Libya Tells Western Ambassadors To Go Home

Gaza Palestine 12

Ambassadors of countries supporting Israel should leave Libya “immediately” and an embargo on oil and gas deliveries should be imposed if the “massacres” in Gaza continue, the Libyan parliament said in a statement on Wednesday.

The legislature condemned the “campaign of genocide by Zionist gangs” against Gaza, intended “to kill the Palestinian people and eradicate their legitimate right to resistance and to build their independent state.”

The House of Representatives (HoR, Majlis al-Nuwaab) has criticized the visits to Israel by the leaders of the U.S., UK, Germany, Italy and France, and demanded that Israel immediately stop its aggression against Gaza, whose population should “under no circumstance” be displaced from the territory.

The Libyan lawmakers also demanded urgent meetings of the Arab League, other Islamic organizations, and the UN General Assembly to address the matter. The current “war of genocide” against Gaza is a failure of the Arab system, the legislators said, as the trend of normalizing relations with Israel has made them unable to make “a bold stand that expresses the will of the people.”

The HoR’s 200 members were last elected in 2014, prior to Libya’s second civil war that partitioned the country between the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and the Tripoli-based High State Council (HSC). The HoR is currently based in Tobruk, which is controlled by the LNA.

Libya collapsed into civil conflict after the 2011 NATO-backed rebellion ousted its longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

World Is ‘Failing’ Gaza, Says U.N.

The international community has so far failed to fulfill its basic humanitarian duties and protect civilians in Gaza amid the continued Israeli bombing campaign, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths said on Thursday. Humanitarian aid pledged by national governments and various relief organizations is barely reaching Gaza residents, he added.

Israel’s “heavy bombardments” are “getting worse,” even in parts of the enclave that were supposed to be safe, and aid “is barely trickling in,” Griffiths wrote in a statement published on X (formerly known as Twitter).

“The rules of war are clear: civilians must be protected and have the essentials to survive, wherever they are and whether they choose to move or stay,” the official stated, in an apparent reference to Israel’s call on Gaza residents to move south amid the continued air raids.

Griffiths, who is also the UN’s emergency relief coordinator, has previously criticized Israel’s order to evacuate, saying it “defies the rules of war and basic humanity.” Forcing “scared and traumatized civilians” out of their homes amid intense bombardments “without even a pause in the fighting and without humanitarian support, is dangerous and outrageous,” he said on October 13.

On Thursday, the UN official reiterated that “the world itself is failing to meet the bare entitlements of a part of humanity,” referring to Gaza.

His words came as the international body had to scale back its humanitarian aid operations in the Palestinian enclave due to a shortage of fuel. West Jerusalem has barred fuel from being imported into Gaza since the October 7 attack by Hamas, arguing that it could be used for offensive military purposes by the Palestinian militant group.

According to the BBC, fuel was expected to run out at some point on Tuesday, but some aid has managed to enter Gaza via Egypt, including food, water, and medical supplies.

In a post on X on Tuesday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) published a satellite photograph that it claims shows storage tanks containing 500,000 liters of fuel in Gaza. “Ask Hamas if you can have some,” the post said.

Airstrikes In Gaza After Israeli Troops And Tanks Briefly Enter

An Associated Press report said on Oct. 27, 2023:

More airstrikes have ravaged swaths of the Gaza Strip, and residents are running out of food, water and other supplies. The bombardment continued as the Israeli military said its troops and tanks briefly entered northern Gaza to prepare for a full-scale incursion, the Israeli raid since the war began more than two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, a senior Hamas official told The Associated Press that the Palestinian militant group needs greater intervention from its allies, including Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon, in its war with Israel.

The war, now in its 20th day, is the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said Thursday that more than 7,000 Palestinians have been killed so far — more than three times the number killed in the six-week-long Gaza war in 2014. In the occupied West Bank, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed in violence and Israeli raids following Hamas’ surprise rampage on Oct. 7 in southern Israel.

The Associated Press couldn’t independently verify the death tolls cited by Hamas, which says it tallies figures from hospital directors.

The fighting has killed more than 1,400 people in Israel, according to Israeli officials, mostly civilians who died in the initial Hamas attack. Israel’s military has raised the number of remaining hostages in Gaza to 222 people, including foreigners believed captured by Hamas during the incursion. Four hostages have been released so far.

U.S. and other officials fear the fighting could spill over into a wider regional conflict.

Explosion in Egypt, 5 Hurt

An explosion hit the Egyptian resort town of Taba on the border with Israel, wounding five people, Egyptian state-run media outlet Al Qahera News reported early Friday.

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear, and The Associated Press could not immediately confirm the details.

U.S Air Base In Iraq Sustained Minor Damage After Attempted Attack

The Pentagon said Thursday that there was an attempted attack at Irbil air base in Iraq but there were no casualties and only minor damage to the facilities.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, declined to detail which Iranian-backed groups may be responsible for the recent spate of attacks at bases in Iraq and Syria.

He said there have been at least 12 attacks in Iraq and four in Syria, and 21 U.S. personnel sustained minor injuries in two separate attacks early last week. Of those, 19 had some type of traumatic brain injury, and all 21 returned to duty.

There have been no reported injuries since those two attacks on Oct. 17-18.

U.S. Will Respond To Recent Attacks On Troops In Mid-East At Time ‘Of Our Choosing,’ Says White House

A White House spokesman said Thursday that the United States would respond at a “time of our choosing and a manner of our choosing” to a recent spate of attacks said to have been carried out by Iranian-backed groups against U.S. troops stationed in the Middle East.

The blunt warning from White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby came a day after President Joe Biden said Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had been directly warned that the U.S. would respond if Iran or its proxies continued to attack U.S. troops. Attacks on U.S. troops in the region have increased since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7.

Asked on Thursday to provide further details on how that message was delivered to Khamenei, Kirby declined to elaborate.

Iraqi Militia Says It Attacked Base Housing U.S. Troops

An Iranian-backed militia says it carried out an attack Thursday with two suicide drones against a base housing U.S. troops in northern Iraq.

The Islamic Resistance, an umbrella group for several Iran-backed militias, said in a statement that it attacked the “American occupation base” near the airport of the city of Irbil with two drones that directly hit their targets.

It gave no further details.

The past week has seen more than a dozen attacks on U.S. military facilities in Iraq and Syria. Most were claimed by the same group, which has said it is retaliating against U.S. backing of Israel in its war with Hamas.

Cyprus Pitches Linking Its Main Port To Gaza As A Humanitarian Aid Corridor

Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides says the island nation is ready to act as a hub for humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

Christodoulides told reporters in Brussels on Thursday that he proposed to fellow European Union leaders the establishment of a “humanitarian aid corridor” linking Cyprus’ main port of Limassol to Gaza. The Cypriot president said he discussed the idea with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

Government spokesman Constantinos Letymbiotis told The Associated Press that EU leaders “showed interest” in the proposal.

Displays And Demonstrations Around The World Spotlight Plight Of Hostages

The absence of more than 200 people held hostage by Hamas is being felt — and seen — in places around the world.

Thirty empty baby strollers were displayed on a lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower on Thursday, each with a photo of one of the children being held. Two hundred empty plastic chairs were also lined up outside the U.N. European headquarters in Geneva with photos of the missing.

Family members and Jewish groups are keeping the spotlight on the people taken captive by Hamas militants Oct. 7 as Israel continues to pound the Gaza Strip with airstrikes and prepares for a ground invasion.

“Our goal is to … raise the level of public awareness regarding the situation of these children,” Yonathan Arfi, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France, said of the Eiffel Tower display. “It is not acceptable to have hostages, and it is even more unacceptable to have children hostages.”

Arfi’s group also arranged empty baby carriages in the French coastal cities of Nice and Marseille.

A day earlier, blindfolded teddy bears with photos of abducted children were placed in front of a fountain in Tel Aviv.

Demonstrators and family members of hostages taken from the kibbutz Kfar Azza called Thursday for their release in a street protest in Tel Aviv.

A poster said 62 people from the kibbutz had been slain, 17 were kidnapped and one was missing. Hundreds more were wounded.

“I want my brother back,” said Ido Shamriz, brother of Alon Shamriz. “I want him (back) now. Bring all the kidnapped people now to Israel, now.”

Iran’s FM Says It ‘Stands Ready’ To Play Its Part In Release Of Hostages

Iran’s foreign minister says Hamas is ready to release civilian prisoners abducted from Israel and is stressing that the international community must take responsibility for releasing 6,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

Hossein Amirabdollahian told an emergency meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday that Iran “stands ready to play its part in this very important humanitarian endeavor, along with Qatar and Turkey.”

Iran is a key backer of Hamas, and Qatar has already played a key role in the release of four Israeli civilians, among the more than 200 taken captive.

Amirabdollahian accused the United States of directly participating in the Israeli-Hamas war and what he called a “genocide” against Palestinians.

He also issued a strong warning “against the uncontrollable consequences of the unlimited financial, arms and operational support by the White House to the Tel Aviv regime.”

“I say frankly to the American statesman, who are now managing the genocide in Palestine, that we do not welcome to expansion of the war in the region,” Iran’s top diplomat said in English at the start of his remarks.

“But I warn, if the genocide in Gaza continues, they will not be spared from this fire,” Amirabdollahian said. “It is our home, and west Asia is our region. We do not compromise with any party and any side, and we have no reservation when it comes to our home security.”

Russian And Iranian Officials Meet In Moscow To Discuss Israel-Hamas War

A senior Iranian diplomat discussed the situation in the Gaza Strip with a Kremlin Mideast envoy Thursday.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri met with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, who serves as the Kremlin envoy for the Middle East.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said diplomats emphasized “the need for a cessation of hostilities in and around the Gaza Strip and the prompt provision of humanitarian assistance to the affected Palestinian population.”

It added that they also reaffirmed a shared commitment by Moscow and Tehran to “continue close coordination of efforts in the interests of stabilizing the situation in the Middle East.”

Russian Foreign Ministry Says It Discussed Release Of Hostages With A Hamas Representative

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it discussed the release of hostages in the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of Russian nationals and other foreign citizens with a Hamas representative who visited Moscow Thursday.

The ministry said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies that talks with Abu Marzouk, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, were part of Moscow’s efforts to secure the immediate release of foreign hostages held in Gaza. It said issues related to organizing the evacuation of Russian and other foreign citizens were also discussed.

The ministry noted that the Russian side “reaffirmed its unwavering position in favor of implementing the well-known decisions of the international community, including the relevant resolutions of the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. General Assembly, which envisage the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and coexisting in peace and security with Israel.”

Spain’s Acting PM Calls For International Peace Conference

Spanish Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called Thursday for an international peace conference on the Middle East conflict.

“From Spain, we propose that an International Peace Conference be held within six months so that the entire international community feels involved, is involved, and we can definitively find a two-state solution to Israel and Palestine,” he said ahead of a European Union Council meeting.

Sánchez also called for a humanitarian cease-fire to get aid into Gaza and called on Hamas to release people who are being held hostage.

Israel Demands Russia Expel Hamas Delegation

The government in West Jerusalem on Thursday called on Moscow to deport a delegation of Hamas negotiators, calling their hosting an act of support for terrorism and lending legitimacy to atrocities.

“Hamas is a terror organization that is worse than ISIS,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat said in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, referring to the terrorist group Islamic State.

“Israel condemns the invitation of senior Hamas officials to Moscow, which is an act of support of terrorism, and legitimizes the atrocities of Hamas terrorists,” Haiat added. “We call on the Russian government to expel the Hamas terrorists immediately.”

Hamas “slaughtered, murdered, executed and burned” over 1,400 Israelis and “kidnapped” 220 more during the October 7 attack on Israel, said Haiat.

The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Thursday that a Hamas delegation has arrived in Moscow, led by Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior member of the group’s political council. The subject of their talks with Russia was the release of hostages and the safe evacuation of Russian and other foreign nationals currently trapped in Gaza by the Israeli blockade.

Israel originally said around 200 people had been captured in the surprise attack earlier this month. That number has since risen to 224. However, Hamas has said that 50 of the hostages have been killed by Israeli air and artillery strikes on Gaza, along with more than 7,000 Palestinians.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to do everything possible to free the hostages, his primary objective is to “eliminate Hamas by destroying its military and governing abilities,” he said in a speech to the nation on Wednesday evening. 

Israel’s war on Hamas is a fight “between the Iran-Hezbollah-Hamas axis of evil and the forces of freedom and progress,” Netanyahu argued, vowing to deliver “a crushing victory over our enemies.”

Israel Asks India To Designate Hamas As ‘Terrorist’ Group

Israel has asked India to designate Hamas as a “terrorist” organization following the group’s unprecedented attack on October 7, which left at least 1,400 Israelis dead.

“We spoke to the relevant authorities here in India,” said Israeli Ambassador to New Delhi Naor Gilon. “It is not the first time we spoke about it. I think we both understand the threat of terrorism. It is not something we are putting pressure on.”   

He said India’s designation of Hamas as a terrorist group was “due” because of the countries’ shared “war on terror,” as quoted by the Hindustan Times.

Gilon said Israeli officials had made the request of their Indian counterparts following the attack on October 7, and “are still in dialogue.” “We are speaking to India. It is a friendly talk,” he added.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of the first world leaders to condemn Hamas’ attack on Israel as “terrorism,” although he did not name the group in his statement. Later, he condemned “terrorism in all its forms and manifestations” during a phone call with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Wednesday, the Israeli envoy said Modi’s comments “unequivocally condemning terrorism” had set a “very clear tone.” “When it comes to terrorism,” Gilon said, “India is also coming from the point of view of someone who knows what it is talking about, being itself a victim of terrorism.”

Commenting on Israel’s ongoing offensive in Gaza, the ambassador described the operation as “a war of being able to survive in the Middle East.” “We live in a very tough neighborhood,” he remarked, adding that if you are perceived to be weak, your life is going to be miserable.”

He alleged that Iran has been “financing, training and equipping Hamas,” However, in the aftermath of the attack, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denied any Iranian involvement.

While condemning “terrorism” following the attack by Hamas, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also emphasized that civilian casualties in the ongoing conflict were “a matter of serious and continuing concern.”  New Delhi also reiterated its position in favor of “direct negotiations for establishing a two-state solution” to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Modi, during a conversation with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last week, reaffirmed New Delhi’s commitment to continuing humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people.

Established in 1987, Hamas gained control over Gaza in 2007. The US, UK, Israel, Australia, Japan and the European Union are among the countries and regional blocs that have officially designated the group as a terrorist organization. Most of the major Western countries, in principle, have backed Israel’s retaliatory strikes against Hamas in Gaza, which have now killed at least 6,546 Palestinians and wounded 17,439 others, according to the region’s health ministry.

Hamas Has Offered To Free Hostages, Says Iranian FM

The Palestinian militant group Hamas is willing to release non-combatants it has held captive since October 7, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian revealed on Thursday.

“According to our negotiations, Hamas is ready to release civilian prisoners,” Amir-Abdollahian told the UN General Assembly, as cited by The National, an UAE-based outlet.

“On the other hand, the world should support the release of 6000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons,” he added.

The Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen reported that Hamas would be willing to work with Türkiye and Qatar to facilitate the transfer of hostages into Iranian custody. It was not clear whether this release would be unilateral or in exchange for the jailed Palestinians.

Amir-Abdollahian’s announcement comes just hours after his deputy, Ali Bagheri, held talks with Russian counterparts in Moscow.

Russia’s special envoy for the Middle East, Mikhail Bogdanov, and Bagheri agreed to “closely coordinate efforts to stabilize the situation” in the region, the ministry added.

U.S. May Target Iranian Crude

Washington is likely to tighten crude oil sanctions against Tehran over Iran’s alleged support for the Palestinian militant group Hamas, head of global commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets Helima Croft has said.

Talking to CNBC on Wednesday, Croft suggested that the West and the Biden administration would, “at a minimum,” consider curbing Iranian energy exports as a retaliatory measure.

Croft’s comments come as U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham has warned Tehran that the American military could target its oil industry in response to any escalation in the Middle East. The lawmaker said he would put forward a resolution to this effect, citing concerns that the Tehran-backed, Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah could join the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

“The argument is, can you continue to allow Iran to keep the bank open for groups like Hamas?” Croft said. According to her estimates, Iranian oil exports are now approaching levels last seen before 2018, when former US President Donald Trump’s administration reimposed restrictive measures.

“So, I think the Biden administration is going to have to tighten those sanctions, she projected, adding that the measures could come into effect soon.

President Biden has previously warned Tehran to “be careful,” but acknowledged at the same time that “at this point” there is “no clear evidence” that Iran helped Hamas carry out its attack on Israel. 

Over 2000 Children Died In Gaza

The UK-based aid group Save the Children reported on Monday, citing figures from the Hamas-operated Health Ministry in Gaza, that at least 5,087 people have been killed in Israel’s siege of the enclave since then, including at least 2,055 children.

Family Of 6 Americans Trapped In Gaza Plead For Help From Biden

Family members of six American citizens trapped in Gaza pleaded Thursday from President Joe Biden to help their relatives get out from what started as a long-awaited vacation and turned into a horrific nightmare of bombardments and smoke.

Shamiss Kaoud, 33, of Moreno Valley, California, said she and her sister have been calling the U.S. State Department daily to try to get her 68-year-old father, Jamal, his four brothers and one of her cousins evacuated from the war zone.

“No one is listening. No one is helping. It is as if nobody cares,” she told reporters at a press conference in Anaheim, California. “Should not being a U.S. citizen matter?”

The group traveled to Gaza in late September to visit family and has since gone three times to Gaza’s Rafah crossing but been unable to get out.

Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in greater Los Angeles, said the State Department has estimated 600 Palestinian Americans are stuck in Gaza.

“The life of every citizen in America should be the priority of our government,” he said.

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