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Israel-Hamas ceasefire holds after escalation in attacks

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Israel-Hamas ceasefire holds after escalation in attacks

Both sides claim to hit back if violation occurs

There are contradictory reports of a ceasefire between Gaza based Palestinian resistance groups and Israeli forces.  An Arab news network has claimed of a ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel, Iranian media has quoted Hamas official saying Palestinian resistance groups have agreed to ceasefire in the blockaded coastal silver as long as Israel abides by a truce.

However, a Hezbollah owned Lebanese network has quoted Israeli Transport and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz saying that there was no proposal regarding a military operation in Gaza and denied reaching a ceasefire with Palestinian resistance in the besieged enclave.

Katz, while speaking in an interview in a Ynet studio on Wednesday, said “Cabinet is currently reviewing no proposal by a certified authority to act in an initiated manner to subdue Hamas in Gaza”.

Katz reacted on Hamas’s announcement of a ceasefire saying, “Israel does not hold ceasefires. Our rules of engagement have changed. I won’t be surprised if Hamas realized that and we may indeed be facing a calm, just as soon as they stop firing. Israel doesn’t have anything to do in Gaza.”

Israel-Hamas ceasefire holds after escalation in attacksHowever, Jerusalem Post, a prominent Israeli newspaper reports that “The rocket and mortar fire from Gaza has ceased because of significant strikes that the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) carried out overnight in Gaza,” a senior source in the Israeli defense establishment said Wednesday.

Read More: PLO Central Council: Palestine to revoke Israel’s recognition

The Israeli Defense official further said, “The IDF launched a significant strike overnight in Gaza and we have acted responsibly, and since the morning the fire has stopped. Israel has delivered a message that if the fire resumes, the attacks on Hamas and the other groups will intensify,” he said.

Earlier Doha based Aljazeera reported that Hamas said on Wednesday that armed groups in the Gaza strip had agreed to deal with Israel following a night of air attacks targeting several Hamas and Islamic Jihad positions in the coastal enclave.

Aljazeera and Tehran based Press TV quoted Khalil al-Hayya, Hamas Deputy chief in Gaza saying in a statement, “A number of mediators intervened in the past hours, and an agreement was reached to return to a ceasefire in Gaza”.

Read More: OIC Summit: Erdogan call Muslim leaders to confront Israel

He further said, “After the resistance succeeded in confronting the [Israeli] aggression … there was a lot of mediation in the past hours. An agreement was reached to return to the (2014) ceasefire understandings in the Gaza Strip. The resistance factions will abide by it as long as the Occupation does the same.”

Israel’s Reshet Bet reported that over 180 rockets and mortars were launched towards Israeli civilian areas, and earlier on Wednesday the IDF released an info graphic of 65 airstrikes carried against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in response to the over 24 hours of fire launched from the enclave.

Press TV reports that Israeli tank fire and airstrikes hit Gaza on Tuesday. The Tel Aviv regime said its assault came in response to a barrage of rocket and mortar rounds fired at the occupied territories.

Read More: Saudi Crown Prince recognise Israelis right to their own land

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel’s “fierce aggression” on Gaza “indicates that the occupation does not want peace. However, we want peace and we demand peace.”

The military wings of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed the “responsibility for the striking of military positions and Zionist settlements,” saying their strikes were in response to Israeli attacks targeting their positions in recent days.

They said in a rare joint statement that Israeli “crimes cannot be tolerated,” warning that “all options will be open” to them.

Read More: Israel’s Mossad killed Hamas engineer in Kuala Lumpur: NYT

Late on Tuesday, Islamic Jihad spokesman Dawoud Shihab told AFP that after Egyptian mediation a “ceasefire agreement was reached with Israel to return to calm. All factions, including Hamas and Jihad, are committed to understandings for calm.”

Observers believe that Hamas strikes on Israeli targets were serious. Egyptian government is considered to be ally of US and Israel. Mediation from Egyptians indicates Israel’s frustration in recent days.

There were reports that after escalation in the attacks from Syria forces and Hamas in Gaza on occupied territories there have been rise in insurance business. Recently American and Israeli citizens went into bunkers to save themselves in occupied Golan Heights from Syrian missile attacks.

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda says statements on reclaiming Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka have no ground

Devananda told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about Katchatheevu as elections are taking place in India.

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda has said the statements from some political leaders in India on reclaiming Katchatheevu from the island nation have no ground. He told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about the strategic island as elections are taking place in India.

The Sri Lankan Minister said he thought India is acting on its interests to secure this place to ensure Sri Lankan fishermen would not have any access to that area and that Sri Lanka should not claim any rights in that resourceful area. According to the 1974 agreement, Devananda said Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen can go fishing in the territorial waters of both countries until the pact was reviewed and amended in 1976.

The amended agreement resulted in fishermen from both countries being barred from fishing in neighboring waters. India’s ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday steered clear of the row surrounding Katchatheevu island. To a volley of questions on the Katchatheevu issue, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal reffered to External affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s recent comments on the matter.

He said he would like to talk about the issue that has been raised. He added the External Affairs minister has spoken to the press here in Delhi and also in Gujarat and has clarified all the issues. He said everyone should look into the press engagements and they would find the answers to their questions there.

The remarks from Devananda, a Sri Lankan Tamil, came days after the Narendra Modi government accused the Congress and its ally DMK in Tamil Nadu of overlooking national interests by handing over Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka in 1974. The BJP has also been slamming the 2 parties for not ensuring the rights of the fishermen wanting to fish in waters around the island.

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US reiterates its call for fair, transparent, legal process for Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, speaks on Congress frozen accounts

The US spokesperson said that they are also aware of the Congress party’s allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections.

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A day after India summoned an US diplomat over their remarks on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the liquor policy case, the US reiterated its call for fair, transparent, timely legal processes on Wednesday.

Responding to questions on India summoning Gloria Berbena, the US Acting Deputy Chief of Mission in New Delhi, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that they will continue to follow these actions closely, including the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Notably, the meeting at the foreign ministry’s South Block office lasted nearly 40 minutes yesterday with India objecting strongly to the US remarks on the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal.

Matthew Miller also responded to a question on the Congress party’s frozen bank accounts. The US spokesperson said that they are also aware of the Congress party’s allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections. He added that the US encourages fair, transparent and timely legal processes for each of the issues.

Arvind Kejriwal was arrested last week by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection to the Delhi liquor policy scam. Earlier, AAP leaders Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain and Sanjay Singh were arrested in the same case.

The External Affairs Ministry had earlier stated that states are expected to be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others, and this responsibility is even more so in case of fellow democracies, adding that it could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents.

The Ministry further emphasized that India’s legal processes are based on an independent judiciary which is committed to objective and timely outcomes. It mentioned that casting aspersions on India’s legal procedure is unwarranted.

The United State’s remarks followed days after Germany’s Foreign Office stressed that Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal is entitled to a fair and impartial trial. The Indian government labelled their remark as blatant interference in internal matters.

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5 Chinese nationals killed in suicide bomb attack in Pakistan

This is the third major attack on Chinese interests in Pakistan within a week.

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Nearly five Chinese nationals were killed in an explosion during an attack on their convoy by a suicide bomber in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday. Reportedly, the suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a convoy of Chinese engineers travelling from Islamabad to their camp in Dasu, situated in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Regional police chief Mohammad Ali Gandapur said that five Chinese nationals and their Pakistani driver were killed in the attack. As yet, none has claimed responsibility for the attack. Bisham Station House Officer (SHO) Bakht Zahir asserted that the incident was a suicide blast and the authorities concerned were collecting the evidence.

The Station House Officer further added that security arrangements were tightened at the spot and the bodies were being shifted to a hospital. He added that they will investigate from where and how the vehicle of a suicide bomber came and how it happened. Notably, this is the third major attack on Chinese interests in Pakistan within a week.

Previously, two attacks hit an airbase and a strategic port in the southwest province of Balochistan where China is investing billions in infrastructure projects. Several Chinese engineers and Pakistani construction workers have for multiple years been working on hydroelectric projects as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative in the western province of Khyber-Paktunkhwa.

Notably, Dasu is home to a significant dam project, has been a target of previous attacks. Earlier in 2021, the attack in Dasu resulted in the deaths of nine Chinese nationals, along with two Pakistani children. The incident occured when a bus carrying Chinese engineers and workers to the Dasu Hydropower Project site was targeted.

There was confusion surrounding the nature of the attack initially, with some reports suggesting it was a bus accident. Nonetheless, subsequent investigations revealed that it was indeed a terrorist attack. The bus was hit by a blast, leading it to plunge into a ravine.

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