Jerusalem, Dec 13 (AP/UNB) — Israeli security forces tracked down a Palestinian accused of killing two Israelis and shot and killed him on Thursday, ending a two-month manhunt hours after troops killed another Palestinian wanted in a separate attack.
Israeli police said Ashraf Naalweh was found armed near the West Bank city of Nablus and was killed during an arrest raid.
Israel accuses Naalweh of shooting to death two Israelis and wounding another at an attack on a West Bank industrial zone in October. He fled the scene and Israeli forces have been searching for him since.
"Israel's long arm will reach anyone who harms Israeli citizens," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Police said it had made a number of arrests in its attempt to hunt down Naalweh and suspected he was planning on carrying out another attack.
On Wednesday, Israeli forces killed Salah Barghouti, a Palestinian suspect wanted in a drive-by shooting earlier this week at a West Bank bus stop, shooting him just hours after an Israeli baby delivered prematurely as a result of the attack died.
In Sunday night's attack, assailants in a Palestinian vehicle opened fire at a bus stop outside a West Bank settlement, wounding seven people, including a 21-year-old pregnant woman, before speeding away.
The militant Hamas group that rules the Gaza Strip said that both Barghouti and Naalweh were its members but stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attacks the two carried out.
"The flame of resistance in the (West) Bank will remain alive until the occupation is defeated on all our land," Hamas said.
Also Thursday, police said an assailant stabbed two officers in Jerusalem's Old City, wounding them lightly. The officers opened fire on the attacker and he was killed, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Police identified the man as a 26-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank. It released security camera footage that shows the man lunging toward the officers and appearing to stab them.
New York, Dec 12 (AP/UNB) — Time magazine on Tuesday recognised journalists, including the slain Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi, as its 2018 Person of the Year in what it said was an effort to emphasize the importance of reporters' work in an increasingly hostile world.
The designation wasn't intended as a specific message to the magazine's runner-up choice, President Donald Trump, who has denounced "fake news" and called some reporters enemies of the people, said Ben Goldberger, executive editor.
Time cited four figures it called "the guardians." Besides Khashoggi, they are the staff of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, where five people were shot to death in June; Philippine journalist Maria Ressa; and Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who have been jailed in Myanmar for a year.
It's the first time since the magazine began the end-of-year tradition in 1927 that Time has featured a journalist or recognized someone posthumously.
Time said that 2018 has been marked by manipulation and abuse of information, along with efforts by governments to foment mistrust of the facts.
Goldberger said the magazine hopes the choice reminds people outside of journalism about the importance of the work.
Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said he sees this message already starting to get through — sadly, in part because of the attention paid to Khashoggi's killing. Khashoggi is one of at least 52 journalists murdered so far this year, the committee said.
"In some ways, I feel we're at a turning point," Simon said.
Khashoggi was killed two months ago when The Washington Post columnist, who had lived in the U.S., visited Saudi Arabia's consulate in Turkey for paperwork so he could get married. He had been critical of the Saudi regime.
The Washington Post applauded Time for its message of support for journalists.
"We hope this recognition will prompt our nation's leaders to stand up for America's values and hold accountable those who attempt to silence journalists who cover our communities or in Jamal's case, an oppressive authoritarian government," said Fred Ryan, the Post's publisher and CEO.
Reesa co-founded the online site the Rappler, which has aggressively covered the government of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. She was recently charged with tax fraud, with many in the Philippines seeing that as a reaction to the Rappler's reporting.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were imprisoned after investigating a massacre of Rohingya Muslims.
Four journalists and a sales assistant were killed by a gunman at the Capital Gazette newspaper last spring.
Time is producing four different covers featuring "the guardians."
Last year Time recognized people who came forward to report on sexual misconduct. Trump, this year's runner-up, was Person of the Year in 2016.
The third-place finisher this year was special counsel Robert Mueller, who Time indicated could move up in next year's rankings depending on the findings of his investigation into the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia.
United Nations, Dec 11 (AP/UNB)— Twenty million people in war-torn Yemen are hungry — a staggering 70 percent of the population and a 15 percent increase from last year — and for the first time 250,000 are facing "catastrophe," the U.N. humanitarian chief said Monday.
Mark Lowcock, who recently returned from Yemen, told reporters there has been "a significant, dramatic deterioration" of the humanitarian situation in the country and "it's alarming."
He said that for the first time, 250,000 Yemenis are in Phase 5 on the global scale for classifying the severity and magnitude of food insecurity and malnutrition — the severest level, defined as people facing "starvation, death and destitution."
Lowcock, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said those 250,000 Yemenis facing "catastrophe" are overwhelmingly concentrated in four provinces "where the conflict is raging quite intensely" — Taiz, Saada, Hajja and Hodeida.
The only other country where anyone is in Phase 5 is South Sudan, with 25,000 people affected, he added.
Lowcock said there are also nearly 5 million Yemenis in Phase 4, which is defined as the "emergency" level, in which people suffer from severe hunger and "very high acute malnutrition and excess mortality" or an extreme loss of income that will lead to severe food shortages. He said these people live in 152 of Yemen's 333 districts, a sharp increase from 107 districts last year.
Large numbers of people "have moved into a worse category of food insecurity" as a result of the war, Lowcock said.
The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital of Sanaa by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who toppled the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. A Saudi-led coalition allied with Yemen's internationally recognized government has been fighting the Houthis since 2015.
Saudi-led airstrikes have hit schools, hospitals and wedding parties and killed thousands of Yemeni civilians. The Houthis have fired long-range missiles into Saudi Arabia and targeted vessels in the Red Sea.
Civilians have borne the brunt of the conflict, which has killed over 10,000 people and created the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
"There's millions of Yemenis who are hungry and sick and scared and desperate and starving, but they've all got one message and their message is that they're at the end of their tether and they want this war to stop," Lowcock said.
He said "there are millions and millions of people whose plight would be much, much worst but for the ongoing relief operation," which is currently reaching 8 million Yemenis.
Lowcock said the U.N. plans to reach 15 million people next year and will be appealing for $4 billion — compared to this year's $3 billion appeal and last year's $2 billion request.
He said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will host a pledging conference with Sweden and Switzerland in Geneva on Feb. 26. And he welcomed a new $500 million pledge from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, key coalition members, saying he understands "it will be largely in response to the 2019 appeal."
Lowcock stressed again the five key things needed to bring situation under control:
—A cessation of hostilities, especially around the key port of Hodeida, the "lifeline" where 70 percent of food aid and imports are shipped in. "The vast majority of population who are in Houthi-controlled areas can basically be reached most easily and in some cases only through Hodeida," he said.
—Reducing restrictions on aid organizations and fuel imports that are vitally needed. Lowcock cited reports Monday that the coalition agreed that 17 vessels could come into port and said the U.N. is checking to see if that means fuel will be delivered to Hodeida.
—Stabilizing the economy, which has seen "a dramatic collapse" as a result of the war. Lowcock said government revenue is probably about 15 percent of its pre-war levels and billions of dollars will be needed next year just to finance the budget.
—Support the U.N. humanitarian appeal for $4 billion for 2019.
—Take the first steps to end the war at U.N.-mediated talks taking place in Sweden between the government and the Houthis.
Dubai, Dec 9 (AP/UNB)— Leaders of Gulf Arab countries, including those boycotting Qatar, met on Sunday in Saudi Arabia's capital for a regional summit, a gathering that Qatar's ruling emir choose not to attend amid the dispute.
The absence of Qatar's Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, as well as Qatar's recent decision to withdraw from the Saudi-dominated OPEC oil cartel, underlined the simmering crisis facing the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Despite mediation efforts by Kuwait, the gap remains between others in the six-nation GCC, an alliance formed in 1981 in part to offer a counterbalance to Iran, and Qatar — countries that are all American allies. The United States, which under President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, also has been unable to mend relations even as it wants a unified front for its high-pressure campaign targeting Tehran.
Saudi King Salman greeted GCC leaders Sunday as they descended down a golden escalator at a Riyadh air base and never mentioned Qatar in his remarks to the summit. The king instead spoke about the need to counter Iran, as well as the kingdom's ongoing war in Yemen.
His son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been linked to the slaying and dismembering of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents in October in Istanbul, sat prominently behind his father.
Kuwait's ruler, the 89-year-old Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, did obliquely discuss Qatar, warning of internal divisions threatening the GCC.
"We are all concerned about what's going on and that's why we have to embody our unity . because we face a lot of challenges," Sheikh Sabah said.
Qatar's Sheikh Tamim sent Sultan bin Saad al-Muraikhi, minister of state for foreign affairs, to represent the country. Al-Muraikhi offered no comments during the open session of the GCC meeting. The sheikh had attended last year's GCC meeting in Kuwait, where nations boycotting Qatar sent lower-level representatives.
Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa tweeted that Sheikh Tamim should have "been there at the summit."
In June 2017, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic ties to Qatar. They also launched an economic boycott, stopping Qatar Airways flights from using their airspace, closing the country's sole land border with Saudi Arabia and blocking its ships from using their ports.
They say the crisis stems from Qatar's support for extremist groups in the region, charges denied by Doha. The four nations also have pointed to Qatar's close relationship with Iran. Qatar restored full diplomatic ties to Iran amid the dispute.
Qatar's natural gas reserves have made the Arabian Peninsula country fantastically wealthy, sparking its successful bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Qatar also hosts the al-Udeid Air Base, the home of the forward headquarters of the U.S. military's Central Command and about 10,000 U.S. troops.
The U.S. deputy assistant secretary for Arabian Gulf affairs, Timothy Lenderking, said Washington wants to see Gulf unity and ties with Qatar repaired soon.
"GCC unity's been a really important pillar for U.S. engagement with this region, with the Gulf, with the Middle East. We'd like to see that unity restored," he said on the sideline of a security summit on Yemen in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
"It's important not only for the GCC to be a strong bulwark against Iranian influence in the Arabian Peninsula but also to allow us to capitalize on economic linkages that can add development to the region and that can help the countries bind together," he said.
Gaza, Dec 9 (AP/UNB) — Israeli forces deployed along the volatile border with the Gaza Strip have fired live rounds at rock-throwing Palestinian protesters ever since demonstrations against Israel's long-running blockade of Gaza began in March.
And for eight months, Israeli snipers have targeted one part of the body more than any other — the legs.
The Israeli army says it is responding to weekly assaults on its frontier by Palestinians armed with stones, grenades and firebombs. The military says it opens fire only as a last resort, and considers firing at the lower limbs an act of restraint.
Still, 175 Palestinians have been shot to death, according to an Associated Press count. And the number of wounded has reached colossal proportions.
Of the 10,511 protesters treated at hospitals and field clinics in Gaza so far, at least 6,392, or roughly 60 percent, have been struck in the lower limbs, according to Gaza's Health Ministry. At least 5,884 of those casualties were hit by live ammunition; others have been hit by rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters.
The upsurge in violence has left a visible mark on Gaza that will likely remain for decades to come. It is now common to see young men walking through dilapidated streets on crutches. Most have legs bandaged or fitted with a metal frame called a fixator, which uses pins or screws that are inserted into fractured bones to help stabilize them.
The wounded can often be seen gathering at a treatment clinic run by the Paris-based medical charity Doctors without Borders in Gaza City, where Associated Press photographer Felipe Dana took portraits of some of them.
Some of those he photographed acknowledged throwing stones toward Israeli troops during the demonstrations. One said he had hurled a firebomb. But others said they were unarmed bystanders; one paramedic said he was helping rescue the wounded, while another man said he was waving a Palestinian flag and another said he was selling coffee and tea.
International human rights groups have said the military's open-fire rules are unlawful because they allow the use of potentially lethal force in situations where soldiers' lives are not in immediate danger.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, rejected international criticism that Israel's response has been excessive. Instead, he said that firing at people's legs was a sign of restraint.
"Sniper rifles against hundreds or thousands of rioters that are violently trying to get into Israel with the open aim of killing Israeli civilians or abducting Israeli soldiers, I don't think that's disproportionate," he said. "I don't think it's disproportionate to shoot at feet or legs to get them to stop, rather than killing them."
Doctors Without Borders said this month that the huge number of patients was overwhelming Gaza's health care system, which has already been severely weekend by a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt that has fueled economic stagnation and rampant unemployment, and devastated water and electricity supplies.
The Paris-based aid group said the majority of the 3,117 patients it has treated have been shot in the legs, and many will need follow-up surgery, physiotherapy and rehabilitation.
"These are complex and serious injuries that do not quickly heal," the group said. "Their severity and the lack of appropriate treatment in Gaza's crippled health system means that infection is a high risk, especially for patients with open fractures."
"The consequences of these wounds ... will be lifelong disability for many," the aid group said. "And if infections are not tackled, then the results could be amputation or even death."
Gaza's Health Ministry says it has carried out 94 amputations since the protests began, 82 of them involving lower limbs.