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Truce between Israel, Palestinian militants holds; Gaza crossings reopen

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An Egypt-brokered ceasefire to halt a flare-up in fighting by Israel and Palestinian militants was holding on Monday, with crossings into the besieged Gaza Strip also reopening.

An Israeli army spokesperson said no new rockets had been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip since the ceasefire to end three days of violence that Palestinians said left more than 40 dead took effect late Sunday, reports dpa news agency.

The Israeli army had not attacked any new targets in the coastal enclave, the spokesperson added.

Israel on Monday also announced the re-opening of border crossings into the Mediterranean coastal strip for humanitarian deliveries.

The Israeli military had launched the “Breaking Dawn” military operation on August 5 with airstrikes against Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.

Two military chiefs were killed during the operation.

The group, closely linked to Iran, is classified as a terrorist organization by the US and European Union.

Israel Defense Forces said the group had been planning a major attack along the border involving anti-tank missiles and so pre-emptive action was taken by launching a wave of strikes against Islamic Jihad positions in Gaza.

Tensions began to rise with the arrest of an Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank, Bassem Saadi, on August 1.

Since August 5, Palestinian militants have fired more than 1,000 rockets at Israeli settlements, according to the Israeli military, with some 200 hundred of them falling short and hitting the Gaza Strip.

In Gaza, 44 people have been killed and 360 injured, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Among the dead were said to be 15 children and four women.

The Palestinians blamed the Israeli strikes. Israel said misguided jihadi rockets had caused the civilian casualties.

There have been no reported deaths in Israel, with the Iron Dome defence system intercepting most of the rockets.

After assessing the security situation, the Erez border crossing and the Kerem Shalom goods crossing were open again, Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced Monday.

The first fuel tanks and humanitarian supplies passed through the border in the morning, according to a spokesperson.

The power supply in Gaza had been reduced from 12 to four hours on August 6 due to a lack of fuel. The Palestinian Health Ministry had warned of major impacts on medical services.

Around 2 million people live in very poor conditions in the territory on the Mediterranean Sea.

Hamas seized power in 2007, prompting Israel to tighten a blockade of Gaza, a move that is also supported by neighbouring Egypt.

Both Israel and Egypt justify the measure with security interests.

International News

West uses human rights as ‘tool’ to pressure others: Iran

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Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani has criticized Western countries for what he called their use of human rights as a “tool” to exert pressure on other countries.

“When human rights are turned into a plaything and a tool to apply political pressure on others, the media empire of the hegemonic system also helps to replace the accused with the plaintiff in the case of systematic human rights violations,” Kanaani wrote in an Instagram post on Thursday.

The spokesman’s comments followed Western media’s reports about recent protests in Iran, which were triggered by the death of 22-year-old Iranian girl Mahsa Amini, who died while in the custody of Iran’s morality police.

Following the recent protests in the country, the Canadian government has slapped sanctions on Iranian institutions and individuals for alleged “rights violations,” Xinhua news agency reported.

Kanaani referred to the reports of the separation of thousands of indigenous children from their families in the past decades in Canada and the discovery of children’s mass graves in Canada’s residential schools, saying that the people of the world have not forgotten “the sad saga”.

“Blurting out words about other countries and hiding behind accusations against others will not change the fact that behind the window of human rights in one of the American government’s closest allies, child-killing and disregard for humanity is showing off,” he added.

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International News

At the request of Qatar, Turkey will send army for World Cup security

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Turkey’s parliament has approved a proposal to send troops to Qatar to provide security support during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. “At Qatar’s request, a proposal was tabled in parliament on Saturday to deploy troops for six months to provide security during the football tournament in November,” parliament said in a statement on Wednesday.

The objective of the operation is to take necessary measures against various threats, especially terrorism, which may affect security. According to Turkish media reports, apart from Turkey, USA, France, UK, Italy and Pakistan will also provide security support during the World Cup in Qatar.

Qatar is facing a shortage of security personnel for the month-long FIFA soccer tournament, Xinhua News Agency reported.

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Business

Rupee slips down against dollar on oil price increase

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Rising international oil prices saw the Indian rupee depreciating to Rs 81.94 against the US dollar.

The rupee opened at Rs 81.52 on Thursday at the interbank forex market and then went down to Rs 81.94.

Experts said demand for dollars from oil importers resulted in a fall in rupee.

The oil prices are expected to climb up as the producing nations have announced their plans to cut production.

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