Israel bombed Al-Jazeera as punishment for ‘fake news’? Many in India believe so!

Mafazah Sharafuddin
May 22, 2021

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On May 15, Israel bombarded a residential building in Gaza which housed the offices of Al-Jazeera and Associated Press. Even as the global community condemned the barbaric attack on the media, the Sangh Parivar members in India resorted to celebration on social media and went on to portray the cowardly act of Israeli air force as a “punishment for airing fake news”

Both Al-Jazeera and Associated press have lost valuable footage, equipments and documents in the attack on the eleven story building. 

“Al-Jazeera was punished for broadcasting Fake news about Israeli attack on Palestine. Now all the other media are careful about the news they are publishing about Israel,” a viral message on WhatsApp and other social media platforms stated.

The mischievous message, which was widely circulated by the Sangh Parivar activists, also lauded Israel for having the “guts” to punish the media. 

According to reliable sources, an hour preceding the bombing, the Israeli military sent a warning so the residents of the building could evacuate. AP reportedly made several attempts to contact the Israeli military, foreign minister and prime minister’s office. Their concerns were either ignored, or they were told that there was nothing that could be done to stop the attack. A video broadcasted by Al-Jazeera shows the owner of the building Jawwad Mahdi imploring the military to allow them to retrieve their equipment. 

The video of Jawwad Mahdi speaking on the phone to the officer has since been widely shared on social media. He is heard asking them to allow just four people to enter the building to get their equipment that had documented the situation in Gaza out before the attack took place. He asked for ten more minutes. The Israeli military swiftly denied his request, saying that they had already been given an hour to evacuate. The building was then bombed.

Press freedom groups worldwide have condemned the attack. They have accused the Israeli military of using claims of a Hamas presence to curb the coverage of the incessant attacks upon Gaza. The International Press Institute, a world renowned network of media personnel has deemed the attack a “gross violation of human rights and internationally agreed norms.”

The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, explained the situation, only saying that there was a Hamas presence in the building. “It was not an innocent building,” he said.

The official reason given by the military, as well as the Prime Minister is staunchly that there was a Hamas presence in the building, and they were trying to eradicate it. There have been no unofficial or official claims from Israeli officials indicating that the attack was some kind of retaliation or punishment for ‘fake news’.

While this affected the amount of coverage the situation in Gaza has, the military has stuck with the reasoning that it was simply combatting Hamas.

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News Network
June 18,2022

Kabul, June 18: Several blasts and gunfire hit a Sikh Gurdwara in Afghanistan's capital Kabul on Saturday, according to media reports.

The blasts occurred in the Karta Parwan area of Kabul, Tolo news tweeted along with the video after the blasts. Gunfire was also reported from the area.

Karte Parwan Gurdwara is located in the area.

The casualties in the blast were unknown.

"We are deeply concerned at the reports emanating from Kabul about an attack on a sacred Gurudwara in that city. We are closely monitoring the situation and waiting for further details on the unfolding developments," the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi tweeted.

Abdul Nafi Takor, a Taliban-appointed spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, confirmed the attack but did not provide further details or say whether there were casualties, The Associated Press reported.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

The Islamic State group known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province has in the past claimed responsibility for attacks on mosques and minorities across the country.

"We heard a huge blast in Kart-e-Parwan neighbourhood at around 6 a.m. local time. The blast was followed by another explosion which occurred about half an hour after the first blast. The whole place has now been sealed off," China's state-run Xinhua news agency quoted an eyewitness as saying.

The security forces have cordoned off the area for precautionary measures, he said.

The blast sent a column of thick smoke into the sky and triggered panic, the witness said.

"There is fear of possible casualties. Several warning shots were also fired by the security forces," he added.

Community leaders estimate just 140 Sikhs remain in the Taliban-ruled country, mostly in the eastern city of Jalalabad and the capital Kabul.

In March 2020, at least 25 worshippers were killed and eight others injured when a heavily armed suicide bomber stormed a prominent gurudwara in the heart of Kabul, in one of the deadliest attacks on the minority Sikh community in the country.

The Islamic State terror group had claimed responsibility for the attack in the Shor Bazar area.

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News Network
June 22,2022

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Mangaluru, June 22: The southwest monsoon has gained momentum as all the three coastal districts - Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Udupi - are experiencing heavy showers for the past three days.

The intensity of rain increased considerably on Tuesday and it is expected to remain so till Wednesday. The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre has sounded a red alert for the coastal districts for Wednesday and a yellow alert for the next four days.

The inclement weather played spoilsport to mass yoga demonstrations in all the three districts.

Incessant showers have left several residential areas and roads, including high church road, Nandanagadda and railway station road in Karwar flooded. The national highway 66 in front of Ravindranath Tagore beach and the state highway at Habbuwada were inundated with rainwater affecting the vehicular movement for hours. Heavy rain and strong winds battered coastal taluks of Uttara Kannada - Ankola, Kumta, Honnavar and Bhatkal - throughout the day.

Honnavar recorded 82 mm of rain in the last 24 hours (ending 8 am on Tuesday) followed by Karwar 71 mm and Kumta 59 mm.

Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts also witnessed intermittent spells of rain on Tuesday. Torrential showers have left Karavali Junction, Ambalpadi, Mudanidamburu flooded in Udupi. More than 20 electricity poles have been uprooted due to rain and strong winds in the district.

According to the weather department, the twin districts are most likely to witness heavy rain (up to 20.4 cm) till June 25. The met department has warned the fishermen not to venture into sea owing to high tides. Also, the people close to the coast and river mouth should relocate to a safer place, the IMD release said.

Kodagu district received moderate to heavy showers in the day. Parts of Malnad and north interior Karnataka also witnessed scattered rainfall.

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News Network
June 26,2022

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Chandigarh: The Aam Aadmi Party faced a huge setback in the Punjab by-elections on Sunday with the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) candidate Simranjit Singh Mann defeating the ruling party's candidate on a Lok Sabha seat held last by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

Simranjit Singh Mann beat his AAP rival Gurmail Singh by a margin of over 5,800 votes from the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat, after a close fight between the two.

Simranjit Singh Mann, 77, is a former MP and the president of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) - not related to the larger Shiromani Akali Dal.

Congress candidate Dalvir Singh Goldy, BJP's Kewal Dhillon and the Akali Dal's Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana were at the third, fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

Counting of votes began at 8 am on Sunday amid tight security arrangements.

Sixteen candidates had appeared for the contest on June 23.

The bypoll to Sangrur Lok Sabha seat had witnessed a low turnout of 45.30 per cent as against 72.44 per cent polling in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and 76.71 per cent in 2014 polls.

There were 15.69 lakh eligible voters this time.

The bypoll was necessitated due to the resignation of Bhagwant Mann from the Lok Sabha seat after he was elected as an MLA in the state assembly elections earlier this year.

Bhagwant Mann, who is the state's chief minister now, had won the Sangrur seat in the 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections.

The bypoll was the first major electoral battle after the Aam Aadmi Party's resounding victory in the state assembly polls in March this year.

For the ruling AAP, the bypoll was seen as a battle of prestige for retaining its bastion, while for opposition parties Congress, BJP and SAD were looking to register a victory after being decimated in the assembly polls.

The AAP fielded Singh, 38, who is the party's Sangrur district in-charge, while the Congress placed its bet on former Dhuri MLA Goldy.

The BJP fielded former Barnala MLA Dhillon who joined the party early this month.

Sangrur parliamentary constituency is considered the bastion of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which won all the nine assembly segments -- Lehra, Dirba, Barnala, Sunam, Bhadaur, Mehal Kalan, Malerkotla, Dhuri and Sangrur in the 2022 assembly elections.

Bhagwant Mann had won the Sangrur seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls after defeating SAD candidate Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa with a margin of 2.11 lakh votes.

Mr Mann again contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Sangrur and won it by a margin of 1.10 lakh votes after defeating Congress party's Kewal Dhillon.

While the opposition parties -- Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP - assailed the AAP for an alleged deteriorating law and order situation, murder of popular singer Sidhu Moosewala and "unfulfilled" poll promises, the ruling party focused on its promises of eradicating corruption, creating jobs, improving the condition of schools and hospitals, and paving the way for a "Rangla (vibrant) Punjab" again.

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