Al Jazeera Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh Killed In Occupied West Bank
Plus: Lebanese to vote for the 2022 general election, two Britons testify against Interpol chief in UAE torture claim, Syria's Assad meets Iran's supreme leader during Tehran visit, and more.
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Why Gulf states are rekindling ties with Lebanon?
As Lebanon's elections approach, Gulf states are moving from a policy of isolation to re-engagement in a bid for influence - both in the country and beyond.
Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh killed in occupied West Bank
Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, May 11.
A live bullet hit the reporter as she was covering an Israeli military raid in the city of Jenin, in the northern West Bank.
She was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead. A second Al Jazeera journalist, Ali al-Samoudi, was also shot in the back and is in stable condition in hospital.
Abu Akleh's killing details are still emerging, but videos of the incident show that she was shot in the head.
People present at the scene when Abu Akleh was killed have told Al Jazeera that she was shot in the head by Israeli forces who targeted a group of reporters.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israeli forces of the deliberate killing of the Al Jazeera journalist, saying he held Israel fully responsible for the death of Abu Akleh.
The Israeli army initially raised the possibility that the veteran Al Jazeera journalist might have been killed by Palestinian gunfire. But later on Wednesday, Israel's military chief appeared to walk back assertions that stray bullets fired by Palestinian fighters may have killed Abu Akleh.
Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi said it was unclear who fired the shot that killed the journalist.
Tensions have run high for weeks in Israel and the occupied West Bank.
Israeli forces have frequently raided the city of Jenin, an important flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has seen weeks of unrest amid repeated incursions by Israeli forces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound – Islam's third holiest site – the wounding and killing of Palestinians, and deadly attacks in Israel by Palestinians.
Suspects accused of involvement in recent killings of Israelis were reported to be from Jenin, which has led to the city becoming the main target of Israeli arrest raids in the occupied West Bank.
Abu Akleh, a dual Palestinian-American national, was one of Al Jazeera's first field correspondents, joining the network in 1997.
A state funeral service for the slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is expected to begin shortly today, May 12, in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.
On Thursday morning, the ceremony will begin as her body leaves the Istishari Hospital in the occupied West Bank city. Her body will be taken to the Palestinian Authority's (PA) presidential compound, where President Mahmoud Abbas will honor her and bid her farewell.
Calls for an independent investigation into the killing of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh grow amid global outrage.
Source: Al Jazeera.
Watch Middle East Eye's visual investigation to learn how Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed.
Lebanese to vote for the 2022 general election
More than 130,000 Lebanese expatriates living in 48 countries voted on May 6 and 8 for the general election that will take place in Lebanon on May 15.
Lebanese citizens are called to elect a new parliament, comprised of 128 members, every four years.
Voting inside Lebanon will take place in a single session. Voters must be at least 21 years old, with candidates over 25. The country is divided into 15 electoral districts.
Due to the sectarian nature of Lebanese politics, candidates must run for a seat that matches one of the country's 18 recognized religious groups.
Voters vote for an entire list of candidates — not for a single person. But voters also can choose to cast a second vote for a preferred candidate, which will bolster their chances of making it into parliament.
Most of Lebanon's traditional parties have selected candidates for the 2022 election.
Nonsectarian political parties are trying to capitalize on public anger against traditional political parties to secure parliamentary seats. But the opposition has failed to unite and is competing on multiple electoral lists across the country. The current electoral law favors entrenched parties. This means the opposition has little chance of securing a decisive win.
In recent years, Lebanon has gone through a multidimensional economic crisis. In 2019, the Lebanese Lira started to slip for the first time in 22 years. It is now worth around 90 percent less than the official peg to the dollar, and around 80 percent of the population lives in poverty, according to the UN.
Two Britons testify against Interpol chief in UAE torture claim
Two British men who spent time in detention in the United Arab Emirates have testified in Paris that Ahmed Naser al-Raisi, an Emirati security official who is now the president of Interpol, was responsible for their alleged torture.
Matthew Hedges, an academic imprisoned in the UAE for seven months on espionage charges he denies, and Ali Issa Ahmad, who was detained in Dubai for wearing a Qatar football shirt, allege that Maj Gen al-Raisi was personally responsible for the torture to which they were subjected while in detention.
The Emirati foreign ministry did not respond when contacted for comment. The UAE has previously denied the allegations.
The former detainees' testimony represents a step forward in an ongoing investigation into Raisi's conduct before his election as Interpol president and an unusual consequence of his assuming the presidency.
Jihadists kill five soldiers in Egypt's Sinai, according to the army
Five Egyptian soldiers and seven jihadists were killed early Wednesday, May 12, when the army was attacked in the Sinai region, the military said, the second such deadly attack in days. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday's attack. Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility the following day, announcing on its Amaq propaganda site that it seized the weapons of soldiers it killed and torched a military post.
Egypt's Sinai Peninsula has been gripped for more than a decade by an armed insurgency, which peaked after the ouster of late Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.
Syria's Assad meets Iran's supreme leader during Tehran visit
Syrian President Bashar al Assad visited his closest regional ally Iran and met Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran on May 8.
Assad, who was making his second trip to Tehran since the start of Syria's war in 2011, also met Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
During a visit to Damascus in March, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said that Iran's priority was to strengthen strategic ties with Syria in a changing global scene after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
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My name is Dario Sabaghi, a freelance journalist. I am interested in human rights and international news focusing on the MENA region.
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Cover photo: Al Jazeera