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Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli airstrikes topple media tower and hit home of Hamas leader as death toll rises | World News



Tensions in Gaza have escalated further after an Israeli bombardment destroyed a high-rise building used by foreign press, followed up by the targeting of the home of one of Hamas’s leaders.

Israel‘s airstrike on the 12-storey tower block – an hour after people were told to evacuate the building – came as fighting raged despite international calls for a ceasefire.

The al Jalaa Tower in Gaza City, which houses Al Jazeera and the Associated Press (AP) news agency, among others, was hit twice by an Israeli bombardment at about 1.15pm on Saturday.

An explosion is seen near a tower housing AP, Al Jazeera offices (C) during Israeli missile strikes in Gaza city, May 15, 2021. REUTERS/Ashraf Abu Amrah NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
A used by building international media outlets was struck by Israeli rockets. Pic: Reuters

There were no reports of fatalities and an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “very satisfied” that no journalists were hurt.

A spokesperson for the Israeli Defence Forces said: “The building contained civilian media offices, which the Hamas terror organization hides behind and uses as human shields. The Hamas terror organisation deliberately places military targets at the heart of densely populated civilian areas in the Gaza Strip.”

For 15 years, the AP’s top-floor office and roof terrace were a prime location for covering Israel’s conflicts with Gaza’s Hamas rulers, including wars in 2009 and 2014.

The news agency’s camera offered 24-hour live shots as militants’ rockets arched toward Israel and Israeli airstrikes hammered the city and its surrounding area this week.

AP’s president and CEO Gary Pruitt condemned the strike “incredibly disturbing”, saying the media outlet was “shocked and horrified”.

“We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life,” he said. “A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were inside the building and thankfully we were able to evacuate them in time.

“The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.”

Israeli soldiers assemble with their tanks at the Gaza border
Israeli soldiers assemble with their tanks at the Gaza border

Mr Netanyahu has insisted that Israel is doing everything to avoid harming those not involved in the Hamas strikes against his country, including a rocket attack that killed one Israeli near Tel Aviv.

Earlier, on what was the sixth day in a row of hostilities, some 10 Palestinians from an extended family – including eight children – were killed by an Israeli strike in Gaza City.

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Israel’s military also targeted the home of Khalil al-Hayeh, a top leader of Gaza’s ruling militant Hamas group.

It said that al-Hayeh served as part of Hamas’s “terrorist infrastructure”, suggesting Israel was now going after the militant group’s top leadership. It is unknown if he survived the blast or not.

Later on Saturday, US President Joe Biden spoke to Mr Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in separate phone calls and urged a de-escalation in tensions.

The UN Security Council is set to meet to discuss the crisis on Sunday, after US diplomat Hady Amr arrived in the region on Friday as part of Washington’s efforts to de-escalate the conflict.

Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel May 14, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
Streaks of light are seen from Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. Pic: Reuters

Meanwhile, the UK Foreign Office said: “The ongoing violence across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is deeply concerning and must end. There is never any justification for targeting innocent civilians.

“Both sides need to de-escalate and offer hope to their peoples, which can only come through political dialogue.”

Its statement came after tens of thousands of Londoners marched in solidarity with Palestinians, heading through Hyde Park to the Israeli Embassy, while Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy condemned the “completely unacceptable” airstrike on the Gaza media building.

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Thousands march in solidarity with Palestinians

Saturday’s escalation in violence came at the start of the Nakba, or “catastrophe”, an annual day of Palestinian grief marking the displacement of hundreds of thousands of refugees at the time of Israel’s creation in 1948.

It comes after days of attacks between Israel and Hamas.

Since Monday evening, Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets towards Israel, which responded by attacking the Gaza Strip with tanks and air strikes.

The number of people killed has climbed to at least 145 people in Gaza, including 41 children and 23 women, according to Palestinian health officials, and nine – including two children and a soldier – on the Israeli side.

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Man who died 3,000 years ago with 790 injuries is earliest known shark attack victim | World News



Archaeologists have recreated the brutal death of the earliest known shark attack victim who was killed around 3,000 years ago.

Oxford-led researchers have been investigating evidence for violent trauma on the skeletal remains of prehistoric hunter-gatherers at Kyoto University

Alyssa White and Professor Rick Schulting reviewed the remains of a man riddled with traumatic injuries from the previously excavated site of Tsukumo by the Seto Inland Sea.

In their report, the pair said: “We were initially flummoxed by what could have caused at least 790 deep, serrated injuries to this man.

“There were so many injuries and yet he was buried in the community burial ground…

“The injuries were mainly confined to the arms, legs, and front of the chest and abdomen.

“Through a process of elimination, we ruled out human conflict and more commonly-reported animal predators or scavengers.”

Shark experts believe No 24 could have been killed by a Great White (file pic)

Since archaeological cases of shark reports are extremely rare, they turned to forensic shark attack cases for clues and worked with expert George Burgess of the Florida Program for Shark Research.

The team concluded the man, known as No 24, died between 1370 to 1010 BC.

The distribution of wounds strongly suggest the victim was alive at the time of attack; his left hand was sheared off, possibly a defence wound.

No 24’s body had been recovered soon after the attack and buried with his people at the cemetery.

And excavation records showed he was also missing his right leg and his left leg was placed on top of his body in an inverted position.

The report added: “Given the injuries, he was clearly the victim of a shark attack.

“The man may well have been fishing with companions at the time, since he was recovered quickly.

“And, based on the character and distribution of the tooth marks, the most likely species responsible was either a tiger or white shark.”

The study has been published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

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Missing Italian toddler found alive by journalist sent to cover disappearance | World News



A 21-month-old toddler has been found alive at the bottom of a ravine after spending two nights alone in the woods.

Nicola Tanturli was found near his home in Tuscany, Italy, when a TV journalist heard him crying “mamma”.

The child emerged with a bump on his head and some scratches but no other injuries.

Nicola had wandered away from his isolated home in the Apennine mountains sometime during the night on Monday, and was the subject of an intense round-the-clock search and Italian media coverage.

Church bells rang out in celebration in the town of Palazzuolo sul Senio, near Florence, when the boy was found a mile from his home.

A journalist for RAI state television covering the story said he was walking up a dirt road towards the family home when he heard whimpers from a ravine heavily covered in trees and brush.

Giuseppe Di Tommaso said: “I started to yell, ‘Nicola’, to understand if it could be the child. I heard ‘mamma’.”

“I started to repeat the word ‘mamma’, because children of that age repeat words. When I intuited that it could be Nicola, I went down into the ravine.”

He said he could see the child on the other side, about 10 metres away in a hard-to-reach area thick with thorny brush.

A car drove by at that moment, and Mr Di Tommaso said he hailed two Carabinieri paramilitary officers, who initially disbelieved that the sounds could have come from the boy, “this being an area full of animals that make sounds that can sound like a child”.

Carabinieri commander Danilo Ciccarelli said he climbed some 25 metres down the embankment, expecting to find a small deer.

“Instead, Nicola popped out, with his little head among the high grass. He said, ‘mamma’, and I went towards him. He hugged me right away,” the commander said.

The boy was found around a mile from his home in Tuscany. File pic
The boy was found around a mile from his home in Tuscany. File pic

The officer said he checked the boy’s condition, finding only some scratches and a small bump on his head, before carrying him up the embankment and reuniting him with his parents.

“It was a tremendous joy to bring him back to his mother’s arms,” Mr Ciccarelli said.

The commander said he did not believe the boy spent the night where he was found, because the brush and grass was not tamped down, and that it was likely he had arrived through the woods, not from the road.

“He is a very active child, very lively,” Mayor Gian Piero Philip Moschetti told a news conference.

“He could walk for a kilometre (half-a-mile) an hour. We have no idea how much distance he could have covered. He was used to going out of the house and living outdoors.”

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Twin panda cubs born at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo for first time in four years | World News



A giant panda has given birth to twin cubs at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, the first born there for four years.

They arrived an hour and a half apart at 1.03am and 2.32am local time on Wednesday, according to the zoo’s website.

Their gender is still to be confirmed so they have not yet been named.

Shin Shin shortly after giving a birth to the first of her twins
Shin Shin shortly after giving a birth to the first of her twins

“All the staff are working together to observe and protect the giant panda mother and children,” the zoo said.

Mother Shin Shin was born in 2005 and arrived at the Tokyo zoo a decade ago with male partner Ri Ri.

They also had a daughter Xiang Xiang in June 2017.

Shin Shin was born in 2005
Shin Shin was born in 2005

Pandas are very difficult to breed in captivity because they can be picky about partners and females go into heat just once a year.

“The pandas are now a family of five. This is such happy news,” said Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato.

“I believe everyone at the zoo is doing all they can day and night to keep the panda family healthy first, and I hope everyone will watch over them warmly and quietly.”

The UK’s only giant pandas, Yang Guang and Tian Tian, are at Edinburgh Zoo.

However, it warned in January it might have to let them go as the zoo was having financial troubles caused by the pandemic.

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