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Israel will continue to hit Islamic jihad: Netanyahu

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Jerusalem, Nov 13 Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Israel’s army will countinue to strike Gaza’s Islamic Jihad group if rocket fire towards Israel continues.

“We are continuing to hit Islamic Jihad after eliminating its senior commander,” Netanyahu said during a special cabinet meeting, referring to Tuesday’s predawn strikes that killed Baha Abu al-Atta, a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander and his wife.

He said the fighting between Israel and Gaza’s Islamic Jihad group “could take time”, Xinhua reported.

Netanyahu said that al-Atta “was responsible for most of the terror attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip in the last year and he was planning to carry out more attacks in the very next days”.

He said that Israel is not interested in further escalation but warned the Islamic Jihad that the Israeli army “will continue to strike them with no mercy” if rocket fire towards Israel continues.

Netanyahu addressed the citizens of Israel and said the escalation “could take time” and asked them to stay vigilant.

The killing of al-Atta triggered a spate of violence, including at least 250 rockets fired at central and southern Israel and dozens of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

At least 16 Palestinians have been killed and 50 more were wounded in Gaza since Tuesday, according to Gaza’s health ministry figures.

Meanwhile, no fatalities were reported in Israel and two people were injured by shrapnel, according to the country’s MDA medical emergency service.

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Bangladesh PM calls CAA ‘internal matter’ but ‘unnecessary’

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Sheikh Hasina
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New Delhi, Even as Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina believes that Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is India’s “internal matter”, she has described the law, which aims to grant citizenship to persecuted religious minorities of the three neighboring Muslim countries, “unnecessary”.

Hasina said this in an interview to the Gulf News at Abu Dhabi, where she is on a visit to hold high-level bilateral meetings. We don’t understand why (the Indian government) did it. It was not necessary,” Hasina told Gulf News.

“Bangladesh has always maintained that the CAA and NRC are internal matters of India. The Government of India, on their part, has also repeatedly maintained that the NRC is an internal exercise of India and Prime Minister Modi has in person assured me of the same during my visit to New Delhi in October 2019,” she added.

The CAA passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019, grants citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian refugees who fled from religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before December 2014.

The law came into effect last month. The Opposition and some youth organizations in India have been protesting against the CAA. Some protests turned violent too.

Soon after the CAA was passed, Dhaka canceled its high-level visits and meetings in New Delhi. Hasina’s description of the law now as “unnecessary” is in line with the concerns in Bangladesh establishment that the CAA might trigger reverse migration of Bangladesh illegal immigrants living in India.

However, Hasina in her interview said there was no reverse migration from India to Bangladesh yet. Dhaka has also denied there has been any religious persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh. “But within India, people are facing many problems,” Hasina said vaguely to the Gulf News.

Officials in the Ministry of External Affairs, however, insisted that the CAA is an internal matter. “Necessary or unnecessary is a matter of perception. It has been passed by Parliament,” said an official who did not want to be quoted.

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70 soldiers killed in Yemen missile attack

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Sanaa, At least 70 soldiers were killed in a ballistic missile attack in Yemen’s Marib province, a government source said on Sunday.

Dozens of soldiers were still suffering critical injuries from the attack that took place on Saturday night near a mosque in al-Estikbal military base, the source told Xinhua news agency.

Yemeni government officials have blamed the Iran-allied Houthi rebels for the attack, but the Houthis have not claimed responsibility.

Hours after the Marib attack, the Saudi-led coalition, which backs the Yemeni government forces, launched a series of airstrikes on a Houthi-controlled military base in the southeast of the group-held capital Sanaa, with no casualties reported, according to the residents.

The Arab coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015 to support the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi against the Houthis who stormed the capital Sanaa and controlled much of the country’s north in late 2014.

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Bushfire-hit Aus state braces for severe storms

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Melbourne, Australian forecasters warned on Sunday of severe storms to hit the bushfire-hit state of Victoria, which could lead to flooding.

The Bureau of Meteorology in Victoria issued severe thunderstorm warnings for parts of the state on Sunday, saying damaging winds and heavy rainfall were expected, the BBC reported.

It said storms and widespread rainfall were forecast in the state for the next three days. One forecaster from the bureau said the state was “about to see it’s wettest two-day period in many, many months”.

At least 14 fires were still burning in Victoria as of Sunday. In New South Wales (NSW), where 69 fires were burning on Sunday, forecasters said that widespread heavy rainfall in the north of the state would ease, as it withdrew flood warnings for the Bellinger and Orara rivers.

Meanwhile, officials in the third bushfire-hit state of Queensland urged people to “exercise caution” on Gold Coast beaches, where “large water movement and significant debris” were expected after heavy rainfall on Saturday.

The fires, which began in September 2019, have so far claimed at least 28 lives, destroyed thousands of homes and scorched millions of acres of land.

As the wet weather helped to ease the crisis, the government on Sunday announced a major package to aid tourism recovery, said the BBC.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government would channel some A$76 million ($52 million) from the national bushfire recovery fund into the industry.

He described the package as an “urgent injection” of funds for affected businesses, and said tourism in the country was facing “its biggest challenge in living memory”.

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