UN: Sudan's Army Shouldn't Miss Chance to Withdraw from Politics

Protests in Khartoum (AP)
Protests in Khartoum (AP)
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UN: Sudan's Army Shouldn't Miss Chance to Withdraw from Politics

Protests in Khartoum (AP)
Protests in Khartoum (AP)

The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Sudan, Volker Perthes, said that the Sudanese army's announcement of withdrawal from politics is "an opportunity that needs to be grasped."

Perthes began new moves to revive the political process halted after the army withdrew from the dialogue with the civilian forces in early July.

He said in a statement, which Asharq Al-Awsat received a copy of, that civilians must accept the challenge and form a civilian government.

Perthes said that the Trilateral Mechanism would continue to provide unlimited support to all Sudanese efforts to overcome the deadlock and find a way out of the crisis.

"We will continue to provide technical assistance and provide a space where divergent views by different parties can be bridged when needed."

The UN official warned that "Time is not on Sudan's side. The continuation of the political impasse will lead to more losses of recent national gains."

"We call on all major forces, political parties, and grassroots movements, including the Resistance Committees, to open communication channels with one another and to think through their ideas and proposals," he said.

Perthes noted that broad participation in the political process is something that the Sudanese political forces can achieve by ensuring the broadest possible consultations with the actors and stakeholders close to them.

In his statement, the UN envoy referred to Lieutenant General Abdelfattah al-Burhan's announcement on 4 July, which Lt-Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo later confirmed.

He said it positively indicated that the military was prepared to accept the leadership of a civilian-led government to oversee a democratic transition.

"This presented a challenge for the civilian forces, which we have encouraged them to accept. The withdrawal of the military from politics and the return to civilian government has been a key demand of the street and most political parties and civilian political forces."

According to Perthes, there are now several political initiatives that propose solutions.

"We have mentioned more than once that full Sudanese ownership of the political process is the cornerstone for its success."

He warned that progress under the current situation in the debt relief process, which amounts to $56 billion, would be impossible.

The political process to resolve the Sudanese crisis, led by the Trilateral Mechanism of the United Nations, the African Union, and the African Intergovernmental Organization (IGAD), froze ahead of Eid al-Adha.

Differences emerged after the army announced its withdrawal from the political process, saying it aimed to allow the political forces to form a civilian government of independent figures.



Two KFC Outlets Attacked in Baghdad Over Gaza War, Police Sources Say 

A Federal police vehicle is parked near a KFC fast food restaurant following an attack in Baghdad, Iraq May 27, 2024. (Reuters)
A Federal police vehicle is parked near a KFC fast food restaurant following an attack in Baghdad, Iraq May 27, 2024. (Reuters)
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Two KFC Outlets Attacked in Baghdad Over Gaza War, Police Sources Say 

A Federal police vehicle is parked near a KFC fast food restaurant following an attack in Baghdad, Iraq May 27, 2024. (Reuters)
A Federal police vehicle is parked near a KFC fast food restaurant following an attack in Baghdad, Iraq May 27, 2024. (Reuters)

Two Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants were attacked in Baghdad over the past 48 hours, causing damage but no injuries, and Iraqi security forces arrested some suspects, the interior ministry and police sources said on Monday.

Initial investigations showed that the restaurants were targeted over the perceived support of US-based brands for Israel amid the war in the Gaza Strip, police sources said.

The first attack took place early on Sunday when two men on a motorcycle threw a make-shift bomb at a branch of the American fried chicken chain restaurant in eastern Baghdad's Palestine Street, causing minor damage, police sources said.

On Monday, another KFC Baghdad branch and a second American-style restaurant were attacked by group of masked men who broke into the restaurants and used sticks to smash glass and destroy furniture.

They fled before the arrival of security forces, police sources said.

KFC did not immediately comment on the attacks.

The interior ministry did not elaborate on the motives behind the attacks and said a police commander and other officers responsible for the areas where the attacks occurred had been detained and faced punitive measures.

Western brands have been hit by boycotts and other forms of protest by a largely spontaneous, grassroots campaign over Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip since the deadly Hamas attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

The actions reflect a groundswell of anger over Israel's military operation that has killed more than 35,000 people in Gaza, according to health authorities there, and caused a humanitarian crisis.


Biden Tells Israel to Protect Civilians After Rafah Strike 

Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)
Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)
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Biden Tells Israel to Protect Civilians After Rafah Strike 

Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)
Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)

The Biden administration told Israel to take every precaution to protect civilians after a military strike in Rafah killed dozens of Palestinians, as it faced calls from some fellow Democrats to halt military shipments to Israel.

"Israel has a right to go after Hamas, and we understand this strike killed two senior Hamas terrorists who are responsible for attacks against Israeli civilians," a National Security Council spokesperson said. "But as we’ve been clear, Israel must take every precaution possible to protect civilians.

Biden has faced increasing pressure from within his own party to scale back support for Israel, even before the airstrike on Sunday night that set tents and rickety metal shelters ablaze in a Rafah camp, killing 45 people.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent Democratic lawmaker in the House of Representatives, on Monday called the strike "an indefensible atrocity", adding in a social media post that "it is long past time for the President to live up to his word and suspend military aid."

"Horrific and gut wrenching images coming out of Rafah last night," Representative Ayanna Pressley said in a social media post. "How much longer will the US stand by while the Israeli military slaughters and mutilates Palestinian babies?"

Representative Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American serving in Congress, called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "genocidal maniac".

Netanyahu on Monday said the strike was not intended to cause civilian casualties but went "tragically wrong."

The NSC spokesperson said the US government was "actively engaging" with the Israeli military and others on the ground to assess what happened.

Almost half of Democratic voters disapprove of Biden's handling of the Israel-Hamas war, according to a recent poll from Reuters/Ipsos.

Weeks of campus protests about the war have added to the pressure, and wider demands for a permanent ceasefire have put Biden's reelection campaign on the defensive.


Israeli Strike in Southern Lebanon Kills 2 People Near Hospital, Officials Say 

Smoke rises on the Israeli side of its border with Lebanon following a rocket that was launched from Lebanon and fired towards Israel, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, in northern Israel, May 26, 2024. (Reuters)
Smoke rises on the Israeli side of its border with Lebanon following a rocket that was launched from Lebanon and fired towards Israel, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, in northern Israel, May 26, 2024. (Reuters)
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Israeli Strike in Southern Lebanon Kills 2 People Near Hospital, Officials Say 

Smoke rises on the Israeli side of its border with Lebanon following a rocket that was launched from Lebanon and fired towards Israel, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, in northern Israel, May 26, 2024. (Reuters)
Smoke rises on the Israeli side of its border with Lebanon following a rocket that was launched from Lebanon and fired towards Israel, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, in northern Israel, May 26, 2024. (Reuters)

An Israeli strike targeting a motorcycle in southern Lebanon hit next to a hospital entrance Monday, killing the motorcycle driver and a hospital security guard and wounding several civilians nearby, local health officials said.

It was not immediately clear who the driver was or why he was targeted in the strike in the town of Bint Jbeil.

The Israeli army did not give a statement on the strike but said it had targeted other areas of southern Lebanon in response to “terrorist launches.”

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has been exchanging strikes with Israeli forces in the border area almost daily since Oct. 8, a day after the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza began.

Mohammed Suleiman, director of the Salah Ghandour Hospital in Bint Jbeil, said they had initially received one person killed and nine wounded in the strike, most of whom were “civilians who were in front of the hospital, where family members and people accompanying the patients usually gather.”

Hospital officials later said that a security guard who was wounded in the strike had died.

The strike also caused minor damage to the hospital, an Associated Press photographer at the scene said.

Hezbollah later said it had launched a barrage of dozens of missiles at Meron, Safsufa and Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel in response.

Israeli strikes have killed more than 400 people in Lebanon since the war in Gaza began, most of them militants with Hezbollah and allied groups but also including more than 70 civilians and non-combatants. On the Israeli side, strikes from Lebanon have killed 15 soldiers and 10 civilians.

The clashes have displaced tens of thousands on each side of the border. Israeli officials have said they may launch an offensive in Lebanon if no diplomatic solution is reached that would allow the displaced to return.

The Israeli military said Monday that its reservists had in recent weeks “conducted a division-level and brigade-level exercise that simulated ground operations in Lebanon."

Hezbollah legislator Hassan Fadlallah, who visited the site of the strike in Bint Jbeil, said that Israel “will not be able to return settlers (residents) to the north in this way.”

“The only way to stop everything that is happening in the region today and on the border with Lebanon is to stop the aggression against Gaza,” he said.

Western countries, in particular the US and France, have come forward with a series of proposals for a cessation of hostilities on the Lebanon-Israel border. Hezbollah has refused to enter into an agreement until a ceasefire is implemented in Gaza.

Initially, the proposals stipulated that Hezbollah would move its forces several kilometers away from the border, but a French diplomatic official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing negotiations said the latest proposal has abandoned this idea as Hezbollah would not agree to it unless Israel also halted its overflights in Lebanese airspace.

Instead, the new proposal would rely on a strengthened presence of the official Lebanese army and UNIFIL peacekeeping forces in southern Lebanon to enforce the cessation of hostilities, with a long-term aim of negotiations for demarcation of the land border between Lebanon and Israel.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was expected to arrive in Beirut on a diplomatic visit Tuesday.


Arab FMs, EU Foreign Affairs Council Discuss Gaza War

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah at the Brussels meeting on Monday. (SPA)
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah at the Brussels meeting on Monday. (SPA)
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Arab FMs, EU Foreign Affairs Council Discuss Gaza War

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah at the Brussels meeting on Monday. (SPA)
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah at the Brussels meeting on Monday. (SPA)

The members of the Ministerial Committee assigned by the Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit met in Brussels on Monday with European Union Foreign Affairs Council to discuss the war on Gaza.

Chaired by Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, the committee included Qatari Prime Minister and FM Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Jordan's Deputy PM and FM Dr. Ayman Al-Safadi, and Egyptian FM Sameh Shoukry.

They discussed the dangerous developments in Gaza and the Israel’s ongoing military operation that is claiming the lives of innocent civilians, including the recent “appalling targeting of the tents of displaced Palestinians near the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)” in Rafah.

The Ministerial Committee “stressed the need for the international community to fulfill its responsibility to intervene immediately to stop the massacres committed by the Israeli forces and to stop the deepening of the unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe that the Palestinian people are experiencing.”

It reiterated the importance of creating serious political conditions for the establishment of a Palestinian state according to the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital, and in line with the relevant international resolutions.

It expressed its rejection of “discussing the future of the Gaza Strip in isolation from the Palestinian issue.”

It called for “confronting all flagrant violations committed by the Israeli forces against the Palestinian people” and stressed the importance of holding the Israel accountable for the ongoing violations in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.


With Few Signs of Syria Solution, EU Pledges More Support to Refugees

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell (L), speaks to the press during the 8th Brussels Conference on "Supporting the Future of Syria and the region" in Brussels, Belgium, 27 May 2024. (EPA)
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell (L), speaks to the press during the 8th Brussels Conference on "Supporting the Future of Syria and the region" in Brussels, Belgium, 27 May 2024. (EPA)
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With Few Signs of Syria Solution, EU Pledges More Support to Refugees

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell (L), speaks to the press during the 8th Brussels Conference on "Supporting the Future of Syria and the region" in Brussels, Belgium, 27 May 2024. (EPA)
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell (L), speaks to the press during the 8th Brussels Conference on "Supporting the Future of Syria and the region" in Brussels, Belgium, 27 May 2024. (EPA)

The European Union pledged more than 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) on Monday to support displaced Syrians, but it dismissed any notion of them being able to return home because of instability under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Before an EU-led donor conference on the 13-year-old war, Jordan's foreign minister said that the international community was abandoning Syrian refugees as funding to support them in host countries dwindles, suggesting that ways had to be found to ease voluntary returns to Syria.

The EU conference aims to keep the war on the agenda, as well as support for the millions of refugees it has created. But as the economic and social burden on neighboring countries mounts the bloc is divided and unable to find solutions, diplomats say.

Refugees returning home is not yet one of them however, the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell made clear at the start of the conference.

"While the European Union would wish that returning home could be a realistic option for all refugees, everywhere and always, we concur with the United Nations system that currently the conditions for safe, voluntary and dignified returns to Syria are not in place," Borrell said.

"We insist that it is the Assad regime that bears the primary responsibility for putting in place these conditions."

Borrell said the bloc was pledging 560 million euros in 2024 and 2025 to support refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan and a further 1 billion euros for Türkiye.

Syria has become a forgotten crisis that nobody wants to stir, amid the Israeli war in Gaza and tensions growing between Iran and Western powers over its regional activities.

Although Assad has long since reasserted control over most of Syria in a war that began with a 2011 uprising against him, more than 5 million refugees mostly in Lebanon, Türkiye and Jordan and millions more displaced internally still have little prospect of returning home.

"We're going to be sending a very clear message from Jordan as a host country that we feel that refugees are being abandoned," Ayman Safadi told reporters on arrival in Brussels. "Host countries are being abandoned."

Jordan is hosting around 1.3 million Syrians. Safadi said the issue "can only be solved by them going back to their country. So, we need to focus more on creating conditions conducive for them to return voluntarily."

Funding to support refugees is dropping with the likes of the World Food Program reducing its aid. Countries say hosting refugees is an increasing burden, notably in economic crisis-hit Lebanon, where the discontent has seen forced deportations.

"We expect our partners to uphold international law, including the principle of non-refoulement, and reject and condemn any forced deportations," Borrell said.

The 8th Syria conference brings together European and Arab ministers along with key international organizations, but beyond vague promises and financial pledges there are few signs that Europe can take the lead, diplomats said.

The bloc has no ties with the Assad government and Monday's talks come just ahead of the European elections on June 6-9 in which migration is a divisive issue among the EU's 27 member states. With far-right and populist parties already expected to do well, there is little appetite to step up refugee support.

An upswing in migrant boat arrivals from Lebanon to Europe, with Cyprus and Italy major destinations, has prompted some EU countries to warn of a big new influx into the bloc.

"We'll continue to do everything we can. But unless we're helped, unless the international community shoulders its responsibility, there will be a decrease in services and there will be more suffering for refugees," Safadi said.


Arab Condemnations of Israeli Massacre against Displaced Palestinians in Rafah 

Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)
Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)
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Arab Condemnations of Israeli Massacre against Displaced Palestinians in Rafah 

Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)
Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)

Arab countries and organizations slammed on Monday Israel for its strikes on a center for displaced Palestinians that killed dozens near the southern city of Rafah on Sunday.

The health ministry in Gaza said in a statement that the strikes "claimed the lives of 35 martyrs and left dozens injured, most of them children and women".

The Hamas-run government media office in Gaza earlier said the attack hit a center run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees near Rafah, branding it a "horrific massacre".

The Palestinian Authority presidency in the West Bank called it a "heinous massacre", accusing Israeli forces of "deliberately targeting" the tents of displaced people.

The massacre is an act of "defiance to all international resolutions," it added in a statement.

Gaza's civil defense agency said Israeli strikes killed and wounded at least 50 people in the area, where it said 100,000 displaced people live.

Hamas said Palestinians must "rise up and march" against the attack.

The Israeli army said it had targeted Hamas fighters. Israel's army said its aircraft "struck a Hamas compound in Rafah", killing Yassin Rabia and Khaled Nagar, both senior officials for the Palestinian armed group in the occupied West Bank.

It added that it was "aware of reports indicating that as a result of the strike and fire that was ignited, several civilians in the area were harmed. The incident is under review."

Palestinians carry a body after an Israeli army raid on a camp at an area designated for displaced people in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, 27 May 2024. (EPA)

Qatar said on Monday the latest Israeli attack on Rafah could hinder mediation efforts to reach a ceasefire and hostage exchange deal, a foreign ministry statement said.

Kuwait's Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the attack, saying the Israeli forces’ actions against Palestinians "exposes their blatant war crimes and unprecedented genocide to the whole world."

"This calls for immediate and firm intervention by the international community to compel these forces into adhering to international legitimacy resolutions, including the International Justice Court resolution on immediately ceasing the aggression against Rafah, and protecting the Palestinian people," it demanded in a statement.

Egypt strongly condemned the attack, saying Israeli forces "deliberately" targeted the displaced.

The Foreign Ministry said Cairo had called on Israel "to meet its legal commitments as an occupying power" and respect the International Court of Justice’s call on it to immediately cease its military operations.

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry condemned the "ongoing heinous war crimes committed by the Israeli forces in Gaza," saying the latest attack in Rafah was a "flagrant challenge to the ICJ and grave violation of international law and international humanitarian law."

The Arab Parliament echoed the condemnation, warning in a statement that "failure to hold Israel to account for its crimes and massacres against the Palestinians and failure to take any deterrent measures against it will only make it commit more killings and cause more destruction."

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation slammed the "heinous Israeli massacre against Palestinian civilians," describing it as a "war crime, crime against humanity and state organized terrorism" and demanding that Israel be held to account before international justice.


Security Council Set to Meet Over Deadly Rafah Strike 

Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
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Security Council Set to Meet Over Deadly Rafah Strike 

Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)
Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (AFP)

The UN Security Council was set to convene an emergency meeting Tuesday over an Israeli strike that killed dozens in a displaced persons camp in Rafah, as three European countries were slated to formally recognize a Palestinian state.

AFP journalists on the ground early Tuesday reported fresh Israeli strikes overnight in the southern Gaza border city, where an Israeli attack targeting two senior Hamas members on Sunday night sparked a fire that ripped through a displacement center, killing 45, according to Gaza health officials. 

The attack prompted a wave of international condemnation, with Palestinians and many Arab countries calling it a "massacre". Israel said it was looking into the "tragic accident". 

"There is no safe place in Gaza. This horror must stop," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres posted on social media. 

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths pointed to the widespread warnings of civilian deaths that circulated ahead of Israel's incursion into Rafah, saying in a statement: "We've seen the consequences in last night's utterly unacceptable attack." 

"To call it 'a mistake' is a message that means nothing for those killed, those grieving, and those trying to save lives," he added.  

Diplomats said the UN Security Council would convene Tuesday for an emergency session called by Algeria to discuss the attack.  

The EU's foreign policy chief said he was "horrified by news" of the strike, while French President Emmanuel Macron said he was "outraged", and a US National Security Council spokesperson said Israel "must take every precaution possible to protect civilians".  

The Israeli military said it was launching a probe.  

- 'Don't know where to go' -  

Displaced Gazan Khalil al-Bahtini was preparing to leave the impacted area, telling AFP Monday that "last night, the tent opposite to ours was targeted".  

"We have loaded all our belongings, but we don't know where to go." 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told parliament the deaths occurred "despite our best efforts" to protect civilians.  

The outcry over the strike came as Spain, Ireland and Norway were set to formally recognize a Palestinian state on Tuesday in a decision slammed by Israel as a "reward" for Hamas.  

"Recognizing the state of Palestine is about justice for the Palestinian people," Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said Monday in Brussels.  

It was also "the best guarantee of security for Israel and absolutely essential for reaching peace in the region", he said alongside his Irish and Norwegian counterparts.  

On Monday, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said he had told Spain's consulate in Jerusalem to stop offering consular services to West Bank Palestinians from June 1 as a "preliminary punitive" measure.  

- 'Charred bodies' -  

Israel launched the deadly strike on Rafah late Sunday, hours after Hamas fired a barrage of rockets at the Tel Aviv area, most of which were intercepted.  

Israel's army said its aircraft "struck a Hamas compound" in the city and killed Yassin Rabia and Khaled Nagar, senior officials for the militant group in the occupied West Bank. 

Gaza's civil defense agency said the strike ignited a fire that tore through a displacement center in northwestern Rafah near a facility of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.  

"We saw charred bodies and dismembered limbs... We also saw cases of amputations, wounded children, women and the elderly," said civil defense agency official Mohammad al-Mughayyir.  

One survivor, a woman who declined to be named, said: "We heard a loud sound and there was fire all around us. The children were screaming."  

Adding to already heightened tensions since Israel launched its Rafah ground operation, the Israeli and Egyptian militaries reported a "shooting incident" on Monday that killed one Egyptian guard in the border area between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip.  

Both forces said they were investigating.  

- 'Dangerous violation' -  

Footage from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society showed chaotic nighttime scenes of paramedics racing to the attack site and evacuating the wounded. 

Mughayyir said the rescue efforts were hampered by war damage and the impact of Israel's siege, which has led to severe shortages of fuel and "water to extinguish fires".  

The Israeli attack sparked strong protests from Egypt and Qatar, both of which have played key roles as mediators in efforts to negotiate a ceasefire and hostage-prisoner exchange.  

Egypt deplored what it called the "targeting of defenseless civilians", saying it was part of "a systematic policy aimed at widening the scope of death and destruction in the Gaza Strip to make it uninhabitable".  

Qatar condemned a "dangerous violation of international law" and voiced "concern that the bombing will complicate ongoing mediation efforts" towards a truce.  

The top world court, the International Court of Justice, on Friday ordered Israel to halt any offensive in Rafah and elsewhere that could bring about "the physical destruction" of the Palestinians.  

The war in Gaza started after Hamas's October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.  

Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.  

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 36,050 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.  

Philippe Lazzarini, head of UNRWA, which has been central to aid operations in the besieged territory during the war, said on social media platform X that "with every day passing, providing assistance & protection becomes nearly impossible".  

"The images from last night are testament to how Rafah has turned into hell on Earth," he said. 


UNRWA Says Attacks on Rafah 'Horrifying'

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike where displaced people were staying in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)
Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike where displaced people were staying in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)
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UNRWA Says Attacks on Rafah 'Horrifying'

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike where displaced people were staying in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)
Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike where displaced people were staying in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Monday, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)

The United Nations Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, said on Monday that reports of attacks on families seeking shelter in Rafah in the southern tip of the Gaza Strip were "horrifying.”
"Information coming out of Rafah about further attacks on families seeking shelter is horrifying," UNRWA wrote on X.
"There are reports of mass casualties including children and women among those killed. Gaza is hell on earth. Images from last night are yet another testament to that."
Palestinian health and civil emergency service officials said on Sunday Israeli airstrikes killed at least 35 Palestinians and wounded dozens in an area in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah designated for the displaced.
The Israeli military said its air force struck a Hamas compound in Rafah, and that the incident was under review.


Reporters Without Borders Files ICC Case over Journalists' Deaths in Gaza

Palestinians look at the damages while searching for food among burnt debris at the site of an Israeli strike on an area designated for displaced people, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, May 27, 2024. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Palestinians look at the damages while searching for food among burnt debris at the site of an Israeli strike on an area designated for displaced people, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, May 27, 2024. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
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Reporters Without Borders Files ICC Case over Journalists' Deaths in Gaza

Palestinians look at the damages while searching for food among burnt debris at the site of an Israeli strike on an area designated for displaced people, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, May 27, 2024. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Palestinians look at the damages while searching for food among burnt debris at the site of an Israeli strike on an area designated for displaced people, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, May 27, 2024. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Monday it had filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court over Palestinian journalists killed or injured in Gaza.

RSF said it was asking the ICC's prosecutor to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the Israeli army against at least nine Palestinian reporters since December 15, Agence France Presse reported.

The ICC said in January it was probing potential crimes against journalists since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza, which has cost the lives of more than 100 reporters.

RSF said it had "reasonable grounds for thinking that some of these journalists were deliberately killed and that the others were the victims of deliberate IDF (Israel Defense Force) attacks against civilians."

This specific complaint -- the third the RSF has made -- concerns eight Palestinian journalists killed between December 20 and May 20, and one other who sustained injuries.

"All concerned journalists were killed (or injured) in the course of their work," RSF said in a statement.

Antoine Bernard, RSF advocacy and assistance director, said: "Those who kill journalists are attacking the public's right to information, which is even more essential in times of conflict."

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan last week asked the court to issue arrest warrants for top Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for alleged war crimes and crimes and humanity.

Israel has strongly denied the allegation and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that to draw a parallel between Hamas and Israeli leaders was "despicable".

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 107 journalists and media workers have been killed during the Gaza war, the "deadliest period for journalists since CPJ began gathering data in 1992".

The RSF complaint includes the case of two Palestinian journalists killed in January while working for Al Jazeera.

Hamza Wael Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuria, who also worked as a video stringer for AFP and other news organizations, were killed while they were "on their way to carry out their duty" for the channel in the Gaza Strip, the network said.


Egypt Stresses Importance of Maintaining Somalia’s Security, Stability

A meeting held Sunday between Egypt’s Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and Ambassador Ilyas Sheikh Omar Abu Bakr, the outgoing Ambassador of Somalia to Egypt (Egyptian Foreign Ministry)
A meeting held Sunday between Egypt’s Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and Ambassador Ilyas Sheikh Omar Abu Bakr, the outgoing Ambassador of Somalia to Egypt (Egyptian Foreign Ministry)
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Egypt Stresses Importance of Maintaining Somalia’s Security, Stability

A meeting held Sunday between Egypt’s Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and Ambassador Ilyas Sheikh Omar Abu Bakr, the outgoing Ambassador of Somalia to Egypt (Egyptian Foreign Ministry)
A meeting held Sunday between Egypt’s Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and Ambassador Ilyas Sheikh Omar Abu Bakr, the outgoing Ambassador of Somalia to Egypt (Egyptian Foreign Ministry)

Egypt on Sunday emphasized the importance of achieving security, stability, and peace in Somalia as a fundamental pillar for security and stability in the entire region.

Cairo also affirmed its full support for Mogadishu.

Last January, Egypt emphasized the necessity of full respect for the unity and sovereignty of Somalia over its lands, expressing its full rejection to any measures that would undermine Somalia's sovereignty.

This came after Ethiopia signed a memorandum of understanding with Somaliland that would give Addis Ababa access to the Red Sea, a key waterway for global trade. In return, Ethiopia would consider recognizing Somaliland's independence.

Mogadishu had rejected the MoU, saying it violates its sovereignty.

On Sunday, Egypt reiterated its support for Somalia’s stability during a meeting held between its Prime Minister, Moustafa Madbouly, and Ambassador Ilyas Sheikh Omar Abu Bakr, the outgoing Ambassador of Somalia to Egypt.

The PM affirmed Egypt’s full support for Somalia in light of close historical relations between the two sides.

Madbouly asked the ambassador to convey his greetings to the Somali Prime Minister and expressed his desire to strengthen joint cooperation between the two nations.

For his part, Abu Bakr praised the cooperation he received from Egyptian state institutions and emphasized Somalia’s aspiration for continued Egyptian support, particularly in light of the political and security challenges the country faces.

The Arab League had also rejected the MoU between Ethiopia and Somaliland and affirmed its support for Somalia’s sovereignty.

Somaliland is a former British colony that declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 but was not recognized by the international community.

Last January, the MoU faced international opposition. The US, the EU and the UK urged parties to respect Somali sovereignty.

The Somali Ambassador on Sunday expressed his appreciation for the Egyptian political leadership’s support in achieving stability in Somalia.