TUESDAY 13 NOVEMBER 2018
in West Bank
abducted, earlier Monday, at
least ten Palestinians, including
two children, and summoned one
for interrogation, after invading
and searching many homes in the
occupied West Bank.
The Palestinian Prisoners’
Society (PPS) has reported that
the soldiers searched homes in
Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethle-
hem, and abducted two children,
identified as Yazan Mahmoud
Taqatqa, 15, and Mofeed Moham-
mad Taqatqa, 14.
The PPS added that the sol-
diers also abducted Bara’ Riyad,
Mojahed Harm Ad-Dali and
Qassem Jamal Hmeidan, from
their homes on Biddu and Qotna
towns, northeast of occupied
Jerusalem. The soldiers also
searched homes in Ramallah, in
central West Bank, and abducted
Omar Ladadweh, Yousef Oleyyan
and Zohdi Al-Khawaja.
In occupied Jerusalem, the
soldiers abducted a student of
the Al-Aqsa School, in the Al-Aq-
sa Mosque compound, and took
him to an unknown destination.
In Tulkarem, in northern
West Bank, the soldiers invaded
homes and searched them, be-
fore abducting a former political
prisoner, identified as Salaheddin
In Hebron, in southern West
Bank, the soldiers broke into and
searched many homes in several
neighborhoods, and summoned
Midhat Al-Juneidi for question-
ing in Etzion military base, north
Two dead as migrant boat sinks off Turkish coast
including a child died after their
boat sank off Turkey’s western
coast on Monday, the Turkish
coastguard said, adding that a
search was underway to find 10
The coastguard said it res-
cued one migrant after two oth-
ers swam to shore not far from
the coastal town of Dikili in Izmir
Initial testimonies from the
survivors revealed that the boat
was carrying 15 migrants — 14 Af-
ghans and one Iranian, the coast-
guard said in a statement.
The search found two bodies,
one that of a child. Another child
was believed to be on board.
Separately, Turkish security
forces rounded up 73 illegal mi-
grants including Iraqis, Iranians,
Afghans and Pakistanis in the
northwestern Turkish province
of Kirklareli, the state-run An-
adolu news agency reported on
The migrants were trying
to reach Europe, it added. The
Kirklareli region is on the border
Turkey has been a main tran-
sition route for migrants trying
to get to Europe, especially since
the start of the Syrian conflict
in 2011. Turkey hosts more than
three million Syrian refugees and
up to 300,000 Iraqis.
The number of migrants
coming to Europe has declined
since the influx hit a peak in 2015
when more than a million people
landed in Greece from Turkey,
mainly via boats.
Gaza border quiet after
botched Israeli operation
The Israel-Gaza bor-
der fell quiet on Monday after
a botched Israeli undercover
operation in the Gaza Strip led
to fighting that killed a Hamas
commander, six other Palestinian
militants and an Israeli colonel.
Palestinians fired 17 rockets
into southern Israel late on Sun-
day in response to the incursion
and airstrikes, which Hamas, the
dominant armed group in Gaza,
said were intended to cover the
retreat of a car used by the Israeli
There were no reports of
injuries or damage in Israel, but
the military said a lieutenant-
colonel, identified only as “M”,
had been killed in the raid and
another officer wounded.
Hamas said the Israeli ac-
tions dealt a blow to Egyptian,
Qatari and UN efforts to broker a
long-term ceasefire between the
Palestinian group and Israel and
ease an Israeli blockade that has
deepened economic hardship in
But neither side appeared ea-
ger to pursue broader conflict.
Hamas received $15 million in
Qatari-donated cash via Israel on
Friday to pay for civil servants’
salaries and fuel to address Ga-
za’s energy crisis.
No new rocket launches were
reported on Monday morning.
Palestinians stand next to the remains of a car that was destroyed
following an Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip,
UN’s envoy for Libya wants election by June
By Ulf Laessing
PALERMO, Italy —
envoy for Libya hopes anoth-
er attempt to hold an election
will take place by June after he
scrapped a December plan, but
said Libyans should first use a
national conference in early 2019
to decide on the poll’s format.
UN Special Envoy Ghassan
Salame decided to abandon a
plan to hold elections on Dec. 10
after a spike in violence in Libya,
which has been gripped by con-
flict and paralyzed by political
deadlock since the overthrow of
Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Salame was speaking to Re-
uters before the start of a con-
ference in Palermo organized by
Rome with the aim of pushing
forward a new UN plan. Salame
said last week this plan would
include an election in the spring,
At Monday’s interview, the
envoy said this meant the vote
would be held between late
March and late June, but that the
format of the poll would depend
on what was decided at the na-
tional conference scheduled for
“We want to ask at the na-
tional conference what type of
election do you want, parliamen-
tary or presidential, and what
kind of law,” Salame said.
The envoy said the national
conference should “preferably”
take place on Libyan soil. He said
surveys had shown that 80 per-
cent of Libyans want elections to
end the stalemate between Lib-
ya’s rival administrations, both
of which are backed by armed
groups. Salame said he hoped
the Palermo conference would
put pressure on Libya’s interna-
tionally recognized parliament,
the House of Representatives
(HOR), which has refused to ap-
prove an election law.
“The HOR has been sterile,
has produced no law ... I think we
need wider representation of the
Libyans,” he said.
Salame also called on the
central bank to unify the ex-
change rate of the dinar to the
dollar to prevent armed groups
with access to cheap dollars from
selling them on the black market
at a premium.
Libya had introduced a fee
on hard currency transactions
which had helped to lower the
spread between official and black
market rate but a unified rate was
“We applaud the results ...
we want this exchange rate to go
even lower,” he said.
UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame speaks during an interview with
Reuters ahead of the first day of the international conference on Libya, in
Palermo, Italy, Monday.
Turkey to seal
AFYONKARAHISAR, Turkey —
key’s eastern and southern borders will be
sealed with cameras, sensors and walls as
a precaution against terror, drug trafficking
and irregular migration, the interior minis-
ter said on Monday.
Suleyman Soylu’s remarks came at the
academic year opening ceremony of Af-
yon Kocatepe University in western Afyon
province. “All of our eastern and southern
borders are being sealed with cameras,
sensors, and walls in order to prevent ter-
rorist infiltration, drug trafficking, and ir-
regular migrants to Turkey,” Soylu said.
Soylu said that Turkey “will be able to
have the technology to monitor the Aegean
Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea in
2-3 years with cameras and radar systems.”
With the help of state-backed housing
developer TOKI and the governorates of
the border provinces, Turkey already com-
pleted the construction of a 764-km con-
crete wall along its border with Syria on
Ankara had launched the construction
project in 2015 to build an 826-km wall on
the Syrian border, as part of Turkey’s mea-
sures to increase border security and com-
bat smuggling and illegal border-crossings.
The wall was sealed along Turkey’s
border provinces of Sanliurfa, Gaziantep,
Kilis, Hatay, Mardin and Sirnak.
Soylu said terrorism was being sup-
ported by European countries and pointed
to European equipment, drugs and guns
seized during counter-terrorism opera-
tions in Turkey’s southeastern regions.
“We have found drug pills produced in
Europe filled in barrels which are ready for
shipment and brand new European-made
guns in unopened boxes in the caves which
you will not be able to find or reach even if
I give you money, vehicle, map and equip-
ment to go,” Soylu said.
4 get death
that killed a
Bahrain’s top crimi-
nal court on Monday sentenced
four Shiites to death for a 2017
bombing that killed a policeman
in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, a ju-
dicial official and the public pros-
A statement by the prosecu-
tor’s office said the four were
found guilty on charges of pre-
meditated murder and posses-
sion of unlicensed arms “with
terrorist aims” over the June 18,
A police officer was killed in
the blast in Diraz, a flashpoint vil-
lage outside the capital Manama.
A judicial source involved in
the case, who spoke on condi-
tion of anonymity, said all four of
those sentenced were Shiites.
Only one of them is in cus-
tody, according to the London-
based Bahrain Institute for
Rights and Democracy, which
said the three others were tried
Bahrain has been hit by
waves of unrest since 2011, when
security forces crushed protests
led by majority Shiites demand-
ing an elected prime minister.
Authorities have since jailed
hundreds of dissidents and
stripped many of citizenship,
banning all opposition groups
under court orders.
Diraz in particular has been
rocked by protests, police raids,
riots and sporadic bombings.
The village is home to Bah-
rain’s top Shiite cleric, Sheikh
Isa Qassim, who was stripped of
citizenship in 2016 and is under
Bahrain accuses Shiite Iran of
provoking unrest in the kingdom,
which Tehran denies.
Monday’s verdict comes
ahead of the parliamentary elec-
tions that Bahrain’s King Hamad
has called for Nov. 24 in the key
US ally, which is home to the US
Fifth Fleet and a permanent Brit-
ish military base.
A militant of the Al-Nasser Saladin Brigades takes part in the funeral of
Palestinian Khaled Qwaider, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike,in Khan
Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
Syrian fighters resume anti-Daesh offensive
fighters resumed their ground of-
fensive Sunday against Daesh (the
so-called IS) group in the last ter-
ritories controlled by the extrem-
ists in eastern Syria.
The Syrian Democratic Forces
said in a statement that the deci-
sion to resume the fighting came
after threats from Turkey against
the Kurdish-led force dropped
due to diplomatic activities.
The SDF said in late October
it was temporarily suspending its
campaign against IS in the eastern
province of Deir El-Zour, accus-
ing Turkey of jeopardizing its ef-
The group said that the aim of
the renewed operation that began
two months ago is “to work for
the final defeat of Daesh organiza-
tion.” Turkey considers the SDF
a terror threat and an extension
of Kurdish rebels waging an in-
surgency within Turkey. US sup-
port for the Kurdish-led forces
has resulted in increased tension
between Washington and Ankara.
Last month, in a spike in ten-
sions, Turkey said its military
shelled Kurdish positions across
the border in Syria, east of the Eu-
Turkish and US troops are pictured during a joint patrol in Manbij area, northern Syria, last week.
Seven Palestinians and an Israeli officer killed
Flare-up comes amid int’l ceasefire push
Violence has flared regularly
along the Israel-Gaza border since
Palestinians began protests there
on March 30 to demand rights to
land lost to Israel in the 1948 war
of its creation.
Israeli gunfire has killed more
than 220 Palestinians since the
start of the demonstrations, which
have included breaches of Israel’s
Hamas said that during Sun-
day’s fighting, assailants in a pass-
ing vehicle opened fire on a group
of its armed men, killing one of its
local commanders, Nour Baraka.
A pursuit ensued and witness-
es said Israeli aircraft fired more
than 40 missiles into the area. Pal-
estinian officials said that in addi-
tion to Baraka, five other Hamas
men and a member of the Popu-
lar Resistance Committees were
killed. In an apparent attempt to
defuse tensions, Israel’s chief mil-
itary spokesman said the special
forces had not been dispatched to
assassinate Hamas commanders,
a tactic that led to wider conflict
in the past and which has largely
The spokesman, Brig.-Gen.
Ronen Manelis, told Army Radio
that covert missions were mount-
ed frequently, comments that sug-
gested the Israeli force may have
been gathering intelligence.
“During the operation, it
found itself in a very complex
situation, faced by enemy forces.
The (Israeli) force, including Lt.
Col. M., kept its cool, returned fire
and evacuated itself together with
the (help of the) air force back
into Israel,” Manelis said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benja-
min Netanyahu cut short a visit
to Paris, where he attended World
War One commemorations with
other world leaders.
He returned home early Mon-
phrates River. Since SDF suspend-
ed operations, Daesh has launched
several offensives that have left
scores of US-backed fighters dead
Despite the cessation of
ground operations, the US-led co-
alition continued with its airstrikes
against the extremist group.
The SDF said its fighters cap-
tured a senior Daesh commander
in the northern city of Raqqa
which until last year was the de
facto capital of the extremists.
“This shows that the organi-
zation still has roots and sleeper
cells in liberated areas,” it said.