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UNRWA spokesman on desperate humanitarian situation
2014.07.30 14:39:43

We are completely overwhelmed. This is a cry from the heart. We can't go on, we've reached breaking point [...] It's intolerable that humanitarian workers are paying such an inordinately high price. It's got to stop.

-- The UNRWA's Chris Gunness, on the desperate humanitarian situation in Gaza.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | UNRWA

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Israeli shelling on a UN school
2014.07.30 14:38:10

Israeli shelling on a UN school being used as a shelter in the Gaza Strip has killed at least 16 people and injured scores of others, the health ministry in Gaza says.

Wednesday’s shelling hit the school in Jabaliya refugee camp, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said, on the 23rd day of Israel's military campaign against the Palestinian coastal enclave.

Earlier, medics put the death toll at 23.

An official for the UN's Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) told the AFP news agency that the strike hit a bathroom and two classrooms inside the girls' school.

Source said people there did not know why Israel had hit the shelter, adding that the attack caused panic among people living in different UN-run shelters.

"As we were traveling to the hospital, we saw families with many children leaving other UN schools. They feel insecure. There seemed to be no safe shelter for them in Gaza, not even in UN schools."



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Israeli fire killed at least 21 Palestinians
2014.07.30 10:15:29

Israeli fire killed at least 21 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday as the Jewish state said it targeted Islamist militants at dozens of sites across the coastal enclave, while Egyptian mediators prepared a revised ceasefire proposal.

Israeli tank shells pounding houses in eastern Jebalya in the northern Gaza Strip killed 13 people and wounded many others, health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said. Among the dead were a medic and an infant, he said.

Eight people, including five members of the same family in Jebalya, were killed in other strikes across the Gaza Strip.

Gaza hospital officials put the total number of Palestinians killed in the conflict at 1,224, most of them civilians. On the Israeli side, 53 soldiers and three civilians have been killed since the start of the offensive on July 8. [Reuters]



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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UNRWA's statement
2014.07.30 09:00:17

The United Nations agency that looks after Palestinian refugees said on Tuesday it had found a cache of rockets at one of its schools in the Gaza Strip and deplored those who had put them there.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesman Chris Gunness condemned those responsible for placing civilians in harm's way by storing the rockets at the school but he did not specifically blame any particular party.

Gunness said  in a statement:

We condemn the group or groups who endangered civilians by placing these munitions in our school. This is yet another flagrant violation of the neutrality of our premises. We call on all the warring parties to respect the inviolability of U.N. property.

[Reuters]



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Qassam Brigades' video
2014.07.30 08:58:08

The military wing of Hamas – the Qassam Brigades - has released the below video, which appears to show a group of fighters emerging from a tunnel into Israel.

The men then dash through what looks like a rural area, before attacking a  watchtower.

The clip was shown on the Hamas TV channel Al Aqsa.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Qassam Brigades

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
2014.07.30 08:56:24

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday asked Belarus to host talks between Russian and Ukrainian envoys to discuss access to the MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine.

"Petro Porochenko contacted Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko to offer to cooperate on organising a meeting in Minsk" on Thursday between Ukrainian ex-president Leonid Kuchma, Russian ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and a representative of the European security body OSCE, the Ukrainian presidency said in a statement.

The talks in the Belarus capital would address "access by international experts to the site of the crash of Malaysia Airlines," it said. [AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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US hits 3 Russian banks with sanctions over Ukraine
2014.07.30 04:06:56

The US Treasury has announced punitive sanctions on three leading Russian banks including the giant VTB to press Moscow over its support for rebels in Ukraine.

The sanctions announced on Tuesday banned any Americans or people in US jurisdictions from any new medium or long-term financing transactions with VTB Bank, its subsidiary Bank of Moscow and Russian Agricultural Bank.

All three are controlled by the Russian government.

The sanctions aim at choking off anything but short-term financing for the banks, which could inhibit their ability to build or maintain long-term lending business.

Under the rules, are prohibited from transacting in or providing financing for any new debt from the banks for over 90 days. [AFP]

Obama on new sanctions against Russia:

No, it's not a new Cold War.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States | Barack Obama

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Chile condemns the Israeli offensive in Gaza
2014.07.30 04:04:54

Chile has condemned the Israeli offensive in Gaza and has summoned the Israeli ambassador to Santiago for consultations - AP



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Chile

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24-hour ceasefire must be in place before talks
2014.07.30 02:54:13

According to a senior Palestinian leader, Egypt has told all sides in the Gaza conflict that a 24-hour ceasefire must be in place before talks get underway in Cairo.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Egypt

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EU president says new Russia sanctions a 'strong warning' but reversible
2014.07.30 02:53:06

The broad EU economic sanctions against Russia are intended to be "a strong warning" but could be reversed if Moscow changes course in Ukraine, EU President Herman Van Rompuy said.

The sanctions targeting Russia's finance, defense and energy sectors are "meant as a strong warning" that its actions in Ukraine cannot be tolerated but if Moscow changes course, then the EU too is "ready to reverse its decisions," Van Rompuy said in a statement on Tuesday. [AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | European Union

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100 Gazans killed in Israeli bombardmen
2014.07.30 02:52:06

At least 100 Gazans have been killed in Israeli bombardment on Tuesday, Gaza officials have said, hours after shells hit the enclave's only power station.

A thick column of black smoke was seen rising from the power station on Tuesday, mingling with other plumes sent into the air by Israeli shelling.

Click here to read our full report.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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US preparing new Russia sanctions: Kerry
2014.07.30 02:49:57

The United States is drawing up fresh sanctions against Russia for its role in fueling the crisis in Ukraine, top US  diplomat John Kerry warned.

"We are in the process of preparing additional sanctions, with Europe," Kerry told reporters on Tuesday, shortly after the EU finally adopted broad economic measures against Moscow.

But he added that Russian President Vladimir Putin "still has a choice going forward with respect to his ability to be able to have an impact with the separatists."

Speaking after meeting with new Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin at the State Department, Kerry revealed he had again raised US concerns over Russia's role in stirring unrest in eastern Ukraine during a telephone call Tuesday with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. [AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States | John Kerry | Sergey Lavrov

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Erdogan would be glad to return the award
2014.07.30 02:41:21

In a letter released by his office on Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan would be glad to return an award given to him by a Jewish-American association a decade ago.  

The New York-based American Jewish Congress said in a letter to Erdogan last week that he had become the world's "most virulent anti-Israeli leader" and it demanded that he return an award it had given him partly for his efforts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

"Prime Minister Erdogan will be glad to return the award given back in 2004," Turkey's ambassador to Washington Serdar Kilic said in the letter addressed to American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen.

There is widespread anger in Turkey at Israel's offensive in Gaza.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Turkey

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EU agrees on economic sanctions against Russia
2014.07.30 02:39:15

The European Union reached agreement on the bloc's first broad economic sanctions on Russia over its role in Ukraine, diplomats said, marking a new phase in the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.

The measures agreed on Tuesday will shut state-owned Russian banks out of European capital markets and target the defense sector and sensitive technologies, including oil, but exclude the vital gas sector, on which Europe is heavily dependent.

In contrast to the United States, the 28-nation EU, with bigger economic interests at stake, hesitated for months to take decisive action against Moscow.

But the mood changed radically after the downing of a civilian flight in an area of Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists earlier this month, killing all 298 people on board, including 194 Dutch citizens.

EU ambassadors clinched their agreement as intense fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine killed dozens of civilians, soldiers and rebels. It is expected to be finalized on Wednesday. [Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | European Union

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Israeli Army struck
2014.07.30 02:38:18

The Israeli Army struck three primary buildings in Gaza city on Monday night. One was the finance ministry. Another on the list was the Al Aqsa TV building, and the empty house of Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.

Meanwhile, Gaza officials say at least 100 Palestinian have been killed in Israeli strikes on Tuesday.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas

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OSCE to begin monitoring Russian border crossings
2014.07.30 02:36:55

Observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe were set to arrive in southern Russia for their mission to monitor two border crossings with rebel-held Ukraine, the OSCE said.

The first members of the team of 16 civilian monitors were due to arrive on Tuesday in Russia's Rostov region where they were expected to hold meetings with officials from the regional administration, border guards and customs service, said OSCE spokeswoman Tatyana Baeva.

They could begin visiting the two Russian border posts as soon as Wednesday, she said.

Russia has been keen to refute Western allegations that it has been supplying weapons across the border to pro-Russian rebels.

However the three-month OSCE mission only covers two border crossings -- Donetsk and Gukovo -- and not the entire border.

"The monitors were sent where the border isn't being crossed," independent Russian defense analyst Pavel Felgenhauer told AFP. [AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Russia sanctions threaten to blow euro zone off course
2014.07.30 02:27:27

The knock to confidence from harsher European sanctions on Russia could spoil the euro zone's budding economic recovery even if it shrugs off the fallout on trade.

Following months of hesitation, the European Union will seek on Tuesday to seal the first broad economic sanctions on Russia - its third-biggest trading partner - following the downing of a Malaysian airliner over territory controlled by pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine.

If endorsed by ambassadors from 28 European Union countries, Europe could limit access to capital markets by Russian state banks, impose an embargo on arms sales and restrict trade of high-tech energy technologies and "dual use" technology that has both civilian and defense applications. [Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | European Union

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Palestinians offer one-day ceasefire
2014.07.30 02:26:09

BREAKING: Palestinians offer one-day ceasefire. No word from Israel, yet.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Russia accuses Ukrainian troops of gunfire across border
2014.07.30 02:25:09

Russia has repeated accusations that Kiev's forces had fired across the border from eastern Ukraine into Russian territory with assault rifles and grenade launchers.

"We officially demand Kiev stop firing at the sovereign territory of the Russian Federation," the foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Kiev has denied firing into Russian territory. [Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Fuel depot of the Gaza Strip hit
2014.07.30 02:24:21

Israeli tank fire has hit the fuel depot of the Gaza Strip's only power plant cutting electricity to Gaza City and many other parts of the Palestinian enclave of 1.8 million people.

A thick column of black smoke rose from the facility, which supplies the territory with two-thirds of its energy needs, and the fuel containers were in flames.

The Israeli army has said that the oil depot was not a target.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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