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Hamas calls to escalate war with Israel ahead of ceasefire, hostage deal

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Hamas calls to escalate war with Israel ahead of ceasefire, hostage deal



The spokesman of Hamas’ armed wing called on Thursday for the escalation of the confrontation with Israel on all resistance fronts.

“We call for escalation of the confrontation with the occupation throughout the West Bank and all resistance fronts” the spokesman for the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Ubaida, said in a video speech aired by Al Jazeera TV.

The ceasefire and hostage deal

Israel and Palestinian terrorist group Hamas will start a four-day truce on Friday morning with the first group of 13 Israeli women and child hostages released later that day, mediators in Qatar said.

The agreement – the first in a brutal, near seven-week-old war – would begin at 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) and involve a comprehensive ceasefire in north and south Gaza, Qatar’s foreign ministry said.

People walk next to pictures of civilians held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, in Jerusalem, November 22, 2023 (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Some aid would start flowing into Gaza and the first hostages including elderly women would be freed at 4 p.m., with the total number rising to 50 over the four days, ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari said in the Qatari capital Doha.

It was expected Palestinians would be released from Israeli jail, he told reporters. “We all hope that this truce will lead to a chance to start a wider work to achieve a permanent truce.”

Hamas – which had been expected to declare a truce with Israel a day earlier on Thursday only for negotiations to drag on – confirmed on its Telegram channel that all hostilities from its forces would cease.





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IDF, security forces rescue gazelles and confiscate NIS 70,000 in West Bank raids

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IDF, security forces rescue gazelles and confiscate NIS 70,000 in West Bank raids



IDF soldiers arrested wanted individuals and confiscated over NIS 70,000 in terror funds and materials for making explosives, the IDF announced on Sunday. 

Within the Binyamin Brigade, soldiers arrested two wanted individuals and discovered six gazelles taken to a shelter. 

In Ras al-Ein, a small Arab village in northern Israel, forces arrested an agitator. In Bani Naim, Dahriya, and Dura within the Judea Division, three more wanted individuals were arrested.

Wanted individuals arrested, gazelles taken to shelter

In Beit Ummar and Sa’ir within the Etzion Division, soldiers arrested four wanted individuals.

The arrested individuals and seized combat materials have been transferred to security forces for further investigation. There were no casualties or injuries among IDF soldiers. 

IDF soldiers operating in the West Bank, June 23, 2024. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)

To date, approximately 4,150 wanted individuals have been arrested since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war throughout the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, with around 1,750 linked to Hamas.





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For the second time this week: an Israeli citizen entered Kalkilya – and was murdered

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For the second time this week: an Israeli citizen entered Kalkilya – and was murdered



An Israeli citizen who entered Kalkilya on Saturday morning with his car was shot dead by local residents, according to Palestinian reports cited by Israeli media.

A large number of IDF troops entered the city after an Israeli citizen entered the city center with his vehicle was shot at around seven on Saturday morning.

The shooting was carried out on the main street, after which the vehicles were set on fire. About an hour ago, the victim was brought by a medical team of the Red Crescent to the entrance to the city. An IDF medical team pronounced the victim dead.

Photos from the scene show his car being set alight and his driver’s license being taken. Local Palestinians told Israeli media the car was torched well after the shooting.

IDF soldiers operating near Kalkilya in the West Bank, May 5, 2024. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)

Kalkilya hotspot

This is the third event in Kalkilya in the last 48 hours.

On Thursday, an Israeli in his 70s was robbed and attacked. The paramedic team met him at the Eliyahu checkpoint, where he was pronounced dead.

On Friday afternoon, two Islamic Jihad operatives, who were on their way to carry out a terror attack against Israelis, were eliminated by the IDF in Qalqilya.

The operation was carried out after the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) gathered intelligence that the two intended to carry out an attack soon.

As a result, the soldiers of the police’s Gideon unit were rushed to the area. After identifying the two, they started an arrest procedure, at the end of which they fired at the two terrorists.





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Armenia recognizes Palestine as a state, foreign ministry announces

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Armenia recognizes Palestine as a state, foreign ministry announces



Armenia recognized Palestine as a state on Friday morning, according to Russian TASS news agency, citing Armenia’s foreign affairs ministry. 

Armenia supports a UN resolution on an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and is in favor of a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the same statement said.

Indeed, Armenia remained notably silent after the October 7 massacre. It became vocal only three weeks later when the United Nations General Assembly put forth a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Gaza. Armenia was one of the 121 countries which voted in favor.

Armenia has become more and more closely associated with Iran in recent years amid the rising tensions with Azerbaijan. Several sources reported 2023 spotting Iranian soldiers on the Armenian side of the border with Azerbaijan. 

According to French reports, Iran sent agents to Yerevan to manage the Blue Mosque, which was built in Armenia during Iran’s rule.

A protester holds up a Palestinian flag as riot police stand guard near the Israel Embassy during a demonstration in support of Palestinians, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Mexico City, Mexico May 28, 2024. (credit: REUTERS/HENRY ROMERO)

Iran and Israel have been consistently opposed, with Iran attacking Israel in a massive bombardment of rockets and missiles in April.

In addition, Armenia is an observer state of the Arab League. Palestine is recognized as a member state in said league.

Antisemitism has been rampant in Armenia since the war broke out, as well, with Jewish communities in the region fearful and having been attacked several times.

Reuters contributed to this report.





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