Connect with us

Middle East

Group of Gazan children get first glimpse of Jerusalem

Published

on

Masjid Al Aqsa

Jerusalem : Dozens of Palestinian children from the Gaza Strip saw Jerusalem and two of its holy sites for the first time on Sunday as part of a UN-run exchange programme.

Ninety-one children aged between eight and 14 crossed from the blockaded Palestinian enclave into Israel before visiting Jerusalem, according to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA.

All but seven had never been out of Gaza, said UNRWA’s Scott Anderson.

The children visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built at the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried, and the Al-Aqsa mosque compound nearby, he said.

Both sites are in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The children prayed and took pictures at the mosque compound, which also includes the golden-topped Dome of the Rock, an AFP journalist reported.

The compound is the third-holiest in Islam and the most sacred for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.

“They were over-the-moon excited,” Anderson said. “There’s really no other way to describe it.”

The children later travelled to Ramallah and will remain in the occupied West Bank, the other Palestinian territory separated from Gaza by Israeli territory, until Friday.

They will visit various West Bank cities throughout the week.

The Gaza Strip, run by Islamist movement Hamas, has been under an Israeli blockade for a decade.

Gazans need Israeli permission to visit the West Bank and Jerusalem, which requires them to enter Israeli territory.

The vast majority of the children on Sunday’s trip had never been to Jerusalem even though it is only some 75 kilometres (around 45 miles) from Gaza City.

Gaza’s crossing with Egypt — the only other country with which it shares a border — has also remained largely closed in recent years.

Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israel have fought three wars since 2008.

UN officials have called for an end to the blockade, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the enclave of two million people.

Israel says it is needed to stop Hamas from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used to make them.

The exchange programme, in its first year, included 38 Palestinian children from the West Bank visiting the Gaza Strip a few weeks ago.

UNRWA hopes to carry out more such exchanges in the future.

Middle East

Gaza protests : 4 killed, 618 injured

Eyewitnesses said Israeli soldiers fired tear gas at journalists and TV crew in eastern Gaza. Palestinian demonstrators brought down an Israeli drone carrying a camera used to film demonstrators in eastern Gaza City.

Published

on

Gaza protests

Jerusalem, June 9 (IANS) Four Palestinian protesters were killed and 618 others wounded by Israeli soldiers on Friday during clashes near the Israel-Gaza border, officials said.

Ashraf al-Qedra, the Health Ministry spokesman in Gaza, said Zeyad al-Briem, 25, and Haytham al-Jammal, 15, were killed in east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip, while Emad Darabieh, 26, was shot dead in east of Jabalia in northern Gaza.

Meanwhile, Yousef al-Faseeh, 29, was killed in east of Gaza City, Xinhua reported.

Among the injured Palestinians, 117 were hit with live gunshots, 60 with tear gas inhalation, and 77 by bullets shrapnels or tear gas canisters, said al-Qedra.

The clashes, which broke out on Friday afternoon, were part of the 11th Friday “Great March of Return” held by Palestinians in Gaza since March 30. More than 120 Palestinians have been killed so far.

Related image

The Palestinian organisers called the latest rally “the Friday of the One-million-men March for Jerusalem”.

Local media reported that thousands of Palestinian demonstrators joined the protests at five different spots in eastern Gaza.

Hundreds of kites carrying Molotov cocktails flown by demonstrators landed on Israeli agricultural fields and caused large fires.

Eyewitnesses said Israeli soldiers fired tear gas at journalists and TV crew in eastern Gaza. Palestinian demonstrators brought down an Israeli drone carrying a camera used to film demonstrators in eastern Gaza City.

Five journalists were injured, including AFP photographer Mohamed al-Baba, who was shot in his right foot, and a cameraman working for the al-Aqsa Radio of Hamas, who was hit with a tear gas canister in his back, the Health Ministry in Gaza said.

The Ministry also accused Israeli soldiers of firing tear gas at the medical workers who were treating the injured protesters.

Continue Reading

Middle East

Israel begins building marine barrier with Gaza

Israel claims Hamas constructs these tunnels to attack Israeli civilians.

Published

on

Avigdor Liberman

Jerusalem, May 28 (IANS) Israel’s Defence Minister on Sunday announced that construction had begun on a marine barrier with the Gaza Strip extending into the Mediterranean Sea.

Avigdor Liberman said in a statement that the barrier aimed to prevent any attempts by Palestinians in Gaza to enter Israeli territory through the sea, Efe news reported.

“This is an additional setback for Hamas, which has lost another strategic capability that it has invested massive amounts in developing. We will continue to protect the citizens of Israel with might and sophistication,” Liberman said.

The barrier is to consist of three layers, one of which is to be underwater, and is expected to be completed within a year, the statement added.

During Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza, members of the military wing of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that governs the Gaza Strip, managed to swim to Israeli territory and launch an attack on a Israeli army installation before being killed.

Israeli authorities are also constructing an underground barrier beneath the Gaza-Israel boundary to stop Hamas from digging tunnels into Israeli territory.

Israel claims Hamas constructs these tunnels to attack Israeli civilians.

An independent inquiry into the 2014 war in Gaza by the UN Human Rights Council concluded that “the tunnels were only used to conduct attacks directed at IDF (Israeli army) positions in Israel in the vicinity of the Green Line, which are legitimate military targets.”

Continue Reading

Middle East

US drone strikes kill 11 IS militants in Afghanistan

The drone strikes were launched on Sunday. Two IS militants were also wounded and three vehicles were destroyed after the raids.

Published

on

drone-strike

Kabul, May 28 : At least 11 Islamic State (IS) militants were killed after US and NATO-led coalition forces launched airstrikes in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, authorities said on Monday.

“The drone strikes were launched on Sunday. Two IS militants were also wounded and three vehicles were destroyed after the raids,” an Army statement said.

Also on Sunday, Afghan Army helicopters struck and destroyed two heroin factories in Khogyani district, reports Xinhua news agency.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular