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Yemen: 113 detainees released with support of ICRC

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Geneva/Sanaa, May 26 (IANS) Yemen’s Houthi group has released 113 detainees in Sana, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Sunday.

The ICRC called the unilateral release as a “positive step” towards reviving negotiations under the Stockholm Agreement.

“We are ready to play our role as a neutral intermediary in facilitating the release, transfer, and repatriation of detainees, as we did in 2020 and 2023, whenever the parties to the Stockholm Agreement agree to engage in such efforts once again,” the committee said in a statement.

In line with its established practice, the ICRC conducted private pre-departure interviews with the detainees to confirm their identity and verify if they wished to travel straight to their home or wished to be transferred to a location of their choosing.

“We held confidential conversations with all detainees to listen to any concerns they may have about the release process, ensure they have been in contact with their families, and gather the necessary information to follow up on their condition if needed,” said Alessia Bertelli, the head of the ICRC’s protection department in Yemen.

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The Yemen Red Crescent Society (YRCS) provided two ambulances for the operation.

–IANS

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International

Palestinian teen killed by Israeli army in West Bank

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Ramallah, June 21 (IANS) A Palestinian teenager was killed by the Israeli army in the West Bank city of Qalqilya, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

The Ministry added on Thursday that 15-year-old Naeem Abdullah Naeem Samha died after being hit by live bullets fired by the Israeli army, Xinhua news agency reported.

Local Palestinian sources told Xinhua that Israeli forces stormed the city, leading to confrontations with young men.

The Israeli army has not yet commented.

At least 549 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army across the West Bank and East Jerusalem since October 2023, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

–IANS

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3 killed, 2 injured in Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon

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Beirut, June 21 (IANS) Three people were killed and two civilians injured in Israeli air strikes targeting several areas in southern Lebanon, Lebanese military sources told the media.

The sources, who spoke anonymously, said on Thursday that an Israeli warplane fired six air-to-surface missiles at the southeast village of Khiam, killing a Hezbollah member and wounding two civilians, Xinhua news agency reported.

In a separate incident, an Israeli drone fired four air-to-surface missiles at a car in the Tyre district of southwest Lebanon, killing a Hezbollah official, Abbas Ibrahim Hamza Hamada, who was a commander in the western region of the border area.

The sources added that an Israeli drone raided a civilian car in the village of Houmine in the Nabatieh district, killing its driver, Hadi Jumaa, whose father was reportedly close to Hezbollah.

Tensions along the Lebanon-Israel border escalated on October 8, 2023, following a barrage of rockets launched by Hezbollah toward Israel in solidarity with Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7.

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Israel then retaliated by firing heavy artillery toward southeastern Lebanon.

–IANS

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Thailand pushes forward to join BRICS

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Bangkok, June 21 (IANS) Thailand is pushing forward with its plan to become a member of the BRICS group of emerging economies as early as October at the bloc’s next summit in Russia, a Thai Foreign Ministry official said.

Thailand submitted a formal letter of intent to join during the BRICS ministerial meeting more than a week ago and hoped to receive positive feedback, said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nikorndej Balankura on Thursday, in a bid to become the group’s first member from Southeast Asia.

Joining BRICS would allow Thailand to leverage further in advancing South-South cooperation as well as to play a more proactive role and contribute to crafting the global architecture, Nikorndej told a news conference as quoted by Xinhua news agency report.

Thailand places importance on prioritising multilateralism and strengthening the role of developing countries in the international arena, which aligns with BRICS principles, and participating in the group would also enhance the kingdom’s opportunities on the international stage, a government statement said.

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The BRICS is the acronym for an emerging-market cooperative mechanism that initially included Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

In January, the bloc expanded its membership to include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Ethiopia.

–IANS

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Israeli army confirms killing of senior Hamas commander in Gaza

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Gaza, June 21 (IANS) The Israeli army has confirmed the killing of a Hamas commander in an airstrike in the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.

Israeli military spokesperson Avichay Adraee said on Thursday in a press statement that Ahmed Al-Sawarka, who led sniper operations in the Beit Hanoun area and played a role in “terrorist” acts against Israeli forces, was killed by a military aircraft.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Thursday that IDF troops are continuing to operate in the central Gaza Strip and the southern Rafah area, Xinhua news agency reported.

The health authorities in Gaza said in a press statement that as of Thursday, the Palestinian death toll from Israeli military operations has risen to 37,431 people, with 85,653 others wounded.

Israel launched 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 around 250 were taken hostage.

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–IANS

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Lebanon affirms strong ties with Cyprus

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Beirut, June 21 (IANS) The Lebanese-Cypriot ties are strong, said the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, a day after Hezbollah Leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah threatened to wage a war against Cyprus.

“The Lebanese-Cypriot relations are based on a rich history of diplomatic cooperation; also, bilateral communication and consultation are ongoing at the highest levels between the two countries to discuss issues of common interest,” the Ministry added on Thursday.

The Ministry’s statement comes a day after Nasrallah threatened to wage war against Cyprus if the latter allows Israel to use its airports in the event of a war with Hezbollah, Xinhua news agency reported.

Tensions along the Lebanon-Israel border escalated on October 8, 2023, following a barrage of rockets launched by the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah toward Israel in solidarity with Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7.

Israel then retaliated by firing heavy artillery toward southeastern Lebanon.

–IANS

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