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‘You are not alone’: Biden arrives in Israel as Middle East erupts in anger after hospital blast

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Joe Biden arrived in Israel with a message of wartime solidarity, saying that he accepted the Israeli claim that a blast at a Gaza hospital was the fault of Palestinian militant groups.

Speaking to the press in Tel Aviv alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden said the evidence Israeli officials presented him was persuasive. But he but also indicated that it was not likely to tamp down the eruptions of angry protests across the Arab world.

“The point is, is that I was deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion of the hospital in Gaza yesterday, and based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” he said. “But there’s a lot of people out there not sure, so we’ve got a lot — we’ve got to overcome a lot of things.”

The Israeli army posted what it said was intercepted audio of Palestinian terrorists saying that they believed that the blast at al-Ahli hospital in Gaza City was caused by a misfired rocket aimed at Israel. The blast reportedly killed hundreds of people, including people who had survived other blasts.

Israel says that the rocket was fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a smaller terrorist group that is at times at odds with the Hamas terrorist group, which controls Gaza. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have both publicly blamed Israel.

Before Biden took off from Washington, the spokesman for the National Security Council, John Kirby, said he expected Biden and Netanyahu to have difficult conversations. The pair have been at arm’s length all year, since Netanyahu retook power and advanced domestic policies that Biden criticized.

“He’s going to get a sense from the Israelis about the situation on the ground and, more critically, their objectives, their plans, their intentions in the days and weeks ahead,” Kirby said. “And he’ll be asking some tough questions. He’ll be asking them as a friend — as a true friend of Israel. But he will be asking some questions of them.”

Upon arrival, Biden was only sympathetic, stepping off Air Force One before anyone else and signaling Netanyahu to come forward for.a hug. In a later press opportunity with top officials from both countries, Biden sounded a note of solidarity.

“I want you to know you’re not alone,” Biden told Netanyahu at the press opportunity. “You are not alone. As I emphasized earlier, we will continue to have Israel’s back as you work to defend your people will continue to work with you and partners across the region to prevent more tragedy.”

Netanyahu reciprocated the affection. “I have seen your support every day in the depth and breath of cooperation that we have had since the beginning of this war,” Netanyahu said. “A level of cooperation that is truly unprecedented in the history of the great alliance between our two nations.”

Biden had hoped to advance plans for bringing relief to Gaza as Israel retaliates against Hamas with massive air strikes and plans for a major ground incursion aimed at destroying Hamas. But plans for Biden to meet in Amman, Jordan, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordanian King Abdullah were scuttled when the Arab leaders pulled out amid sharp domestic anger at Israel over the hospital explosion.


The post ‘You are not alone’: Biden arrives in Israel as Middle East erupts in anger after hospital blast appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Photo: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

i24 NewsRussia’s strongman President Vladimir Putin said he would end the war in Ukraine only if Kyiv agreed to drop its NATO ambitions and hand over the entirety of four provinces claimed by Moscow. Kyiv swiftly rejected the demands as tantamount to surrender.

Putin demands that Ukraine transfers to Russia four regions, including a 300,000 city of Kherson and 700,000 Zaporizhzhya as a “precondition” to “peace talks”. This man is delusional, and those in the West who speak of “negotiations” or “cease fire” are enemies of the free world. pic.twitter.com/fqTGVqMdDu

— Sergej Sumlenny, LL.M (@sumlenny) June 14, 2024

“The conditions are very simple,” Putin said, listing them as the full withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the entire territory of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Putin’s maximalist conditions apparently reflect Moscow’s growing confidence that its forces have the upper hand in the war.

He restated his demand for Ukraine’s demilitarization and said an end to Western sanctions must also be part of a peace deal. He also repeated his call for Ukraine’s “denazification.”

“He is offering for Ukraine to admit defeat. He is offering for Ukraine to legally give up its territories to Russia. He is offering for Ukraine to sign away its geopolitical sovereignty,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, rejecting the demands as “absurd.”

The post Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah

Illustrative. Some rises after an Israeli strike as Israeli forces launch a ground and air operation in the eastern part of Rafah, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Hatem Khaled

i24 NewsEarly this morning, tragedy struck in the southern Gaza city of Rafah as eight Israeli soldiers lost their lives in a devastating explosion, marking the deadliest incident for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the region since January.

The IDF has confirmed the casualties, with one soldier identified as Captain Wassem Mahmoud, 23, a deputy company commander from Beit Jann in the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion.

The names of the other seven soldiers will be released after their families have been notified.

According to initial reports from the IDF, the soldiers were traveling in a Namer armored combat engineering vehicle (CEV) as part of a convoy around 5 a.m., following a successful overnight operation targeting Hamas militants in the Tel Sultan neighborhood of Rafah. During the operation, troops under the 401st Armored Brigade reportedly neutralized approximately 50 gunmen.

The convoy was en route to buildings captured by the army for the soldiers to rest, when the Namer CEV, which was the fifth or sixth vehicle in the convoy, was struck by a powerful explosion. The nature of the explosion remains under investigation, with possibilities ranging from a pre-planted bomb to an improvised device placed on the vehicle by Hamas operatives.

Initial findings suggest that explosives stored on the exterior of the Namer CEV may have contributed to the severity of the blast. Normally, such explosives are designed to minimize harm to troops inside if detonated.

The IDF probe indicates there was no gunfire preceding the explosion, and the vehicle was not stationary at the time of the incident. The circumstances surrounding the tragedy have prompted intensified scrutiny into the safety protocols and operational procedures during military movements in hostile territories.

The deaths of these eight soldiers bring the total number of IDF casualties in recent ground operations against Hamas to 307. This figure includes a police officer killed during a recent hostage rescue operation and a civilian Defense Ministry contractor also slain in the conflict.

This is a developing story 

The post Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah

Israeli firefighters work following rocket attacks from Lebanon, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, near the border on its Israeli side, June 13, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Avi Ohayon

i24 NewsRecent actions by both Israel and Hezbollah have sparked growing concerns among U.S. officials, who fear that the situation could escalate into a full-scale war, according to reports from CBS News.

The tension has intensified following a series of Israeli airstrikes on Lebanese territory, which some American authorities believe are laying the groundwork for a larger military operation.

Sources within the US government have expressed worries that such a move could trigger a conflict that might strain Israel’s alliance with Washington.

Hezbollah, in response to recent events including the assassination of senior commander Taleb Sami Abdullah, has escalated its own actions. The group has begun launching daily rocket attacks targeting northern Israeli communities since October 8, citing solidarity with Hamas amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

US officials cited by CBS News have highlighted concerns over the potential unintended consequences of Hezbollah’s increased attacks. They fear that these actions could provoke Israel into launching a significant military assault, further exacerbating the volatile situation in the region.

The developments come amid ongoing international efforts to de-escalate tensions and prevent a wider conflict. Diplomatic channels remain active, with calls for restraint and dialogue from various quarters.

The United States, a key ally of Israel, has historically played a crucial role in mediating and influencing regional conflicts. Officials are closely monitoring the situation, emphasizing the importance of avoiding actions that could escalate tensions further.

The post U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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