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RAMALLAH, June 19, 2018 (MENA) - Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said on Tuesday that the US is trying to turn the Palestinian cause from a political issue into a humanitarian one.

Speaking to Voice of Palestine radio, Erekat said that Washington wishes to get rid of the Palestinian leadership because of its adherence to national principles and to Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, noting that the US administration wants a new leadership that will go along with the new facts it seeks.

He said that the United States has gotten itself into a very dangerous game by trying to replace national rights with humanitarian projects. The PLO official urged the Palestinians to reconcile their differences and work together by implementing the reconciliation agreements and to find a common ground for a full political partnership based on the PLO programme.

GENEVA, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - Israel’s use of live ammunition against Palestinian protesters in Gaza has left health workers struggling to cope with an unprecedented crisis, with more than 13,000 wounded, a senior Red Cross official said.

At least 132 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the protests at the border with Gaza began at the end of March.

Robert Mardini, head of Middle East for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), told reporters that the “vast majority” of the 13,000 hospitalsed protesters had suffered severe wounds, including multiple gunshot wounds.

“This is I think a crisis of unprecedented magnitude in the Gaza Strip,” said Mardini.

The Red Cross is planning to open a new 50-bed surgery unit at Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital to help deal with the surge in gunshot wounds.

Some 1,400 patients have been hit by three to five bullets, many in the legs, which require several complex orthopedic and reconstructive surgeries.

Mardini said the Red Cross was holding talks with Israeli defense forces to minimize civilian harm.



GAZA CITY, June 18, 2018 (News Wires) - A Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire on Monday near the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, the health ministry in the Hamas-ruled territory said.

An Israeli army statement said "several terrorists were injured" in an explosion as they attempted to carry out sabotage near the border fence, but made no mention of troops opening fire.

The health ministry said in a statement that "Sabri Ahmed Abu Khader, 24, was killed by bullets of the (Israeli) occupation forces."

It did not add further details on the circumstances of the incident.

At least 131 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire since major border protests broke out at the end of March.

No Israelis have been killed.

The Israeli army said five "terrorists" had "attempted to sabotage a security infrastructure in the area of the barrier in the northern Gaza Strip".

"The security infrastructure exploded," it said in English. "Subsequently, several terrorists were injured."

Earlier Monday, Israeli warplanes conducted strikes against nine Hamas "military targets" in the northern Gaza Strip in response to incendiary kites being sent into Israeli territory, the army said.

The attacks targeted two Hamas military sites and a munitions manufacturing site, the military said in a statement, without specifying whether the raids had resulted in casualties.

Palestinian security sources said nobody was wounded in the morning air strikes.


RAMALLAH, June 18, 2018 (MENA) - Dozens of Israeli settlers broke into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque Monday under tight security measures by Israeli police.

The settlers stormed the Mosque from al Maghreb Gate.

Israeli police set up a military checkpoint on the rooftop of the Bab al Rahma cemetery outside the eastern wall of al-Aqsa Mosque.

The settlers toured the mosque, while occupation troops held Abdullah Abu Taleb, the security chief of the Mosque, for hours before letting him go, eyewitnesses said.

GAZA CITY, June 18, 2018 (MENA) - Israeli warplanes early Monday morning carried out a series of airstrikes on multiple locations across Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip, leaving damages to the bombed sites and causing fear among the local citizens, according to Palestinian sources.

Israeli fighter jets bombed with missiles a number of targets in Tel Al Zaatar site which is affiliated to Qassam Brigades, destroying them and causing partial damages to neighboring structures.

Fighter jets also bombed a target and destroyed it in the town of Beit Lahia, north of Gaza, setting it on fire.

Warplanes further bombed with missiles a target near Shati refugee camp in Gaza City and destroyed it. Partial damages were reported in neighboring homes.

Israeli air force also hit another site to the northwest of Gaza City, destroyed it and caused damages to neighboring homes.

There were no reports of human casualties in any of the Israeli airstrikes in spite of the degree of the resulting damage.

The Israeli occupation forces claimed that the bombings came in response to the flying by Palestinian protesters of kites with burning materials into southern Israel setting fields ablaze.

TEL AVIV, June 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Israel said it arrested more than 20 people and seized explosives when it dismantled a Hamas cell it alleged was preparing “serious attacks” against Israeli targets.

The cell’s members were mainly from Nablus city in the north of the occupied West Bank and it was active for about six months until being dismantled in April, Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency said in a statement.

“We made arrests and neutralised explosives that were to be used against Israeli targets,” Israeli army officer Guy Rousso told journalists.

“We found a seven-kilogram bomb ready for use in a Palestinian village near Nablus,” added Rousso, who took part in the operation.

“The arrests demonstrate once again the will and efforts of Hamas to put in place terrorist infrastructure to commit attacks in Israel,” Shin Bet said.

The West Bank is governed by the Palestinian Authority, led by president Mahmoud Abbas.

At least 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of protests along the border between Israel and Gaza on March 30.

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