Israel-Gaza news: Israeli military intelligence chief resigns as ‘mass grave found’ under Gaza hospital

Iranian state television reports explosions

The head of Israel’s military intelligence has resigned following a failure to prevent Hamas’ “murderous surprise attack” on 7 October.

Major General Aharon Haliva admitted that his division “did not live up to the task we were entrusted with” and said he “carries that black day” with him forever.

“At the beginning of the war, I expressed my desire to accept responsibility and finish my duties. Now, after more than six months, and at the same time as the investigations begin, I would like to end my position,” he wrote.

“Until the end of my shift, I will do everything for the defeat of Hamas and those who want to harm us and the work for the return of the captives and the missing to their homes and land.”

It comes as Al Jazeera has reported bodies being recovered from a mass grave inside the Nasser Medical Complex in Gaza’s Khan Younis.

“In the hospital courtyard, civil defence members and paramedics have retrieved 180 bodies buried in this mass grave by the Israeli military. The bodies include elderly women, children and young men,” the outlet reported, quoting its reporter and Palestinian emergency services from Khan Younis.


Israeli military intelligence chief resigns over Hamas massacre failures

The Israeli military has said its head of intelligence has resigned over failures surrounding Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack.

Major General Aharon Haliva has become the first senior Israeli figure to step down after Hamas breached the country’s defences, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, taking roughly 250 more captive, and sparking the war against Hamas in Gaza.

The official said shortly after the attack in October that he shouldered the blame for not preventing the assault.

The Israeli military said in a statement that the military chief of staff accepted Maj Gen Haliva’s request to resign and thanked him for his service. His resignation could set the stage for more of Israel’s top security officials to accept blame for not preventing the attack and step down.

Maj Gen Haliva wrote in his resignation letter, which was provided by the military: “The intelligence directorate under my command did not live up to the task we were entrusted with. I carry that black day with me ever since, day after day, night after night. I will carry the pain with me forever.”


Ilhan Omar’s daughter claims she’s ‘homeless and hungry’ after Columbia suspension over pro-Palestine protests

Isra Hirsi said that she and two of her classmates from Barnard College at Columbia were the first of nearly 100 students to be suspended over pro-Palestine protests.

Namita Singh23 April 2024 06:45


What’s behind Columbia University protests?

The university’s president moved classes online on Monday due to tensions, while one rabbi called for Jewish students to leave campus over fears of antisemitic violence and harassment on Monday, the first day of Passover.

For the past week, hundreds of pro-Palestine student activists have demanded that Columbia divest its financial ties with Israel due to the country’s war in Gaza, launching street demonstrations and building a massive encampment on the college campus, leading the school to call in the New York Police Department (NYPD).

Here’s everything you need to know about the protests at Columbia, and other major US universities.

Namita Singh23 April 2024 06:30


Key recommendations for strengthening neutrality of UN agency helping Palestinian refugees

An independent panel that reviewed the neutrality of the UN agency helping Palestinian refugees, after Israel alleged that a dozen of its employees in Gaza had participated in Hamas‘s 7 October attacks, released its report yesterday.

Here are some of its key recommendations to strengthen the neutrality of the agency, known as UNRWA.

Namita Singh23 April 2024 06:15


Model train maker says sales hit by Middle East conflict

A model train maker has seen a drop off in sales thanks to the conflict in the Middle East.

Margate-based Hornby, a more than 100-year-old business which specialises in toys and collectibles, said its sales have fallen in recent months.

It said some deliveries have been delayed as a result of shipping attacks in the Red Sea.

Group sales over the first three months of the year were eight per cent less than the same quarter a year ago, it revealed.

Namita Singh23 April 2024 06:00


How the Israel-Iran conflict is helping leaders cling to power

Jack Straw was the first foreign secretary to visit Iran after the 1979 revolution and is used to negotiating with its leaders – even, on one occasion, from a train loo. Here, he explains why Netanyahu and Khamenei are throwing each other a lifeline to stay in power, and warns we could all pay a terrible price.

Namita Singh23 April 2024 05:45


War in Gaza has had ‘significant negative impact’ on human rights, US government report says

The war between Israel and Hamas that has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza and resulted in a severe humanitarian crisis has had “a significant negative impact” on the human rights situation in the country, the US State Department said in its annual report on Monday.

Significant human rights issues include credible reports of arbitrary or unlawful killings, enforced disappearance, torture and unjustified arrests of journalists among others, said the State Department’s 2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

The report added that the Israeli government has taken some credible steps to identify and punish the officials who may have been involved in those abuses.

Namita Singh23 April 2024 05:30


Strike on air defence system protecting nuclear sites send a message, say analysts

Analysts believe both Iran and Israel, regional arch rivals locked in a shadow war for years, now are trying to dial back tensions following a series of escalatory attacks between them as the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip still rages and inflames the wider region. But a strike on the most advanced air defence system Iran possesses and uses to protect its nuclear sites sends a message, experts say.

“This strike shows Israel has the ability to penetrate Iran’s air defence systems,” said Nicole Grajewski, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment’s nuclear policy program who wrote a forthcoming book on Russia and Iran. “The precision of it was quite remarkable.”

On Friday, air defences opened fire and Iran grounded commercial flights across much of the country. Officials in the aftermath sought to downplay the attack, trying to describe it as just a series of small drones flying through the sky.

“What happened … was not a strike,” Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian claimed in an interview with NBC News. “They were more like toys that our children play with – not drones.”

In the attack’s aftermath, however, Iraqis found what appeared to be remnants of surface-to-air missiles south of Baghdad. That, coupled with a suspected Israeli strike on a radar station in Syria the same day, suggests Israeli fighter jets flew over Syria into Iraq, then fired so-called “standoff missiles” into Iran for the Isfahan attack. Small, shorter-range drones may have been launched as well — Israel has been able to launch sabotage attacks and other missions inside of Iran.

Still, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani repeated Tehran’s denial yesterday.

“Relevant authorities have announced that this harassment attack has caused no damage whatsoever and Iran’s defensive system have carried out their duties,” Mr Kanaani told journalists at a briefing. “Therefore in our opinion this issue is not worthy of addressing.”

Namita Singh23 April 2024 05:15


Satellite photos suggest Iran air defence radar struck in Isfahan during apparent Israeli strike

Satellite photos taken yesterday suggest an apparent Israeli retaliatory strike targeting Iran’s central city of Isfahan hit a radar system for a Russian-made air defence battery, contradicting repeated denials by officials in Tehran of any damage in the assault.

The strike on an S-300 radar in what appears to have been a very limited strike by the Israelis would represent far more damage done than in the massive drone-and-missile attack Iran unleashed against Israel on 13 April. That may be why Iranian officials up to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have been trying to dismiss discussing what the attack actually did on Iranian soil.

Iranian pro-government supporters chant slogans as they attend an anti-Israel demonstration after the Friday noon prayer in Tehran, Iran on 19 April 2024 (Middle East Images/AFP via Getty)

The satellite images by Planet Labs PBC taken near Isfahan’s dual-use airport and air base, some 320km south of Tehran, showed an area nearby that served as a deployment point for the air defence system. Burn marks sit around what analysts including Chris Biggers, a consultant former government imagery analyst, previously had identified as a “flap-lid” radar system used for the S-300.

Less-detailed satellite images taken after Friday showed similar burn marks around the area, though it wasn’t clear what was at the site. Mr Biggers said other components of the missile system appeared to have been removed from the site — even though they provide defensive cover for Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility.

“That’s a powerful statement, given the system, the location, and how they use it,” Mr Biggers wrote.

Namita Singh23 April 2024 05:00


Irish deputy premier to travel to Egypt and Jordan to push for Gaza ceasefire

Ireland’s deputy premier is to travel to Egypt and Jordan to push for a ceasefire in Gaza and support efforts working towards a two-state solution.

The visit comes amid tensions in the Middle East following attacks between Israel and Iran, and after a strike on the densely populated city of Rafah in southern Gaza, in which 18 children and four adults were killed.

Israel has said it will carry out a ground offensive on the city located at the Egyptian border, despite international calls for restraint, including from the US and Ireland.

Namita Singh23 April 2024 04:45

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