Gaza Offensive 2014: 'Israeli market strike kills 15'

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At least 15 people have been killed and 160 wounded in an Israeli strike that hit a fruit and vegetable market near Gaza City, Palestinian officials say.

The explosion hit a busy market in Shejaiya, where hundreds of people were shopping, a spokesman for the Gaza health ministry said.

The attack came during a four-hour truce called by the Israeli military - rejected by Hamas as meaningless.

Separately, three Israeli soldiers were killed in Gaza, the military said.

Palestinian doctors said another Israeli air strike after the truce was announced had killed seven people in Khan Younis.


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Israeli shells kill refugees in Gaza UN school

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Israeli shells have struck a UN school in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 19 people and wounding scores more, after Israeli ground troops made a significant push into the territory.

Wednesday’s shelling of the Jabaliya refugee camp was the second time in a week that a UN school sheltering hundreds of homeless Palestinians had been hit, with the latest violence pushing the Gaza death toll over 1,280.

Christopher Gunness, the UNRWA's spokesman, said the attack was a "source of universal shame" and blamed Israeli forces.

"We have visited the site and gathered evidence. We have analysed fragments, examined craters and other damage. Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school, in which 3,300 people had sought refuge.

"I condemn in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces. I call on the international community to take deliberate international political action to put an immediate end to the continuing carnage."

Many of those in the school had fled their homes in northern Gaza after Israel dropped leaflets warning them of an "upcoming phase" of action.

The Israeli military said fighters near the UN school had fired mortar bombs and Israeli forces had shot back.

"Earlier this morning, militants fired mortar shells at [Israeli] soldiers from the vicinity of the UNRWA school in Jabaliya. In response, soldiers fired towards the origins of fire, and we're still reviewing the incident," a spokeswoman said.

Israel announced a four-hour "humanitarian window" on Wednesday, starting at midday GMT, but said it did not include areas where its soliders were operating - about half of Gaza.

Hamas said it would not abide by the pause, unless its conditions were met - namely, the end of the blockade of Gaza.

At least 1,300 Palestinians have died in Israel's invasion, according to the Gaza's health ministry figures.

An official for UNRWA, the UN's Palestinian refugee agency, told the AFP news agency that the shelling hit a bathroom and two classrooms inside the girls' school.

Al Jazeera's Imtiaz Tyab, reporting from Gaza's Kamal Adwan hospital, where many of the injured were brought, put the number of wounded at more than 90.
Israeli rockets hit Gaza's largest refugee centre

"Looking around me I can see some with what appears to be shrapnel wounds and some with far more serious wounds," he said.

He said people there did not know why Israel had hit the shelter, adding that the attack caused panic among people living in different UN-run shelters.

"As we were driving to the hospital, we saw families with many children leaving other UN schools. They feel insecure. There seem to be no safe shelter for them, not even in UN schools," our correspondent said.

At least 180,000 Palestinians have sought shelter in about 80 UNRWA schools, according to the agency.

The Israeli army had begun heavy tank shelling in the area a couple of hours prior to the incident.

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New search area for the missing ‪#‎Malaysian‬ Plane ‪#‎MH370‬ announced

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New search area for the missing ‪#‎Malaysian‬ Plane ‪#‎MH370‬ announcedThe Australian government made the announcement after further analysis of satellite data.

The search will now shift south to focus on an area 1,800km off the west coast of ‪#‎Australia‬.

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Nigerian singer Adokiye offers herself to Boko Haram for kidnapped girls

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Nigerian singer Adokiye offers herself  to Boko Haram for kidnapped girls
Nigerian singer Adokiye offers herself  to Boko Haram for kidnapped girls
23-year-old Adokiye Kyrian has offered herself to terrorist group Boko Haram militants in exchange for the release of over 200 school girls kidnapped from a Nigerian village Chibok on the night of 14-15 April this year according to an interview with Vanguard’s Showtime.

"It is just unfair. They are too young. I wish I could offer myself in exchange,”

Adding, “They are between 12 and 15 year old girls for Christ sake. I am older and more experienced. Even if 10 to 12 men have to take me every night, I don’t care. Just release these girls and let them go back to their parents."

The Observer

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UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Brahimi announces resignation

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UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Brahimi announces resignation
Lakhdar Brahimi
Lakhdar Brahimi has announced his resignation from his position as the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria, largely out of frustration at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's plans to hold an election in June.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a joint press conference with Brahimi in New York on Tuesday, said the decision would be effective from May 31.

Addressing the media at the UN, Brahimi expressed regret that he had been unable to help the Syrian people: "Apologies once more that we haven't been able to help [the Syrian people] as much as they deserve, as much as we should have, and also to tell them that the tragedy in their country shall be solved... they have shown incredible resilience and dignity."

"An immense majority of Syrians want peace and stability in their country and I'm sure they will get it," he added.

For more than a year, Brahimi has made no secret that he is contemplating stepping down from the post as the UN and Arab League joint special representative on Syria. Brahimi told reporters a year ago that he thought about resigning every day.

"It's not very pleasant for me. It's very sad that I leave this position and leave Syria behind in such a bad state," Brahimi told reporters after Ban announced his departure.

"Everybody who has responsibility and an influence in the situation has to remember that the question is how many more dead? How much more destruction is there going to be before Syria becomes again the Syria we have known," he said.

The conflict has killed more than 150,000 people and displaced some nine million people.

Political stalemate

Brahimi has organised two rounds of negotiations in Geneva between Assad's government and members of the opposition seeking to oust him.

While there were no breakthroughs at those talks, diplomats and UN officials said that Brahimi had wanted to continue the Geneva process to find a negotiated solution that would end the fighting, launch a political transition and begin the process of reconciliation between the supporters and opponents of Assad.

But Syria's April 21 announcement that it will hold presidential elections on June 3 dealt a severe blow to Brahimi's efforts in Geneva, diplomats said, since the vote is widely seen as a bid by Assad to defy widespread opposition and extend his grip on power.

Ban blamed the failure of the peace effort on the warring parties, but especially the Syrian government.

He also blamed the deeply divided Security Council and countries with influence on the fighting sides. Ban pledged to keep working to achieve peace and urged all involved to rethink what they can do to bring hope to the Syrian people.

Possible successor

Diplomatic sources say that Tunisia's Kamel Morjane, who was the defence and then foreign minister from 2005 until the 2011 "Arab Spring" uprising led to the ouster of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, was among the leading candidates to replace Brahimi.

A look back at Brahimi's tenure as the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria

Al Jazeera's Diplomatic Editor James Bays said other names floating around included Kevin Rudd, former Australian prime minister, Javier Solana, former secretary-general of the Council of the European Union, and Sigrid Kaag, a UN diplomat who heads the mission for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons.

The opposition Syrian National Council said it appreciated Brahimi's work to try to bring a political settlement to the conflict, and that it remained committed to a political process.

"But it is clear that the regime will not desist from its brutal military campaign and engage in a political process until it is compelled to do so," the coalition said in a statement. "That will require concerted international pressure that has so far been lacking."

Brahimi's predecessor, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, resigned in frustration in August 2012. Like Brahimi, he complained that the permanent members of the UN Security Council could not unite behind his calls for an end to the violence and a peaceful political transition.

Source:Al Jazeera and agencies

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