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Israeli police, Palestinians clash at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque

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(Last Updated On: April 15, 2022)

Israeli police clashed with masked, stone-throwing Palestinians near al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem when violence erupted after Friday’s Ramadan morning prayers.

Israeli security forces have been on high alert after a series of deadly Arab street attacks throughout the country during the past two weeks, and confrontations at the holy site carry the risk of sparking wider conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in Gaza, Reuters reported.

Tensions have been simmering in Jerusalem, with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan coinciding with the Jewish celebration of Passover and Christianity’s Easter festival this year.

Police said they entered the compound, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, to break up a violent crowd that remained at the end of the morning prayers. They did not enter Al-Aqsa mosque – Islam’s third-holiest site, Reuters reported.

When a group of Palestinians began throwing rocks toward the nearby Jewish prayer space of the Western Wall, police said they entered the compound “to disperse and push back” the crowd.

The Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service said 59 people were injured, some by tear gas and rubber bullets.

Reuters video showed officers, some in riot gear, running after a small number of individuals after most of the crowd had left.

Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, condemned the Israeli police and said Israel “bears responsibility for the consequences.”

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Mexico records deadliest year yet for journalists, with 18 murders so far

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(Last Updated On: August 19, 2022)

This year will be the deadliest on record for journalists in Mexico, with 18 killed so far, human rights organization Article 19 said in a report Thursday, Reuters reported.

Of the 18 deaths, Article 19 had identified a potential link to their work in nine cases so far, the organization’s regional director Leopoldo Maldonado told Reuters.

“2022 could be the worst year in a century for the press,” Maldonado said.

In a little over eight months, the death toll for 2022 has already outpaced the 13 murders recorded last year and the 14 recorded in 2020. Article 19 found the deaths were linked to the victims’ profession in about half of the cases in 2021 and 2020, it said.

Meanwhile, the organization has documented a total of 331 attacks against journalists in the first half of the year, most of which involve intimidation and harassment. Some also received threats, while a handful of cases involved the alleged abuse use of public power.

That marks a 51.83% increase compared to the first half of 2018, when former President Enrique Pena Nieto was in power, it said.

According to Reuters in addition, Article 19 said four journalists had been forcibly displaced within the country while two went into exile in the first half of the year.

“The role that the authorities have in the violence against the press clearly reflects a breach of the state’s obligations to guarantee the rights and integrity of journalists and the media,” the report added.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said repeatedly that his government does not attack the press and that recent murders were by criminal groups, read the report.

Article 19 alleged the state was behind most attacks on the press, with 128 cases recorded in the first half. This is “a trend that has been consistent since 2007,” the group said.

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Israel and Turkey to restore full diplomatic relations

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(Last Updated On: August 18, 2022)

Israel and Turkey have decided to restore full diplomatic ties and will return ambassadors to each other’s countries, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s office said on Wednesday.

“Upgrading relations will contribute to deepening ties between the two peoples, expanding economic, trade, and cultural ties, and strengthening regional stability,” the statement said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed the move saying, “Appointment of ambassadors was one of the steps for the normalization of ties. Such a positive step came from Israel as a result of these efforts, and as Turkey, we also decided to appoint an ambassador to Israel, to Tel Aviv.”

In 2018, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel after deadly protests on the Gaza border and then-US President Donald Trump moved Washington’s embassy to Jerusalem. Israel also pulled its ambassador to Turkey, Deutsche Welle reported.

Cavusoglu said on Wednesday, “we are not giving up on the Palestinian cause.”

“It is important for our messages to be conveyed directly through the ambassador,” he added.

In recent months, however, both Turkey and Israel have made moves to improve relations.

In March, the countries announced a new era in relations when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Ankara, DW reported.

On Wednesday, Lapid described the diplomatic breakthrough as an “important asset for regional stability and very important economic news for the citizens of Israel.”

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Turkish airstrikes on Syrian border posts kill 17

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(Last Updated On: August 17, 2022)

Turkish airstrikes on Syria border posts run by regime forces killed 17 fighters on Tuesday, according to a war monitor, prompting the Damascus government to threaten retaliation.

“Seventeen fighters were killed in Turkish airstrikes that hit several Syrian regime outposts… near the Turkish border,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

It did not specify if the victims were affiliated with the government or Kurdish forces.

At least three Syrian soldiers were among the dead and six were wounded in the Turkish raids, said the official SANA news agency, citing a military source.

“Any attack on a military outpost run by our armed forces will be met with a direct and immediate response on all fronts,” read the report.

The strikes took place near the Kurdish-held town of Kobane, the site of overnight clashes between Turkish forces and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Kurdish forces also struck inside Turkish territory overnight, killing one soldier, Turkey’s defense ministry said.

“Thirteen terrorists were neutralised” in retaliatory attacks by Ankara inside Syria, the ministry said, adding that operations in the region were ongoing.

Turkey has stepped up its attacks in Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria since a July 19 summit with Iran and Russia failed to green-light a fresh offensive against Kurdish fighters viewed by Ankara as terrorists.

Turkey has fervently opposed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backing rebels calling for his removal and opening its doors to refugees.

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