Two Palestinians were killed in an Israeli missile strike yesterday, the second day of an army raid aimed at stopping Palestinian rocket fire from a refugee camp at nearby Jewish settlements. \nIn all, 12 Palestinians were killed in fighting in the Khan Younis refugee camp in southern Gaza since Thursday, officials said. \nThe Israeli military said the two Palestinians hit by the missile yesterday were militants. The army said the air force had spotted two armed Palestinians planting explosive devices near an Israeli military position and opened fire, hitting both. \nAlso yesterday, a 16-year-old Palestinian died of wounds sustained on Thursday, hospital officials said. \nThe Israeli military says its operation in Khan Younis is aimed at preventing militants from attacking nearby Jewish settlements. Earlier this month, a Thai worker died when a Palestinian mortar round hit the Jewish settlement of Ganei Tal. \nMortar Fire \nIn recent weeks, Palestinian militants have intensified mortar fire on Jewish settlements, ahead of Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip this summer. \nPalestinian militant groups are jockeying for power in the post-Israel era and want to portray the Israeli pullback as retreat under fire. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has warned that he is determined to stop the mortar attacks. \nPalestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat condemned the Kahn Younis raid. \n"I believe that this escalation, one week before the presidential election is seriously undermining this election," Erekat said. \nThe election is set for Jan. 9. \nGunman \nIn the West Bank, meanwhile, Palestinian presidential candidate Mahmoud Abbas rode on the shoulders of the West Bank's most famous gunman during a campaign stop on Thursday, prompting questions of whether Abbas is playing campaign politics or identifying with violent groups. \nZakaria Zubeidi, the local leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Bri-gades, a violent group with ties to Abbas' ruling Fatah party, took center stage when Abbas came to visit the battered Jenin refugee camp. \nAssault rifle slung over his shoulder, Zubeidi and other gunmen hoisted Abbas onto their shoulders, and the candidate smiled and waved. \nIsrael has been quietly backing Abbas, the front-runner in the presidential election. Abbas, who has called attacks against Israelis a mistake, is seen as a moderate. \nIsraelis contrast him with late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat, whom they had shunned, charging that he had been involved in acts of terrorism. \nHowever, with the election less than two weeks away, and Abbas repeatedly referring to Arafat as his guide and associating with militants like Zubeidi, some Israelis are having second thoughts. \nZubeidi is idolized in the camp for his swagger and wanted by Israel for organizing attacks and sending suicide bombers into Israeli cities. Jenin was the scene of heavy fighting during an Israeli incursion in 2002 that followed one of the bombings. \nAbbas won Zubeidi's ringing endorsement. After Abbas left the stage, Zubeidi, with gunmen firing in the air, warned that he would deal with anyone who attempted to challenge the elected Palestinian leadership. Then Zubeidi escorted Abbas' car out of the camp. \nBacking \nPalestinian analysts say Abbas needs to win the election in a landslide to capture even a part of the emotional backing that Arafat had, possibly explaining his trip to the camp and embrace of Zubeidi. \nIn his address, Abbas referred to the 2002 battle, in which 52 Palestinians and 23 Israeli soldiers were killed, recalling that Yasser Arafat called the camp "Jeningrad." \nThe crowd responded with a healthy cheer. \n"When we demand security," Abbas said, "we demand it for all our citizens, including our wanted brothers who also deserve a life of security and safety," he said, in a reference to Zubeidi and his group, evoking another big cheer.
POINT-BLANK RANGE: Reporters and camera people from several outlets say police officers in Minneapolis had fired tear gas and rubber bullets directly at them Multiple journalists on the ground in Minnesota said they were teargassed and subject to other attacks by police on Saturday evening, a day after the widely condemned arrest of a CNN reporter live on air. Los Angeles Times journalist Molly Hennessy-Fiske, who was reporting outside the Fifth Precinct in Minneapolis, said she was with a group of about a dozen journalists when the Minnesota State Patrol “fired tear gas canisters on us at point blank range.” “I was saying: ‘Where do we go?’ They did not tell us where to go. They didn’t direct us. They just fired on us,” she said
For nearly a decade, the UN Security Council has been frequently paralyzed by Russia’s obstinacy over the Syrian crisis. Today, however, it is the US-China rivalry that has infected a growing array of issues, according to officials and diplomats. As recently as 2017, an understanding between Washington and Beijing allowed the UN on three occasions — involving separate sets of economic sanctions — to project international unity in the face of the North Korean nuclear threat. Three years later, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a ferocious competition erupt between the UN’s two main contributors, prompting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May
HISTORIC FLIGHT: The astronauts named their capsule ‘Endeavour,’ after the space shuttle on which they both flew, while Elon Musk said he was overcome with emotion Two veteran NASA astronauts headed for the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday after Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Saturday became the first commercial company to launch a rocket carrying humans into orbit, ushering in a new era in space travel. SpaceX’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard blasted off flawlessly in a cloud of bright orange flames and smoke from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a 19-hour voyage to the space station. “Let’s light this candle,” Hurley, the mission commander, told SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California, before liftoff at 3:22pm from NASA’s
INDIA Pride to be preserved The nation would not let its “pride be hurt” in its latest border flare-ups with China, but is determined to settle the dispute through talks, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh said in a television interview late on Saturday. “Situations arise with China. It has happened before,” Singh said, adding that the government was striving to make sure “tension does not escalate.” The government has turned down US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate, he said. IRAN Speaker says talks futile Newly elected Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf yesterday said that any negotiations with the US would be “futile.” The nation’s