli Forces Kidnap Baath Party Commander

A circulated photo of Mutaa Al-Sarhan, a leader in the Syrian Baath Party, in Quneitra
A circulated photo of Mutaa Al-Sarhan, a leader in the Syrian Baath Party, in Quneitra
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Syrian Observatory: Israeli Forces Kidnap Baath Party Commander

A circulated photo of Mutaa Al-Sarhan, a leader in the Syrian Baath Party, in Quneitra
A circulated photo of Mutaa Al-Sarhan, a leader in the Syrian Baath Party, in Quneitra

Israeli forces kidnapped a commander in Al-Baath Party and a member of the Reconciliation Committee from his house in Al-Rafeed village in Qunaitra’s countryside, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation announced that the military has detained a suspect accused of crossing the border from Syria into Israel. The suspect was being interrogated.

The residents of the village accused Israeli forces of crossing the border to kidnap Mutaa Al-Sarhan.

There is no confirmed information about the reasons behind his kidnapping.

Regime forces are prevented from approaching the border area because it is considered a ceasefire agreement zone between the Israeli and Syrian sides.

The report comes one day after an attack - attributed to Israel - on a building in Kafr Sousa in Damascus, targeting Iranian leaders.

The Israeli airstrike hit the residential building on Wednesday, killing two people, Syrian state media and a security source said.

The neighborhood hosts residential buildings, schools and Iranian cultural centers, and lies near a large, heavily-guarded complex used by security agencies.


Houthi Leader Introduces ‘Submarine Weapons’ in Red Sea Campaign, Claims Attacks on 48 Ships

The Houthis have claimed attacks on 48 ships since the beginning of the Gaza war. (Reuters)
The Houthis have claimed attacks on 48 ships since the beginning of the Gaza war. (Reuters)
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Houthi Leader Introduces ‘Submarine Weapons’ in Red Sea Campaign, Claims Attacks on 48 Ships

The Houthis have claimed attacks on 48 ships since the beginning of the Gaza war. (Reuters)
The Houthis have claimed attacks on 48 ships since the beginning of the Gaza war. (Reuters)

Leader of the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen Abdulmalik al-Houthi threatened on Thursday to carry out more escalation in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, vowing to use “submarine weapons” against western vessels.

In a televised speech, he said the Houthis have carried out attacks on 48 ships since the eruption of the war on Gaza in October.

He also dismissed the impact the western strikes have had on the militias as evidenced they still have capabilities to launch attacks.

He called for the recruitment of new members and urged supporters to hold more rallies and events in support of the escalation.

Houthi claimed that the militias have held 248 military parades, 566 military drills and recruited over 237,000 new members since the beginning of the war.

In addition, he said the militias have fired 183 rockets and drones at Israel since the start of the conflict.

Soon after the eruption of the war, the Houthis began launching attacks against ships passing through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, claiming to be supporting the Palestinian people.

The legitimate Yemeni government has said the Houthis are following Iranian orders and were using the sea escalation to avoid making commitments towards UN-led peace efforts in the war-torn country.

The Houthis on Thursday declared that ships flying the Israeli flag or that are owned or partially owned by Israeli companies or individuals are barred from passing through the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea.

The Houthis' communication, the first to the shipping industry outlining a ban, came in the form of two notices from the Houthis' newly dubbed Humanitarian Operations Coordination Center sent to shipping insurers and firms. The aim is to force sailing companies to collaborate with the Houthis to guarantee the safety of their ships,

They sent shippers and insurers formal notice of what they termed a ban on vessels linked to Israel, the US and Britain from sailing in surrounding seas, seeking to reinforce their military campaign.

Western countries have retaliated against the Houthi attacks by carrying out a number of strikes against the militias, but that has not deterred them from launching more assaults.

The Yemeni government has said the strikes will not impact the Houthis' ability to carry out attacks in the Red Sea. The only solution lies in supporting the government forces to help them restore the functioning of state institutions, liberate the Hodeidah province and its port and force the Houthis to sit down for peace talks.

More attacks

The Houthis launched attacks on Thursday on both Israel and a ship traveling through the Gulf of Aden, setting the vessel ablaze.

The attack saw two missiles fired at a Palau-flagged cargo ship named Islander, the US military's Central Command said. A European naval force in the region described the attack as sparking a fire and wounding one sailor on board the vessel, though the ship is continuing on its way.

Meanwhile, sirens sounded early Thursday morning over the southern Israeli port of Eilat, followed by videos posted online of what appeared to be an interception in the sky overhead.

The Israeli military later said the interception was carried out by its Arrow missile defense system.

Israel did not identify what the fire was, nor where it came from. However, the Arrow system intercepts long-range ballistic missiles with a warhead designed to destroy targets while they are in space.

The system “successfully intercepted a launch which was identified in the area of the Red Sea and was en route to Israel,” the Israeli military said. “The target did not cross into Israeli territory and did not pose a threat to civilians.”

Eilat, on the Red Sea, is a key port city of Israel. On Oct. 31, Houthis first claimed a missile-and-drone barrage targeting the city. The Houthis have claimed other attacks targeting Eilat, which have caused no damage in the city.


Austin, Gallant Discuss Israeli Military Operation in Khan Younis

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin meets with his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, on March 9, 2023 (File/Reuters)
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin meets with his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, on March 9, 2023 (File/Reuters)
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Austin, Gallant Discuss Israeli Military Operation in Khan Younis

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin meets with his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, on March 9, 2023 (File/Reuters)
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin meets with his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, on March 9, 2023 (File/Reuters)

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin raised on Thursday with his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, the need for a credible plan to ensure the safety of and support for the more than one million people sheltering in Rafah in the Gaza Strip before any military operations proceed there.

In a phone call, the two sides discussed the Israel military operations in Khan Younis, a Pentagon readout said.

Austin also raised the need to improve the deconfliction process with humanitarian groups.

He stressed the importance of more aid reaching Palestinian civilians, as looting and violence hinder access to humanitarian convoys in Gaza.


Israel Demolishes Yasser Arafat's Gaza Residence

Side of the destruction of Yasser Arafat’s house in Gaza (Facebook page of the Palestinian Culture Ministry)
Side of the destruction of Yasser Arafat’s house in Gaza (Facebook page of the Palestinian Culture Ministry)
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Israel Demolishes Yasser Arafat's Gaza Residence

Side of the destruction of Yasser Arafat’s house in Gaza (Facebook page of the Palestinian Culture Ministry)
Side of the destruction of Yasser Arafat’s house in Gaza (Facebook page of the Palestinian Culture Ministry)

The Palestinian Culture Ministry on Thursday announced that Israel has destroyed the house of former Palestinian President Yasser Afarat in the Gaza Strip.
Culture Minister Atef Abu Saif said in a press release, “The occupation's targeting and destruction of the residence of the martyr and founding leader Yasser Arafat in Gaza is a continuation of its relentless assault,” according to Reuters.
Abu Saif said the Israeli attack was to “remove the symbols of dignity and the struggle of our people.”
At the same time, the Ministry shared photos on its official Facebook page showing the extent of damage in the house, where Arafat resided from 1995 to 2001.
The Israeli army did not comment on the incident as the war on Gaza enters its 140th day. The Israeli offensive started on October 7 after Hamas stormed across Gaza’s borders into Israel, killing about 1,200 Israelis.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said Monday that since the attack, Israel's assault in Gaza has killed more than 29,000 Palestinians.
Abu Saif emphasized that Arafat's residence “holds the personal and family belongings of the eternal leader and has witnessed numerous significant moments in our people's history during his presence in Gaza at the inception of the Palestinian Authority.”
“The house also contains exhibits showcasing various stages of Arafat's life, detailing his struggle and dedication to the freedom of his people, alongside other artistic works.”
“The house, with its historical significance and location, will remain a testament to pivotal moments in our history, while the occupation's acts of demolition serve as further evidence of its brutality,” Abu Saif asserted.
He continued, “The assault on Palestinian cultural heritage during the ongoing war on Gaza, including historical structures, mosques, churches, cultural centers, heritage sites, museums, libraries, publishing houses, and universities, is consistent with the occupation's destructive values and policies.”
Arafat passed away in 2004 after relocating his headquarters from Ramallah to France for medical treatment. He was laid to rest in the headquarters square in Ramallah, where he had remained since 2002.

 

 

 

 


Israeli Military Says it Killed 'Islamic Jihad' Member in West Bank Air Strike

The rubble of destroyed structures during an Israeli military operation in the Al Nusairat refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, 19 February 2024. EPA/MOHAMMED SABER
The rubble of destroyed structures during an Israeli military operation in the Al Nusairat refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, 19 February 2024. EPA/MOHAMMED SABER
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Israeli Military Says it Killed 'Islamic Jihad' Member in West Bank Air Strike

The rubble of destroyed structures during an Israeli military operation in the Al Nusairat refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, 19 February 2024. EPA/MOHAMMED SABER
The rubble of destroyed structures during an Israeli military operation in the Al Nusairat refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, 19 February 2024. EPA/MOHAMMED SABER

The Israeli military said on Friday it had targeted a member from the Islamic Jihad group in an air strike in the occupied West Bank who was on his way to carry out an attack.
The Palestinian news agency WAFA said a 17-year-old was also killed in the strike late on Thursday in the city of Jenin, with more than a dozen others injured.
The Israeli military said the strike targeted Yasser Hanoun, who had carried out several shooting attacks over the past few weeks, reported Reuters.
Violence in the West Bank, among the territories which the Palestinians want for an independent state, was on the rise before the Gaza war and has increased since, with frequent Israeli arrest raids and often deadly clashes.
Israel began its military offensive in Gaza after fighters from Hamas-ruled Gaza killed 1,200 people and took 253 hostages in southern Israel on Oct. 7, according to Israeli tallies.
The offensive against Hamas has killed more than 29,000 Palestinians, according to local authorities, laying waste much of the enclave to waste and displacing most of its 2.3 million population.
Israel says its goal is to eliminate Hamas, a group sworn to Israel's destruction.