Israeli Air Strike Kills Three Seni...

Three Top Hamas Officials, Mohammed Abu Shamala, Mohammed Barhoum and Raed al-Attar were killed in Rafah, a southern town in Gaza. According to the Pa...


Egypt-Brokered Ceasefire Between Is...

A 72-hour Egyptian-brokered ceasefire accepted by both Israel and Hamas, replacing the earlier one broken by one of the two sides will take effect Tue...


US Intelligence Points to Russia ...

Latest information from the United States Intelligence indicate that Russia created conditions favourable to ensure the attack against the MH17, which...


Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France...

Foreign ministers from Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France have agreed to take on mutually-agreed steps to stop the hostilities in eastern Ukraine as ...

Israeli Air Strike Kills Three Senior Hamas Military Commanders

Three Top Hamas Officials, Mohammed Abu Shamala, Mohammed Barhoum and Raed al-Attar were killed in Rafah, a southern town in Gaza. According to the Palestinian Rescue Services, the three Hamas officials were among the three individuals out of six who were killed in the bombing in the area.

Meanwhile, both Hamas and Israel blame each other for re-starting the hostilities between the two countries. Israel said that 10 Hamas rockets flew into the town of Beersheba and Tel Aviv. Meanwhile Hamas said that Israel’s air strikes came first before the rocket volley.

Israel has made it an ultimatum to disarm Hamas and ensure the “full security” of Israel from the militant group.

So far, 2,103 Palestinians have died within six weeks

Shamala was the senior commander of the south of Gaza and was the Commander of Rafah, who had captured Gilad Shalit, an Israeli Soldier. Barhoum and al-Attar are responsible, along with Shamala, for building the tunnel networks and smuggling activities of the Hamas.

Both Hamas and Israel had abandoned efforts to negotiate a lasting ceasefire with Israel. The UN Security Council was “gravely concerned” at the restart of the hostilities and called for the two sides to re-negotiate their ceasefire options. Meanwhile, Egypt promised it will continue to pursue a lasting truce for both countries.


Egypt-Brokered Ceasefire Between Israel and Gaza to Begin at 8AM

A 72-hour Egyptian-brokered ceasefire accepted by both Israel and Hamas, replacing the earlier one broken by one of the two sides will take effect Tuesday at 8AM local time. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that both parties must respect the terms of the truce. Both sides are encouraged to meet in Cairo and resolve the dispute for a long-term ceasefire arrangement.

Israeli Officials said Israel prepared for the possibility that Hamas might violate the ceasefire as it had done recently. The officials cautioned that the public must remain vigilant against any possible major attack pulled by Hamas before the ceasefire.

After Israel finished the underground tunnels used by militants for infiltration operations, Israel accepted the ceasefire.

A Palestinian Delegation representing Gaza presented their demands to the Egyptian government. It called for the lift of the siege of the Gaza Strip, the reopening of all the border crossings. They also called for policing Israel regarding military attacks and UN assistance in rebuilding the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Officials deemed the demands as unrealistic and it will pull out all Israeli forces in Gaza once it is honoured. Israel had also not made clear if they will be sending their delegation immediately for indirect talks on a long-term agreement.


US Intelligence Points to Russia “Manipulating the Conditions” For MH17 Attack

Latest information from the United States Intelligence indicate that Russia created conditions favourable to ensure the attack against the MH17, which killed 298 passengers, majority of which were Dutch. Earlier intelligence indicated that the attack came from pro-Russian rebels because intercepted communications indicated in the same day a plane they have shot down.

US Officials also said that complex equipment, such as surface-to-air missile launchers, need training, and Russian forces are involved in training the pro-Russian rebels to use weapons they have provided. Information also indicates that the Ukrainian military is yet to fight through airstrikes because the fighting in Donetsk and eastern Ukraine is still on the ground.

Russia had tried to present their theory regarding a Ukrainian Military Jet flying close to the MH17 and shooting it down near Torez at eastern Ukraine to debunk the surface-to-air missiles theory and their suspected sponsorship of the Donetsk rebels.

Social media intelligence posted by rebels in the past show a surface-to-air armament situated in Shizhne, which is not far from the Russian border. US intelligence indicates the missiles were fired from this town.

Meanwhile, Netherland investigators are currently studying the bodies of the passengers of the MH17. Malaysian officials have also retrieved the black boxes from the rebels surrounding the downed aircraft.



Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France Find Truce at Ending Ukraine Hostilities

Foreign ministers from Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France have agreed to take on mutually-agreed steps to stop the hostilities in eastern Ukraine as the 10-day ceasefire between the Ukraine Military and Pro-Russian rebels have expired. A village with unknown assailants from the Ukraine Military and the Rebels have nine civilians dead during a skirmish on Wednesday.

The Foreign Ministers have agreed to hold talks including the pro-Russian rebels by July 5. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the talks will discuss the conditions for truce that would help all sides stop hostilities as soon as possible. The Contract Group, composed of Ukraine, Russia, and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), will be maintaining three-way communications for the truce talks.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Pablo Klimkin said that Ukraine wanted all Rebel-held hostages be released and that Ukraine should have higher security detail on its borders to stop the rebels from having new fighters join their ranks and new weapons into east Ukraine.

German Foreign Minister Walter Steinmeier said that the situation in Ukraine “had escalated” and that it is on the brink of being out of control.

Hostages with the Rebels include Two Ukrainian TV journalists, who had been released earlier, and other Ukrainian military soldiers and officials.


Putin Calls to Revoke Upper House Right on Military Intervention in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin had called on Russia’s upper house on Tuesday to revoke his right to use military intervention in Ukraine to defend Russian speakers in the country. The United States and the UN had welcomed Putin’s move, but it is still calling for more stand-down between the Russian and Ukrainian military.

However, the cease fire proposed by the two countries is in peril as pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine had shot down a military helicopter that killed Ukrainian passengers on board.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s welcomed Putin’s move and said that it was the first step towards the resolution of the Ukrainian conflict in its eastern areas. The western world views Putin’s move as a sign that Russia was willing to help resolve the Ukrainian crisis, and follows his statement of support for Poroshenko’s peace plan for eastern Ukraine.

Meanwhile, EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton did not comment if Russia’s request for removal of military intervention could earn it less-tougher sanctions. The US still called on Russia to perform “tangible actions” evident for its support of the cease fire. According to US Vice President Joe Biden, Russia should stop supplying weapons to militants across the border.

According to the Ukrainian government, the shot-down helicopter were a crew of technicians who were installing devices that will help monitor any violations of the Ukraine-Russian Peace Plan.


Assad’s Win Hailed Early By Iran Government

Iran’s government already claims Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s victory in the Syrian election Monday. Iran had already announced his re-election and had hailed it as a defeat of the western countries, particularly the United States.

However, the United States does not consider the Syrian elections a fair and just elections as it is only a “parody of democracy” as the public must play in the hands of the Assad regime, which guarantees that the outcome works for them. No serious competitors to the presidency were also present.

The elections, with Assad’s pre-emptive win, will extend his presidency for seven years in the country.

Iran had dispatched monitors to observe the voting.

Many political analysts also claim that the Syrian elections is unofficial because many Syrians are scattered all over the world. Millions from the population have taken refuge in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Some have fled to other European and Western countries.

According to Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, western countries should give up their illusions of dominating Syria through military methods. According to Major General Rahim Safavi of the Iranian Military, the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and other western powers have failed to overthrow Assad.

Iran’s hailing of Assad’s pre-emptive one is indicative of its undying support to the Syrian regime, according to political analysts.


Russia Calls Syria Vote “Publicity Stunt”

UN Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that France’s proposal to allow the International Criminal Court (ICC) to enter Syria and investigate potential inhuman atrocities committed by the Syrian government and opposition is a “publicity stunt.” He said this after confirming that Russia will veto the proposal. It is also a potential threat to a diplomatic resolution to the four-year civil war.

According to political analysts, it is the fourth time Russia will use its veto powers against UN resolutions regarding Syria. Meanwhile, China had remained silent and neutral regarding the situation, but analyst see that it will likely disagree with the proposal as well.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud responded to the Russian Ambassador’s claims, saying that Churkin cannot argue that it will undermine a political process because there is no political process in the current situation.

Meanwhile, due to the failure of peace talks to defuse the Syrian conflict, the UN-Arab League Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi had announced his resignation.

Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari had sent a letter to countries not to support the resolution because it is “biased” and it is an effort to “sabotage any form of peaceful settlement to the Syrian crisis led by the people themselves.

UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay had investigators create a list of suspected war criminals from both sides of the war. The evidence was enough to indict the figures. Pillay confirmed that the violations committed by the Syrian government forces greatly outweigh the armed opposition groups.


Magnitude 6 Earthquake Hits Tokyo Shores, Causes Delays and Injuries

A magnitude 6 earthquake struck early offs the Japanese coast about 62 miles south of Tokyo. The earthquake’s epicentre was at the coast of Izu Oshima Island. It happened around 5:18 AM local time according to the Japan Meteorological Agency’s website. The depth was 162 KM and had played around the intensity of 5-7 on the Japanese scale.

Despite the strength of the earthquake, the JMA did not announce a tsunami warning. The JMA considered it one of the strongest earthquakes the country had faced since the magnitude-9 earthquake during March 2011. The massive earthquake had caused the Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant to melt down.
According to local news network NHK, 17 people in Tokyo and Kanagawa’s prefectures were injured during the earthquake. Tokyo’s subways were temporarily halted, causing delays to people resuming their workday.
The JMA said the strongest shaking registered in central Tokyo. Four people were injured in Tokyo itself.
According to experts, the pacific tectonic plates are becoming more active day by day. Many noted the increase in earthquakes in the pacific, which meteorologists should study and predict to avert any possible future crises.

Israel Criticizes US’ “Weak” Response to the Fatah-Hamas Peace Accord

This week, rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas had resolved differences through a peace accord, and both factions will integrate a unified government against a common enemy, Israel. Israel demanded a clearer and resolute response from the United States according to a media report.

The two factions announced their unification yesterday, ending over four years of internal conflict. Israel’s Security Cabinet decided to suspend peace talks with the Palestinians in response to the unity agreement between the two factions.

US State Department Spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said that the Palestinian unity deal was “troubling” and that the United States expresses its “disappointment” regarding the matter. The statement appeared as a “light” reaction for Israel, who wanted an appropriate response, being that Israel is a US ally in the Middle East.

According to a Senior Israel Official, the US needs to make it clear to PLO President Mahmoud Abbas that his unity with Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the United Nations, is Palestine crossing a red line. The senior official pointed out that being associated with Hamas means the PLO condones terrorism, and that the United States needs to point it out to them clearly.

Marathon peace talks between Palestine and Israel had been sponsored by the United States. It gained momentum this year and analysts said that it is probable the recent unity deal might make it fail.


North Korean Drone Considered a ‘Toy’ By Military Specialists

According to Seoul’s Korean University Cyber Defense Professor Kim Hyoung-joong, the North Korean drones that crashed on a South Korean island on Monday was poorly-designed. He said that it functioned very simply like a ‘toy’ and its design had been outdated for many years.

Netizens who saw the image of the downed North Korean drone thought it looked like a model aircraft that most people created in their childhood rather than seeing an advanced military drone.
Kim points out that regardless of design, drones do not have to look like or function too high-tech. Their purpose is only surveillance, and if the design can fulfil this task, then it is useful for the North Koreans.
However, the drone only had a poor quality camera that cannot take a video and it had no way to broadcast images.
Observers said that North Korea’s drone shows how antiquated and outdated its military equipment and arsenal truly is. According to Centre of Korean Studies at the University of London Dr. James Hoare, many of North Koreas equipment had come from World War II. This is also the primary reason why they put so much in rhetoric when engaging countries they consider hostilities.
North Korea had not yet released an official statement regarding the crashed, antiquated drone.