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Spiraling Violence in Occupied Palestinian Territory of West Bank
Plus: Sudan conflict escalates, Hamas signals breakthrough in Gaza gas deal, Iran’s nuclear talks gain momentum, 1.5 million foreign pilgrims arrived in Saudi Arabia for Hajj, and much more.
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Spiraling Violence in Occupied Palestinian Territory of West Bank
In recent days, there has been a sharp increase in violence involving Palestinian militants, Israeli security forces, and extremist Jewish settlers in the region.
During an Israeli attack on the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, seven people, including two 15-year-olds, died, and dozens were injured.
The attack followed a Monday raid by Israeli forces, which involved approximately 120 military vehicles and Apache helicopters.
This marked the first time since 2002 that such an attack had taken place in the West Bank. Israeli snipers were also positioned to oversee the city.
Reports state that the Jenin Brigade, a local armed resistance group, retaliated by firing at an Israeli helicopter and damaging military vehicles using gunfire and ambushes.
The security situation in the occupied West Bank has been deteriorating for over a year, with Israel frequently conducting incursions into Jenin and other areas like Nablus.
During Monday's raid, which lasted several hours, at least eight Israeli soldiers were wounded. Israeli forces had to rescue injured soldiers and disabled vehicles.
Israel claimed that it entered Jenin to arrest a 36-year-old Hamas activist named Assem Abu al-Haija from the Jabriyat neighborhood on the outskirts of the city.
The Israeli government reportedly exerted significant pressure on security forces to launch a comprehensive military operation in the northern West Bank.
On Wednesday, a deadly drone attack conducted by Israel targeted a vehicle in Jalamah, near Jenin. Three individuals were killed in the attack, which took place in the Jenin refugee camp and resulted in the car catching fire.
In a separate incident, Israeli settlers rampaged through Palestinian towns in the West Bank, setting cars and farmland ablaze and vandalizing homes on Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, hundreds of Israeli settlers, some armed, arrived in the town of Turmusaya under Israeli soldiers' protection. The settlers attacked Palestinian residents, destroyed property, and fatally shot a 27-year-old Palestinian man.
Palestinian officials reported dozens of injuries and the destruction of at least 140 vehicles, including an ambulance, over two days. No arrests have been made.
The settler rampage on Tuesday occurred after four Israeli settlers were shot dead near the illegal Israeli settlement of Eli in the central West Bank. Palestinian media identified the gunmen as Muhannad Faleh Shehadeh and Khaled Mustafa Sabah, both from the village of Orif, south of Nablus. The shooting followed Monday's large-scale Israeli raid in Jenin.
This year, Israeli forces and settlers have caused the deaths of at least 162 Palestinians, including 26 children. Of these fatalities, 128 occurred in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with 34 in the Gaza Strip. During the same period, Palestinians killed at least 20 Israelis.
Source: News agencies
Sudan Conflict Escalates with Renewed Clashes
Sudan's military and a paramilitary force clashed again as a three-day cease-fire ended, reigniting the conflict between rival generals.
The fighting resumed in Khartoum and Omdurman, with the cease-fire expiring on Wednesday at 6 a.m. local time.
The clashes occurred near Khartoum International Airport and an intelligence headquarters, with sporadic clashes in other parts of the capital.
Efforts by the United States and Saudi Arabia to extend the truce have failed. The conflict, primarily in Khartoum and Darfur, has resulted in numerous casualties and forced more than 2.5 million people to flee their homes.
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Hamas Signals Breakthrough in Gaza Gas Development Deal
According to an exclusive report by The New Arab, Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian movement which runs the Gaza Strip, said it would allow, in principle, the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority to develop the natural gas field off the coastal enclave upon the successful conclusion of U.S.-brokered negotiations involving Israel, Egypt, and partner companies that would oversee the gas exploration and extraction, signaling a potential breakthrough in the complex and sometimes secret negotiations.
In exchange, Hamas will receive shares of the revenues. However, what guarantees Israel is seeking remains uncertain, which could complicate the deal.
The Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and partner companies need to finalize the implementation plan to begin developing and extracting natural gas from the Gaza Marine field.
Negotiations, facilitated by the U.S., are ongoing between Egypt, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority to manage Gaza's gas.
The joint operation would involve Cairo and Tel Aviv, with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority sharing in the revenue.
Revived Talks on Iran's Nuclear Program Show Positive Progress
Negotiations to address Iran's nuclear program are gaining momentum, according to a diplomatic source interviewed by CNN.
Talks between Iran and the European Union (EU) focused on key issues such as nuclear enrichment levels and cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The discussions in Doha between EU diplomat Enrique Mora and Iranian negotiator Ali Bagheri-Kani are showing positive developments.
The current environment is conducive to de-escalation.
Last week, Kani met with officials from France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, the signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also participated in discussions and traveled to Oman.
Both Qatar and Oman have previously played mediation roles between Iran and Western powers.
While initially downplaying the importance of the nuclear deal, the Biden administration resumed talks late last year with Oman's assistance.
Suspected smugglers detained pending trial over migrant shipwreck off Greece
Nine men have been charged in connection with the tragic Mediterranean shipwreck, which occurred between June 12 and 13, resulting in the loss of at least 82 lives.
These individuals have been detained pending trial.
The incident involved a fishing boat carrying hundreds of migrants directed to Italy from Libya, which sank off Greece's southwest coast.
Out of an estimated 700 migrants onboard, only 104 people were rescued. The death toll has been revised to 82, with fears that hundreds more may have perished.
Greece's response to the disaster has come under scrutiny, prompting the European Union (EU) to pledge increased funds and take additional measures concerning migration.
Although the search efforts are ongoing, the likelihood of finding any survivors is exceedingly slim.
Nearly 1.5 Million Foreign Pilgrims Arrived in Saudi Arabia for Hajj
Saudi officials report that nearly 1.5 million foreign pilgrims have arrived in the country for this year's Hajj pilgrimage, with the majority arriving by air.
Unlike previous years, there are no COVID-19 restrictions in place, allowing more pilgrims to arrive before the start of the Hajj on Monday, June 26.
The Hajj is a significant Islamic duty, and one of the largest religious gatherings globally, as all physically and financially capable Muslims are obligated to undertake it at least once in their lifetime.
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My name is Dario Sabaghi, and I am a freelance journalist interested in international news focusing on the MENA region.
Check out my work at dariosabaghi.com.
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Cover photo: Nedal Eshtayah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images - CNN