‘Hamas leader in Gaza is cornered in bunker’ – Gallant
Israeli forces have surrounded the leader of Hamas in Gaza in a bunker and are “tightening the chokehold” around Gaza City, Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant has said. In a televised press statement, Gallant said Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in Gaza who has been described by Israeli officials as “a dead man walking,” was surrounded, although he did not specify where. Sinwar, 61, was “hiding in his bunker … without contact with his associates”, Gallant said, before vowing again to eliminate him. He added that Israeli ground troops had stormed the terrorist group’s strongholds in Gaza’s main population centre “from all directions, in perfect co-ordination with maritime and aerial forces”. Gallant also said that neither Israel nor Hamas would rule Gaza after the war. He added that hostages held by Hamas and other militant groups would have to be released before the was any pause in the fighting.
Hamas rocket production member killed
Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces says it has killed one of the top figures in Hamas’s weapons production apparatus in an overnight airstrike. The military and Shin Bet say that Muhsin Abu Zina was “one of the leaders of weapons production” for Hamas, and specialized in manufacturing “strategic weapons and rockets”. It called him the head of the terror group’s “industries and weaponry” division. In separate overnight operations, the IDF says ground troops directed an aircraft to strike a Hamas anti-tank missile squad, and an airstrike killed several members of a squad responsible for launching rockets at Israel.
Israel hits 14,000 Hamas targets in a month
One month since the start of the military operation against Hamas, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have carried out attacks on more than 14,000 targets in the Gaza Strip, army spokesman Daniel Hagari has told reporters. The IDF claims to have demolished over 100 tunnel entrances, destroyed more than 4,000 weapons of various types and “killed many Hamas terrorists, including in the rank of commanders”. Hagari explained that many of the targets hit were located in mosques, kindergartens and residential neighborhoods, underlining “Hamas is cynically using its population as a human shield.”
Israeli forces operating ‘inside’ Gaza City – Netanyahu
Israel’s military and its prime minister both said on Tuesday that its forces were “operating inside” Gaza City, with Benjamin Netanyahu saying the city was “encircled”. In a televised statement, Netanyahu said, “Gaza City is encircled, we are operating inside it. We are increasing pressure on Hamas every hour, every day. So far, we have killed thousands of terrorists, above ground and below ground.” Netanyahu again said a cease-fire or a resumption of fuel deliveries was out of the question unless Hamas released its remaining hostages. He repeated his call for civilians to flee south in Gaza to avoid the fighting. “We will not stop,” Netanyahu said.
Zelenskyy says Ukraine will one day join the EU
As the European Commission will release its annual report into candidate countries’ progress on later today, Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed that his country will one day “be in the European Union”. The Commission’s annual report details the progress of EU candidate countries in their bids to join the 27-member bloc. Zelenskyy described the forthcoming report as “historic” and said Wednesday would be an “important” day as membership in the EU would mean “economic security and social stability” for Ukraine.
Portuguese Prime Minister resigns over corruption scandal
Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa says he was resigning after being involved in a widespread corruption probe. The Public Prosecutor’s Office announced in a statement it was investigating Costa and several members of his cabinet for alleged crimes of prevarication, active and passive corruption, and influence peddling. The 62-year-old Costa, Portugal’s Socialist leader since 2015, asserted his innocence but said in a nationally televised address that “in these circumstances, obviously, I have presented my resignation to the president of the republic.”
Spain’s amnesty plan sparks backlash
Some 7,000 far-right demonstrators protested against Spain’s acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez’s offer of amnesty for those involved in Catalonia’s 2017 independence bid. Tuesday’s protest, held near the national headquarters of Spain’s Socialist Party in Madrid and Parliament, turned violent. Police fired tear gas and used batons against some of the protesters they said threw stones and other objects at them. Sanchez’s Socialists (PSOE) aim to secure another term by gaining the support of Catalonia’s separatist parties through an amnesty law and more concessions.
South Korea fights bedbug outbreaks
South Korea is grappling with bedbug outbreaks as the country sees a post-pandemic tourism boom, leading some locals to steer clear of public transport or cinemas to avoid the bloodsucking pests. Hygiene authorities are asking international travellers from places including France and Britain, where outbreaks were reported, to disinfect their belongings thoroughly amid fears that the bugs may hitch a ride to other locations. Local news broadcasts showed videos of the small, reddish-brown insects that are about the size of an apple seed, crawling on clothes, and hiding in cracks and crevices of walls and sofas, sparking public phobia of the bugs.
Arsenal’s manager could face FA charges
Mikel Arteta could face disciplinary action for his outburst at St James’ Park after the FA wrote to him and the club to seek their observations. The Arsenal manager, who has insisted that it is his “duty” to fix officiating errors, could be punished for his comments after Newcastle United defeat. The FA will make a call on whether to bring any disciplinary action after their response. Arteta called the VAR decision not to rule out Anthony Gordon’s winner in the 1-0 defeat by Newcastle United “an absolute disgrace” and said that he was “embarrassed” by refereeing standards. Arsenal followed that up with a statement that they “wholeheartedly support” Arteta’s post-match comments after “yet more unacceptable refereeing and VAR errors”.