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Palestinian doctor dies in Israeli prison

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Dr Adnan Al-Bursh speaking to BBC Arabic’s Gaza Lifeline programme

Palestinian doctor dies in Israeli prison

A Palestinian doctor has died in an Israeli prison after more than four months in detention, Palestinian prisoner associations have said.

Dr Adnan Al-Bursh, 50, was the head of orthopaedics at al-Shifa Hospital.

The Israeli prison service confirmed that a statement published on 19 April about a prisoner who was detained for national security reasons and had died in Ofer prison was Dr Al-Bursh.

No details were given on the cause of death, and the prison service said the incident was being investigated.

But the Palestinian prisoner advocacy groups said in a joint statement on Thursday that Dr Al-Bursh’s death was an “assassination” and his body still remained in Israeli custody.

Dr Al-Bursh was the head of orthopaedics at Gaza’s largest medical facility, al-Shifa hospital, which has been raided several times by Israeli armed forces.

He was temporarily working at Al-Awada hospital in north Gaza when he was detained by Israeli forces.

Colleagues have paid tribute to the late surgeon, describing him as “compassionate” and “heroic”.

Al-Shifa’s director, Dr Marwan Abu Saada, said the news of his death was difficult for the human soul to bear.

Another colleague, Dr Suhail Matar, called Dr Al-Bursh “the safety valve” for every orthopaedic department in all of Gaza’s hospitals.

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“It is rare that you meet a person like him in your life, because this doctor worked all his life with dedication and used to make tremendous efforts at the expense of himself,” Dr Matar told BBC Arabic’s Gaza Lifeline programme.

He described his late colleague as someone who was never tired of working, and who was “loved by everyone and his smile never went away”.

Francesca Albanese, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the West Bank and Gaza, said she was “extremely alarmed” by news of Dr Al-Bursh’s death and called on the diplomatic community to take concrete measures to protect Palestinians.

Meanwhile White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden has discussed with Israel the importance of protecting humanitarian workers in Gaza.

“The president has said very clearly that when it comes to people who are… in Gaza providing that all-important care, humanitarian aid, humanitarian care, they need to be protected. They should be protected. And so certainly those conversations are going to continue,” she said.

“We believe that certainly… the Israeli government has taken efforts to do just that and has taken into account our concerns and so we’re going to continue to have those conversations but it is heartbreaking to hear.”

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said in a statement that Dr Al-Bursh’s death meant that the total number of medical workers who had been killed by Israel since the 7 October attack now stands at 496.

It added that 1,500 others had been wounded while 309 had been arrested.

Medical facilities are protected under international law, but Israel says Hamas uses them as cover for military operations – something Hamas denies.

The BBC has approached the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for comment.

Palestinian doctor dies in Israeli prison

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Stage collapse in Mexico political campaign rally kills nine

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Stage collapse in Mexico political campaign rally kills nine

A stage has collapsed in heavy winds at a political campaign rally in northern Mexico.

The unforseen incident killed at least nine people, including a child, and injured 121, the governor of Nuevo Leon State said on Thursday.

The collapse occurred during an event Wednesday evening attended by presidential long-shot candidate Jorge Álvarez Máynez, who ran to escape. Videos of the collapse on social media showed people screaming, running away, and climbing out from under metal polls.

The victims “will not be alone in this tragedy,” Máynez told reporters Wednesday night, adding that he had suspended upcoming campaign events.

Afterward, soldiers, police, and other officials roamed the grounds of the park where the event took place, while many nearby sat stunned and haunted by the tragedy.

In a video message, Nuevo Leon Gov. Samuel Garcia, a leading member of Máynez’s Citizens Movement party, said 94 of the injured were treated and released, but 27 remained hospitalized. State health authorities said a lot of the injuries involved skull fractures. Garcia said three victims were undergoing surgery and appeared to be in critical condition.

Garcia said the accident occurred “in a matter of seconds.”

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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said most of the injured were women. He absolved Máynez’s Citizens Movement party — widely viewed as an implicit ally of López Obrador’s Morena party — of blame even before investigations were carried out.

“We know that they are not to blame,” the president said Thursday.

Condolences poured in from across Mexico, including from the other two presidential candidates.

Máynez wrote in his social media accounts that he went to a hospital after the accident in the wealthy suburb of San Pedro Garza Garcia, near the city of Monterrey. He said he was in good condition.

“The only important thing at this point is to care for the victims of the accident,” he wrote.

Videos of the accident showed Máynez waving his arm as the crowd chanted his name. But then he looked up to see a giant screen and metal structure toppling towards him. He ran rapidly towards the back of the stage to avoid the falling structure, which appeared to consist of relatively light framework pieces as well as what appeared to be a screen with the party’s logo and theatre-style lights.

Máynez has been running third in the polls in the presidential race, trailing both front-runner Claudia Sheinbaum of the ruling Morena Party and opposition coalition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez. Both sent their condolences, and Sheinbaum cancelled a campaign event in nearby Monterrey the next day “in solidarity” with the victims and their loved ones.

“My condolences and prayers are with the families of the dead, and my wishes for a speedy recovery to all those injured,” wrote Gálvez in a social media post.

The accident happened at the height of campaign season, with many events held this week and next in anticipation of the June 2 presidential, state, and municipal elections.

The campaign had so far been plagued by the killings of about two dozen candidates for local offices.

Stage collapse in Mexico political campaign rally kills nine

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Norway, Ireland, Spain to recognise Palestinian State May 28

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Norway, Ireland, Spain to recognise Palestinian State May 28

Norway, Ireland and Spain said Wednesday they would recognize a Palestinian state, a historic but largely symbolic move that further deepens Israel’s isolation more than seven months into its grinding war against Hamas in Gaza. Israel immediately denounced the decisions and recalled its ambassadors to the three countries.

Palestinians welcomed the announcements as an affirmation of their decades-long quest for statehood in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip — territories Israel seized in the 1967 Mideast war and still controls.

While some 140 countries — more than two-thirds of the United Nations — recognize a Palestinian state, Wednesday’s cascade of announcements could build momentum at a time when even close allies of Israel have piled on criticism for its conduct in Gaza.

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It was the second blow to Israel’s international reputation this week after the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said he would seek arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister. The International Court of Justice is also considering allegations of genocide that Israel has strenuously denied.

Israel recalled its ambassadors to the three countries and summoned their envoys, accusing the Europeans of rewarding the militant Hamas group for its Oct. 7 attack that triggered the war. Foreign Minister Israel Katz said the European ambassadors would watch grisly video footage of the attack.

Norway, Ireland, Spain to recognise Palestinian State May 28

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Israel denounces ICC actions, seeks global allies support

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel denounces ICC actions, seeks global allies support

Israel has called on “nations of the civilised world” to refuse to comply with any International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrants issued against its leaders.

Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor of the ICC, announced on Monday that his office had applied to a pre-trial panel for arrest warrants for three senior Hamas officials. Khan also stated that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant would be sought for arrest for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity related to the Hamas attack on October 7 and the ensuing seven-month war in Gaza.

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The announcement sparked outrage among Israeli officials, the public, and the country’s allies. In an official response on Tuesday, Israeli government spokesperson Tal Heinrich said, “We call on the nations of the civilised, free world – nations who despise terrorists and anyone who supports them – to stand by Israel. You should outright condemn this step.”

Heinrich continued, “Make sure the ICC understands where you stand. Oppose the prosecutor’s decision and declare that, even if warrants are issued, you do not intend to enforce them. Because this is not about our leaders. It’s about our survival.”

The ICC prosecutor emphasized that while Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas, this does not “absolve Israel or any state of its obligation to comply with international humanitarian law.”

Israel denounces ICC actions, seeks global allies support

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