KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel intensified its bombardment in and around Gaza’s second largest city early Tuesday, as ambulances and private cars came racing into a local hospital carrying people wounded in a bloody new phase of the war in Gaza.
Under U.S. pressure to prevent further mass casualties, Israel says it is being more precise as it widens its offensive into southern Gaza after obliterating much of the north. Aerial bombardment and the ground offensive have already driven three-fourths of the territory’s 2.3 million people from their homes.
At the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, ambulances brought dozens of wounded people in throughout the night. At one point, a car pulled up and man emerged carrying a young boy in a bloody shirt and whose hand had been blown off.
“Where is the Red Cross? … where is the United Nations?” a woman screamed outside the emergency department. “My children, since 10 p.m., are still under the rubble.”
Satellite photos taken Sunday showed tanks and troops massing outside Khan Younis, the latest target of the offensive, which was home to more than 400,000 people before the war.
Israel has ordered people out of nearly two dozen neighborhoods instead of the entire region, as it did in the north. But with most of Gaza’s population already packed into the south, cramming U.N. shelters and family homes, there are few places left to go. Israel has barred people who fled the north earlier in the war from returning.
Palestinians say that as Israel continues to strike across the besieged territory, there are no areas where they feel safe, and many fear that if they leave their homes they will never be allowed to return.
THE QUEST TO ELIMINATE HAMAS
Israel says it must dismantle Hamas’ extensive military infrastructure and remove it from power in order to prevent a repeat of the Oct. 7 attack that ignited the war. The surprise assault through the border fence saw Hamas and other Palestinian militants kill about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and capture some 240 men, women and children.
The Israeli military says it makes every effort to spare civilians and accuses Hamas of using them as human shields as it fights in dense residential areas, where it has a labyrinth of tunnels, bunkers, rocket launchers and sniper nests.
But the militant group is deeply rooted in Palestinian society, and its determination to end decades of open-ended Israeli military rule is shared by most Palestinians, even those opposed to its ideology and its attacks on Israeli civilians. That will complicate any effort to eliminate Hamas without causing massive casualties and displacement.
Even after weeks of unrelenting bombardment, Hamas’ leaders in Gaza were able to conduct complex cease-fire negotiations and orchestrate the release of more than 100 Israeli and foreign hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners last week. Palestinian militants have also kept up their rocket fire into Israel, both before and after the truce.
The fighting has meanwhile brought unprecedented death and destruction to the coastal strip.
The Health Ministry in Gaza said the death toll in the territory since Oct. 7 has surpassed 15,890 people – 70% of them women and children — with more than 42,000 wounded. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths. It says hundreds have been killed or wounded since the cease-fire’s end, and many still are trapped under rubble.
An Israeli army official provided a similar figure for the death toll in Gaza on Monday, after weeks in which Israeli officials had cast doubt on the ministry’s count. The official said at least 15,000 people have been killed, including 5,000 militants, without saying how the military arrived at its figures. The military says 84 of its soldiers have been killed in the Gaza offensive.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday that it was too soon to pass judgment on Israeli operations, but that it was unusual for a modern military to identify precise areas of expected ground maneuvers and ask people to move out, as Israel has done in Khan Younis.
“These are the kinds of steps that we have asked them to undertake.” he said. “These are the conversations we’re having day in, day out.”
The U.S. has pledged unwavering support to Israel since the Oct. 7 attack, including rushing weapons and other aid to the country.
Airstrikes and the ground offensive in northern Gaza have reduced large swaths of Gaza City and nearby areas to a rubble-filled wasteland. Hundreds of thousands of residents fled south during the assault.
Now around 2 million people — most of the territory’s population — are crowded into the 230 square kilometers (90 square miles) of southern and central Gaza. Since the truce’s collapse, the military has ordered the population out of an area of about 62 square kilometers (24 square miles) in and near Khan Younis, according to the evacuation maps issued by the Israeli military.
That further reduces the space available for Palestinians by more than a quarter.
KHAN YOUNIS IN THE CROSSHAIRS
Satellite photos from Sunday, analyzed by The Associated Press early Tuesday, show around 150 Israeli tanks, armored personnel carriers and other vehicles just under 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) north of the heart of Khan Younis. The army did not respond to a request for comment and rarely publicizes troop deployments.
Constant bombardment on the edge of Khan Younis lit up the sky over the town Monday evening.
Over the past few days, Israeli strikes have been “on a ferocious scale,” said Mohammed Aghaalkurdi, an aid worker with the group Medical Aid for Palestinians in Khan Younis.
He said neighborhoods and shelters were emptying as people fled. Leaflets dropped by the Israeli military warn people to go south toward the border with Egypt, but they are unable to leave Gaza, as both Israel and neighboring Egypt have refused to accept any refugees.
Adding to the chaos, phone and internet networks across Gaza collapsed again Monday evening, the Palestinian telecom provider PalTel said. It was the latest of several outages that have complicated rescue efforts. Communications were restored hours later.
The area that Israel ordered evacuated covers about a fifth of Khan Younis. Before the war, that area was home to some 117,000 people, and now it also houses more than 50,000 people displaced from the north, living in 21 shelters, the U.N. said. It was not known how many were fleeing.
Israeli media also reported intense fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas militants in northern Gaza — in the Jabaliya refugee camp, a built-up urban area, and in the Gaza City district of Shijaiya, both of which have seen intense bombardment and battles in recent weeks.
Magdy reported from Cairo. Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed.
Full AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.
Millennials Will Become the ‘Richest Generation in History,’ a New Report Says
It looks like millennials will be able to buy houses after all.
Those born between 1980 and 1994 are set to become part of the richest generation in history, according to the latest Wealth Report by U.K. real estate agency Knight Frank. The group can expect a “seismic” windfall over the next two decades, as $90 trillion of assets move between generations in the U.S. alone.
“When the silent generation (born from 1925 to 1945), the baby boomers (1946 to 1964), and the oldest cohort of Generation X (1965 to 1979), die, £2.5 trillion (roughly $3.1 million) in wealth tied up in their homes will be freed up,” the report reads.
In addition to property, the shares, bonds, and assets previous generations have accumulated will go to millennials. This transfer of equity will make the generation wealthier than all their predecessors.
However, many millennials have been affected by the economic headwinds created by the 2007 financial crisis, the pandemic, Brexit, and the invasion of Ukraine. Some are riddled with economic anxiety and need to work multiple jobs to pay bills. As such, any influx of cash would likely be spent on buying homes, paying off student loans, creating a pension pot, and building credit. It is also worth pointing out that inheritance is largely determined by a family’s financial status, e.g. those with rich parents stand to gain the most.
The massive transfer of wealth could have an equally massive impact on society. Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank, believes younger generations will actively seek out greener homes, eco-friendly goods, and sustainable investments. Given their track record, he could be right. Millennials and Gen Z are leading the charge in climate change activism, the Pew Research Center reports. Both are talking more about environmental issues than older adults, taking to social media to mobilize and enact change.
It appears the financial shift is already underway, too. Knight Frank’s research found that 75 percent of millennials expect their wealth to increase in 2024, compared to 53 percent in the baby boomer generation, 56 percent in gen X, and 69 percent in the younger gen Z.
The future is looking slightly brighter—for millennials, at least.
Drug addict used bizarre object in attempted post office robbery: police
A drug addict tried to steal money through a security screen using a large spoon, British police reported.
CCTV footage from the Hyson Green Post Office in Nottingham on Feb. 10 showed Jelanie Scott, 36, who leaned on crutches, in the corner of the room trying to get under the protective screen.
The staff quickly noticed him as he used a spoon and reached through the small gap at the bottom of the security screen on the counter. The panic alarm triggered, and smoke filled the post office as Scott fled.
“There was overwhelming evidence in this case, and I am pleased Scott has been held to account for his actions,” Sgt. Mark Southgate of the City Central neighborhood police team in Nottinghamshire said.
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“He told officers it was a stupid thing to do, and I hope he now reflects on his behavior and stays out of trouble,” Southgate said.
Nottinghamshire police arrested Scott and charged him with attempted burglary. The Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Feb. 21 then sentenced him to a six-month drug rehabilitation program and fined him fees and court costs totaling £283 (around $360).
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Scott appeared to have suffered some injury to his foot, hopping away with one crutch to support him as he escaped the building along with other customers when the smoke filled the room.
Police had an easy time identifying Scott since he dropped his debit card before he managed to flee in a taxi. Police recognized him from CCTV and arrested him just a week later after locating him on a town road.
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Scott pleaded guilty and admitted to the crimes, saying he had suffered mental anguish and had taken drugs – cocaine and heroin – shortly before the incident.
Shoplifting and thefts in the U.K. have increased in recent months, according to the New York Times. One shop owner told the Times that he has to deal with three or four robberies a day, saying, “It’s like the Wild West out there at the moment.”
The article claimed that opportunistic shoplifters, marauding teenagers, drug addicts and organized gangs have largely driven the looting surge.
Shoplifting incidents increased by 25% for the year ending June 2023, according to official crime data from the British Office for National Statistics.
Australian spy chief under pressure to name ex-politician who ‘sold out’
The spy chief said a team from an unidentified country had cultivated and recruited a former Australian politician.
Australia’s spy chief is facing calls to name a former politician accused of having “sold out” the country to a foreign power.
Director-general of security for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Mike Burgess, said in an annual speech on Wednesday evening that a spy team from an unidentified country had cultivated and recruited a former Australian politician.
“This politician sold out their country, party and former colleagues to advance the interests of the foreign regime,” Burgess said in a speech in the capital, Canberra.
In his address, Burgess said a foreign intelligence service unit, named “the A-Team”, had made Australia its “priority target” and specifically targeted those with access to “privileged information” by using social networking sites and promising financial rewards.
Burgess added that the unidentified former politician had been recruited “several years ago” and had suggested a plot to introduce a family member of the prime minister into the spy’s orbit, but the plan did not go ahead.
He said police had not charged the person because they were no longer active.
Following the unexpected revelations, Alex Turnbull, the son of former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, said in an interview on Thursday with news.com.au that he had been approached about an infrastructure project by a group of suspected Chinese agents in around 2017 when his father was in government.
He said the group had links to a former New South Wales state Labour Party parliamentarian without naming the person.
However, current and former members of the opposition party have pushed for the name of the ex-politician to be released to avoid speculations.
Former parliamentary treasurer, Joe Hockey, who also served as the ambassador to the United States, echoed the demands for the ex-politician to be named.
“Mr Burgess, having gone this far, must name that person rather than potentially smear everyone who has served their country,” Hockey wrote on X.
Mike Burgess from ASIO has publicly referred in @smh to an unnamed politician as the agent of a foreign country. Mr Burgess, having gone this far, must name that person rather than potentially smear everyone who has served their country.
— Joe Hockey (@JoeHockey) February 28, 2024
Opposition party leader, Peter Dutton, also said on radio station 2GB: “The trouble is, if he does not indicate the name then there is a cloud hanging over everybody else.”
Australia is a current member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group, which includes the United States, Britain, Canada and New Zealand, making it a target for operatives from countries such as China and Russia.
In 2018, under former Prime Minister Turnbull’s leadership, foreign interference laws were introduced, of which the “key purpose” of the measures was to expose China’s activities.
A Chinese-Australian businessman was sentenced to years and nine months in jail on Thursday for attempting to win favour with a minister – the first sentence given under the interference laws, according to state broadcaster ABC.
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