Web Stories Wednesday, February 28

DONKEY CARTS

With fuel scarce, they have increasingly turned to donkey carts for transport.

“Anyone who used to own a car now uses a donkey. Even businessmen or officials try to collect money just to buy a donkey,” said Badr al-Akhras, a trader of the beasts.

Diplomatic efforts have sought scaled-up aid deliveries for Gaza, and a truce, after a week-long cessation of hostilities in November saw Hamas release dozens of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

On Sunday 260 humanitarian aid trucks were transferred to Gaza, according to COGAT, the Israeli defence ministry body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs.

On Friday the UN reported 288 trucks had entered, but the figures are far below pre-war levels.

Hamas’s Qatar-based chief Ismail Haniyeh met with Turkey’s foreign minister to discuss the conflict and humanitarian aid, diplomatic sources said on Sunday.

The United States, Arab countries and other governments are seeking a solution involving Palestinian statehood, but Netanyahu has rejected it, saying “Israel must retain security control over Gaza”.

The Hamas report rejected any international and Israeli efforts to decide Gaza’s post-war future.

The war has spurred fears of a wider escalation, with Israel’s northern border with Lebanon seeing near-daily exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement.

An Israeli strike on Sunday on south Lebanon killed a Hezbollah fighter, a source close to the group told AFP, with a security official describing the target as a high-level commander who survived.

Israel said its warplanes again bombed Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon.

The White House said it was taking “extremely seriously” a weekend attack by Iran-backed militants using “multiple ballistic missiles and rockets” against a base hosting US forces in Iraq.

Dozens of such attacks in Iraq and Syria have occurred since mid-October. Most have been claimed by Iran-linked militants opposing US support for Israel, but the use of ballistic missiles marked an escalation.

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