Egypt’s El-Sisi cruises toward victory as vote count begins

In letter to AFP, Blinken says Gaza journalists must be ‘protected from harm’

In letter to AFP, Blinken says Gaza journalists must be ‘protected from harm’

Updated 13 December 2023

In letter to AFP, Blinken says Gaza journalists must be ‘protected from harm’

In letter to AFP, Blinken says Gaza journalists must be ‘protected from harm’

  • At least 63 journalists and media workers have been killed since war broke out after Oct. 7, according to Committee to Protect Journalists
  • AFP and other media groups had written to Blinken in October urging help in protecting journalists on the ground in Gaza

Updated 13 December 2023

AFP

PARIS: The United States will always insist on the need to protect journalists reporting from Gaza during the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a letter to Agence France-Presse on Tuesday.
AFP and other international media groups had written to Blinken in late October urging his help in protecting journalists on the ground in Gaza after several were killed since the outbreak of fighting.
“The United States has and will continue to underscore with Israel, and with all countries, that journalists must be protected from harm,” Blinken wrote.
“We stand unequivocally for the protection of journalists during armed conflict and mourn those who have been killed or injured.”
Since the war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas began in October, at least 63 journalists and media workers — 56 Palestinian, four Israeli and three Lebanese — have been killed, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
AFP and the other media groups also urged Blinken’s help in evacuating their employees from Gaza as Israeli bombards the territory in retaliation for the attack by Hamas on October 7 that killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli figures, and saw around 240 hostages taken.
Israel imposed a total shutdown of the territory’s borders on October 9.
“US citizens’ and foreign nationals’ continued safe passage out of Gaza remains our top priority, and we are working with Egypt, the UN, and Israel to facilitate their ability to exit Gaza safely,” Blinken wrote.
Around 100 French lawmakers mainly from left-wing parties on Monday sent a letter to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne also calling for all possible efforts to secure the exit of AFP journalists stranded in Gaza.
The Hamas-run health ministry on Tuesday updated its death toll since the Gaza war began to 18,412 people, mostly women and children.

Yemen’s Houthis warn ships in Red Sea to avoid travel to Palestinian territories

Yemen’s Houthis warn ships in Red Sea to avoid travel to Palestinian territories

Updated 13 December 2023

Yemen’s Houthis warn ships in Red Sea to avoid travel to Palestinian territories

Yemen’s Houthis warn ships in Red Sea to avoid travel to Palestinian territories

  • Al-Houthi warned cargo ships against “falsifying their identity” or raising flags different from the country belonging to cargo ship owner

Updated 13 December 2023

Reuters

CAIRO: A senior official from Yemen’s Houthis on Tuesday warned cargo ships in the Red Sea to avoid traveling toward the occupied Palestinian territories, after the Iran-aligned group claimed an attack on a commercial tanker earlier in the day.
The Houthis earlier said they hit a Norwegian commercial tanker with a missile in their latest protest against Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, underlining the risks of a conflict that has shaken the Middle East.
In addition to avoid heading toward the Palestinian territories, ships that pass Yemen should keep radios turned on, and quickly respond to Houthi attempts at communication, Mohamed Ali Al-Houthi, head of Yemen’s Houthi supreme revolutionary committee, said in a message on the X social media platform.
Al-Houthi also warned cargo ships against “falsifying their identity” or raising flags different from the country belonging to cargo ship owner.
The Iran-aligned group attacked the tanker, the STRINDA, because it was delivering crude oil to an Israeli terminal and after its crew ignored all warnings, Houthi military spokesperson Yehia Sarea had previously said in a statement.
The Houthis have waded into the Israel-Hamas conflict — which has spread around the region — attacking vessels in vital shipping lanes and firing drones and missiles at Israel more than 1,000 miles from their seat of power in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.
 

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Update


Houthis attack Norwegian tanker in Red Sea


The French military said on Dec. 10, 2023 that its frigate Languedoc shot down two drones in the Red Sea.

Blinken says Gaza journalists must be ‘protected from harm’: letter to AFP

Blinken says Gaza journalists must be ‘protected from harm’: letter to AFP

Updated 13 December 2023

Blinken says Gaza journalists must be ‘protected from harm’: letter to AFP

Blinken says Gaza journalists must be ‘protected from harm’: letter to AFP

  • Since the war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas began in October, at least 63 journalists and media workers — 56 Palestinian, four Israeli and three Lebanese — have been killed, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists

Updated 13 December 2023

AFP

PARIS: The United States will always insist on the need to protect journalists reporting from Gaza during the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a letter to Agence France-Presse on Tuesday.
AFP and other international media groups had written to Blinken in late October urging his help in protecting journalists on the ground in Gaza after several were killed since the outbreak of fighting.
“The United States has and will continue to underscore with Israel, and with all countries, that journalists must be protected from harm,” Blinken wrote.
“We stand unequivocally for the protection of journalists during armed conflict and mourn those who have been killed or injured.”
Since the war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas began in October, at least 63 journalists and media workers — 56 Palestinian, four Israeli and three Lebanese — have been killed, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
AFP and the other media groups also urged Blinken’s help in evacuating their employees from Gaza as Israeli bombards the territory in retaliation for the attack by Hamas on October 7 that killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli figures, and saw around 240 hostages taken.
Israel imposed a total shutdown of the territory’s borders on October 9.
“US citizens’ and foreign nationals’ continued safe passage out of Gaza remains our top priority, and we are working with Egypt, the UN, and Israel to facilitate their ability to exit Gaza safely,” Blinken wrote.
Around 100 French lawmakers mainly from left-wing parties on Monday sent a letter to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne also calling for all possible efforts to secure the exit of AFP journalists stranded in Gaza.
The Hamas-run health ministry on Tuesday updated its death toll since the Gaza war began to 18,412 people, mostly women and children.
 

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The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan has condemned the killing of journalists and their relatives in the Gaza Strip.


Al Jazeera says Israel targeted home of one of its journalists, resulting in his father’s death

Biden points to Gaza hostages when asked about Israeli tunnel flooding reports

Biden points to Gaza hostages when asked about Israeli tunnel flooding reports

Updated 13 December 2023

Biden points to Gaza hostages when asked about Israeli tunnel flooding reports

Biden points to Gaza hostages when asked about Israeli tunnel flooding reports

  • Officials have expressed concerns the seawater would endanger Gaza’s fresh water supply

Updated 13 December 2023

Reuters

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden declined to directly answer a question on reports that Israel was pumping seawater into Hamas’ Gaza tunnel complex, referring only to assertions that there were no hostages in the areas targeted.
Citing unnamed US officials, the Wall Street Journal reported that Israel had recently begun pumping seawater into Hamas’ vast labyrinth of tunnels underneath Gaza, in a process that would likely take weeks.
ABC News later published a similar report and said the flooding appeared limited as Israel evaluates the strategy’s effectiveness.
Israel’s military said it was looking into the reports. An Israeli defense ministry spokesperson declined to comment.
Responding to a question about the reports at a press conference in Washington, Biden said: “With regard to the flooding of the tunnels. I’m not at lib-, well. There (are) assertions being made that … there’s no hostages in any of these tunnels. But I don’t know that for a fact.”
Biden added: “I do know that, though, every civilian death is an absolute tragedy, and Israel has stated its intent, as I said, to match its words … with actions.”
The Journal, citing Biden administration officials, has said the flooding could help destroy the tunnels, where Israel believes the militant group is hiding hostages, fighters and munitions.
Other officials have expressed concerns the seawater would endanger Gaza’s fresh water supply, the Journal added.

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As Israel pounds southern Gaza, Biden warns it is losing support


Israel begins pumping seawater into Hamas’ tunnels in Gaza — media

Libya sends illegal migrants home to Egypt and Nigeria

Libya sends illegal migrants home to Egypt and Nigeria

Updated 13 December 2023

Libya sends illegal migrants home to Egypt and Nigeria

Libya sends illegal migrants home to Egypt and Nigeria

  • Migrants seeking to make the perilous sea crossing to Europe from north Africa often fall into the hands of trafficking gangs that extort them for money

Updated 13 December 2023

AFP

TRIPOLI: Libya on Tuesday repatriated nearly 1,000 migrants from Egypt and Nigeria who had been staying in the North African country illegally, officials and AFP journalists said.
The 664 Egyptians were to be taken by bus to the Emsaed border post with Egypt, nearly 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) east of Tripoli.
General Mohamad Bardaa, who heads the country’s anti-immigration body affiliated to the interior ministry, said 300 Nigerians were taken to the airport to be flown home.
Libya, plunged into chaos with the ouster and killing in 2011 of long-time dictator Muammar Qaddafi, is now ruled by rival administrations in the west and east and has become a hub for illegal migration to Europe.
Migrants seeking to make the perilous sea crossing to Europe from north Africa often fall into the hands of trafficking gangs that extort them for money.
Thousands of people, mostly Egyptians, have also lived illegally in and around the Libyan capital for years, working in agriculture, business and construction.
In similar operations last month, 600 Egyptians were sent home on November 6 and 250 were repatriated to Niger and Chad on November 28.
According to International Organization for Migration figures, there were more than 700,000 migrants — mostly from Niger and Egypt — in Libya between May and June this year.
 

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