In Joint Raid, Kurdish Forces Seize ISIS Militant in Syria 

Smoke plumes rise from gas flaring at oil wells in the countryside near the town of al-Qahtaniyah in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province, close to the border with Turkey on December 18, 2022. (AFP)
Smoke plumes rise from gas flaring at oil wells in the countryside near the town of al-Qahtaniyah in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province, close to the border with Turkey on December 18, 2022. (AFP)
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In Joint Raid, Kurdish Forces Seize ISIS Militant in Syria 

Smoke plumes rise from gas flaring at oil wells in the countryside near the town of al-Qahtaniyah in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province, close to the border with Turkey on December 18, 2022. (AFP)
Smoke plumes rise from gas flaring at oil wells in the countryside near the town of al-Qahtaniyah in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province, close to the border with Turkey on December 18, 2022. (AFP)

A Kurdish-led group in Syria said Monday that its fighters alongside US forces have arrested a wanted militant with the ISIS group that continues to stage attacks in the region. 

There are some 900 US troops in Syria supporting Kurdish-led forces in the fight against the militant group. 

The Syrian Democratic Forces said its fighters led a raid on the home of an unnamed ISIS leader on Dec. 16 in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor. The group's statement claimed the arrested man managed militant cells in the region. 

The SDF shared a photo purporting to show evidence they confiscated during the raid, including two cellphones, a dozen SIM cards, an internet router, a Syrian-issued identity document and a pistol with three magazines. 

The SDF added that this was the fifth such raid over the past two weeks. 

They have frequently targeted the militants mostly in parts of northeastern Syria under Kurdish control. On Dec. 11, a US helicopter raid in eastern Syria killed two ISIS militants. 

Syria has been mired in a bloody civil war since 2011 that has drawn in regional and global powers. Syrian President Bashar Assad has mostly regained control of the country, but parts of its north remain under the control of rebels, as well as Turkish and Syrian Kurdish forces. 

Türkiye strongly opposes the presence of the Syrian Kurdish groups along its border that it blames for attacks within its territory. A series of Turkish airstrikes in the area earlier this month temporarily halted US-Kurdish patrols and raised concerns that cross border tensions would hinder the fight against ISIS. 

On Nov. 30, ISIS announced that leader Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed in battle. The US said al-Qurayshi was killed in an operation conducted by Syrian opposition forces in the southern city of Daraa. 



Israeli Forces Advance in Southern Gaza, Tanks Active in Rafah

This picture taken in Khan Yunis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
This picture taken in Khan Yunis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
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Israeli Forces Advance in Southern Gaza, Tanks Active in Rafah

This picture taken in Khan Yunis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
This picture taken in Khan Yunis shows smoke billowing during Israeli military operations in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)

Israeli forces advanced deeper into some towns on the eastern side of Khan Younis in southern Gaza on Thursday, hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US lawmakers he was actively engaged in bringing hostages home.
Fighting in recent days has centered around the eastern towns of Bani Suaila, Al-Zanna, and Al-Karara, where the army said on Wednesday it had found the bodies of five Israelis who were killed in Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel and held in Gaza since, Reuters said.
Hamas militants took more than 250 hostages in the early morning raid into southern Israel and killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli tallies.
Israel retaliated by vowing to eradicate Hamas in Gaza in a nine-month war that has killed more than 39,000 Palestinians, Gaza health officials say.
Several were wounded in the eastern towns during Israeli tank and aerial shelling, while an airstrike east of Khan Younis killed four people, Palestinian health officials said.
Israeli bombardment intensified in several areas in Rafah, near the border with Egypt, as tanks operated north, west and in the town center, residents and medics said. Several Palestinians were also wounded in Israeli fire earlier on Thursday.
The Israeli military said forces operating in Khan Younis killed dozens of militants and dismantled around 50 military infrastructures, while it continued activities in Rafah, killing two militants.
In a speech to the US Congress, Netanyahu said his government was actively involved in seeking the release of remaining hostages and was confident they would succeed.
DISAPPOINTING SPEECH
Hamas described the comments by Netanyahu as "pure lies" accusing him of thwarting efforts to end the war.
Netanyahu's comments also disappointed many displaced Palestinians who had hoped for a clearer signal of an imminent end to the fighting, which has laid the overcrowded enclave to waste and created a humanitarian crisis.
"It was depressing, he didn't even mention ceasefire at all, not even once," said Tamer Al-Burai, a resident of Gaza City, now displaced in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.
"People awaited some surprise, a ceasefire announcement by Netanyahu as a gift to (US President Joe) Biden, but they slept with much disappointment, as Netanyahu said he was determined to pursue war," Burai told Reuters via a chat app.
Deir Al-Balah, where tanks haven't yet invaded, is currently overcrowded with hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, displaced from other areas of the enclave, home to 2.3 million people.
"Netanyahu spoke in a play, he spoke to clowns," said Burai.
Diplomatic efforts by Arab mediators, backed by the United States, to conclude a ceasefire deal, seemed to be on hold, as Israel was expected to send a delegation for more talks next week.
In northern Gaza, an Israeli air strike on a house in the Sheikh Radwan suburb killed four people, medics said, while seven Palestinians arrived at a hospital in central Gaza who had been detained by Israeli forces and released in an area close to the border.