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Israel and Syria exchange most extensive missile strikes

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Israel and Syria exchange most extensive missile strikes

Earlier Tel Aviv claimed of killing 15 including 8 Iranians

In another major development in the Middle East on Thursday morning, Israel and Syria have exchanged barrage of missiles, considered to be the most extensive strikes in decades. Israel claimed attacking dozens of Iranian targets in Syria in response to 20 rockets fired at Israeli military outposts.

Earlier, Israel had claimed of carrying out an attack on a military base south of Damascus, which was used by Iranian forces. London based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it killed at least 15 people, including eight Iranians. Killing of two civilians was confirmed by Syrian news agency.

The Israeli claim of hitting Iranian targets in Syria came one day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Tehran of preparing to attack Israel saying “For the past months, Iran has been transferring weapons to its forces in Syria”.

While addressing live on television on Tuesday night, after Trump announced of withdrawing from Iran nuclear deal, Netanyahu said, We will react with force” to any attack. He also said “The army is prepared, the army is strong, and whoever will try us will feel well the strength of our army”.

According to Israel’s leading daily Haaretz, the Israeli military has accused Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Al Quds force and its commander Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani, of launching the attack at the “Israeli Golan Heights”. This is the first time Israel has directly accused Iran of firing toward Israeli territory, the daily said.

Read More: Syria threatens to respond any future Israeli aggression

Israel has claimed of intercepting four of the rockets by its Iron Dome air defense system and the rest of the rockets exploded on Syrian territory. Tel Aviv has also said there were no casualties in the attack.

Israel has also claimed that the targets included weapons storage, logistics sites and intelligence centers used by elite Iranian forces in Syria. It has also claimed of destroying several Syrian air-defense systems after coming under heavy fire. It said none of its warplanes was hit.

Israel and Syria exchange most extensive missile strikes

Haaretz further said that a source in the Israeli security establishment said this attack was the largest carried out by Israel since it signed a disengagement agreement with Syria in May 1974.

Contradicting the Israeli claims, Syrian air defenses have claimed of repelling an Israeli missile aggression on Syrian territories, shooting down scores of missiles. It has claimed of intercepting rockets fired from Israeli aircraft after Tel Aviv targeted Syrian army positions in the “occupied Golan Heights”.

Read More: Israel claims most significant attacks on Syria, Russia cautions Tel Aviv

Syrian official news agency SANA, reported the Israeli aggressions targeted air defense battalions and radars in Syria with missiles fired by “enemy warplanes” from within the occupied territories. Earlier it claimed of intercepting barrage of Israeli missiles after some 20 projectiles were launched from Syrian soil at Israeli positions in the Golan Heights in response to an earlier Israeli shelling on Quneitra province.

SANA reports that the Syrian air defenses were “confronting a new wave of Israeli aggression rockets and downing them one after the other”. However, referring to a military source, it added that Israeli rocket fire had hit a Syrian radar site and an ammunition warehouse.

Earlier Syrian media said that Israeli troops had shelled the city of Ba’ath in the southern province of Quneitra. No casualties have been reported from any of the incidents.

Read More: UN Head calls for de-escalation in Syria-Israel theatre

A Syrian correspondent from Quneitra reports on Thursday that Syrian air defenses shot down Israeli missiles over Ba’ath city.

Earlier on Tuesday, when Trump announced US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal, Israeli missiles targeted Syrian army positions in the Kishweh area south of Damascus. On the same day Israel had reportedly instructed local authorities to “unlock and ready (bomb) shelters” for the settlers.

SANA reports that aggression took place less than 24s after the Syrian air defenses shot down two Israeli missiles over Kishweh area in Damascus countryside.

Israeli media claim of  “Israel’s Golan Heights” is factually wrong. In fact Israel seized the Syrian Golan Heights during 1967 six day war and has continued to occupy two-thirds of the strategically important territory ever since, in a move which has never recognized by international community.

Israel has been frequently using the occupied Golan Heights to carry out military operations against Syrian territories.

Read More: Israeli F-16 shot down by Syrians, Tel Aviv hit Iranian drone

Tehran based Press TV and Iran’s official news agency IRNA have so far neither confirmed nor denied Israel targeting Iranian military installations in Syria. Instead, Iranian media has reported the exchange of missile attacks between Israeli and Syrian forces.

SANA report says that the command of the Lebanese Army said that four Israeli warplanes violated its airspace at the same time as the aggression took place.

2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Lok Sabha Elections: Voter turnout 62.02% in Tamil Nadu till 5pm

The voter turnout in Tamil Nadu stands at 62.02%, while Uttar Pradesh records a turnout of 57.5%. Meanwhile, in West Bengal, voter participation surges to 77.5% as of 5 pm.

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The Lok Sabha elections 2024 began today, marking the onset of the world’s largest electoral event. Voting ended in all 39 Lok Sabha constituencies in Tamil Nadu with a total voter turnout of 62.02%. State BJP chief and Coimbatore Lok Sabha constituency candidate K Annamalai said, they were getting complaints from a large number of voters that their names were missing from the voters’ list.

This incident happened in many places. Annamalai said they are demanding re-poll in places where the names of a large number of voters were missing.He said they had a doubt that there was some political interference because the names of a large number of BJP caders were missing from the voters list.

 The voters in South Chennai showed lukewarm interest to participate in the election process and had a total voter turnout of 57.04% till 5pm. Although the overall percentage is poor, some areas like Thiruvanmiyur witnessed brisk polling from 7am onwards. Elderly, middle aged and young voters turned up and it was a family outing for many as they cast their vote.

Corporation volunteers assisted senior citizens with wheelchairs and guided them to their respective polling booths. The hot weather also had an impact on the polling as it reduced the voter turnout as many booths in the corporation school in MGR Nagar were seen deserted around noon. Senior citizens showed courage as they reached the polling booths in private vehicles to exercise their franchise.

Most of the polling booths had shamianas for voters so that they could wait in a queue. Some people even found refuge in the nearby buildings to save themselves from the scorching heat. The polling officials gave instructions to the voters to keep their phones switched off while they exercised their franchise. The security personnel at the polling booth also regulated traffic outside the polling booth in MGR Nagar.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Deserted by key supporters, the Kamal Nath story looks set to wind to an end in Chhindwara

Nath’s closest allies in his near 50-year reign—Deepak Saxena and Kamlesh Shah—have deserted him. His local team of corporators has also decided to jump ship leaving a gaping hole in Nath’s campaign trail.

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By Neeraj Mishra

The Congress has lost Chhindwara only once since Independence when the wily Sunderlal Patwa was sent there by Atal Bihari Vajpayee to test Kamal Nath’s hold on the constituency. Patwa won the 1997 by-election by a slim margin in the backdrop of Nath having forced his wife to first contest and later vacate the seat for him. Nath, however, returned to his winning ways the very next year and has won the seat nine times.

It seems possible that Chhindwara, the lone surviving Congress seat, will be lost again this time and may be forever. A day ahead of polling, the town was drowned in saffron. Not so much the effect of vigorous campaigning by Vivek Sahu of the BJP but the Ram Navami festival which brought out saffron flags on every rooftop.  The effect is likely to last since the polling is today. At 77, Nath is unlikely to contest another election here and his son Nakul seems like a pale shadow of his father unable to even make a forceful speech. The days of running Chhindwara from Shikarpur kothi are gone.

Nath’s closest allies in his near 50-year reign—Deepak Saxena and Kamlesh Shah—have deserted him. His local team of corporators has also decided to jump ship leaving a gaping hole in Nath’s campaign trail. Nakul had won by a margin of 37,000 votes in 2019 and the biggest lead had come from Kamlesh’s Amarwada Assembly segment. With Saxena in control of Chhindwara and forced to show his strength in his new party, it is highly likely that Nakul will not be depending on these segments. Instead, the Congress campaign was focused on Pandhurna, Parasia and Chaurai.

Amit Shah was in the region a couple of days ago and warned all BJP workers—old and new—against lethargy. His message was clear, the BJP wants all 29 seats this time. Cabinet Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya is camped here and using all his political acumen for the desired results. One such tactic was to raid the Shikarpur Kothi of Kamal Nath for his assistant Miglani who handles almost everything for him. With Miglani temporarily neutralised, BJP is best placed to repeat its win in Chhindwara in 1997.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Lok Sabha Elections 2024:  Nearly 40% voter turnout till 1pm

Chennai recorded an average voter turnout of 34% as of 1 pm on Friday. According data released by the Election Commission of India, Chennai (North) recorded 35%, Chennai (Central) recorded 32.3% and Chennai (South) recorded 34%.

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The first phase of voting for the 18th Lok Sabha elections started taking place in 21 states and Union territories on Friday. Nearly 40% voter turnout was recorded till 1pm across the states. Seats in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep and Puducherry go to elections on Friday.

There has been a substantial increase in the voter turnout charts across the Northeast states, with Tripura leading at 53.04% until 1 pm, as per the data released by the Election Commission of India. Other northeast states like Manipur (46.92%) and Meghalaya (48.91%) are also witnessing high voter turnout. After Tripura, West Bengal is experiencing a high voter turnout of 50.96%.

Chennai recorded an average voter turnout of 34% as of 1 pm on Friday. According data released by the Election Commission of India, Chennai (North) recorded 35%, Chennai (Central) recorded 32.3% and Chennai (South) recorded 34%.

Over 33% voter turnout was recorded in the first 6 hours of voting on Friday in 12 parliamentary constituencies of Rajasthan. According to the Election Commission, voting started at 7 am amid tight security arrangements and 33.73 % voting took place till 1 pm. The highest voter turnout of 40.72 % was recorded in the Ganganagar Lok Sabha seat while Karauli-Dholpur saw the lowest turnout of 28.32 %. Jaipur recorded a poll percentage of 39.35 %.

Over 37 % voter turnout was recorded till 1 pm in the Lok Sabha election being held for five parliamentary constituencies in Uttarakhand on Friday. Elections began at 7 am and the five constituencies recorded an overall poll percentage of 37.33 % up to 1 pm. The Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar seat recorded the highest turnout of 40.46 %, followed by Haridwar with 39.41%, Pauri Garhwal with 36.60 %, Tehri Garhwal with 35.29 % and Almora with 32.29 %.

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