Israel orders 100,000 Palestinians to evacuate eastern Rafah ahead of ground invasion

News Network
May 6, 2024

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The Israeli regime is forcibly evacuating Palestinians from the eastern part of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip amid the prospect of its widely-discouraged ground invasion.

“The estimate is around 100,000 people,” an Israeli military spokesman told journalists on Monday when asked how many people were being evacuated.

International organizations, including the United Nations, have repeatedly warned the regime against invading the city, citing its hosting around 1.5 million Palestinian refugees.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said a ground assault on Rafah would “put the final nail in the coffin” for humanitarian aid operations in the Gaza Strip.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs also said, “Any ground operation would mean more suffering and death,” with an official saying “It could be a slaughter of civilians.”

Multiple aid agencies, including the Norwegian Refugee Council, have likewise warned against a Rafah offensive.

The NRC said such an invasion “would profoundly exacerbate the already catastrophic levels of need and the humanitarian emergency for millions of civilians with nowhere left to go.”

The official alleged Hamas had killed three Israeli forces on Sunday, attacking them from Rafah.

The evacuation order came a sat least 22 people lost their lives in the regime’s airstrikes killed in Rafah earlier on Monday.

Rafah’s evacuation “is part of our plans to dismantle Hamas,” the Israeli spokesman added, referring to the Palestinian resistance movement that has been defending Gaza in the face of the war.

The Palestinians have fled there from the ravages of a war that the regime began waging against Gaza on October 7, following a retaliatory operation by the coastal sliver’s resistance groups.

At least 34,683 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed and 78,018 others injured so far during the brutal military onslaught.

On Friday, Hossam Badran, a member of Hamas’ Political Bureau, said Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s insistence on carrying out a ground invasion of Rafah was a key stumbling block in negotiations aimed at a truce agreement.

The Israeli premier has said the regime would go ahead with invading the city “with or without” a truce.

Hamas has, however, asserted that the regime has failed to defeat the resistance during the war.

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News Network
May 14,2024

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Comedian Shyam Rangeela on Tuesday that he was barred from filing his nomination papers for the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections. He intended to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the Varanasi seat by contesting as an Independent candidate.

Despite attempts to file his papers since May 10, Rangeela alleged he was denied entry to the district magistrate's office on the day Prime Minister Modi filed his nomination. He also said that he is not taking any team from Sriganganagar to contest the Lok Sabha elections in Varanasi. 

Shyam Rangeela further claimed that he has received several phone calls from Varanasi and people are willing to join him. "Winning or losing is a different matter, but I will contest the elections against the Prime Minister at any cost. I am not contesting elections to become famous, I am already very famous among the public."

The Congress party also waded into the controversy. Congress leader Surendra Rajput told news agency PTI that everyone is free to file a nomination including Prime Minister Modi. Rajput claimed that Rangeela was not getting nomination papers from the administration. 

"Everyone is free to file a nomination including PM Modi. However, other people are not allowed to file their nominations from the constituency. A YouTuber named (Shyam) Rangeela, who wished to file a nomination from Varanasi, isn’t getting nomination papers from the administration. Why PM Modi is afraid of people? Let them contest against you," he said. 

PM Modi, contesting for a third term, previously won the Varanasi seat by 4.8 lakh votes in 2019 and by 3.72 lakh votes in 2014. So far, 14 individuals, including mainstream political party candidates and independents, have filed their nominations for the Varanasi constituency.

Congress candidate Ajai Rai and Bahujan Samajwadi Party's Athar Ali Lari are among them. Rangeela, a YouTuber and mimic from Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh, rose to fame in 2017 with his act impersonating PM Modi. He has been critical of the Prime Minister and his policies, as evident in his videos.
 

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News Network
May 18,2024

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Bengaluru: Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar and other state ministers on Saturday rubbished allegations about their role in the circulation of pen drives containing explicit videos involving Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna.

BJP leader and advocate G Devaraje Gowda, who is in custody after being arrested in a sexual abuse case and is also facing charges of video leak, on Friday alleged that Shivakumar and four other ministers are behind the circulation of the pen drives and was being fixed in false cases as he did not agree to be part of their plan.

He has even alleged that he was offered Rs 100 crore by Shivakumar to "bring a bad name" to the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and to tarnish the image of JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy in Prajwal Revanna's obscene video case.

Speaking to reporters here, Shivakumar said, "Better, let him (Gowda) file a case before Lokayukta or any other agency. I think he has some problems mentally. I'm very sorry, the national and state media shouldn't have picked up such baseless allegations. A person who is in jail, how can he make such allegations? All these are baseless. I don't want to comment." 

Asked if he will be filing any defamation case against Gowda, he said, "I don't want to make any comment or speak on a person who is mentally sick. I appeal to his party people to get him a good treatment." Shivakumar also asserted that his government's commitment to get justice for women victims of the sexual abuse case, and expressed confidence about the Special Investigation Team's (SIT) ongoing probe.

While being taken from court in Hassan, Gowda on Friday spoke to media and alleged that Shivakumar is behind pen drive case, and a team of four Ministers -- N Chaluvarayaswamy, Krishna Byre Gowda, Priyank Kharge and another minister -- was formed to handle this, with an intention to bring bad name to BJP, PM Modi and Kumaraswamy.

He said Shivakumar had asked him to say that Kumaraswamy is behind the distribution of pen drives, but as he did not agree to it, he is being fixed in false cases.

Minister Priyank Kharge said Gowda has alleged that three responsible ministers in the state government were part of a team and that there was a conspiracy. "We will discuss whatever legal course, we will take it." 

"Devaraje Gowda might be doing this to defame Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah. If he had a Rs 100 crore offer, he should have told Amit Shah (Union Home Minister) and get it investigated. He could have got CBI, ED, or IT raids done. Why didn't he do it? Claims have been made that he (Gowda) was sent Rs 5 crore as advance at a club, let them get CCTV footage and see who were all there," Kharge said.

While speaking to reporters here, he further said Gowda is a lawyer. When he was deposed before the Judge he should have told about the documents he has and should have presented to the court.

Minister Chaluvarayaswamy said allegations about the role of Shivakumar and a team of ministers being formed to oversee the circulation of pen drives are 'baseless', and he questioned Gowda's morality to make such accusations.

"If Gowda proves that Chaluvarayaswamy, Priyank Kharge and Krishna Byre Gowda had held a meeting on this case and we as a team were given responsibility and we were involved in this case, I will apologise," he said and alleged that Gowda was being used to mislead and deviate from the main case of sexual abuse.

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News Network
May 19,2024

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi suffered a “hard landing” on May 19, Iranian state media reported, without immediately elaborating.

Mr. Raisi was traveling in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. State TV said the incident happened near Jolfa, a city on the border with the nation of Azerbaijan, some 600 kilometers (375 miles) northwest of the Iranian capital, Tehran.

Traveling with Raisi were Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province and other officials, the state-run IRNA news agency reported. One local government official used the word “crash” to describe the incident, but he acknowledged to an Iranian newspaper that he had yet to reach the site himself.

Neither IRNA nor state TV offered any information on Mr. Raisi’s condition.

Rescuers were attempting to reach the site, state TV said, but had been hampered by poor weather conditions. There had been heavy rain and fog reported with some wind. IRNA called the area a “forest.”

Mr. Raisi had been in Azerbaijan early Sunday to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. The dam is the third one that the two nations built on the Aras River. The visit came despite chilly relations between the two nations, including over a gun attack on Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Tehran in 2023, and Azerbaijan’s diplomatic relations with Israel, which Iran’s Shiite theocracy views as its main enemy in the region.

Iran flies a variety of helicopters in the country, but international sanctions make it difficult to obtain parts for them. Its military air fleet also largely dates back to before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Mr. Raisi, 63, is a revolutionary who formerly led the country’s judiciary. He is viewed as a protégé of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and some analysts have suggested he could replace the 85-year-old leader after his death or resignation from the role.

Mr. Raisi won Iran’s 2021 presidential election, a vote that saw the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history. Raisi is sanctioned by the U.S. in part over his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 at the end of the bloody Iran-Iraq war.

Under Mr. Raisi, Iran now enriches uranium at nearly weapons-grade levels and hampers international inspections. Iran has armed Russia in its war on Ukraine, as well as launched a massive drone-and-missile attack on Israel amid its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It also has continued arming proxy groups in the Mideast, like Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

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