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Airstrikes launched against Hamas after incendiary devices are sent into Israel | World News

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Israel has launched airstrikes in Gaza less than a month after a ceasefire agreement was reached.

The move, also the first strikes under the new Israeli government, came after incendiary balloons were launched from Palestinian territory.

The balloon launches appeared to be in retaliation for a march on Tuesday in East Jerusalem where Jewish nationalists celebrated Israel’s capture of the area in 1967.

A tree in a field catches fire after Palestinians in Gaza sent incendiary balloons over the border between Gaza and Israel, Near Nir Am June 15,2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
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The incendiary balloons caused a number of fires, Israel said

Palestinians consider the march a provocation and it sparked threats of action from Hamas.

Israel said the balloon launches had caused 20 fires in open fields in communities near the Gaza border.

Commenting on Tuesday’s air strikes, the Israel Defense Forces said jets attacked Hamas military complexes that “served as camps and meeting places for terrorist operatives”.

“The attack was carried out in response to the inflating of incendiary balloons into Israeli territory,” it added.

“The terrorist organization Hamas is responsible for what is happening in the Gaza Strip and will bear the consequences of its actions.

“The IDF is prepared for all scenarios, including the resumption of hostilities, in the face of continued terrorist operations from the Gaza Strip.”

Jerusalem is claimed by both sides – Israel regards the city as its capital, having occupied the east in the 1967 war and annexed it in 1980.

But Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future state that would include Gaza and the West Bank.

A spokesman for Hamas said on Tuesday that Palestinians would continue their “brave resistance and defend their rights and sacred sites” in Jerusalem.

The renewing of tensions provides a challenge for Israel’s new prime minister Naftali Bennett, a nationalist who presides over a diverse but delicate coalition government.

The government was sworn in on Sunday and one of the first problems was whether to cancel the Israeli march – there were concerns it would spark tensions but also that cancelling would be seen as giving in to Hamas.

Previously the march has passed through Damascus Gate and into the heart of the Muslim Quarter but police changed the route to avoid the Muslim Quarter on Tuesday.

Israeli Knesset members Bezalel Smotrich, center, waves an Israeli flag together with other Jewish ultranationalists during the "Flags March" next to Damascus gate, outside Jerusalem's Old City, Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
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The “Flags March” went ahead on Tuesday, despite concerns

But not every party in the coalition agreed with the decision to let the march go ahead.

Mansour Abbas’s Raam party is the first Arab faction to be part of an Israeli coalition and he said the march should have been cancelled.

He described it as “an attempt to set the region on fire for political aims”, adding: “I call on all sides not to be dragged into an escalation and maintain maximum restraint.”

United Nations deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said UN officials have urged all sides to avoid “provocations” in order to solidify the informal cease-fire that halted last month’s 11-day Gaza conflict.

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Tokyo Olympics medal table, results and schedule | UK News

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Team GB won 67 medals at the Rio Olympics in 2016 – including 27 golds. Follow progress at Tokyo with the table below.

See results for all sports by tapping on the table below and selecting the competition you are interested in:

Check out what is happening day by day, by tapping on the dates in the calendar below:

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Esther Dingley: Missing British hiker’s dental records being sent to France after ‘human bones’ found | World News

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The dental records of missing British hiker Esther Dingley are being sent to French authorities following the discovery of possible human remains in the Pyrenees.

Ms Dingley, 37, was last seen walking alone in the mountains near the French-Spanish border on 22 November last year.

She was due to return from a three-day solo trek and travel home to the UK with her partner Dan Colegate but never returned.

Her mother Ria Byrant, 74, told The Sunday Times that French police have requested her daughter’s dental records after local police announced on Friday that they may have discovered human remains near her last known location.

“The dentist is sending a scan of Esther’s teeth. We have to send it to the consulate in Bordeaux,” she told the newspaper.

Ms Dingley had been travelling since 2014. Pic: LBT Global
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Ms Dingley had been travelling since 2014. Pic: LBT Global

Ms Bryant moved to the Pyrenees in June to help look for her daughter.

She was planning to return to Britain this month, but told the paper she has changed her plans following the developments.

Charity LBT Global, which supports the families of missing people, previously said it was “aware of the discovery of what may be human remains close to the last known location of Esther Dingley”.

“The family have been informed of the discovery and we are supporting them now,” it wrote in a statement.

French police chief Jean Marc Bordinaro was quoted as saying: “We cannot say anything at the moment because the discovery of the bones is too recent and they must be properly analysed.”

Earlier this year Ms Dingley’s partner revealed authorities were “looking at options beyond a mountain accident“.

They had been travelling around Europe in a campervan together since 2014.

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Climate change: The Arctic reindeer herder whose livelihood is threatened by warmer winters | UK News

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Slava Kemlil is waiting for us on the dock in the Arctic town of Chersky.  

He’s been there applying for government grants but it is not where he feels at home. Home is in the tundra with his reindeer. “You can relax there,” he says. “You can breathe the fresh air. In the settlement there are four walls and a lot of paperwork.”

Kemlil belongs to the Chukchi nation from Chukotka in the Russian Far East. They are an Arctic people and roughly divide in terms of traditional livelihoods between reindeer herding chukchis and sea chukchis who fish. Kemlil is of the first order but as proficient at sea as the second, guiding our boat deftly past shallow sand banks to dock at the small camp on the shore of the Kolyma river where his team are waiting.

They’re a group of nine, some of them experienced reindeer herders, the rest teenagers on summer placement sent by the local employment centre.

Kemlil has said it is 'in the blood' of his people to survive in adverse conditions
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Kemlil has said it is ‘in the blood’ of his people to survive in adverse conditions

It’s a tough job. Shifts are 12 hours long, two herders at a time. Temperatures can drop to -55C (-67F) in winter and reach 30C (80F) in summer when mosquitoes keep the herd constantly on the move.

“It is in our blood since the dawn of time to be able to survive in such conditions,” Kemlil says.

It is a way of life bound to nature’s pulse. Kemlil lists the ways in which he has noticed changes to the tundra environment since he was young, shifts he attributes in part to man-made climate change. New lakes appearing or disappearing as the permafrost thaws, forcing the reindeer to adopt new migratory routes; less fish in the rivers; fawning season starting 10-15 days earlier with the earlier spring.

Then he backtracks slightly. “The old people used to say that it happened before. Sometimes it gets colder, then it gets warmer. That’s the course of nature.”

The Chukchi people are indigenous to Russia's Far East
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The Chukchi people are indigenous to Russia’s Far East

Warmer winters though have their drawbacks. More frequent rain and intermittent thaws mean icy crusts form on the snow which damage the reindeer’s hooves and muzzles as they forage for food. Kemlil has had to cull large numbers as a result. Lame animals would slow the herd.

“When such periods come the reindeer lose their fat, they waste all their energy on hoofing the snow. Sometimes you can hear them from far away, it sounds as if they are stomping ice or something very hard. So you have to inspect the routes very carefully to find the soft snow.”

The worst incident this year was when a pack of forty wolves attacked the herd, encircling 100 reindeer and separating them from the rest. That was the last the herders saw of them.

But climate change is bringing larger predators closer too.

The reindeers' hooves have been damaged by icy crusts as they forage food
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The reindeers’ hooves have been damaged by icy crusts as they forage food
Kemlil has seen the landscape of the tundra change since his childhood
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Temperatures can drop as low as -55C in winter

Shrinking sea ice means polar bears are coming to the Russian mainland especially around Chukotka in search of food.

Two summers of Arctic wildfires have driven brown bears closer and they are difficult to spot, especially at night. “It’s getting harder,” Kemlil says.

The teenagers are incredibly polite. They keep the kettle filled and the tea coming and wait for permission to start eating. They are smiley and enthusiastic. They seem to be enjoying life on the tundra.

Katya Protoppopova is the only girl in the group. Her mother is Chukchi and grew up on the tundra, her father is Russian.

“I came here to earn money to buy a ticket for myself and go study. I might come back next summer as I like it but I don’t have plans to stay.”

She and some of the other teenagers film us on their phones as we interview Kemlil. It seems a strange juxtaposition against the backdrop of the tundra, so far from reception or any other hints of modernity but clearly no self-respecting teen would be without their phone.

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“The world is being widely computerised and it is very difficult to live in this world, especially for the young people”, Kemlil sighs. “They can’t live without technology. We need to try to adapt to this modern world, match it step for step.”

For all the nuances of the shifts in climate and how those play out on the tundra, it is this which seems to worry him most, the eternal question of how to make the young stay.

“From times immemorial our forefathers were breeding reindeer and we try to keep this industry going to make sure it doesn’t disappear in our modern world. The young ones are not quite willing but we do our best.”

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