Israel, Palestinians battle as Gaza ceasefire collapses
20 dead, scores hurt in Moscow metro crash
special to the tribune
Iraq elects Speaker
as forces push into Tikrit
Iraq elects Speaker
as forces push into Tikrit
Suicide bomber kills 89 in Afghan market
Shunned by UK hospital, Indian gives birth at home
Israel, Palestinians battle as Gaza ceasefire collapses
Gaza/Jerusalem, July 15
"Hamas has fired 47 rockets since we suspended our strikes in Gaza (this morning). As a result, we have resumed our operation against Hamas," an Israeli military statement said.
Under a blueprint announced by Egypt, Gaza's neighbour and whose military-backed government has been at odds with Hamas Islamists, a mutual "de-escalation" of week-old fighting was to have begun at 9 am (0600 GMT), with hostilities ceasing within 12 hours.
Hamas' armed wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, rejected the ceasefire, saying its battle with Israel would "increase in ferocity and intensity".
But Moussa Abu Marzouk, a top Hamas official who was in Cairo, had said the movement, which is seeking a deal that would ease border restrictions imposed by both Egypt and Israel, had made no final decision on the proposal.
Live television showed Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepting several rockets over the port city of Ashdod, where a factory was hit. Emergency services said no one was hurt.
Sirens also sounded in areas up to 130 km north of the Gaza Strip. The Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for some of the rocket launchings.
Speaking in Vienna, US Secretary of State John Kerry supported Israel: "I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets, in multiple numbers, in the face of a goodwill effort (to secure) a ceasefire."
Gaza health officials said at least 184 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in eight days of fighting, the worst Israel-Palestinian flare-up in two years.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose security cabinet voted 6-2 earlier on Tuesday to accept the truce, had cautioned that Israel would respond strongly if rockets continued to fly.
An Israeli official, speaking as the Israeli strikes resumed, said: "The prime minister and the defence minister have ordered the Israeli armed forces to take powerful action against terrorist targets in Gaza."
Earlier, Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said that demands the movement has made must be met before it lays down its weapons.
Other Palestinian militant groups - Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine - also said they had not yet agreed to the Egyptian offer. — Reuters
Israeli app tracks, warns of rocket attacks
Moscow, July 15
Russian television described scenes of chaos and panic on the capital city's famed system, saying passengers fell like dominoes when the train braked abruptly and three carriages derailed.
President Vladimir Putin, who is currently on a trip to Brazil, was informed of the tragedy that put a huge strain on the city of some 12 million and snarled traffic on its notoriously clogged roads amid a heatwave.
Sirens wailed as dozens of ambulances rushed to help treat the wounded and helicopters buzzed overhead to evacuate those with the most serious injuries, AFP journalists said at the scene outside the deep Park Pobedy metro station in western Moscow.
Nineteen persons perished at the scene and another passenger died of her injuries in hospital, a health ministry spokesman said in televised remarks, adding that nearly 130 people were hospitalised. — AFP
World’s busiest metro
shyam bhatia in baghdad
'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani' were amongst the last recorded words of Jesus and still familiar to devout Christians all over the world.
Spoken in Aramaic, the ancient semitic language ancestral to both Hebrew and Arabic, they translate as, 'My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?'
Today they resonate among Aramaic speaking Christians of Northern Iraq, living near Mosul, who seek the release of two nuns and three teenage orphans in their charge kidnapped close to where 39 Indian construction workers have also been detained.
Sister Hatour and Sister Miskenta, aged 50 and 30 respectively, were in Northern Mosul buying petrol for their pick-up when they were led away by unknown men. The orphans in their charge, two teenage girls and a boy, were also taken.
"We say why", asserts Bishop Chleiman Wirduni of the Iraqi Orthodox Church. "Christians are peaceful, Christians are merciful, they do good for everyone.
"Whoever they (the kidnappers) are, if they fear God, they don't do that. If they have morals, how can they kidnap the nuns and orphans who are being taken care of by the Sisters."
Bishop Wirduni says no demands have been received for the release of the nuns. "Somebody said they saw the pick-up being guided away 12 days ago. Who what, why, we do not know", he insists.
"They didn't ask for money, they didn't say anything. We don't know who they are or where are the nuns."
But some senior Iraqi government officials tell a different story. They say the disappearance of the nuns and their charges is pattern of the pattern of kidnappings initiated by Islamic militants of ISIS.
"They collected the nuns and they are asking ransoms for them", said Deputy Prime Minister Hussain Shahristani. "I think it was on average $one million per nun."
The targeting of the nuns indicates a deeply unpleasant and systematic targeting of Christians in war-torn Iraq and neighbouring Syria. Last year the Vatican news agency confirmed the horrific killing by jihadists of Franciscan Father Francois Murad. Whether he was shot dead or beheaded has never been clarified, but he was accused of collaborating with the government of President Bashar Al Assad.
In Baghdad Dr Bushra Al Obaidi of the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights told the Tribune that ISIS militants are "targeting minorities in order to exterminate them. They consider them infidels. Mosul is in the hands of these Islamic terrorists who have isolated the city from the rest of Iraq."
She adds that a Christian priest has also been kidnapped and he, the nuns and other hostages are being held in Mosul's Badash jail. She does not know if the other hostages include Indians.
A Christian member of the Iraq parliament Jonathan Khana told The Tribune he believed the nuns had been kidnapped as part of a long term strategy to exchange them with ISIS prisoners.
"In Syria they kidnapped nuns from the Maloula monastery. When Turkey and Qatar interfered and released some captured terrorists, they released some of the nuns."
Iraqi communists are among the most vociferous critics of ISIS and its kidnapping policies. "They are all enemies of the Iraqi people", says Fayek Al Dabbas, a leading member of the party.
"Those who kidnap and kill are dirty people, more dirty than any criminals, more dirty than the Nazis. What unites us is humanity, humanity is the main thing to make people all over the world as brothers."
Targeting a minority
The targeting of the nuns indicates a deeply unpleasant and systematic targeting of Christians in war-torn Iraq and neighbouring Syria. Last year, the Vatican news agency confirmed the horrific killing by jihadists of Franciscan Father Francois Murad. Whether he was shot dead or beheaded has never been clarified, but he was accused of collaborating with the government of President Bashar Al
The targeting of the nuns indicates a deeply unpleasant and systematic targeting of Christians in war-torn Iraq and neighbouring Syria. Last year, the Vatican news agency confirmed the horrific killing by jihadists of Franciscan Father Francois Murad. Whether he was shot dead or beheaded has never been clarified, but he was accused of collaborating with the government of President Bashar Al Assad.
Baghdad, July 15
A Shi'ite leader suggested the naming of Salim al-Jabouri as speaker was part of a broader political deal, but gave no clue as to whether that meant Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had managed to secure backing for a third term.
The vote came as Iraq's army and allied Shi'ite militia launched an assault to retake former dictator Saddam Hussein's home city Tikrit from the Al-Qaida offshoot known as the Islamic State who seized it in mid-June during a lightning assault through the north.
The stunning advance by the militants over the past month has put Iraq's very survival in jeopardy even as its politicians have been deadlocked over forming a new government since an election in April.
Under Iraq's governing system put in place after the US invasion in 2003, the Prime Minister has always been a member of the Shi'ite majority, the Speaker a Sunni and the largely ceremonial President a Kurd, with the three posts hammered out in prolonged negotiations following every election. — Reuters
Kabul, July 15
The attack in the town of Urgun in Paktika province was the deadliest in months in Afghanistan, underscoring the country's instability as foreign troops prepare to leave by the end of the year.
Gen Mohammad Zahir Azimi, the Defense Ministry spokesman, said the bomber detonated his explosives-laden vehicle as he drove by the crowded market in the remote town in Urgun district, close to the border with Pakistan.
The military was providing helicopters and ambulances to transport the victims to the provincial capital, Sharan, and so far 42 wounded have been moved to hospitals there, Azimi added. The explosion also destroyed more than 20 shops and dozens of vehicles, he said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but the Taliban sent a statement to media denying their insurgent group was involved in the Paktika bombing and saying they "strongly condemn attacks on local people." Many of the victims were buried under the rubble, said Mohammad Reza Kharoti, the administrative chief of Urgun district.
"It was a very brutal suicide attack against poor civilians, he said. "There was no military base nearby." The bombing was also the first major attack since a weekend deal between the two Afghan presidential contenders brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry averted a dangerous rift in the country's troubled democracy.
One of the two, former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, told The Associated Press on Monday that he would meet his rival, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, on Tuesday to begin working out the framework for the next government, with participation from both camps and all communities in the country.
But violence has continued unabated in Afghanistan. Hours before the Paktika blast, a roadside bomb in eastern Kabul ripped through a minivan carrying seven employees of the media office of the presidential palace, killing two of the passengers. — AP
London, July 15
Patel gave birth after she was refused a second labour check by a triage nurse over the phone.
When the 26-year-old and her partner, Yaseen Lockhat, first went to the maternity unit at Royal Bolton Hospital in Lancashire county about 3.30 pm local time on July 3, they were told she was not in "active" labour and advised the couple to go home. — PTI
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