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Hamas announces capture of Israeli soldiers in Gaza, Israel denies

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Gaza, May 26 (IANS) The Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, on Sunday announced the capture of an unspecified number of Israeli soldiers during an operation in the Jabalia camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

“Our fighters were able to carry out a complex operation on Saturday afternoon in the northern Gaza Strip, where they lured an Israeli force into one of the tunnels in the Jabalia camp, clashed with it from zero distance, and killed, captured, and wounded all its members,” Al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Ubaida said in a statement.

A video clip released by Hamas showed an individual being dragged in a tunnel, purportedly an Israeli soldier, but this has not been independently verified, Xinhua news agency reported.

The video also showcased weapons and equipment claimed to be used by Israeli soldiers.

In response to the announcement, Israeli army spokesman Avichai Adraee said “there is no incident of kidnapping a soldier in Gaza”.

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–IANS

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250,000 stimulant tablets seized in Myanmar

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250,000 stimulant tablets seized in Myanmar

250,000 stimulant tablets seized in Myanmar

Yangon, July 22 (IANS) Myanmar police seized 250,000 stimulant tablets in eastern Myanmar’s Shan State, according to the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) on Monday.

Acting on a tip-off, the joint anti-narcotics task force inspected a motorcycle in Ywangan Township of Shan State on July 17 and confiscated the drugs, it said.

The seized drugs had a street value of 125 million kyats (38,487 US dollars) and a suspect was arrested, it added, reported Xinhua news agency.

Further investigation was underway, the committee said.

–IANS

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Kamala Harris moves to lock nomination for President

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Kamala Harris moves to lock nomination for President

Kamala Harris moves to lock nomination for President

Washington, July 22 (IANS) US Vice President Kamala Harris is moving swiftly to lock up the Democratic party nomination for President after President Joe Biden dropped out of the race under mounting pressure from those sceptical of his chances.

Harris had picked the endorsements from over 179 of the Congressional Democrats and 23 Democratic Governors, according to The Washington Post.

The Governors backing her included most of those who were expected to throw their hats in the ring, such as Gavin Newsom of California, Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania, Andy Beshear of Kentucky, and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. Some of these Governors are now in the running to join the Harris ticket as running mate – such as Beshear.

Others said to be in the race for her Vice-President position include Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Shapiro and Arizona’s Senator Mark Kelly, a military veteran and former astronaut.

The notable holdouts who have yet to endorse the Vice President are former President Barack Obama, leader of House Democrats Hakeem Jeffries, leader of Senate Democrats Chuck Schumer and former Speaker and party powerhouse Nancy Pelosi. Although they have not cited their reasons yet, Obama is understood to have adopted the same position as he did in 2020, when he held on to his endorsements till after the primaries as he did not want to side with any one of them, including Biden, who had served as his Vice-President for eight years.

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The Biden of President campaign has been renamed Harris for President campaign and according to news reports, donations are “pouring” in from a re-energised party base and donors, who had pulled in recent days as the party pressured Biden to step aside and make way for a different candidate.

The Harris campaign has raised $50 million in the hours since her elevation to the top of the ticket following the president’s exit. Working from the Vice-Presidential mansion in the Naval Observatory in Washington DC, Harris, dressed mostly in a Howard University hoodie and sweats, made over 100 calls on Sunday, according to news reports.

Her first public appearance as a candidate for President will be to deliver remarks at an event celebrating the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship teams from the 2023-2024 season.

Harris has promised to “earn and win” the party nomination. She needs to win the support of 3,000 of the 3,900 party delegates who will attend the convention and elect a nominee. The party intends to start a virtual voting process over the next two weeks to go with the convention with one candidate for presidential nominee, Harris.

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According to party rules, challengers will have to secure the signatures of at least 300 delegates to enter the fray. Independent Senator Joe Manchin, who votes with the Democratic party and was a Democrat for decades, has said he wanted to see the eventual nominee emerge through some kind of a primary process, to ensure the party’s next generation of leaders get a fair shot at the nomination and the party gets the best nominee.

With early voting to kick off in September, the Democrats don’t have the luxury of time to go through another round of primary contests.

–IANS

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Landslide kills at least 20 in southern Ethiopia

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Landslide kills at least 20 in southern Ethiopia

Landslide kills at least 20 in southern Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, July 22 (IANS) At least 20 people were killed by a landslide in southern Ethiopia, local media reported on Monday.

The deadly landslide occurred on Monday morning at around 10:00 am local time in the Geze Gofa district in southern Ethiopia, state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported.

Misikir Mitiku, chief administrator of the Geze Gofa district, said rescuers have so far recovered more than 20 bodies that were buried under the mud, Xinhua news agency reported.

He said the death toll is likely to rise as rescue operations are currently underway at the landslide area.

Ethiopia is in the midst of a rainy season which started in July and is expected to last until mid-September. Constant rains occasionally cause landslides in some parts of the East African country.

–IANS

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Iran hosts joint naval drill in Caspian Sea

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Iran hosts joint naval drill in Caspian Sea

Iran hosts joint naval drill in Caspian Sea

Tehran, July 22 (IANS) A joint naval drill kicked off on Monday in the Caspian Sea to ensure shipping security and safety in the region, Iran’s official news agency IRNA reported.

The exercise, codenamed 2024 Hybrid Maritime Search, Rescue and Security, was being staged off the Iranian port city of Bandar-e Anzali and involved the Iranian Navy’s maritime and aerial forces as well as Russia’s SB 45 vessel. Representatives from the Caspian Sea littoral states, including Azerbaijan, also supervised the exercise, Xinhua news agency reported.

Hassani listed the Iranian missile cruisers taking part in the exercise as Peykan (Arrow), Joshan (Armour), Derafsh (Flag) and Separ (Shield), adding the drill also involved two AB 212 helicopters of the Iranian Navy.

He stressed that the drill was aimed at promoting interaction and cooperation between the maritime apparatuses of Iran and other countries bordering the Caspian Sea, namely Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Azerbaijan, adding that the littoral states do not tolerate the presence of non-regional countries in the region.

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He added that the drill would be staged over four days and involve two main phases. The coastal phase will include developing designs, ensuring coordination, and providing relevant training. The tactical phase will involve operations to contain fires, rescue shipwrecked and injured crew members, and conduct aerial photography.

–IANS

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Canadian killed by Israeli forces after attempted stabbing attack near Gaza

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Canadian killed by Israeli forces after attempted stabbing attack near Gaza

Canadian killed by Israeli forces after attempted stabbing attack near Gaza

Jerusalem, July 22 (IANS) A Canadian citizen was shot and killed by Israeli forces on Monday after he attempted to stab security personnel outside the Gaza Strip, in what police described as “a terror attack.”

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) released a press statement saying the suspect arrived at the entrance of Netiv HaAsara, an Israeli community adjacent to the Gaza Strip, after entering Israel as a tourist on Sunday. He stepped out of his vehicle and “threatened with a knife members of the community’s rapid response team operating in the area.”

The team responded with fire and “neutralized” the suspect. The police later pronounced his death, Xinhua news agency reported.

The police released a photo of the kitchen knife and said the suspect used it to perpetrate the attack. Video footage on social networks showed two men opening fire at the suspect before his body was taken into an ambulance.

Israel’s state-owned Kan TV news reported that he was chanting “Free Palestinian!” during the attempted attack and said he was carrying it out because “Israel kills people in Gaza.”

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Israel’s emergency service Magen David Adom reported that there were no other casualties.

–IANS

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