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U.S. vetoes UN resolution calling for ceasefire in Gaza

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U.S. vetoes UN resolution calling for ceasefire in Gaza

A draft resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip failed in the UN Security Council on Tuesday after the U.S. again vetoed the text tabled by Council member Algeria.

Given concerns about a possible major Israeli offensive on the crowded city of Rafah in southern Gaza, the proposal was widely supported by 13 of the 15 council members. Britain abstained.

Following the vote, Israel again strongly rejected calls for a truce.

This “absurd notion of a ceasefire” was constantly being thrown around within the Security Council and the UN General Assembly as if it was “a silver bullet, a magical solution to all of the region’s problems,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, told the most powerful UN body.

“A ceasefire today means immunity for baby killers and rapists. It’s an easy way to make this problem an issue for another day,” he said.

“Hamas is not going to even read your resolutions.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also reiterated that his country was determined not to be deterred by criticism of how it was handling the war in the Gaza Strip.

“There is considerable pressure on Israel at home and abroad to stop the war before we achieve all of its goals,” Netanyahu said during a visit to troops near the border with Gaza on Tuesday.

“There is no pressure, none, that can change this – we are not prepared to pay any price, certainly not the delusional prices that Hamas is demanding of us.”

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield had declared ahead of time that the U.S. would once again use its veto power in the Security Council should a vote be held.

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The five permanent members of the most powerful UN body, the U.S., China, Russia, France, and Britain, all have the power to do so.

The U.S. said it wanted to prevent a vote in order not to jeopardise important negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian extremist organisation Hamas, which along with other Islamist groups attacked Israel on Oct. 7 and killed over 1,200 people.

“We believe that the resolution on the table right now would, in fact, negatively impact those negotiations.

“Instead, it could extend the fighting between Hamas and Israel,” Thomas-Greenfield said before the vote in reference to talks mainly about freeing hostages.

“Sometimes hard diplomacy takes more time than any of us might like. Believe me, I understand the desire for the Council to act urgently to positively shape the situation in line with the Security Council’s mandate.”

The veto was seen by observers as a complicated ploy by Washington as it does not want to be seen as an enabler of the Jewish state’s war tactics, which have increasingly come in for international criticism as the Gaza Health Authority figures confirm 29,195 Palestinians have been killed during the Israeli military campaign in Gaza so far.

In recent months, the U.S. has already used three vetoes to protect Israel from Security Council resolutions.

Security Council resolutions are binding under international law.

If countries defy them, the Council can impose sanctions and, in extreme cases, even consider military intervention – but this highly unlikely in the case of Israel.

According to a high-ranking Security Council representative, the negotiations this time on the veto became much more emotional behind closed doors.

The U.S. would have to “take responsibility for everything that happens afterwards,” added the official, who asked to remain anonymous.

“If Rafah happens, there is no going back.”

Around 1.5 million Gazans are crowded into Rafah, the southernmost city that sits on the border with Egypt.

The Israeli government has been preparing to launch a full-scale ground offensive into the city despite international fears it will lead to massive civilian casualties.

Israel says the operation is necessary to eliminate remaining Hamas fighters that are sheltering there as well as to free hostages that were abducted from Israel on Oct. 7.

Israeli war Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz on Sunday said that “The world must know, and Hamas leaders must know – if by Ramadan our hostages are not home, the fighting will continue to the Rafah area.”

However, it is uncertain whether international mediators will be able to negotiate a ceasefire and the release of hostages by the start of the Muslim fasting month on March 10.

U.S. vetoes UN resolution calling for ceasefire in Gaza

(dpa/NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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Priest, others attacked during church service in Sydney’s second mass stabbing

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Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel

Priest, others attacked during church service in Sydney’s second mass stabbing

A bishop and several worshippers have been stabbed in an attack that was captured on video during a live-streamed service from a church in Sydney, only two days after a mass stabbing in a shopping centre.

Police said a man had been arrested following reports of the attack at the Christ the Good Shepherd Church just after 7pm local time in the Sydney suburb of Wakeley, New South Wales.

 Man repeatedly stabs Sydney Bishop during service in front of congregation live stream viewers

Video footage shared on social media shows Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel speaking to the congregation before a man dressed in black walks up to where he is standing and stabs him repeatedly. The sounds of screaming are heard before congregants run to the front to try to help the bishop.

Several worshippers were also injured in the attack. Police said they had suffered non-life threatening injuries.

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A spokesman for New South Wales Ambulance told Australian media that a man in his 50s was taken to hospital with multiple stab wounds, while three other people were also injured and were being treated at the scene.

New South Wales Police said: “A police operation is under way in Wakeley, following reports of a stabbing. Officers attached to Fairfield City Police Area Command attended a location on Welcome Street, Wakeley following reports a number of people were stabbed.

“Officers arrested a male and he is assisting police with inquiries. The injured people suffered non-life threatening injuries and are being treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics. More information will be provided once it becomes available.”

The attack come after six people were killed and 12 injured in a mass stabbing at Westfield Shopping Centre in Bondi Junction, Sydney on Saturday afternoon.

Police said that the attacker appears to have deliberately targeted women.

Priest, others attacked during church service in Sydney’s second mass stabbing

inews.co.uk

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Iran summons French, British, German envoys over reactions to Israel attack

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File photo of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

Iran summons French, British, German envoys over reactions to Israel attack

After numerous countries condemned Iran’s attack on Israel, Tehran’s foreign ministry summoned the French, British, and German ambassadors “following the irresponsible positions of certain officials of these countries regarding Iran’s response”, a statement said.

Late Saturday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps announced that they had launched “dozens of drones and missiles” towards military sites on Israeli territory.

“Iran’s military action was in response to the Zionist regime’s aggression against our diplomatic premises in Damascus” earlier this month, the Iranian mission to the UN said, dubbing it “legitimate defence”.

Israel’s army said it had shot 99 percent of the drones and missiles with the help of the United States and other allies, declaring Iran’s attack “foiled”.

The Iranian army chief of staff Mohammad Bagheri said the attack has “achieved all its objectives” and there was “no intention to continue this operation”.

Bagheri said Iran’s retaliation targeted an “intelligence centre” and the air base from which Tehran says the Israeli F-35 jets took off to strike the Damascus consulate on April 1.

“Both these centres were significantly destroyed,” he said, though Israel maintains that the attack only resulted in minor damage.

Attack ‘telegraphed’

Experts have suggested that Saturday’s slow-moving drone attack was calibrated to represent a show of power but also allow some wiggle room.

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“It appears that Iran telegraphed its attack on Israel to demonstrate it can strike using different capabilities, to complicate the ability to neutralise the assault but also to provide an off-ramp to pause escalation,” said Nishank Motwani, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Washington.

“Tehran can escalate if it chooses to across a range of vectors,” said Motwani.

Over the last two weeks, the Iranian authorities had repeatedly vowed to “punish” Israel after the death of seven Guards including two generals of the Quds Force in the attack that levelled the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

Iran has blamed Israel for the attack.

In the days after the strike, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Israel will be “slapped for that action”.

Since Iran’s 1979 revolution, Israel has been the sworn enemy of the Islamic republic.

Iran has often called for the destruction of Israel, with support of the Palestinian cause one of the pillars of the Islamic revolution.

However, until Saturday Tehran had also refrained from a direct attack on Israel.

Instead, it has backed members of the so-called “Axis of Resistance” against Israel, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Yemen’s Huthi rebels, since the outbreak of war in Gaza between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7.

Hours before the strikes on Saturday, Iran seized an Israeli-linked container ship in the Gulf which Washington called “an act of piracy”.

 ‘Next slap will be fiercer’

During the night, Tehran warned the United States, urging it to “stay away” from its conflict with Israel.

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“If necessary”, Tehran “will not hesitate to take defensive measures to protect its interests against any aggressive military action,” Iran’s foreign ministry said.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian later said Tehran had notified neighbouring countries ahead of the military operation, stressing its objective was “to punish the Israeli regime”.

“We are not seeking to target the American people or American bases in the region,” he said, but warned that Iran could target US military positions involved in “defending and supporting” Israel.

“The next slap will be fiercer,” warned a mural unveiled overnight in Tehran’s Palestine Square, where several thousands gathered, shouting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America”.

Before Tehran launched its attack, Israel warned Iran that it would suffer “the consequences for choosing to escalate the situation any further”.

Israel has not revealed what a potential response would look like.

An Israeli attack on Iran’s territory, possibly targeting military or nuclear sites, could not be ruled out, according to experts.

As a precaution, Iran’s Imam Khomeini international airport and the domestic Mehrabad airport will remain closed until Monday at 06:00 am (0230 GMT), according to ISNA news agency.

Several international airlines have suspended flights over Iranian airspace.

Countries including Russia and France have asked their citizens to avoid travelling to Iran and Israel.

Iran summons French, British, German envoys over reactions to Israel attack

AFP

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UK’s Sunak pleads for ‘calm heads to prevail’ after Iran attack on Israel

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UK Prime Minister Sunak

UK’s Sunak pleads for ‘calm heads to prevail’ after Iran attack on Israel

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appealed for “calm heads to prevail” on Sunday, confirming that British fighter jets downed Iranian drones during Tehran’s unprecedented attack on Israel.

Israel and its allies intercepted nearly all of Iran’s missiles and drones fired during its first attack on Israeli land.

Sunak joined world leaders in urging patience, while Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned against “reckless” Israeli reprisals for the strikes, which marked a significant increase in Middle East tensions.

“If this attack had been successful, the fallout for regional stability would be hard to overstate,” Sunak told reporters in Downing Street.

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“We stand by the security of Israel and the wider region, which is of course important for our security here at home, and what we now need is for calm heads to prevail.

“We’ll be working with our allies to de-escalate the situation, and I look forward to speaking to G7 leaders later this afternoon,” Sunak added.

He added that the UK’s Royal Air Force planes “did shoot down several Iranian attack drones,” confirming reports that Britain had helped Israel and other allies repel the strikes.

In response to Iran’s threats to Israel, the UK’s defense ministry announced late Saturday that it has sent more fighter jets and air-refueling tankers to the region.

The jets strengthened an existing British campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, according to the Ministry of Defence.

UK’s Sunak pleads for ‘calm heads to prevail’ after Iran attack on Israel

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