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Assad has been sworn
2014.07.18 03:24:09

Bashar al-Assad has been sworn in for a third term as Syria's president in a ceremony in Damascus, after an election his opponents said was a "farce".

What we are seeing today in Iraq and Lebanon, and all countries struck by this 'fake spring' disease ... proves our warnings were right: Soon we will see Arab, regional and Western countries paying a high price for supporting terrorism.

Read more...



Tags: Syria | Bashar al-Assad

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Qassam Brigades account on Twitter
2014.07.18 03:10:27

Qassam Brigades account on Twitter has been suspended by the social media site, just as it was during the last major conflict in Gaza.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Qassam Brigades | Twitter

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Israeli delegation landed in Cairo
2014.07.18 03:02:06

An Israeli delegation landed in Cairo last night for indirect talks with Hamas.

The delegation includes Yoram Cohen, the head of Shin Bet, and Yitzhak Molcho, the prime minister's aide, who was also heavily involved in the failed talks with the Palestinian Authority earlier this year.

Egyptian mediators are shuttling back and forth between the two sides.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Egypt

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Hamas fighters tunneled from Gaza
2014.07.18 02:55:11

The latest line in from Reuters: Israeli forces say they've repelled at least a dozen Hamas fighters who tunneled in from Gaza.

Israeli army sources say no Israelis were killed, and there were several Palestinian casualties after the incident, which happened in southern Israel on Thursday.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas

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Hamas has agreed to UN request
2014.07.18 02:53:17

Hamas has agreed to a UN request for a five hour ceasefire on Thursday.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement, the "armed factions accepted the offer by the United Nations for calm in the field for five hours between 1000 and 1500 on Thursday, for humanitarian needs."



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas

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Over 82 rockets hit Israel
2014.07.18 02:52:22

The Israeli army said on Wednesday that 132 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip, 82 of which were launched from northern Gaza.

Over 82 rockets hit Israel and approximately 33 were intercepted.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Death toll update
2014.07.17 05:27:18

At least 27 people have been killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza, bringing the total death toll of Palestinians killed in the nine-day conflict to 222. Of those killed, 47 were children. At least 1670 people have been injured in the violence.

One Israeli has been killed during the conflict. He died of his wounds after a rocket launched by Hamas group fell in an area along the border with Gaza.

Click here to view the names of the dead.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Temporarily halt fire in the Gaza
2014.07.17 05:24:01

Israel said would temporarily halt fire in the Gaza Strip on Thursday for a five-hour period, citing humanitarian reasons.

The military said after contacts with U.N. officials Israel has decided that "between 1000 (0700 GMT) and 1500 (1200 GMT) the Israeli military will cease operational activity with the Gaza Strip and hold its fire".

Israel has agreed to hold a five-hour cease-fire to allow UN humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said.

The UN on Wednesday asked Israel for a unilateral pause, a UN official told Al Jazeera, as renewed air strikes on the enclave threatened a major humanitarian crisis.

The military said Israel has decided that "between 1000 (0700 GMT) and 1500 (1200 GMT) the Israeli military will cease operational activity with the Gaza Strip and hold its fire".

UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry has asked the armed groups in Gaza to reciprocate.

Hamas said it was considering the request.

Military to hold a five-hour "humanitarian pause" in its bombardment to allow UN aid to enter the Gaza Strip.

Read more here



Tags: Israel | Gaza

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200+ people killed in Gaza
2014.07.17 05:22:01

The Israeli army admitted today that "about half" of the 200+ people killed in Gaza so far "were not involved in terrorism—civilians, in other words. The United Nations places the figure much higher, close to 80 percent.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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UN asked Israel for a unilateral pause
2014.07.17 05:20:03

The UN has asked Israel for a unilateral pause to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, a UN official said.

The official said Israel has not responded yet to the request.

If Israel agrees, UN Mideast envoy Robert Serry would then ask the armed groups in Gaza to reciprocate, the official added.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Israeli strikes on Gaza
2014.07.17 05:07:19

Six Palestinians, including two children, were killed in three Israeli strikes on Gaza on Wednesday, medics told the AFP news agency.

Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said one child was killed in Gaza City, and five people, including a second child, were killed in two strikes in southern Khan Yunis.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Abbas met Hamas political official
2014.07.17 05:06:35

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Hamas political official Moussa Abu  Marzouk on Wednesday in Cairo to discuss an Egyptian initiative that has  so far failed to halt more than a week of warfare in Gaza, Egypt's state news agency MENA said.

The talks were the first concrete sign that efforts to reach a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian fighters were still active despite the collapse a day earlier of a proposed mutual "de-escalation" of violence.

[Reuters]



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Egypt

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US Secretary of State John Kerry
2014.07.17 05:05:25

US Secretary of State John Kerry said he was pressing leaders in the Middle East to forge a Gaza ceasefire.

Our concern is to have a legitimate ceasefire and see if we can find a way to stop the conflict, killing, so we can get to the real issues that are underlying it. And, we are doing everything in our power.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | United States | John Kerry

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Al-Qassam Brigades sends text messages to Israelis
2014.07.17 04:55:20

Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, say they have sent text messages to half a million Israelis, warning them that the fighters would continue firing rockets on Israel if their government did not accept the ceasefire conditions put forward by Hamas.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas

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Secret call between Netanyahu and al-Sissi
2014.07.17 04:53:04

Israel-based Haaretz paper reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi on Saturday in a telephone call - prompted by Quartet envoy Tony Blair - that has been kept secret until now.

Secret call between Netanyahu, al-Sissi led to abortive cease-fire - Diplomacy and Defense

Haaretz has learned that the PM spoke to the Egyptian president in a phone call prompted by Quartet envoy Tony Blair.

Haaretz.com



Tags: Egypt | Hamas | Israel | Gaza

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Turkey's 'drastic measures'
2014.07.17 04:50:23

Turkey will take "drastic measures" to deal with the influx of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into its biggest city Istanbul, including forcibly sending them to camps in the southeast, the city's top official said on Wednesday.

Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu said there were now 67,000 Syrian refugees in the city and legislation would now be adopted that could see them effectively expelled from the city of 15 million to refugee camps closer to Syria.

Mutlu said authorities would take "drastic measures" to contain the negative consequences of Syrian refugees in Istanbul, including sending those begging in the streets back to the refugee camps "without their consent".

His comments came amid signs of growing tensions over the increasingly visible presence of Syrian refugees in Turkey as well as protests in several southeastern cities.

[AFP]



Tags: Syria | Turkey

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Israeli shelling
2014.07.17 04:25:23

Four children have been killed and several injured at a beach in Gaza City, medics said, in Israeli shelling.

Emergency services Ashraf al-Qudra confirmed four children were killed and at least five others injured, some of whom sought refuge at a hotel used by journalists.

The first strike hit at around 1300 GMT, prompting children and adults on the beach to scatter, as others rushed out to see what had happened.

A second and third struck as they ran, setting fire to huts on the beach as terrified children shouted that there were dead and injured.

The strikes appeared to be the result of shelling by the Israeli navy against an area with small shacks used by fishermen.

Several children ran inside the hotel where AFP journalists saw at least three with shrapnel injuries.

They were evacuated by ambulances, which also picked up more injured people from the beach, including one man who was missing part of his leg.

[AFP]



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Islamic State successful defense of Tikrit
2014.07.17 04:24:24

Some tweets from an Islamic State-affiliated account on the groups successful defense of Tikrit from an Iraqi army offensive.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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Biden to Ukraine: US, Europe weighing Russia costs
2014.07.17 04:23:00

Vice President Joe Biden has told Ukraine's leader that the US and Europe are talking about imposing new costs on Russia for continuing to escalate the conflict in Ukraine.

Biden and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spoke by phone on Tuesday.

The White House said they discussed how Russia is continuing to support pro-Russian separatists and how the conflict has apparently escalated in recent days.

Poroshenko also told Biden that Ukraine tried to arrange a meeting including the separatists, Russia and Ukraine, facilitated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

But the White House says Poroshenko told Biden that the separatists refused to attend. [AP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States

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Rebel fighters taken control of Al-Sheikh Saad town
2014.07.17 04:21:53

Syrian activists reported that rebel fighters have taken control of Al-Sheikh Saad town in Deraa’s western countryside after days of fierce fighting around the town.

The town was the last base for regime forces in the 61st Brigade.

It is also strategically important, given its close proximity to al-Sanamayn and Izraa, two districts in Deraa seen as the first defense line for the capital Damascus.



Tags: Syria

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