Israel has postponed a military strike against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, but has not sent home all the reserve soldiers called up for the mission, radio reports said yesterday, as life in the crowded patch of land on the Mediterranean returned to normal after several days of worried preparations.
In the West Bank, Israeli troops pulled out of the Palestinian town of Tulkarem, ending a raid of several hours. The military confirmed that for the first time in six weeks -- since the March 29 start of the "Defensive Shield" offensive against Palestinian militias -- there were no soldiers in Palestinian-run territories.
On Friday, Israeli soldiers withdrew from biblical Bethlehem, several hours after the end of a 39-day standoff with Palestinian gunmen in the Church of the Nativity, built over Jesus' alleged birthplace.
In the Gaza Strip, residents had been hoarding food and crowding bakeries in preparation for an expected Israeli incursion following a suicide bombing in a pool hall in a suburb of Tel Aviv that killed 15 Israelis earlier this week. Hamas, whose leadership is based in Gaza, had claimed responsibility for the attack.
In recent days, tanks were amassing on the borders of Gaza, soldiers were called up for reserve duty and several Cabinet ministers suggested a limited military operation in Gaza was imminent.
However, Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer decided after consultations with army commanders on Friday to postpone the strike, concerned that too many details about it had been leaked and that Palestinian militants been given too much time to prepare, Israeli radio stations reported Saturday.
Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin seemed unconcerned as he was showered with kisses from well-wishers at his neighborhood mosque in Gaza City on Friday. "I am not afraid, because I only fear God," the 70-year-old said.
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South