Israeli Statesman, Shimon Peres, ‘Critical But Stable’ After Stroke

Shimon-Peres-IsraeliA former Israeli President, Shimon Peres, has been admitted to hospital after suffering a serious stroke.

Doctors at the Sheba Medical Centre near Tel Aviv, where he is being treated, say Mr Peres is “in a critical condition but stable”.

The 93-year-old is in an induced coma in intensive care and is breathing with the help of a respirator.

In January, he underwent a successful minor surgery at the same hospital after suffering a small heart attack.

The veteran politician has held almost every major political office since Israel was founded in 1948.

He was also the architect of Israel’s secret nuclear programme.

2016 Pilgrimage: Commission Set To Take 250 Medical Personnel Along

Resident Doctors, NARDThe Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) is set to take over 250 medical personnel for the October/November pilgrimage in Israel.

The commission is conducting examination to select those that would be part of the exercise.

Speaking at the Computer Centre of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mr Toh Uja, explained that the commission wants to ensure that those participating in the exercise are healthy before, during and after the pilgrimage.

Mr Uja added that the commission has already established a medical facility in the Nigerian Embassy in Tel Aviv, the capital of Israel.

The medical personnel include doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

Jerusalem Bus Blast Leaves 16 Wounded

Jerusalem-Bus-BlastAn explosion tore through a bus in Jerusalem on Monday and set a second bus on fire, wounding at least 16 people.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli mayor in Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, said the explosion was a bomb detonation.

Israeli media said a man who was seriously injured and not carrying any identification papers was under investigation on suspicion he was responsible.

Suicide bombings on Israeli buses were a hallmark of the Palestinian revolt of 2000-2005 but have been rare since.

A bomb left by an Israeli Arab aboard a Tel Aviv bus during the 2012 Gaza war caused injuries but no deaths.

The BBC quoted the Police as saying that they were looking at the possibility that a technical malfunction caused the fire in Derech Hebron, an area in southwest Jerusalem close to the boundary with the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

But the the spokeswoman, Brachie Sprung, told Reuters “it was small, but it was definitely a bomb”.

Israel Withdraws Troops, 72-hour Gaza Truce Begins

Israeli soldiers from the Givati brigade embrace after returning to Israel from GazaIsrael pulled its ground forces out of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and started a 72-hour ceasefire with Hamas, mediated by Egypt as a first step towards negotiations on a more enduring end to the month-old war.

Minutes before the truce began at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT), Hamas launched a salvo of rockets, calling them revenge for Israel’s “massacres”. Israel’s anti-missile system shot down one rocket over Jerusalem, police said. Another hit a house in a town near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. There were no casualties.

Israeli armour and infantry withdrew from the Gaza Strip ahead of the truce, with a military spokesman saying their main goal of destroying cross-border infiltration tunnels had been completed. “Mission accomplished,” the military tweeted.

Troops and tanks will be “redeployed in defensive positions outside the Gaza Strip and we will maintain those defensive positions”, spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner, said, reflecting Israeli readiness to resume fighting if attacked.

In Gaza, where some half-million people have been displaced by a month of bloodshed, some residents, carrying mattresses and with children in tow, left U.N. shelters to trek back to neighbourhoods where whole blocks have been destroyed by Israeli shelling and the smell of decomposing bodies filled the air.

Sitting on a pile of debris on the edge of the northern town of Beit Lahiya, Zuhair Hjaila, a 33-year-old father of four, said he had lost his house and his supermarket.

“This is complete destruction,” he said. “I never thought I would come back to find an earthquake zone.”

Several previous truce attempts by Egypt and other regional powers, overseen by the United States and United Nations, failed to calm the worst Israeli-Palestinian fighting in two years.

An Israeli official said that in the hour before the ceasefire came into effect, the civilian airspace over Tel Aviv was closed as a precaution against Gaza rockets, and takeoffs and landings were delayed at Ben-Gurion Airport.

Death Toll

Gaza officials say the war has killed 1,865 Palestinians, most of them civilians. Israel says 64 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed since fighting began on July 8, after a surge in Palestinian rocket launches.

Israel was expected to send delegates to join talks in Cairo to cement a longer-term deal during the course of the truce.

For now, Strategic Affairs Minister, Yuval Steinitz, told Israel’s Army Radio, “There are no agreements. As we have already said, quiet will be answered with quiet.”

Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said that the Islamist movement had also informed Egypt “of its acceptance of a 72-hour period of calm”, beginning on Tuesday.

Diplomats Seek To End Bloodshed Between Israel And Palestines

Palestinian medic inspects a damaged room at Al-Aqsa hospital, which witnesses said was damaged in Israeli shelling on Monday, in Deir El-Balah in the central Gaza Strip Israeli forces pounded multiple sites across the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, including the enclave’s sole power plant, and said it was meeting stiff resistance from Hamas Islamists, as diplomats sought to end the bloodshed.

In a blow to Israel’s economy, U.S. and European air carriers halted flights in and out of Tel Aviv citing security worries after a militant rocket from Gaza hit a house near the airport. Israel urged a re-think, saying its airspace was safe.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Egypt and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Israel, spearheading international efforts to secure a ceasefire. Hamas ally Qatar was also working in the background to seek a solution.

Israel launched its offensive on July 8 to halt missile salvoes by Hamas Islamists, which was angered by a crackdown on its supporters in the nearby occupied West Bank and suffering economic hardship because of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

After failing to halt the militant barrage through days of aerial bombardment, Israel sent ground troops into Gaza last Thursday, looking to knock out Hamas’s missile stores and destroy a vast, underground network of tunnels.

Some 630 Palestinians, many of them children and civilians have died in the conflagration, including a seven-year-old hit by a shell in southern Gaza early on Wednesday, a medic said.

Some 29 Israeli soldiers have been killed, including a tank officer who was shot by a Palestinian sniper overnight. Two civilians have been slain by rocket fire. The military says one of its soldiers is also missing and believes he might be dead. Hamas says it has seized him, but has not released his picture.

Clouds of black smoke hung over the densely populated Mediterranean enclave, with the regular thud of artillery and tank shells filling the air.

“We are meeting resistance around the tunnels … they are constantly trying to attack us around and in the tunnels. That is the trend,” said Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner.

He said 30 militant gunmen had been killed overnight, bringing the total to 210 since the offensive started.

Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam, said its fighters had detonated an anti-personnel bomb as an Israeli army patrol passed, killing several troops. There was no immediate confirmation from Israel.

There was also violence in the occupied West Bank, where a Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli troops near Bethlehem. The army said soldiers fired a rubber bullet at him during clashes with Palestinians hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails.


Israelis Battle Palestinians

israeliThe ranging war between Palestine and Israel continues as Israel launched an airstrike outside a family home early Saturday which pushed the Palestinian death toll past 100 in four days of cross-border fighting and Israel has  showed no sign of pausing back despite international pressure to negotiate a ceasefire with the militants.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said they are weighing the possibilities of ceasing fire and preparing for all possibilities.

He however said, “No international pressure will prevent us from acting with all power,” he told reporters in Tel Aviv a day after a telephone conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama about the worst flare-up in Israeli-Palestinian violence in almost two years.

On Friday, Washington affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself in a statement from the Pentagon. But Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel told Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon that he was concerned “about the risk of further escalation and emphasized the need for all sides to do everything they can to protect civilian lives and restore calm.”

As the fight intensifies, the airstrike launched by Israel has killed five youths and wounded 15 people outside a family home in the J abalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday.

The number of casualties continue to swell up as a rocket fired has  wounded one person and injured another seven Israelis when a fuel tanker was targeted at a service station in Ashdod north of Gaza.

In the wake of attacks, the Palestinian militants has issued a stern warning to international airlines to keep off Tel Aviv’s main airport as they might fire rockets.

Meanwhile, the medical officers in Gaza said the bombardments that Israel began on Tuesday,  has left over 106 killed including 75 civilians and 23 children.