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Russia says it struck S-300 systems given to Ukraine by EU state | Russia-Ukraine war News

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Russia’s defence ministry did not specify which country provided the missile system it said to have destroyed.

Russia says it had destroyed anti-aircraft missile systems supplied to Ukraine by a European state, without specifying which country provided the equipment.

Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Monday Russian Kalibr missiles destroyed on Sunday four S-300 launchers concealed in a hangar on the outskirts of the central-eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro, hitting 25 Ukrainian soldiers in the attack.

Slovakia, which had donated such a missile system to Ukraine last week, denied that the one it supplied had been struck. The prime minister’s office issued a statement calling Russian reports that its S-300 system had been destroyed “disinformation”. It was unclear, however, whether both sides were referring to the same strike.

There was no immediate comment by Ukrainian authorities.

The Russian defence ministry said its forces targeted missile defence systems in three different locations in recent days. They also shot down two Ukrainian Su-25 aircraft near the city of Izyum and destroyed two ammunition depots, one of which was near the southern city of Mykolaiv, it added.

The Pentagon said Russia has a clear advantage in armoured forces for its next phase in its war on Ukraine, which will focus on the eastern region of Donbas.

Press secretary John Kirby said Russian forces had spread themselves too thin to take the capital, Kyiv, following the February 24 invasion, but they were refocusing on a smaller region and still had the vast majority of their combat power.

The United States on Friday said it had sent a Patriot missile defence system to Slovakia to replace the S-300 air defence systems sent to Ukraine.

“Now is no time for complacency,” US President Joe Biden said when announcing the Patriot transfer. “As the Russian military repositions for the next phase of this war, I have directed my administration to continue to spare no effort to identify and provide to the Ukrainian military the advanced weapons capabilities it needs to defend its country.”

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said the system, as well as a team of US soldiers to operate it, will arrive in Slovakia in the coming days and remain there for an undefined duration.



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Pakistan: Ousted PM Imran Khan calls for march on Islamabad | Politics News

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Khan says he will never accept the new government and calls on his supporters to rally peacefully on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s defiant former Prime Minister Imran Khan has called on his supporters to march peacefully on Islamabad on May 25th, to press for fresh elections.

Khan, who served as prime minister for more than three and a half years, was ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament by an alliance of all major political parties.

Since his removal, Khan has addressed rallies in several cities as he mobilises for a grand show of strength in the capital on Wednesday.

“We will never accept [the new government] – no matter how long we have to remain in Islamabad, we will remain there,” Khan told reporters in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Sunday.

Khan’s call came after a marathon session of talks with leaders from his Tehreek-e-Insaf party in Peshawar. He describes the march as a move to protect the country’s sovereignty, as he alleges that the vote that removed him was a United States-organised plot.

In his speech, Khan urged authorities not to oppose the march, which will gain strength outside of Islamabad before heading to the city centre.

Once in the city, the former prime minister said, his supporters will remain until parliament is dissolved and new elections are called. Thousands have come to his rallies in the past.

Khan claims the US wanted him removed from office because of his foreign policy choices in favour of Russia and China, and because of a visit he made on February 24 to Moscow, where he held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin – as Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine. He has also said the US dislikes his strident criticism of Washington’s “war on terror“.

The US Department of State has denied any involvement in Pakistan’s internal politics.

Khan came to power in 2018 promising to eradicate corruption and revive Pakistan’s economy, but he failed to deliver on most of his pledges.

He has nonetheless been able to draw huge crowds at rallies since his removal from office.



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Israel sentences Palestinian prison escapees to five more years | Prison News

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Six Palestinians escaped from a high-security prison last year by digging a tunnel, sparking a massive manhunt.

An Israeli court has sentenced six Palestinian prison escapees to five years in prison for tunneling out of their cell last year and escaping from a high-security facility in what became Israel’s biggest prison break in decades.

The daring jailbreak sparked a massive manhunt in Israel’s north and the occupied West Bank as Israeli forces tried to recapture the men, who were members of Palestinian armed groups.

The bold escape dominated newscasts, sparked heavy criticism of Israel’s prison service, and prompted the Israeli government to launch an inquiry.

The escapees were recaptured days later.

A judge ruled on Sunday that the sentencing of the six took into account the fact that the prison break had paralysed Israel for days, the financial costs involved in recapturing the escapees, and the harm to public security caused by prisoners, under life sentence and convicted of serious crimes, escaping.

The five-year sentences will be added to the prison terms the prisoners are already serving.

Five other inmates charged with assisting the men escape were sentenced to an additional four years in jail.

According to various reports, the escapees used kitchen utensils to dig a tunnel through the floor of their shared cell undetected over several months. They then managed to slip past a sleeping prison guard after emerging through a hole outside the prison facility.israpri

An artist works on a mural painting glorifying six Palestinian prisoners who escaped from Israel's Gilboa prison in September 2021 with the help of the humble spoon [Mahmud Hams/AFP]
An artist works on a mural painting glorifying six Palestinian prisoners who escaped from Israel’s Gilboa prison in September 2021 with the help of the humble spoon [Mahmud Hams/AFP]

Israel considers all six escapees to be “terrorists”. Palestinians consider many prisoners held by Israel to be heroes of their national cause, and many on social media celebrated their breakout and held demonstrations in support of the escaped prisoners.

Five of the escapees are from the Islamic Jihad armed group, with four of them serving life sentences. The sixth escapee, Zakaria Zubeidi, is a member of the secular Fatah group of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Zubeidi was a leader during the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s and well known in Israel both for his activities and his love for giving media interviews.



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Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing: Lies, investigations and videotape | Israel-Palestine conflict

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Israel has lied from the instant that Shireen Abu Akleh was assassinated 11 days ago.

How do we know?

Israel’s story about what happened on the murderous morning of May 11 in Jenin and what it was going to do about it has changed more often than a baby’s diaper. Palestine’s story has remained the same throughout like one long, consistent note: Israel did it and won’t admit it.

Israel’s prime minister, Naftali Bennett, has lied. Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid, has lied. The Israeli army has lied.

Bennett told the first big lie on May 11: Palestinians did it, he said. He was 99.99 percent sure. A Palestinian who couldn’t shoot straight did it. That’s what the prime minister of Israel said happened.

The same day, Lapid told the second big lie: Israel wanted to help Palestinians – the same Palestinians who Bennett already said did it – to find out who did it. Really, it did.

What patronising tripe from a former TV star who once said this about Palestinians he was now allegedly keen to work with across the divide: “We need to get the Palestinians out of our lives. What we have to do is build a high wall and get them out of our sight.”

The Israeli army told the third big lie by repeating the first big lie: its soldiers do not “target” journalists.

Apparently, the 16 Palestinian journalists who have perished since 1992 were either unlucky or stepped in front of or on an Israeli bullet, bomb, or mine. Remember, not “targets”. Unfortunate.

Bennett and the Israeli army told the fourth big lie: its soldiers were shooting at Palestinians and Palestinians were shooting at Israeli soldiers when Abu Akleh was shot in the face by Palestinians.

An Israeli human rights group promptly proved that Israel’s prime minister and the army – using a snippet of videotape to buttress their lie – had lied about precisely where Abu Akleh was in Jenin on the day of her murder.

Meanwhile, Lapid was sticking to his gratuitous lie. Israel still wanted to help Palestinians to find out who shot Abu Akleh in the face even though Bennett and the army still said Israel did not do it.

Then, on May 12, Israel’s defence minister, Benny Gantz, more or less admitted that his boss, the prime minister, and his army had lied.

He said “our side” may have killed Abu Akleh.

The United Nations, the European Union, some US Congresswomen and men, and the White House – who were reminded that Abu Akleh was also an American – demanded a probe into who shot the revered Palestinian-American reporter.

Israel said it would “investigate”. The White House, the United Nations and the European Union seemed pleased and relieved.

Not everyone was pleased. Some US Congresswomen and men and many other less gullible people pointed out that Israeli “investigations” tend to be cover-ups. An “independent” investigation – whatever that means – was necessary.

Bennett and Lapid went mute.

Later on May 12 Israel reportedly “confiscated” the guns of several soldiers. By May 19, the Israel military said it had identified the weapon that may have been used to shoot Abu Akleh in the face while she was wearing a helmet and body armour marked “Press” in big, bold white letters.

Israel also said it needed the magic bullet that killed Abu Akleh to try to match it to the rifle.

No, Israel doesn’t.

First, the Israelis could, in a rare gesture of good faith and cooperation, just as easily hand over the rifle to the Palestinian Authority for analysis. How’s that for a novel idea that the New York Times hasn’t, predictably, considered?

Of course, Israel won’t. Palestinians cannot be trusted. Only Israelis can find and tell the truth.

Second, we have been told, more often than Bingo players have said “Bingo”, by wind-up apologists – who also happen to be politicians, diplomats, journalists or think-tank “experts” – that Israel has the “most moral army in the world”.

Let’s, for the moment, accept that familiar big lie. Israel has, for the moment, the most moral army in the world. Everyone got it?

The word “moral” suggests – implicitly and explicitly – that Israeli soldiers are models of probity and honesty. They’re saints – if you will forgive the imprecise religious analogy.

OK. Simple. Israel can ask the saint who fired that gun in Jenin early on the morning of May 11 one question: Did you shoot Shireen Abu Akleh in the face while she was wearing a helmet and body armour marked “Press” in big, bold white letters?

One question. One answer. End of “investigation”.

A member of the most moral army in the world is going to tell the truth. Right? I mean that’s what saints do. They tell the truth. Come clean. Own up. Do the right, honourable and moral thing. No magic bullet required.

Like you, I doubt the question was asked or ever will be.

Perhaps defence minister Benny Gantz is lying, too. Perhaps there is no gun. Perhaps the Israelis made it up to keep the Americans happy. To give their prostrate pals at the State Department and White House something, anything so they could say: “The Israelis are making good progress. We trust them.”

Turns out, the State Department and the White House have belatedly discovered that it’s the Israelis who cannot be trusted. Welcome on board.

On the very day Gantz announced his people had likely found the gun, the Israeli military said that there would not be an “investigation” after all.

An “investigation” into which Israeli soldier shot Abu Akleh in the face might upset Israelis. It could, the Israeli military said, provoke “opposition”.

Opposition to what? The truth?

Not to worry. On May 20, after confirming its authenticity, Al Jazeera reported on the disturbing contents of a one-minute and forty-two-second video that captured the scene shortly before Abu Akleh was murdered.

The video confirms Palestinian witness accounts. There was no “exchange” of fire. That, as witnesses said, was an Israeli lie. There was, instead, calm and quiet. People were milling about, talking and laughing. Abu Akleh and her colleagues were preparing to get to work.

Then, single shots in quick succession. Six in all. People scurry. Another volley of single shots. Screaming. Shouting. “Shireen”. The camera pans and tilts up. Nearby, Abu Akleh lay in a ditch, face down.

Ah, we know why Israel abandoned its phantom “investigation”.

The pictures, unlike Israel, do not lie.

But like Israel’s cocksure prime minister and preening foreign minister, the State Department, the White House and the US embassy in Israel have gone mute.

America’s best pal in the Middle East has given, in effect, the White House, the Secretary of State and the US Ambassador to Israel, a double-barrelled middle-finger salute about the murder of an American citizen.

Their response to date: Silence.

Figures.

A bunch of Congresswomen and men have written a letter urging the FBI to investigate the murder of Abu Akleh.

Kudos to them. Also delusional.

A bunch of journalists have written a letter to the International Criminal Court urging it to investigate the murder of Abu Akleh.

Kudos to them. Also delusional.

In time and quite rightly, Palestinians and Palestinians alone will tell the world the details of how and why Israel murdered another one of their beloved daughters.

It will be the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.



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