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Dontesk death toll continues to rise
2014.07.31 02:05:07

Officials in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine say 19 people have died in fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists.

The regional administration said Wednesday on its website that 31 people were brought to hospitals with injuries over the previous 24 hours.

[AP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Israel's war on Hamas
2014.07.31 01:51:29

Ilene Prusher, journalist for Haaretz and TIME, writes that Israel's war on Hamas may have taken a new turn with the shelling of Gaza's only power plant.

"Tunnels and rockets are easy for Israel to explain as military targets — both directly threaten Israeli citizens. But hitting the power plant as well as government and communications buildings might indicate that Israel is taking its Operation Protective Edge to a far more punishing level — a move some more conservative members in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government have long advocated. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett of the influential Jewish Home party on Tuesday said that simply destroying Hamas’ tunnel network isn’t enough, and called on Israel to continue the operation until Hamas loses control. “Hit Hamas without mercy,” Bennett said. “Day and night. On weekdays and holidays. Without respite and without rest. Until they are defeated.”"

Click here to read the full piece



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas

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Ukrainian forces are responsible for continued shelling in the region
2014.07.31 01:48:13

Intense fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine killed dozens of civilians, soldiers and rebels, as Kiev pressed on with an offensive on Tuesday including near the wreckage of Malaysian flight MH17.

Shells hit the center of Donetsk, a city with a pre-war population of nearly a million people where residents fear they will be trapped on a battlefield between advancing Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed rebels who have vowed to make a stand, Reuters reports.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Footage of Syrian rebels blowing up a government checkpoint
2014.07.31 01:44:51

Syria's main opposition group, the Islamic Front, has posted footage on YouTube showing Syrian rebels blowing up a government checkpoint and police building in Aleppo's old city.

At least 13 government soldiers are believed to have died in the bombing.

MWC cannot verify the authenticity of the footage.

Here's another view of the attack



Tags: Syria

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Gazan families face blackouts
2014.07.31 01:27:48

As the siege of Gaza continues, those families who survive are left battling with the reality of living in a war-zone.

Power outages are just one of the battles faced by Gazan families and the blackouts will now get worse after a strike on a power station.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Straining tensions with Russia are not leading to a new cold war
2014.07.31 01:26:02

President Barack Obama escalated US economic sanctions against Russia on Tuesday for its aggression against Ukraine but dismissed suggestions the growing chill in US-Russian relations marked the start of a new Cold War.

"It's not a new Cold War," Obama told reporters. "What it is, is a very specific issue related to Russia's unwillingness to recognize that Ukraine can chart its own path," AFP reported.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States | Barack Obama

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Hospital struck by two Israeli tank shells
2014.07.31 01:16:02

Hasan Ajarami, director of al-Quds hospital in Gaza, confirms that the 8th floor of the hospital was struck by two Israeli tank shells in the last hour. The floor was empty at the time and there were no injuries. The hospital will remain open and is operating normally.

Ajarami said "no where in Gaza is safe. We will keep treating patients".



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Australia focused on MH17 crash site, not sanctions
2014.07.31 01:14:37

The United States and Europe has announced tough new sanctions targeting Russia's key financial, arms and energy sectors.

But Australia said it already had some sanctions in place, having imposed travel bans and targeted financial sanctions in response to the Russian threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in March.

"I am not saying that we might not, at some point in the future, move further, but at the moment our focus is not on sanctions, our focus is on bringing home our dead as quickly as we humanly can."

Tony Abbott, Australian PM



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | Australia

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UN schools
2014.07.31 01:02:53

Two UN schools have been hit since the beginning of Israel's Operation Protective Edge on July 8. Three government run schools have also been targeted.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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US is joining the EU in imposing new sanctions
2014.07.31 01:01:52

Barack Obama has said that the US is joining the EU in imposing new sanctions on Russia's energy sector, arms industry and financial institutions. With close links between Russia and Europe, further sanctions will have a wide impact.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | European Union | United States

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Hamas fighters have fired over 2,670 rockets
2014.07.31 00:47:20

The Israeli army says Hamas fighters have fired over 2,670 rockets into Israel since the beginning of their military offensive against the group in Gaza.

Israel's "Iron Dome" missile defense system has intercepted a number of these rockets. So far, three civilians were killed in Israel, which includes a Thai national.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas

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UNRWA spokesman on desperate humanitarian situation
2014.07.30 14:39:43

We are completely overwhelmed. This is a cry from the heart. We can't go on, we've reached breaking point [...] It's intolerable that humanitarian workers are paying such an inordinately high price. It's got to stop.

-- The UNRWA's Chris Gunness, on the desperate humanitarian situation in Gaza.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | UNRWA

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Israeli shelling on a UN school
2014.07.30 14:38:10

Israeli shelling on a UN school being used as a shelter in the Gaza Strip has killed at least 16 people and injured scores of others, the health ministry in Gaza says.

Wednesday’s shelling hit the school in Jabaliya refugee camp, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said, on the 23rd day of Israel's military campaign against the Palestinian coastal enclave.

Earlier, medics put the death toll at 23.

An official for the UN's Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) told the AFP news agency that the strike hit a bathroom and two classrooms inside the girls' school.

Source said people there did not know why Israel had hit the shelter, adding that the attack caused panic among people living in different UN-run shelters.

"As we were traveling to the hospital, we saw families with many children leaving other UN schools. They feel insecure. There seemed to be no safe shelter for them in Gaza, not even in UN schools."



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Israeli fire killed at least 21 Palestinians
2014.07.30 10:15:29

Israeli fire killed at least 21 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday as the Jewish state said it targeted Islamist militants at dozens of sites across the coastal enclave, while Egyptian mediators prepared a revised ceasefire proposal.

Israeli tank shells pounding houses in eastern Jebalya in the northern Gaza Strip killed 13 people and wounded many others, health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said. Among the dead were a medic and an infant, he said.

Eight people, including five members of the same family in Jebalya, were killed in other strikes across the Gaza Strip.

Gaza hospital officials put the total number of Palestinians killed in the conflict at 1,224, most of them civilians. On the Israeli side, 53 soldiers and three civilians have been killed since the start of the offensive on July 8. [Reuters]



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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UNRWA's statement
2014.07.30 09:00:17

The United Nations agency that looks after Palestinian refugees said on Tuesday it had found a cache of rockets at one of its schools in the Gaza Strip and deplored those who had put them there.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesman Chris Gunness condemned those responsible for placing civilians in harm's way by storing the rockets at the school but he did not specifically blame any particular party.

Gunness said  in a statement:

We condemn the group or groups who endangered civilians by placing these munitions in our school. This is yet another flagrant violation of the neutrality of our premises. We call on all the warring parties to respect the inviolability of U.N. property.

[Reuters]



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Qassam Brigades' video
2014.07.30 08:58:08

The military wing of Hamas – the Qassam Brigades - has released the below video, which appears to show a group of fighters emerging from a tunnel into Israel.

The men then dash through what looks like a rural area, before attacking a  watchtower.

The clip was shown on the Hamas TV channel Al Aqsa.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Qassam Brigades

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
2014.07.30 08:56:24

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday asked Belarus to host talks between Russian and Ukrainian envoys to discuss access to the MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine.

"Petro Porochenko contacted Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko to offer to cooperate on organising a meeting in Minsk" on Thursday between Ukrainian ex-president Leonid Kuchma, Russian ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and a representative of the European security body OSCE, the Ukrainian presidency said in a statement.

The talks in the Belarus capital would address "access by international experts to the site of the crash of Malaysia Airlines," it said. [AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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US hits 3 Russian banks with sanctions over Ukraine
2014.07.30 04:06:56

The US Treasury has announced punitive sanctions on three leading Russian banks including the giant VTB to press Moscow over its support for rebels in Ukraine.

The sanctions announced on Tuesday banned any Americans or people in US jurisdictions from any new medium or long-term financing transactions with VTB Bank, its subsidiary Bank of Moscow and Russian Agricultural Bank.

All three are controlled by the Russian government.

The sanctions aim at choking off anything but short-term financing for the banks, which could inhibit their ability to build or maintain long-term lending business.

Under the rules, are prohibited from transacting in or providing financing for any new debt from the banks for over 90 days. [AFP]

Obama on new sanctions against Russia:

No, it's not a new Cold War.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States | Barack Obama

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Chile condemns the Israeli offensive in Gaza
2014.07.30 04:04:54

Chile has condemned the Israeli offensive in Gaza and has summoned the Israeli ambassador to Santiago for consultations - AP



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Chile

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24-hour ceasefire must be in place before talks
2014.07.30 02:54:13

According to a senior Palestinian leader, Egypt has told all sides in the Gaza conflict that a 24-hour ceasefire must be in place before talks get underway in Cairo.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Egypt

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