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.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
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