Israel vows to kill Hamas leaders all over the world

This morning's top world news, in a nutshell - Monday, 4th December 2023

A key Hamas commander – Haitham Khuwajari, the commander of Hamas’ Shati Battalion – who helped carry out the deadly raids on Israel in early October, was killed in a strike on Sunday, Israeli officials said. Israel’s top domestic security official, Ronen Bar, said Israel was determined to eliminate Hamas all around the world even if it takes years, according to a recording aired by Israel’s public broadcaster Kan on Sunday. “The Cabinet set us a goal. In the words of the street, it is to eliminate Hamas. And we are determined to do it. Everywhere: in Gaza, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Qatar, everywhere,” Shin Bet chief said. “It will take a few years, but we will be there to do it. The security responsibility is ours. Our duty is to provide both security and a sense of security,” he said.

700 people killed in 24 hours in Israeli strikes

The Israeli military says it has expanded its ground operation against the militant Islamist Palestinian group Hamas to “every part” of the Gaza Strip. At least 700 Palestinians were reportedly killed in the past 24 hours alone as the war heats up again post-ceasefire. “Hell on Earth has returned to Gaza,” said Jens Laerke, a representative for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said that since Israel’s ground invasion into northern Gaza began in early October, it has launched 10,000 airstrikes at the Palestinian-controlled area, with the bombardments intensifying over the weekend after Israel and Hamas failed to reach a deal that would have seen all the female hostages kidnapped by the terrorist group freed.

Photo: Fadi Alwahidi/Anadolu

13 dead in Israeli raid near Rafah and Jabalia hospital

At least four people were killed and nine injured in an attack by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) near the Kamal Adwan hospital in Jabalia, in the north of the Gaza Strip, according to Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera and the Palestinian news agency Wafa. They both said that that among the victims there would also be women and children. Al Jazeera also reports that at least nine more people died in another Israeli attack near Rafah, in the south of the Strip. The raid reportedly hit a residential building in the al-Tanour neighbourhood. The destroyed palace belonged to the al-Jazzar family, according to local sources.

More pressure on Israel to do more to protect civilians

With fighting underway again, the United States and France have stepped up pressure on Israel to do more to protect civilians. US Vice President Kamala Harris said, “too many innocent Palestinians have been killed”. French President Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, called on Israel to better define its goals for the conflict, arguing that the “total destruction” of Hamas would take a decade of fighting.

Muslim leaders in swing states not to back Biden in 2024

President Biden’s campaign for re-election in 2024 is facing growing pressure from Muslim Americans, who have vowed not to back him over his handling of the Israel-Hamas war. Muslim leaders from several swing states – including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Nevada, and Pennsylvania – descended on Dearborn, Michigan, to coordinate a national response. Organisers have dubbed their campaign #AbandonBiden and vow to make sure President Biden does not get a second term in office. Muslim and Arab leaders have been pushing the Democratic president to call for a cease-fire as the death toll from the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza continues to mount. As of Saturday, the death toll in the war was 15,200 Palestinians according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. Some 1,200 Israelis have been killed, most during the 7th October attack on Israel by Hamas, that triggered the war.

US warship, commercial ships attacked in the Red Sea

Ballistics missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels struck three commercial ships in the Red Sea on Sunday, while a US warship shot down three drones in self-defence during the hours-long assault, the US military said. The Iranian-backed Houthis claimed two of the attacks. The strikes marked an escalation in a series of maritime attacks in the Middle East linked to the Israel-Hamas war, as multiple vessels found themselves in the crosshairs of a single Houthi assault for the first time in the conflict. The US vowed to “consider all appropriate responses” in the wake of the attack. On his part, Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree said, “The Yemeni armed forces continue to prevent Israeli ships from navigating the Red Sea (and the Gulf of Aden) until the Israeli aggression against our steadfast brothers in the Gaza Strip stops.”

11 hikers die following Indonesian volcano eruption

At least 11 hikers have been found dead and three others have been rescued by search teams working through the night after a volcano erupted in western Indonesia, local authorities said this morning. Mount Marapi on the island of Sumatra, with a peak of 2,891 metres, erupted yesterday, throwing a 3,000-metre-high tower of ash into the sky which rained down volcanic debris on nearby villages. Local and national agency officials revised the number of hikers on the mountain over the weekend to 75. Twelve people are still missing, while another 49 came down the mountain and were taken to hospital.

Photo: Ardhy Fernando/Associated Press

Lukashenko at talks with Xi Jinping

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko told Chinese leader Xi Jinping Belarus has always been a reliable partner for China and would remain so. The talks were held in Beijing during a two-day visit for talks on trade, economy, investments, and international cooperation. Lukashenko thanked Xi for the meeting, noting that the Chinese leader had recently had a very busy schedule: a huge number of international meetings, not to mention domestic policy events in China itself. This is the Minsk leader’s second visit to China this year.

‘Integration of the Western Balkans into the EU fundamental’ – Meloni

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said that the integration of the Western Balkans into the Europen Union is fundamental. During a news conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic at the end of their political meetings in Belgrade, she declared that, “Vucic can count on Italy’s support. Serbia would continue to have a constructive approach in the dialogue with Kosovo. But there are many other issues on which pragmatic people can collaborate.” Meloni has become one of the main supporters of the process of enlargement and reunification of Europe: “a Union that must not be a club where it is decided who is European and who is not”, remarks Meloni, who calls for a serious and fast process by the EU to guarantee this unification. She also referred to the fight against illegal flows of irregular migration on the Balkan route and underlined that in this area “our energies must focus on the external dimension of the problem to tackle it before it arrives in Europe”.

Akita dogs parade in Tokyo

Dozens of Akita dogs paraded along a street in the Shibuya district of Tokyo to celebrate 100 years since the birth of Hachiko, one specimen becoming a symbol of loyalty to its owner, whose story inspired the famous film of the same name starring Richard Gere. Hachiko was born in 1923 and lived with its owner, waiting every day for him to return from work at Shibuya Station, even after his death. The Japanese channel NHK reports dozens of Akitas, with their owners from all over the country, gathered in Shibuya: they walked a kilometre from the office in the Shibuya district to the station of the same name, where a statue commemorates the faithful Japanese dog.

Photo: Shanghai Eye

Beyoncé tops box office with her Renaissance

Queen Bey is the queen of the box office. With a gross of $21 million, the concert film Renaissance, written, directed and produced by Beyoncé, opens the ranking of the most watched of the weekend in the United States and Canada. The 32-time Grammy winner brought some cheer to exhibitors on a traditionally busy weekend, just after Thanksgiving. According to distributor AMC Theatres, it is the first time in two decades that a film has earned more than $20 million this time of year. Like her colleague Taylor Swift, Beyoncé also decided to entrust the 2 hours and 49 minutes of her last world tour to the AMC cinema chain, rather than to a traditional studio. In this way, the singer would take home around 50 per cent of the box office takings. The former Destiny’s Child tour amassed $579 million with 2.7 million fans across 56 dates in 39 cities around the world.

Photo: A.RICARDO / Shutterstock

Football: Donnarumma sent off in the 10th minute

Italy’s national goalkeeper and Paris Saint-Germain regular ‘Gigio’ Donnarumma was sent off 10 minutes into the French league game against Le Havre when he was shown the red card following a foul against the opposing striker Josué Casimir. On a Le Havre clearance that seemed harmless, Donnarumma first hesitated and then intervened late on Casimir, bringing him down. For referee Bastien Dechepy there were no doubts: last man’s foul and red card. So Luis Enrique was forced to let out Bradley Barcola, an outfield player, and bring in his compatriot Arnau Tenas, who arrived in the summer from Barcelona and initially destined for the role of third goalkeeper. During the match, which PSG ultimately won 2-0 with goals from the usual Mbappé and Vitinha, Tenas made seven saves which proved to be decisive for his team’s victory, and thus, at the end match, he was celebrated as the hero of the day by his teammates and warmly embraced by Mbappé and Luis Enrique. On social media, Parisian fans are clamouring for the 22-year-old’s confirmation to the detriment of Donnarumma, for whom the next few days will not be easy – fresh from a series of errors, such as the one against Monaco, which sparked a series of criticism against him on social media, and then the last one in the Champions League against Newcastle which almost cost the Parisians defeat.

‘Sex noises’ interrupt Euro 2024 draw

Unexplained moaning noises disrupted the draw ceremony for the European Championship in men’s football on Saturday and competed for attention with the team names being read out on stage. The interruption, which seemed to sound like ‘sexual’ noises, was clearly heard for several minutes on the ceremony broadcast from a concert hall in Hamburg. A British prankster claimed credit on social media for the stunt and posted footage of himself making cell phone calls to activate a ringtone in the venue which has excellent acoustics. A later clip posted to the social media site X appeared to show the prankster, named online as Daniel Jarvis, inside the venue during a rehearsal for the hour-long Saturday evening event. UEFA says it is investigating.

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