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G7 expresses 'full support' for Israel after Iran attack

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Washington, April 14 (IANS) The leaders of G7 countries met virtually on Sunday and expressed “full solidarity and support to Israel and its people” and reaffirmed their “commitment towards its security”.

“We, the Leaders of the G7, unequivocally condemn in the strongest terms Iran’s direct and unprecedented attack against Israel. Iran fired hundreds of drones and missiles towards Israel. Israel, with the help of its partners, defeated the attack,” they said in a statement released by the White House.

The G7 countries are the United States, Canada, Italy, Britain, France, Germany, and Japan, as well as the European Union.

“We express our full solidarity and support to Israel and its people and reaffirm our commitment towards its security,” they said in the statement.

They said by launching the attack on Israel, Iran has “further stepped toward the destabilization of the region and risks provoking an uncontrollable regional escalation. This must be avoided”.

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They further said that they will “strengthen our cooperation to end the crisis in Gaza, including by continuing to work towards an immediate and sustainable ceasefire and the release of hostages by Hamas, and deliver increased humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in need”.

President Biden separately spoke to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier “to reaffirm America’s ironclad commitment to the security of Israel”.

Biden said in a statement: “I told him that Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks – sending a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel.”

–IANS

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Police seize arms, ammunition in Afghanistan

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Kabul, July 15 (IANS) Police have seized a variety of arms and ammunition from across north Afghanistan’s Balkh province over the past four months, provincial police spokesperson Mohammad Eisa Wasiq said.

The counter-terrorism police have collected 29 pieces of different types of arms and ammunition during a series of operations in different districts of the province, Wasiq added on Sunday.

Calling upon Afghans to help police in recovering arms and ammunition from the illegal possession of any person, the official added that the police are trying to recover and register any arms illegally kept by individuals over the past 20 years, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Afghan caretaker government has recovered a lot of arms and ammunition, including battle tanks and missiles, since taking over power following the withdrawal of the US-led forces from the war-ravaged Asian country in August 2021.

–IANS

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Philippine Airlines plane overshoots runway in Philippines

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Manila, July 15 (IANS) A Philippine Airlines (PAL) propeller plane overshot the runway at an airport in Palawan province, the airline company said.

All 53 passengers and four crew members were safely deplaned, the company added on Sunday.

The plane, travelling from Cebu to Palawan, overran the runway upon landing at Busuanga airport before 3 p.m. local time amid poor weather conditions, PAL said.

The aircraft stopped on a grassy area beyond the concrete runway, causing the airport’s closure, and forcing incoming flights to be diverted to other airports, Xinhua news agency reported.

PAL said it is working with related authorities to restore normal operations in Busuanga airport.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines is expected to investigate the incident.

–IANS

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7 missing following water barrier breaching in Myanmar

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Yangon, July 15 (IANS) Seven construction workers were missing following a water barrier breaching at a construction site near the bank of Ayeyarwady River in central Myanmar’s Mandalay region, said an official from the Myanmar Rescue Organisation.

The incident occurred in Amarapura township of Mandalay around 8.30 a.m. local time on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

When the water barrier broke and river water flooded the construction site, seven workers went missing as a result, the official told Xinhua.

The river water only overflowed the construction site and did not reach the villages, he added.

Search and rescue efforts are underway with the Myanmar Rescue Organisation and Myanmar Fire Services Department working together, the official said.

–IANS

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Trump assassination bid: Biden orders 'independent review'

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Washington, July 15 (IANS) US President Joe Biden on Sunday announced an independent review of the security at the election rally at which a shooter made an assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump who is also the putative Republican nominee for the White House.

The US President also said that he has ordered a continued heightened level of security for his Republican rival and a review of the security arrangements at the Republican party’s presidential convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In a short speech after meeting top security officials in the Situation Room, Biden also said he spoke to Trump.

“An assassination attempt is contrary to everything we stand for as a nation, everything. It’s not who we are as a nation, it’s not America, and we cannot allow this to happen,” he said, adding: “Unity is the most elusive goal of all but nothing is important right now, Unity. We will debate and will disagree. It’s not that’s not going to change. But we’re gonna not lose sight of who we are as Americans”.

Biden said the shooter’s motive remains unclear and appealed to Americans to not speculate and wait for the FBI’s investigation. The FBI is leading the probe into the shooting. He did not specify who or which agency will conduct the “independent review”, but promised to share its findings.

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While the FBI is leading the investigation into the shooting, the US Justice Department’s National Security Division is also involved in it, as Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

This indicates the US is treating the assassination attempt as also a threat to national security.

While the shooter has been identified as Thomas Matthew Crooks, officials have said nothing yet about his motivation. According to news reports, he was a registered Republican but had donated $15 to a liberal voter mobilisation group in 2021. The gunman used an AR-15 military-style assault rifle that has been the weapon of choice for most mass shooting perpetrators. New reports now suggest the shooter was carrying two explosive devices in the car and a possible third at his residence.

Earlier in the day, Trump struck a defiant note the morning after surviving the assassination attempt, writing on social media, “We will FEAR NOT”.

He also announced he would be speaking at the Republican party convention.

Trump is recovering at his home in New Jersey, where he reached last night from Butler, Pennsylvania when a 20-year-old white man opened fire on his election rally, wounding the former President and killing an attendee.

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The shooter was killed by snipers of the US Secret Service that protects past and present American Presidents and their immediate families.

“We will FEAR NOT, but instead remain resilient in our Faith and Defiant in the face of Wickedness,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, a social media platform he launched after he was banished from Twitter, now called X.

He added: “I truly love our Country, and love you all, and look forward to speaking to our Great Nation this week from Wisconsin.”

The Republican party convention kicks off Monday in Milwaukee to anoint Trump formally as the party’s nominee for the White House. He will announce his pick for his running mate over the next few days, if he doesn’t do it on Sunday.

Political violence in US politics has become a new threat, from both the right and the left.

Trump’s supporters attacked the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, to stop a joint sitting of the Congress from certifying Biden as the winner of the 2020 election and the next President. Several people, including a police officer, were killed during or after the rampage.

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An armed man was arrested from outside the house of Brett Kavanaugh, one of the six conservative justices of the Supreme Court.

Biden said: “There is no place in America for this kind of violence. It’s sick. It’s sick. It’s one of the reasons why we have to unite this country. We cannot allow this to be happening. We cannot be like this. We cannot condone this.”

Trump has posted several statements on Truth Social but has not expressly addressed the question of political violence. “In this moment, it is more important than ever that we stand United, and show our True Character as Americans, remaining Strong and Determined, and not allowing Evil to Win,” he wrote on Sunday morning.

But his campaign leaders Chris Lacivita and Susie Wile confronted the issue directly. “Please do not comment publicly on the occurrence of today,” they wrote in a memo to staff. “We condemn all forms of violence, and will not tolerate dangerous rhetoric on social media.”

–IANS

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Hamas claims killing Israeli soldiers in Rafah

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Gaza, July 15 (IANS) Hamas has claimed that its fighters killed and wounded some Israeli soldiers, who were trying to infiltrate Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip.

“Our fighters monitored a private Israeli force hiding inside a truck loaded with humanitarian aid … then the soldiers entered a local Palestinian house and hid inside it,” al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said on Sunday in a press statement.

Al-Qassam said, “Our fighters clashed with the soldiers, attacking them with homemade shells, killing and wounding all of them.”

The Israeli army has not commented on the incident yet, Xinhua news agency reported.

Israel has been waging a large-scale offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip to retaliate against a Hamas rampage through the southern Israeli border on October 7, 2023, during which about 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 others were taken hostage.

–IANS

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