The flag of Qatar. Credit: Mark Hilton/Shutterstock.
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Top Qatari official: No to negotiations with Israel
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Hamas's Oct. 7 massacre "is only the introduction of the annihilation of the corruption that the Zionist entity has spread," said Essa al-Nassr.
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There can be no negotiations with Israel as the Jewish people are "slayers of prophets," a top Qatari official told representatives at a recent Arab League summit, according to a translation of the speech the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) published on Wednesday.

Essa bin Ahmad al-Nassr, who serves on Doha's Shura Council legislature and holds the rank of brigadier-general in the Qatari Armed Forces' elite Emiri Guard protection unit, threatened the annihilation of the Jewish state.

Qatar, which hosts Hamas leaders and has provided the terrorist organization with hundreds of millions of dollars, played a role last year in mediating the release of 105 hostages from Gaza in exchange for 240 Palestinian terrorists.

It has previously deflected accusations of playing a double game, saying the United States requested that it open that mediation channel.

The undated footage of al-Nassr's speech was first shared to X by Al Jazeera correspondent in Yemen Ahmed Alshalfi on April 22.

In his remarks to the Arab League, al-Nassr said that "there can be no peace or negotiations with the Zionist entity [Israel] for one reason and one reason only: Their faith does not allow for negotiations.

"Rather, it [condones] deception, the violation of agreements and lies," the Qatari official continued, claiming that the Jewish faith "only accept[s] one thing—killing. They are the slayers of prophets."

Quoting the Quran, he said, "The Al-Aqsa Flood operation is only the introduction of the annihilation of the corruption that the Zionist entity has spread ... Inshallah ["God willing"], this will spell the beginning of the end for their state."

Al-Aqsa Flood is the name given by Hamas to its Oct. 7 massacre of more than 1,200 people, primarily Jewish civilians, in the northwestern Negev. Terrorists also took 253 hostages, 133 of whom remain in Gaza.

https://twitter.com/JakeWSimons/status/1783106705657577602

Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani claimed last week that talks for their release had hit a delicate stage. "We are going through a sensitive stage with some stalling, and we are trying as much as possible to address this," said Sheikh Mohammed, who also serves as foreign minister.

One day later, the Qatari leader announced that Doha would be reviewing its position as mediator between Israel and Hemas, citing "misuse of this mediation for narrow political interests."

The announcement came after U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that Washington should "reevaluate" its relationship with Doha over the stalled hostage negotiations with the Gaza terrorist group.

Qatar should threaten Hamas with "repercussions" if the terrorist group "continues to block progress towards releasing the hostages and establishing a temporary ceasefire," said Hoyer.

While Israel has shown flexibility, Hamas has impeded an agreement, U.S. State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller said on April 15.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "vampire who feeds on blood" and urged Muslims to act against the "threat" posed by the Jewish state.

"The world is watching the barbarity of ... a psychopath, a vampire who feeds on blood called Netanyahu, and they are watching it on live broadcast," Erdoğan said in a speech to members of his AK Party.

"Oh, the American state, this blood is on your hands also. You are responsible for this genocide at least as much as Israel. Oh, the heads of state and government of Europe, you are also a party to Israel's genocide, this barbarism, this vampire-like act of Israel, because you remained silent," the Turkish leader charged, according to a readout.

"No state is safe unless Israel accepts international law and considers itself to be bound by it. This includes Turkey," added Erdoğan, who stands accused of oppressing and killing the Kurds in his country.

Erdoğan urged Muslims and "young people" around the world to help eradicate Zionism, which he denounced as "lawless perversion," and stop Netanyahu's "murder network" from "spiraling out of control."

"I have a few words to say to the Islamic world from here: What are you waiting for to reach a joint decision? Allah will hold you, all of us, accountable for this," he said.

https://twitter.com/trtworld/status/1795750822023991377/

Erdoğan has publicly sided with Hamas since the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, which saw the Islamist group invade the northwestern Negev, murder some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnap more than 250.

Last month, Ankara invited Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas's "political" bureau, to stay in the country, praising him as a "leader of the Palestinian struggle."

Erdoğan also blocked his country's exports to the Jewish state, prompting Israel to end its free trade agreement with Ankara.

In November, he told his country's parliament that Israel would soon be destroyed.

Erdoğan has made a habit of comparing Netanyahu and Israel to the Nazis. Late last year, he said the Jewish leader is "no different" than Hitler. Then, on May 12, the Turkish president claimed Netanyahu "has reached a level that would make Hitler jealous."

In March, Erdoğan claimed that the Israel Defense Forces "continues to commit massacres against the Palestinian people," adding, "Netanyahu and his administration, with their crimes against humanity in Gaza, are writing their names next to Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, like today's Nazis."

The Turkish president also expressed his support for Hamas, saying his government was in "constant contact" with the terrorist group's leadership.

"Hamas is not a terrorist organization, but rather a resistance, and we stand firmly behind them and [are] in constant contact with its leaders," he said. "We cannot be coerced into designating Hamas as a terrorist organization. We communicate with them openly and stand behind them."

Netanyahu blasted the Turkish leader over the remarks, saying, "Israel observes the laws of war and will not be subject to moral preaching from Erdoğan, who supports [the] murderers and rapists of the Hamas terrorist organization, denies the Armenian Genocide, massacres Kurds in his own country and cracks down on regime opponents and journalists."

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The flag of the United Nations was flown at half-staff last week to honor the late Ebrahim Raisi, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who perished in a helicopter crash.

Known at home as the “Butcher of Tehran,” Raisi was responsible for torturing and brutally executing thousands of Iranian political prisoners, minorities and women. The regime he served supports Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his “sincere condolences” for Mr. Raisi. The U.N. Security Council, at the request of Russia, China and Algeria, held a moment of silence for the neo-imperialist theocrat. America’s representative dutifully stood for the ceremony.

Also last week, Norway, Spain and Ireland announced they would recognize a Palestinian state.

Hamas expressed its gratitude for this “historic turning point” brought about by the “brave resistance.”

Coincidently, videos released last week showed Hamas’s “brave resistors” on Oct. 7 harassing bloodied female soldiers abducted moments earlier. They called them sabaya, meaning sex slaves.

In another video, a young Gazan man recounted how he, a cousin and his father raped a hostage. He nonchalantly recalled: “After we finished raping her, my father killed her.”

But wait, there’s more: On CNN last week, International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Asad Ahmad Khan announced that he will seek arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, and Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defense minister.

Mr. Khan said he’d also like warrants for several Hamas leaders. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) observed: “Equating Israel’s democratically elected leaders with the perpetrators of the worst attack on Jews since World War II shows what a farce the International Criminal Court is.”

He added, “Mr. Khan’s kangaroo court has no jurisdiction in Israel to pursue these antisemitic and politically motivated ‘charges.’ My colleagues and I look forward to making sure neither Khan, his associates nor their families will ever set foot again in the United States.”

Sen. Cotton understands—as Mr. Khan apparently does not—that under international law the ICC has jurisdiction only over signatories to a 1998 treaty known as the Rome Statute. Israel didn’t sign. Neither did the U.S.

Mr. Khan’s workaround is to declare that he is pursuing these warrants on behalf of “the State of Palestine.”

Who governs that state? In Gaza, it’s been Hamas since 2007, two years after the Israelis withdrew every last Jew and Jewish grave from the territory.

In Judea and Samaria, it’s the Palestinian Authority, which is so weak that it would almost certainly be overthrown by Hamas were it not for Israel’s quiet support. The only way for the P.A. to return to Gaza—from which it was expelled by Hamas in a brief civil war after the Israeli departure—would be behind Israeli tanks.

There’s a second reason Mr. Khan lacks authority: Under the Rome Statute, the ICC was set up as a court of last resort, empowered only to investigate nations “unwilling or unable genuinely” to prosecute wrongdoing on their own. But Israel does that perfectly well. (The same cannot be said of any other nation in the Middle East.)

With all this in mind, Sen. Cotton and 11 other U.S. Senators wrote to Mr. Khan warning that they “will not tolerate politicized attacks by the ICC on our allies. If you move forward with the measures indicated in the report, we will move to end all American support for the ICC, sanction your employees and associates, and bar you and your families from the United States.”

Mr. Khan fired back: “When individuals threaten to retaliate against the Court or Court personnel … such threats, even when not acted upon, may also constitute an offense against the administration of justice under Art. 70 of the Rome Statute.”

Were you under the impression that Americans are guaranteed freedom of speech? Mr. Khan begs to differ.

Among those paying Mr. Khan’s salary and funding the lavish budget of the ICC bureaucracy in The Hague are Germany, Japan, France, Britain, Italy and South Korea.

Do you suppose that President Joe Biden and his ambassadors could influence those countries if they tried?

Another important international organization came out in support of Hamas and its patrons in Tehran last week. Nawaf Salam, the presiding judge of the International Court of Justice, also headquartered in The Hague, declared, “Israel must immediately halt its military offensive” in Rafah, “which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

Mr. Salam is from Lebanon, a state dominated by Hezbollah, Tehran’s most formidable proxy, which since Oct. 7 has been firing hundreds of missiles into northern Israel, killing and wounding Israelis and causing tens of thousands to abandon their homes.

Hamas leaders welcomed Mr. Salam’s ruling. Israeli officials responded by saying, in effect, “Thanks for the guidance. We’ll continue fighting Hamas terrorists in such a way as to not bring about the physical destruction of the Palestinian group in Gaza, in whole or in part—even as Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields guaranteeing that civilians will be killed.”

These developments should serve as a reminder—not that you needed one—of what the U.N. and many other international organizations have become: clubs for tyrants, terrorists and antisemites, along with their fellow travelers and assorted useful idiots, all of them emboldened by billions of dollars provided by America and its allies.

As for the current leaders of Norway, Spain and Ireland, they are demonstrating the truth of the adage that ideas can’t be destroyed militarily. During World War II, all three of these nations were neutral toward or actively supportive of the Nazis, whose big ideas included mass murdering Jews.

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Brazil reportedly recalled its ambassador to Israel, Federico Meyer, on Wednesday. He will be transferred to another position in Geneva. No plans for a replacement were announced.

Relations between the two countries started to deteriorate in February, when Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva told reporters that Israel was committing genocide in Gaza and likened the Jewish state to Hitler and the Nazis.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz declared Lula persona non grata the next day, Feb. 19.

The foreign minister summoned Meyer for a tour of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem and said that until Lula apologizes Israel “will not forget and we will not forgive.” Brasília recalled its ambassador for consultations following the meeting with Katz.

Lula doubled down, claiming in April that more than 12 million children had died in Gaza and Israel due to the then-nearly-six-month-old war.

At the time, Hamas claimed that about 25,000 people had been killed in Gaza, including terrorists. The total population of the Gaza Strip is 2.3 million.

Other South American countries that have severed ties with Israel over the Gaza war are Colombia, Bolivia, Chile and Honduras.

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Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) stated on Tuesday that she is "horrified" by "the ongoing Israeli invasion of Rafah."

"At least 60 civilian lives were lost when the Israeli military targeted a Palestinian displacement camp on Sunday and today," the congresswoman stated.

"Not enough is being done to protect innocent Palestinians caught in the crosshairs. That must end," she said. "Already, Israel's military forces have killed tens of thousands of innocent people and created a humanitarian crisis that has put millions at risk of starvation."

She further claimed that Israel does not have a plan to protect civilians.

"We need a dramatic increase in the humanitarian aid that is going to address the starvation of the Palestinian people," DeLauro said. "We need an immediate ceasefire to free the remaining hostages held by Hamas and preserve the lives and dignity of the Palestinian people."

On April 2, DeLauro accused the Jewish state of an "indiscriminate bombing campaign."

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The Jewish state has no truer friend than Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the visiting U.S. lawmaker during a tête-à-tête at his office in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

"We have no better friend, and I mean it, than Senator Lindsey Graham," Netanyahu said, according to a Prime Minister's Office readout.

According to the PMO, Netanyahu thanked Graham for his unwavering support for Israel's right to defend itself against terrorism, as well as his "strong stand against the scandalous accusations against Israel by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoheItAmv0A

The South Carolina Republican touched down at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday for his fifth visit since Hamas's Oct. 7 massacre.

Graham told Netanyahu that the past seven-plus months have been "one of the most challenging times for the State of Israel since its founding. There are so many problems and challenges to overcome, but one of the problems you never have to worry about is America.

"I promise you that we will do all we can, Mr. Prime Minister, to hold the ICC account for this outrage against the people of Israel," he vowed.

Meanwhile, Graham described the International Court of Justice, which last week ordered the Israel Defense Forces to limit the scope of its operation in the Gaza Hamas stronghold of Rafah, as a "joke."

"The head judge of the ICJ is a raving antisemite," he said of Nawaf Salam, the Lebanese diplomat who presides over the world court.

Following his arrival on Tuesday, Graham joined Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana to see some of the ballistic missiles that the Iranian regime fired into Israel last month and visit the site of Hamas attacks.

"This rocket behind us is just the latest example of how the Ayatollah's terror regime threatens world peace & destabilizes the Middle East," tweeted Ohana, adding that with Tehran racing towards anuclear bombs, "the free world is fortunate to have champions" like Graham.

https://twitter.com/AmirOhana/status/1795463243370025288

The senator on Tuesday also met in Tel Aviv with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who thanked the American for his "unwavering support for Israel as we fight to bring home 125 hostages, destroy the Hamas terrorist organization and defend Israel's northern border."

During a previous visit in March, Graham expressed support for destroying the remaining Hamas battalions in Gaza, including in Rafah.

"If these battalions are still standing when this is over, it would be the biggest mistake, maybe in history," the he said. "I'll say it again. If these battalions are still standing after the murder of the Jewish people, it would be the biggest mistake in history. Iran would celebrate."

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El Al Airlines on Wednesday announced a record profit of over $80 million in the first quarter of the year.

The unprecedented number for Israel’s national carrier comes at a time when many international airlines have suspended service to Tel Aviv in the wake of the nearly eight-month-old war against Hamas in Gaza, and amid complaints of price gouging that has sent airfares soaring.

By comparison, the company posted net loss of nearly $35 million in the corresponding quarter last year.

El Al accounted for 62% of the passenger traffic at Ben Gurion Airport in the first quarter of 2024, according to the Israel Airports Authority, compared with 22% in the first quarter of 2023.

Over the Passover holiday, traditionally a high tourism season, El AL was only the carrier to offer trans-Atlantic flights to the United States, after United suspended service anew in the wake of Iran's April 13 attack on Israel.

Both the Chicago-based United and the Atlanta-based Delta are slated to resume nonstop service to Tel Aviv next month. American Airlines is only expected to renew flights to Israel in the fall.

The Israeli airline forecasts that the second quarter of 2024 will be even stronger.

"In light of the instability in aviation in Israel and the increasing pressures on our flights, we continue to work intensively to increase the supply of seats and strengthen flight schedules, while providing individual responses to specific cases," said El Al CEO Dina Ben-Tal Ganancia. "We are doing everything in our power to provide an adequate response to the high demands and unusual loads on the company's service system, at a time when some of our staff are still serving in reserve duty and the company is operating on a war routine."

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Israel's Knesset on Wednesday passed in preliminary reading a bill designating the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) as a terrorist organization.

The draft legislation, initiated by Yisrael Beiteinu lawmaker Yulia Malinovsky, would require Jerusalem to sever all ties with the U.N. agency.

If passed into law, the bill “will allow for a complete dissociation from the agency—no cooperation, no trade, nothing,” Malinovsky told JNS.

“For years this organization has been cooperating with Hamas, and on October 7 even actively participated in the murder, kidnapping and rape of Israeli citizens,” she said. “Today was the first step on the way to completing the legislation so that UNRWA is finally outlawed and defined as a terrorist organization,” she added.

Also passed in preliminary reading on Wednesday was a bill initiated by Likud MK Dan Illouz that seeks to strip UNRWA of various immunities, involving among other things taxation, imports and exports and lawsuits.

"This is an essential law for our national security. After October 7, we cannot continue as if nothing happened," Illouz told JNS. "We cannot allow the terror supporting organization UNRWA to operate against us. We are fighting for our security and our future and UNRWA cannot pretend to be a humanitarian entity while harming us. That ends today."

After the bills were passed, Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman tweeted: “UNRWA is a terrorist organization.” He praised Malinovsky for “leading the important initiative to legislate a law to define UNRWA as a terrorist organization. ”

He called on “all the Zionist factions in the Knesset to act together with us" to pass it into law "as soon as possible.”

UNRWA has come under fire since the start of the war on Oct. 7 for its terror ties.

In February, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told journalists that 30 UNRWA employees had participated in Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre, and that 1,468 of the agency’s 13,000 staff members in Gaza were members of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He also shared the names and photos of 12 UNRWA employees Israel had accused in January of taking part in the massacre.

In January, a comprehensive report published by U.N. Watch revealed the existence of a Telegram group for UNRWA teachers in Gaza in which many glorified the massacre and advocated the execution of Israeli hostages.

“This is the motherlode of UNRWA teachers’ incitement to jihadi terrorism,” said U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer at the time.

Per the Knesset's legislative processes, the two bills will now be assigned to committees, where their details will be ironed out prior to first, second and third readings.

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The war against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip will last at least until the end of the year, Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi declared on Wednesday.

"We expect another seven months of fighting in order to deepen the accomplishments and achieve what we have defined as 'the destruction of the governmental and military capabilities of Hamas,'" said Hanegbi.

The former Cabinet minster stressed that Jerusalem has no choice but to act in Gaza's southernmost city of Rafah and stop Hamas from smuggling weapons, funds and terrorists into the Strip from Egypt's Sinai.

"No one will volunteer to look after us, and we will have to look after ourselves," Hanegbi said in the interview with Kan Reshet Bet radio.

Both Egypt and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority have rejected Israeli proposals to reopen the Rafah Border Crossing and manage its operation jointly.

Israeli ground forces entered Gaza on Oct. 27 following weeks of airstrikes in response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, in which terrorists murdered some 1,200 people, wounded thousands more, and abducted more than 250 men, women and children to Gaza.

The IDF took control of the Gaza side of the Rafah Crossing on May 7. A day earlier, Israel's War Cabinet decided unanimously to "continue the operation in Rafah to exert military pressure on Hamas in order to promote the release of our hostages and the other goals of the war."

The Rafah operation, which Israel estimates will last around two months, is being carried out in phases as opposed to a full-scale invasion. The phased nature of the operation allows for it to be paused should a hostage release deal be reached between Israel and Hamas.

Commenting on Jerusalem's efforts to bring about a deal to release the remaining 125 hostages held in Gaza, Hanegbi stressed on Wednesday that "the prime minister, the minister of defense, and the Cabinet unanimously approved activities that carried the risk of casualties."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also "expanded the scope of the [negotiation] mandate; Israel had to erode its position so much that the Americans now say that the Israeli offer is very generous," he said.

Hanegbi added, "We meet with the families [of those held in Gaza] and talk to them. It's a nightmare that you can't even imagine. It's hard for us to understand the intensity of the nightmare that the families are experiencing. There are 125 people we need to bring home. We deal with this every day."

Israel's War Cabinet has approved updated guidelines for its negotiation team, and a delegation led by Mossad head David Barnea returned from Paris Saturday, where they agreed with counterparts to resume talks.

In December, Hanegbi warned that a war with the Hezbollah terrorist group in Southern Lebanon was likely after the defeat of Hamas in Gaza.

"We can no longer accept [Hezbollah's elite] Radwan Force sitting on the border. We can no longer accept [U.N.] Resolution 1701 not being implemented,” he added, referring to the 2006 Security Council resolution that bars the Iranian terrorist proxy from maintaining a presence south of the Litani River, which is located some 18 miles north of Israel.

Over 60,000 Israelis from more than 40 communities located within 6.2 miles of the Lebanese border have been internally displaced since Hezbollah joined the war in support of Hamas on Oct. 8.

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The precision weapon Israel used in Sunday night's Rafah strike was designed and manufactured in the United States, according to investigations by CNN and The New York Times, the results of which were published on Wednesday.

Two senior Hamas terrorists responsible for Judea and Samaria terror operations were killed in the precision strike on a compound in Tal as-Sultan in northwest Rafah. According to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, dozens of noncombatants were killed and wounded.

Both news outlets analyzed video footage of munition debris from the scene of the attack, determining that the fragments belonged to a GBU-39 bomb, a 250-pound precision-guided glide bomb made by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, which carries around 37 pounds of AFX-757 high explosive.

According to the Times, U.S. officials have been urging Israel to increase use of the GBU-39 bombs in Gaza because they can reduce civilian casualties, being more precise and better adapted to urban environments than larger bombs such as the 2,000-pound bombs that Israel also uses but that President Joe Biden said earlier this month he was pausing delivery of to the Jewish state.

“The Israelis have said they used 37-pound bombs,” U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Tuesday. “If it is in fact what they used, it is certainly indicative of an effort to be discreet and targeted and precise.”

Kirby also said said the press briefing that the Biden administration has made no policy changes in the wake of Rafah strike, noting that the investigation into the incident was ongoing.

“As a result of this strike on Sunday, I have no policy changes to speak to. It just happened,” Kirby told reporters. “The Israelis are going to investigate it. We’re going to be taking great interest in what they find in that investigation. And we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Israeli officials reportedly told the Biden administration that shrapnel may have ignited a fuel tank, starting a fire that engulfed tents housing displaced Gazans.

On Tuesday afternoon, IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told reporters that “our munition alone could not have ignited a fire this size. … We used the smallest munition that our jets can use.

“The fire that broke out was unexpected and unintended. This was a devastating incident that we did not expect. We’re investigating what caused this fire,” Hagari said, stressing that the strike targeted a “closed” terrorist structure almost a mile from the Al-Mawasi humanitarian zone.

“There may have been weapons in the area. Our signals intelligence intercepted phone calls reinforcing this possibility that weapons stored in a nearby compound caught fire,” said Hagari.

He assured reporters that the “investigation will be swift, comprehensive and transparent. Our war is against Hamas, not the people of Gaza. This is why we convey deep sorrow over this loss of life.”

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