UN Rights Chief Concerned about Israel’s Moves amid Violence

Palestinians burn tires during clashes after a protest against Israeli settlements at Beita village near the West Bank city of Nablus, 03 February 2023. (EPA)
Palestinians burn tires during clashes after a protest against Israeli settlements at Beita village near the West Bank city of Nablus, 03 February 2023. (EPA)
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UN Rights Chief Concerned about Israel’s Moves amid Violence

Palestinians burn tires during clashes after a protest against Israeli settlements at Beita village near the West Bank city of Nablus, 03 February 2023. (EPA)
Palestinians burn tires during clashes after a protest against Israeli settlements at Beita village near the West Bank city of Nablus, 03 February 2023. (EPA)

The UN human rights chief expressed concerns Friday that steps taken by the new Israeli government, the most far-right in the country’s history, could fuel further violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the wake of a recent spike in bloodshed in the region.

Volker Türk cited steps such as forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes and government moves to expedite Israelis’ access to firearms. He called on leaders, officials and everyone else on both sides to stop using language that incites hatred, and to shun violence.

"Rather than doubling down on failed approaches of violence and coercion that have singularly failed in the past, I urge everyone involved to step out of the illogic of escalation that has only ended in dead bodies, shattered lives and utter despair," said Türk, who took office in October as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The region is facing one of the deadliest periods of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in years. An Israeli military raid last week killed 10 Palestinians — most of them gunmen — but also a 61-year-old woman. A Palestinian gunman in a shooting attack a day later outside an east Jerusalem synagogue killed seven people, including a 14-year-old.

Israel’s firebrand national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, responded by taking steps to demolish the home of the gunman and other Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem built without permits, and called for granting more gun licenses to Israelis.

On Thursday, Israeli aircraft struck a rocket production workshop in the Gaza Strip, after Palestinian fighters fired a rocket toward Israel. Over the weekend, a shooting in east Jerusalem by a 13-year-old Palestinian wounded two Israelis.

"I fear that recent measures being taken by the government of Israel are only fueling further violations and abuses of human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law," Türk said.

Such laws prohibit "collective punishment," including punitive forced evictions and demolition of homes, he said, warning that expanded licensing of firearms to civilians plus a rise in hateful rhetoric "can only lead to further violence and bloodshed."



UN: Gazans Living in ‘Utter, Deepening Horror’

Smoke rises from the Bureij refugee camp following strikes on southern Gaza, as seen from Be’eri, Israel, 06 December 2023. (EPA)
Smoke rises from the Bureij refugee camp following strikes on southern Gaza, as seen from Be’eri, Israel, 06 December 2023. (EPA)
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UN: Gazans Living in ‘Utter, Deepening Horror’

Smoke rises from the Bureij refugee camp following strikes on southern Gaza, as seen from Be’eri, Israel, 06 December 2023. (EPA)
Smoke rises from the Bureij refugee camp following strikes on southern Gaza, as seen from Be’eri, Israel, 06 December 2023. (EPA)

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are living in "utter, deepening horror", the UN human rights chief said Wednesday, as he pleaded for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Volker Turk said there was a high risk of atrocity crimes being committed in such "catastrophic" humanitarian circumstances."

"Civilians in Gaza continue to be relentlessly bombarded by Israel and collectively punished -- suffering death, siege, destruction and deprivation of the most essential human needs such as food, water, lifesaving medical supplies and other essentials on a massive scale," he told a press conference.

"Palestinians in Gaza are living in utter, deepening horror."

He said 1.9 million of the Palestinian enclave's 2.2 million people had been displaced and were being pushed into "ever-diminishing and extremely overcrowded places in southern Gaza, in unsanitary and unhealthy conditions".

"The catastrophic situation we see unfolding in the Gaza Strip was entirely foreseeable and preventable.

"In these circumstances, there is a heightened risk of atrocity crimes," the United Nations high commissioner for human rights said.

"As an immediate step, I call for an urgent cessation of hostilities and the release of all hostages," he said, adding: "you need to come back to your senses".

'Hateful rhetoric'

Israel declared war on Hamas after the militant group's October 7 attacks that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli authorities, and saw around 240 hostages taken into Gaza.

The latest toll from the Hamas-run government media office said 16,248 people in Gaza, most of them women and children, had been killed.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and free 138 hostages still held after scores were released during a short-lived truce.

Turk said he was gravely concerned by "dehumanizing and inciteful statements" made by current and former Israeli officials, as well as Hamas figures.

"History has shown us where this kind of language can lead," he said.

"This is not just unacceptable, but a competent court may view such statements, in the circumstances in which they were made, as incitement to atrocity crimes."

Decrying a sharp rise in hate speech globally over the past two months -- in particular anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim bigotry -- he said political leaders using "inflammatory, toxic and hateful rhetoric... must be vigorously condemned".

Push for peace

Turk said the human rights crisis in the occupied West Bank was also "extremely alarming", calling for Israeli authorities to take immediate steps to end "widespread impunity" for violations.

"The only way to end the accumulative sufferings is ending the occupation and achieving the two-state solution," he said.

Turk said he had met Palestinians and Israelis who want a peaceful future for both sides, whose voices were currently not being heard.

"I hope that they will be much stronger in the future," he said.

"One thing is very clear: it cannot go back to what it was."


Israel Says Reviewing Strike that Killed Lebanese Soldier

A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon shows Israeli artillery shelling of the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh in response to anti-tank fire from Lebanon into northern Israel on December 3, 2023. (Photo by jalaa marey / AFP)
A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon shows Israeli artillery shelling of the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh in response to anti-tank fire from Lebanon into northern Israel on December 3, 2023. (Photo by jalaa marey / AFP)
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Israel Says Reviewing Strike that Killed Lebanese Soldier

A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon shows Israeli artillery shelling of the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh in response to anti-tank fire from Lebanon into northern Israel on December 3, 2023. (Photo by jalaa marey / AFP)
A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon shows Israeli artillery shelling of the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh in response to anti-tank fire from Lebanon into northern Israel on December 3, 2023. (Photo by jalaa marey / AFP)

The Israeli army said on Wednesday it was reviewing a strike that “harmed” troops in south Lebanon, an apparent reference to Israeli shelling that killed a Lebanese soldier and wounded three others the previous day.
The Lebanese troops “were not the target of the strike,” the Israeli military said in a statement.

It expressed “regret over the incident,” saying “the incident is under review.”

Israel and Hezbollah have been exchanging fire across the Lebanese-Israeli border since the start of the war between the Palestinian group Hamas and Israel on Oct. 7.
The Lebanese army said the soldier, a sergeant, was killed when an army position was shelled by Israel on Tuesday.
The Israeli army said its soldiers had acted in "self defense to eliminate an imminent threat that had been identified from Lebanon" from a "known launch area and observation point" used by Hezbollah.
The UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon UNIFIL noted in a statement on Tuesday it was the first Lebanese army soldier killed during the hostilities, and that the Lebanese army had not engaged in conflict with Israel.

Hezbollah said in a statement that it had fired guided missiles at a group of Israeli soldiers in Manara in northern Israel in retaliation for the killing.


Heavy Fighting Across Gaza Halts Most Aid Delivery

A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on December 6, 2023, shows smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment in Gaza. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on December 6, 2023, shows smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment in Gaza. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
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Heavy Fighting Across Gaza Halts Most Aid Delivery

A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on December 6, 2023, shows smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment in Gaza. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on December 6, 2023, shows smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment in Gaza. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Israeli troops battled Hamas fighters across Gaza on Wednesday after expanding their ground offensive to its second-largest city, further shrinking the area where Palestinians can seek safety and halting the distribution of vital aid across most of the enclave.

The assault on the south threatens further mass displacement within the besieged coastal territory, where the UN says some 1.87 million people — over 80% of the population — have already fled their homes.

Much of the north, including large parts of Gaza City, has been completely destroyed, and Palestinians fear the rest of Gaza could suffer a similar fate as Israel tries to dismantle Hamas.

Israel says it can no longer accept a Hamas military presence in Gaza after the Oct. 7 attack that triggered the war, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will maintain open-ended security control over the territory, something opposed by the United States and much of the international community.

The Israeli military said Tuesday that its troops were “in the heart” of the southern city of Khan Younis after what it described as “the most intense day” of fighting since the start of the ground operation five weeks ago, with heavy battles in the north as well.

Hamas said it had killed or wounded eight Israeli soldiers and destroyed 24 military vehicles on Tuesday. Israel said 84 of its soldiers had been killed since the ground operation began five weeks ago.

The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said Hamas fighters were using improvised explosive devices and anti-personnel mines in a shift of tactics as the fighting moved to close ground combat.

The war has killed more than 16,200 people in Gaza — 70% of them women and children — and wounded more than 42,000, according to the territory's Health Ministry, which released new figures late Tuesday.

For the past three days, aid distribution — mainly just supplies of flour and water — has been possible only in and around Rafah, on the southern border with Egypt, because of fighting and road closures by Israeli forces, the UN's humanitarian aid office said.

The aid group Doctors Without Borders said fuel and medical supplies have reached “critically low levels” at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the central town of Deir al-Balah, north of Khan Younis. Up to 200 wounded people have been brought in every day since Dec. 1, when a weeklong truce expired, it said.


Russia, Algeria Hold Naval Exercises in Mediterranean Sea

Part of joint Algerian-Russian naval exercises held in October 2022 (Algerian Defense Ministry)
Part of joint Algerian-Russian naval exercises held in October 2022 (Algerian Defense Ministry)
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Russia, Algeria Hold Naval Exercises in Mediterranean Sea

Part of joint Algerian-Russian naval exercises held in October 2022 (Algerian Defense Ministry)
Part of joint Algerian-Russian naval exercises held in October 2022 (Algerian Defense Ministry)

Russia and Algeria will hold joint naval exercises in the western part of the Mediterranean Sea on Friday, the Algerian Defense Ministry announced.

It said the joint exercises aim to enhance military cooperation between the two countries.

On its social media account, the Ministry said on Monday that the Admiral Grigorovich frigate from the Black Sea fleet, has already docked in the Port of Algiers.

Its presence in Algiers underlines the military cooperation between the Algerian and Russian military, it said.

The naval exercises will include various tactical and interceptive exercises. The Russian frigate will be stationed in Algeria until December 12. It is the third of its kind to dock on the Algerian coasts in the past few months.

In August, the Mercury 734 missile corvette stopped at the port of Algiers.

Military rapprochement between Algeria and Moscow has intensified in the past two years. It was reflected in high-level visits conducted at the military level.

Last July, the chief of staff of Algeria's military, Said Chengriha, has visited Russia, where he met with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Also, on the occasion of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s visit to Moscow last June, Sputnik news agency quoted Shoigu as saying that Algeria wants to buy Russian military equipment, including tanks, aircraft, and anti-aircraft defense systems.

Algerian officers are particularly keen to acquire submarines, Su-57 (Sukhoi) stealth aircraft, Su-34 bombers, and Su-30 fighters, reports said earlier. Algeria also hopes to acquire new air defense systems, such as the S-400, the Viking, and the Antey-4000.

Therefore, the North African country aims to increase its military budget as per the draft finance law of 2023-2024.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday praised the level of economic and humanitarian cooperation between Russia and Algeria at the ceremony of accepting credentials from the newly appointed foreign ambassadors.

In addition, Putin recalled that in 2024-2025 Algeria will get a seat as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. “We will, of course, intensify coordination with Algerian partners on topical issues on the international and regional agenda,” he added.


US Aid Chief Announces New Help on Visit Near Gaza Border

Staff members walk past airplanes bringing aid for the Gaza Strip on the tarmac of Egypt's El-Arish airport on November 27, 2023 - AFP
Staff members walk past airplanes bringing aid for the Gaza Strip on the tarmac of Egypt's El-Arish airport on November 27, 2023 - AFP
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US Aid Chief Announces New Help on Visit Near Gaza Border

Staff members walk past airplanes bringing aid for the Gaza Strip on the tarmac of Egypt's El-Arish airport on November 27, 2023 - AFP
Staff members walk past airplanes bringing aid for the Gaza Strip on the tarmac of Egypt's El-Arish airport on November 27, 2023 - AFP

The US aid chief on Tuesday announced new support for the war-battered Gaza Strip on a visit to Egypt, as a renewed Israeli offensive again puts Palestinians at risk.

Samantha Power, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development, travelled to the Egyptian town of El-Arish, the gateway to Rafah, the border crossing that has been reopened but at limited capacity since the war started.

Power announced $21 million in new US assistance that will include hygiene and shelter supplies and food for people in Gaza, where water and other basics have been in short supply.

USAID said the assistance was in addition to $100 million announced by President Joe Biden on October 18, AFP reported.

Power accompanied the delivery by the US military of another 16.3 metric tonnes (36,000 pounds) of previously announced assistance that includes medical supplies, winter clothing and emergency food.

"During the pause in hostilities last week, we saw important and overdue progress toward addressing the grave humanitarian crisis in Gaza," Power told reporters.

"The United States is now doing everything in our power to advance that progress," she said.

"As Israel's military operations continue, Palestinian civilians must be protected. Far too many innocent civilians have been killed."

Power said she spoke with the Egyptian Red Crescent and United Nations officials on ways to speed up the pace of aid getting into Gaza.

"The levels of aid reached during the pause need to be the bare minimum of what goes in going forward," she said.

The State Department said Monday that Israel, after US appeals, let badly needed fuel into the Gaza Strip.

But the United States has also faced strong criticism in the Arab world for its military and diplomatic support of Israel, which has carried out a major offensive in response to an October 7 attack by Hamas.

Israel resumed its military campaign on Friday after saying Hamas reneged on terms of a deal to free hostages.


UN Says 'Not Possible' to Create Safe Zones in Gaza

Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 4. REUTERS
Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 4. REUTERS
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UN Says 'Not Possible' to Create Safe Zones in Gaza

Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 4. REUTERS
Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 4. REUTERS

The United Nations warns that it is impossible to create so-called safe zones for civilians to flee to inside the Gaza Strip amid Israel's bombing campaign.

Israel declared war on Hamas after the militant group's October 7 attacks that killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities.

The health ministry in Gaza says the war has killed nearly 15,900 people in the territory.

James Elder, spokesperson for the United Nations children's agency UNICEF, said the areas of Gaza designated as safe by Israel were nowhere near meeting basic requirements, warning an absence of sanitation and shelter have created a "perfect storm" for outbreaks of disease.

"It's a safe zone when you can guarantee the conditions of food, water, medicine and shelter," he told reporters via video link from Cairo after visiting Gaza.

"I've seen for myself these are entirely, entirely absent... These are tiny patches of barren land or they're street corners. They're sidewalks. They're half-built buildings. There is no water."

"Only a ceasefire is going to save the children of Gaza right now," and called the Israeli approach to creating these zones "callous and cold," Reuters quoted him saying.

Also, a World Health Organization official in Gaza said on Tuesday the situation was deteriorating by the hour as Israeli bombing has intensified in the south of the Palestinian enclave around the cities of Khan Younis and Rafah.

"The situation is getting worse by the hour," Richard Peeperkorn, WHO representative in Gaza, told reporters via video link. "There's intensified bombing going on all around, including here in the southern areas, Khan Younis and even in Rafah."

Peeperkorn said the humanitarian aid reaching Gaza was "way too little" and said the WHO was deeply concerned about the vulnerability of the health system in the densely populated enclave as more people move further south to escape the bombing.

"We will witness the same pattern of what happened in the north," he said, referring to an area of northern Gaza that was heavily bombed and nearly cut off from humanitarian supplies.

"That cannot happen ... I want to make this point very clear that we are looking at an increasing humanitarian disaster."

Thomas White, Director of Affairs at the UN Palestinian agency in Gaza, said a population of more than 600,000 had been ordered to move to escape bombardment.

"Rafah that normally has a population of 280K and already hosting around 470K IDP (internally displaced people) will not cope with a doubling of its IDP population," White wrote on social media platform X.

The WHO's Peeperkorn said the agency had complied with an Israeli order to remove supplies from warehouses in Khan Younis. He said WHO had been told the area would "most likely become an area of active combat in the coming days."

"We want to make sure that we can actually deliver essential medical supplies," he said.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday appealed to Israel to withdraw the order. Israel denied asking for the evacuation of warehouses.


Israeli Escalation Kills Lebanese Soldier, Hezbollah Missiles Target Kiryat Shmona

An Israeli raid on a site in South Lebanon between the towns of Rmeish and Ramiya (AFP)
An Israeli raid on a site in South Lebanon between the towns of Rmeish and Ramiya (AFP)
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Israeli Escalation Kills Lebanese Soldier, Hezbollah Missiles Target Kiryat Shmona

An Israeli raid on a site in South Lebanon between the towns of Rmeish and Ramiya (AFP)
An Israeli raid on a site in South Lebanon between the towns of Rmeish and Ramiya (AFP)

A Lebanese soldier was killed and three others were wounded on Tuesday in an Israeli shelling that targeted one of their bases in the South, the Lebanese Army announced.

In a statement, the Army Command said that “a military base in the Nabi Oweida-Adaisseh area was attacked by the Israeli enemy, which caused the death of a soldier and the injury of three others.”

The exchange of fire between Hezbollah and the Israeli army escalated violently on Tuesday, reaching its peak in the evening when Kiryat Shmona was targeted with missiles.

Shelling and strikes began early on Tuesday, as Hezbollah carried out four military operations until noon, targeting the Shebaa Farms in the eastern sector. Israel said that it shot down a drone near Margaliot on the northern border with Lebanon, while the Israeli media announced the closure of several roads in the Upper Galilee to traffic.

In a statement, the Israeli army said that it attacked Hezbollah positions in response to the cross-border attack. It stated that fighter jets “bombed Hezbollah launch sites, terrorist infrastructure, and a military complex”, in response to “launching operations from Lebanon into Israel” on Monday.

The statement added that Israel responded to rocket fire against Zarit by striking “the sources of fire,” noting that it also “struck a few other locations in Lebanese territory” to eliminate unspecified threats.

In the evening, the Israeli media announced that sirens sounded in Kiryat Shmona, Margaliot and Manara in northern Israel, and said that the Israeli army had closed several road axes in the Upper Galilee region in northern Kiryat Shmona.

On Tuesday, Hezbollah announced a series of operations against Israeli positions and concentrations of Israeli soldiers on the border, including the Ruwais al-Asi and Tayhat Triangle sites opposite the town of Mays al-Jabal, the Zabdin Barracks located in the Shebaa Farms, and Al-Bayad site opposite to the Lebanese town of Blida.


Jordan’s King Abdullah Says World Should Condemn Any Attempt to Forcibly Expel Palestinians

Palestinians fleeing the Israeli ground offensive arrive in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. (AP)
Palestinians fleeing the Israeli ground offensive arrive in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. (AP)
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Jordan’s King Abdullah Says World Should Condemn Any Attempt to Forcibly Expel Palestinians

Palestinians fleeing the Israeli ground offensive arrive in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. (AP)
Palestinians fleeing the Israeli ground offensive arrive in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. (AP)

Jordan's King Abdullah said on Tuesday the world should condemn any attempt by Israel to create conditions that would forcibly displace Palestinians within the war-devastated Gaza Strip or outside its borders.

In remarks carried by state media after a meeting with the Cypriot president in Amman, the monarch again called for an immediate ceasefire and warned that Israel's relentless bombing campaign was leading to a "dangerous deterioration" in the situation.

Talks with Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides focused on the need to increase efforts to deliver humanitarian aid and relief to the embattled civilians living in Gaza.

Abdullah has lobbied Western leaders to pile pressure on Israel to allow an uninterrupted flow of aid and open crossings it controls to bring in sufficient level of aid needed.

Israel now controls the volume and nature of aid entering to over 2.3 million inhabitants under siege, according to UN officials and humanitarian workers.

UNRWA officials say only a trickle of the aid the enclave needs is getting through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt which NGOs and officials say can only handle a fraction of the needs.

Israel started its campaign in retribution for an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas fighters who rampaged through Israeli towns, killing 1,200 people and seizing 240 hostages, according to Israel's tally.

Israeli bombardments have killed nearly 16,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health ministry figures, and driven 80% of the population from their homes.

King Abdullah told Christodoulides there would be dangerous consequences from any attempt to forcibly push Palestinians en masse from their land while it maintained security control, officials said.

Officials also fear wider violence in the West Bank, which Jordan borders, as settler attacks on Palestinian civilians, confiscation of land and Israeli military raids mount.

It could create circumstances that could encourage Israel to forcibly push tens of thousands of Palestinians across the Jordan River.

Officials say the forcible expulsion of Palestinians would amount to a declaration of war and prompt Jordan to suspend its peace treaty with Israel.

On Tuesday, Amman condemned Israel's move to build new settlements in Arab East Jerusalem, the part of the contested city that was seized along with the West Bank in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and the UN considers occupied territory.

"Israel's expansion of Jewish settlement building on land it occupied and the confiscation of territory are a flagrant violation of international law" and dimmed any prospects of peace, said Sufain Qudah, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry.


Jordan Army Says It Killed Three Drug Smugglers at Syria Border

Some of the drugs confiscated by the army. (Petra News Agency)
Some of the drugs confiscated by the army. (Petra News Agency)
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Jordan Army Says It Killed Three Drug Smugglers at Syria Border

Some of the drugs confiscated by the army. (Petra News Agency)
Some of the drugs confiscated by the army. (Petra News Agency)

The Jordanian army said on Tuesday it killed three drug dealers during an operation that foiled the smuggling of large quantities of drugs across the border from Syria.
About 233,000 captagon pills - a mix of amphetamines - and quantities of hashish were found during the bust, it said.
The army said it had monitored a group of smugglers who had sought to cross the border and applied strict rules of engagement to shoot at first sight.
"We continue to deal with, resolve and force any threat to our borders and any attempt to undermine and destabilize the country's security," the army said in a statement.
Jordan faces a challenging situation on its northern border with Syria, but challenges are also emerging on its eastern border with Iraq after reports that pro-Iranian militia camps are rising there under the pretext of providing help for the "Palestinian resistance" in Gaza.
Jordan has reinforced its security measures on the Western border with the occupied territories amid Israel’s military escalation in the West Bank.


US Sanctions Target 3 Former Sudanese Officials

Sudanese warring parties signing the Jeddah Talks agreement (Reuters)
Sudanese warring parties signing the Jeddah Talks agreement (Reuters)
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US Sanctions Target 3 Former Sudanese Officials

Sudanese warring parties signing the Jeddah Talks agreement (Reuters)
Sudanese warring parties signing the Jeddah Talks agreement (Reuters)

The US Treasury imposed sanctions on three former Sudanese officials for their role in undermining the country's peace, security, and stability.

The US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said the designations support diplomatic efforts by the international community to end the conflict and demonstrate the US commitment to achieve a civilian government and a transition to democracy.

Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson, the Treasury continues its efforts to "identify and take action against individuals contributing to the instability in Sudan and undermining prospects for a peaceful resolution."

"The United States will not tolerate the continuing exploitation of the Sudanese people by those who seek to extend and deepen the conflict."

The sanctions include Taha Osman Ahmed al-Hussein, a former State Minister and Presidential Office Director to former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Hussein was pivotal in managing the relationship between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and regional actors to advance the RSF's warfighting efforts.

They also include Salah Abdallah Mohamed Salah, a former high-ranking Sudanese government official who left his position following the fall of the al-Bashir regime and, since that time, has undertaken efforts to destabilize Sudan.

The Treasury also included Mohamed Etta Elmoula Abbas, a former Sudanese Ambassador and leader of Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Service under the al-Bashir regime.

Meanwhile, sources revealed new details regarding disputes and mutual accusations between the Sudanese army and the RSF, threatening the second round of negotiations in Jeddah, sponsored by Saudi-US mediation.

The sources explained that negotiations may be resumed later without an official announcement, noting that the army delegation had previously agreed to a proposal submitted by an Intergovernmental Development Organization (IGAD) expert.

The sources reported that the IGAD expert proposed freezing all movements and each force remaining in its area of control, which would be done immediately after signing the cessation of hostilities agreement that both parties approved.

The army later rejected the proposal.

The sources, who asked to remain anonymous, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the army negotiating delegation also rejected another item that called for a comprehensive political dialogue 15 days after agreeing to cease hostilities.

The army also rejected the Joint Center tasked with monitoring the ceasefire. The center includes four countries and is chaired by Saudi Arabia.

The army also insisted on the exit of the RSF from the capital, Khartoum.

- Confidence-building measures

The RSF accused the army of not committing to implementing the "confidence-building" measures agreed upon in the Jeddah Platform.

The Arab World News Agency quoted a source familiar with the course of the negotiations as saying that the Sudanese army's attempts to involve "members of the former regime" were one of the reasons for the failure of the Jeddah talks.

The source, who asked not to be identified, said that the army sought to "fail the negotiating platform" by including two members of the former regime, Ambassador Omar Siddiq and Brigadier General Saleh al-Mubarak.

Both figures were rejected by the RSF, delaying the talks for three days before they agreed to dismiss them and retain them as experts.

- Negotiations suspended without any progress

The source confirmed that the second round of negotiations had faltered, and mediation was suspended without progress, especially in the humanitarian and ceasefire issues.

Last November, the second round of the Jeddah negotiations began with two main items: humanitarian aid and confidence-building measures.

On November 7, the two parties signed commitments to deliver humanitarian aid and confidence-building measures, which included four essential items, namely arresting the Islamists who escaped from prisons.

The source confirmed that the agreement set ten days to arrest the wanted persons.

The Rapid Support delegation handed over a list of wanted persons, and the army delegation requested five days, but it did not implement its pledges even after extending the deadline ten more days.

According to the same source, the army delegation refused to send humanitarian aid to the affected areas in Darfur and other regions around the country.

He also refused to open the airports of Nyala, el-Geneina, and el-Fasher for humanitarian purposes and insisted on delivering aid through Port Sudan airport.

- Controlling the capital

The Rapid Support Forces controlled large areas of the capital, forcing the army to retreat in Darfur and Kordofan.

Last month, the RSF took control of significant army strongholds in Nyala, Zalingei, and el-Geneina in the Darfur region.

The source told the Arab World News Agency that the army delegation asked Doctors Without Borders and the Italian and Norwegian organizations to stop their work in Khartoum, refusing to grant visas to humanitarian and medical workers.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Sudan said on Friday that it was forced to make the difficult decision to reduce the number of employees to the minimum in al-Ban al-Jadeed Hospital.

The organization noted that the measures come from the strict restrictions imposed on employees' movements and the authorities' delay in issuing travel permits.

- Umma Party: Disappointment

The head of the National Umma Party, Fadlallah Burma Nasser, said on Monday that the collapse of the Jeddah negotiations disappointed the Sudanese people.

In a statement, he stated that the National Umma accuses the extremist forces of the negotiations' failure, pointing out that the irresponsible statements and spreading of accusations confirm the lack of national will to reach an agreement.