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Israeli settlers take over east Jerusalem home after court battle

THE HAGUE: A new team established by the global chemical weapons watchdog to attribute blame for the use of banned munitions in Syria will investigate nine alleged attacks during the country’s civil war, including in the town of Douma, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters.The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was…

Israeli settlers take over east Jerusalem home after court battle

THE HAGUE: A new team established by the global chemical weapons watchdog to attribute blame for the use of banned munitions in Syria will investigate nine alleged attacks during the country’s civil war, including in the town of Douma, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters.The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was created in 1997 as a technical body to enforce a global non-proliferation treaty. It had until now only been authorized to say whether chemical attacks occurred, not who perpetrated them.Last June, the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) was established by the OPCW’s member states during a special session, a move that has brought deeper political division to the UN -back agency. Now it has identified the locations of its first investigations to be conducted in the coming three years.The British-led proposal creating the 10-member team was supported by the United States and European Union, but opposed by Russia, Iran, Syria and their allies. Syria has refused to issue visas to the team’s members or to provide it with documentation, OPCW chief Fernando Arias said in comments to member states published last month.There were reports of dozens of fatalities on April 7, 2018, after an attack on Douma, at the time held by rebels but besieged by pro-government forces.US President Donald Trump blamed the attack on Syrian forces and launched missile strikes on Syrian government targets a week later with the backing of France and Britain.The government of Syrian President Bashar Assad and its military backer Russia deny using chemical weapons and accuse insurgents of staging the attack to implicate Syrian forces.SARIN, CHLORINEA Russian representative to the OPCW in The Hague did not respond to requests seeking comment.Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013, agreeing to open itself up to OPCW inspections and averting threatened military action by then US President Barack Obama.As part of a deal brokered with Russia, Damascus vowed to completely destroy its chemical weapons capabilities, but attacks with banned munitions have been widespread and systematic during the civil war, which began in 2011.A United Nations-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) carried out the task of assigning blame for chemical weapons attacks, but Russia vetoed a resolution to extend its mandate beyond November 2017.The new team at the OPCW is focusing on sites of chemical attacks where culprits have not yet been identified by the JIM, dating back as far back as 2015.The JIM concluded in a series of reports since then that the Syrian military used both nerve agent sarin and chlorine as weapons, while Daesh insurgents used sulfur mustard gas on the battlefield.The OPCW concluded in a March 1 report that a chemical weapons attack occurred in Douma, most likely with chlorine. It did not assign blame.As of this year, Syria had not fully disclosed its chemical weapons program or explained why inspectors have continued to find traces of prohibited nerve agents or their chemical precursors at multiple locations.Syria has acknowledged, after more than five years, that it carried out research and development activities on nerve agents it has never admitted having.“This adds to the growing evidence of deliberately false declarations by Syria, destruction of possible evidence, and the alarming likelihood that Syria continues to possess” banned chemical agents, Canada’s ambassador to the OPCW, Sabine Nolke, told delegates attending meetings at the OPCW in The Hague this week.“Continued possession of these chemicals by Syria lends additional credence to existing allegations of their use by the regime,” she said.

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Middle East News

Kuwait hands Muslim Brotherhood-linked militants to Egypt

DUBAI: Arab coalition forces have killed dozens of Iranian-backed Houthi militants including a field commander and wounded others during air strikes in the provinces of Al-Dhale and Al-Bayda in southern and central Yemen on Sunday, according to Saudi state-news agency SPA. According to the Yemeni national military website “SeptemberNet”, 13 Houthi militants were killed in…

Kuwait hands Muslim Brotherhood-linked militants to Egypt

DUBAI: Arab coalition forces have killed dozens of Iranian-backed Houthi militants including a field commander and wounded others during air strikes in the provinces of Al-Dhale and Al-Bayda in southern and central Yemen on Sunday, according to Saudi state-news agency SPA.

According to the Yemeni national military website “SeptemberNet”, 13 Houthi militants were killed in attacks against the Yemeni armed forces in Qataba in the south province of Dhale, including the Abu Sharif Abdullah Hizam Mutahar commander of the “rapid intervention forces”, was among the dozens killed.

The militia attempted to infiltrate Yemen army positions at the fronts of the Ghalq and Shakhb. But government forces managed to stop them and forced the militants to flee towards Ibb province.

The Arab coalition forces launched several air strikes targeting the militants that were in Nate east of Al-Bayda.

Several members of the militia were killed and others injured in Al-Bark and Bawwas.

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Middle East News

Dozens of Houthis killed, including a field commander in Yemen

DUBAI: Arab coalition forces have killed dozens of Iranian-backed Houthi militants including a field commander and wounded others during air strikes in the provinces of Al-Dhale and Al-Bayda in southern and central Yemen on Sunday, according to Saudi state-news agency SPA. According to the Yemeni national military website “SeptemberNet”, 13 Houthi militants were killed in…

Dozens of Houthis killed, including a field commander in Yemen

DUBAI: Arab coalition forces have killed dozens of Iranian-backed Houthi militants including a field commander and wounded others during air strikes in the provinces of Al-Dhale and Al-Bayda in southern and central Yemen on Sunday, according to Saudi state-news agency SPA.

According to the Yemeni national military website “SeptemberNet”, 13 Houthi militants were killed in attacks against the Yemeni armed forces in Qataba in the south province of Dhale, including the Abu Sharif Abdullah Hizam Mutahar commander of the “rapid intervention forces”, was among the dozens killed.

The militia attempted to infiltrate Yemen army positions at the fronts of the Ghalq and Shakhb. But government forces managed to stop them and forced the militants to flee towards Ibb province.

The Arab coalition forces launched several air strikes targeting the militants that were in Nate east of Al-Bayda.

Several members of the militia were killed and others injured in Al-Bark and Bawwas.

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Middle East News

Egyptian delegation seeks to prevent new Gaza flare-up

RAMALLAH: Egyptian security officials have held talks with Palestinian leaders in recent days in part to prevent a new flare-up of tensions between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said Sunday.The Egyptian delegation led by deputy intelligence chief Ayman Badie was in the Gaza Strip on Friday and Saturday and the occupied West Bank…

Egyptian delegation seeks to prevent new Gaza flare-up

RAMALLAH: Egyptian security officials have held talks with Palestinian leaders in recent days in part to prevent a new flare-up of tensions between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said Sunday.The Egyptian delegation led by deputy intelligence chief Ayman Badie was in the Gaza Strip on Friday and Saturday and the occupied West Bank on Saturday, the officials said.A statement on Saturday from Hamas said the discussions included talks on “understandings with the enemy” — a reference to a fragile cease-fire with Israel tested in recent days.Contacted on Sunday, a Hamas official said the movement did not want to comment further beyond its official statements.Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas met with the delegation in Ramallah on Saturday on the Gaza-Israel cease-fire and attempts to heal the long-existing division between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah, official Palestinian news agency WAFA said.Fresh tensions were feared after Israel shot dead a Hamas militant on Thursday along the border with the Gaza Strip, prompting the movement to vow revenge.Israel later signalled it had fired in error, saying an initial inquiry showed soldiers misidentified a Hamas security agent as “an armed terrorist and fired as a result of this misunderstanding.”On Friday night, Israel’s military said two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, but no damage or injuries were reported.Earlier in the day, at least 33 Palestinians were shot and wounded during weekly demonstrations and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.Under a fragile cease-fire brokered by Egyptian and UN officials following a severe flare-up in May, Israel is meant to ease aspects of its blockade on the strip in exchange for relative calm.At least 295 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since major Hamas-backed protests began along the border fence in March 2018.Most were killed during the protests and clashes but others died in air strikes or tank fire in response to violence from the strip.Six Israelis have been killed.Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

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