Israel set off an explosion in an olive grove near the house of a senior Hamas activist early yesterday, killing five Palestinians and wounding seven, two of them critically. \nThe Israeli military said the Hamas leader was targeted in an operation by the air force, but provided no details. \nIn the past four years of fighting, Israel has carried out scores of targeted attacks on militants, firing missiles from aircraft. \nHowever, Palestinian witness-es said they saw no helicopters or fighter planes at the time of yesterday's explosion outside the home of Ahmed Jabari, the Hamas activist, in Gaza City. \nmysterious strike \nJabari's neighbors said that at around the time of the blast, they spotted an Israeli drone -- an unmanned aircraft used for observation -- in the area. Several men were in an olive grove next to Jabari's house at the time. \nIt was not clear if Jabari was hurt in the blast. \nPalestinian hospital officials said two of the dead were Hamas militants and another was with the Islamic Jihad group. The others were not identified. \nIsrael Radio said Jabari's brother and son were among those killed. \nSeven people were wounded, two critically, hospital officials said. \nIn announcing a targeted attack, the Israeli military usually says how it was carried out, whether by helicopter or warplane. However, yesterday's description was vague. \n"The Israeli Air Force targeted a senior Hamas terrorist in an operation by the Israeli security forces in the northern Gaza Strip," the statement said. \nSETTLEMENTS \nOn Tuesday, Sharon approved the construction of 1,000 new housing units in four large West Bank settlements. \nThough the settlement construction violates the US-backed "road map" peace plan, US reaction was muted compared to earlier statements denouncing settlement building. \nIn Washington, US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said, "Our concern is to determine whether these tenders are consistent with Israel's commitments" to stop construction. \nThe text of the "road map" is clear: Israel "freezes all settlement activity [including natural growth of settlements]." \nHowever, the Israelis note that Bush acknowledged that even in a peace arrangement, Israel would not be expected to give up main settlement blocs in the West Bank. \nIn a phone conversation with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday, Sharon said he would go ahead with the Gaza pullout, Sharon's office said. Egypt has been working for a smooth transition of power after the Israeli pullout. \nMubarak discussed "the deteriorating situation in Palestinian territories, especially in Gaza Strip," according to Cairo's Middle East News Agency, and appealed for an end to violence on both sides. \nIn the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday, soldiers shot and killed a 9-year-old boy, Palestinians said. \nThe area was under Israeli curfew. The military said soldiers opened fire three times in Nablus on Tuesday but did not know of any deaths. \nThe military also said that soldiers found a workshop in Nablus where Palestinians were making rockets. \nUp to now, militants have fired homemade rockets only from Gaza.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies