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Israeli forces seize Gaza-Egypt border to prevent smuggling. IDF intercepts cruise missile over Golan Heights. Drone mishap in Lebanon.

Israel Seizes Gaza-Egypt Border, Downs Missile, Drone Mishap in Lebanon

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TOP HEADLINES:

  • Israel Seizes Key Gaza-Egypt Border Area to Halt Smuggling
  • IDF Shoots Down Cruise Missile Over Northern Israel
  • Allegations of Treason: Robert Malley’s Mishandling of Classified Information
  • HTS Defies U.S. Criticism: The Grim Reality in Idlib
  • Bombing in Southern Lebanon and Israeli Mishap with Drone

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★ ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. IDF Shoots Down Cruise Missile Over Northern Israel

Israeli air defenses intercepted a projectile fired at the southern Golan Heights from the east, which the IDF identified as a cruise missile, not a drone as initially thought. The attack, believed to have originated from Iraq, caused no injuries or damage. No group claimed responsibility, but Iran-backed militias in Iraq, such as the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, have launched similar attacks during the Israel-Hamas conflict. These groups, along with those in Yemen and Syria, have targeted Israel with drones and missiles.

  1. Israel Seizes Key Gaza-Egypt Border Area to Halt Smuggling

Israel’s military announced Wednesday it has taken control of a strategic corridor along Gaza’s border with Egypt, aiming to cut off smuggling tunnels used by Hamas. The capture of the Philadelphi Corridor could strain Israel’s relations with Egypt, which opposes the advance near its border. Despite a blockade by Israel and Egypt, tunnels in this area have been used to funnel weapons and goods to Hamas. Israel also intensified its incursion into Rafah, deepening its presence in the southern Gaza city.

  1. Two Soldiers Killed in West Bank Car-Ramming Attack

Two Israeli soldiers, Staff Sgt. Eliya Hilel and Staff Sgt. Diego Shvisha Harsaj, both 20, died after a car-ramming attack near Nablus. The attack occurred near the Itamar settlement. The suspect fled but later surrendered to Palestinian Authority security forces. Local settler leader Yossi Dagan criticized the escape and urged the government to intensify operations to locate terrorists.

  1. IDF Uncovers Weapons in UNRWA School; Israel Orders UNRWA Eviction from Jerusalem

IDF troops in southern Gaza found weapons stored in a UNRWA school complex, including firearms, grenades, and enemy uniforms. An explosive device hidden under a civilian clinic killed three soldiers during the operation. Tunnels beneath classrooms indicated a network used by militants. Concurrently, the Israel Land Authority ordered UNRWA to vacate its Jerusalem premises for breaching lease terms and claimed NIS 27 million ($7.3 million) for unauthorized land use. UNRWA has not commented on the eviction order.

  1. Al-Arabiya Anchor Confronts Hamas Leader Over Rafah Missile Launches

In a heated interview aired on Al-Arabiya, anchor Rasha Nabil confronted senior Hamas official Razi Hamed about the timing and justification of a missile barrage launched from Rafah towards Israeli civilians while the IDF advanced towards the city. Nabil questioned whether the missile launches served a specific purpose or political goal, suggesting they might support Israel’s claims that Rafah harbors Hamas terrorists. Hamed responded with unsubstantiated claims, alleging that Israel was committing “massacres” in other cities in Gaza and the West Bank, despite no rocket attacks originating from those areas. He labeled Israel a “criminal, cruel, Nazi state” and asserted that it was founded on crime, implying no justification was needed for its actions. 

  1. Iran-Backed Criminal Networks Target Israeli Embassies in Europe

Israeli intelligence agencies, including Mossad and Shin Bet, have exposed Iranian-backed criminal networks, FOXTROT and RUMBA, targeting Israeli embassies across Europe. Investigations revealed these groups’ involvement in attacks, including grenade assaults on Israeli embassies in Stockholm and Brussels. FOXTROT, led by Rawa Majid, was recruited by Iran to execute these attacks. Swedish intelligence confirmed the significant threat posed by Iran’s activities. Israel calls for the designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization to impose stringent sanctions. Increased security measures are in place around Israeli and Jewish sites in Europe ahead of the Paris Olympics.

  1. Israeli Opposition Announces Plan to Oust Netanyahu

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid, along with right-wing party leaders Avigdor Lieberman and Gideon Sa’ar, agreed on an action plan to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. They urged Benny Gantz, head of the National Unity Party, to leave the war council and join their efforts. Gantz has threatened to withdraw by June 8 if Netanyahu fails to meet certain demands. This move follows intensified coordination among opposition parties aiming to overthrow Netanyahu’s administration. The opposition’s strategy includes leveraging parliamentary and other tools to establish a new government.

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★ IRAN

  1. Allegations of Treason: Robert Malley’s Mishandling of Classified Information

Republican lawmakers have uncovered evidence suggesting that Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s former special envoy for Iran, downloaded sensitive and classified documents to his personal devices and may have shared them with individuals outside the U.S. government, potentially breaching national security. Malley, whose security clearance was withdrawn in April 2023, is under investigation by the FBI for mishandling classified information. The documents in question include details of his meetings with Iranian officials and the U.S. government’s response to the 2022 protests in Iran following Mahsa Amini’s death. Lawmakers are particularly concerned about whether Malley shared this information with individuals affiliated with the Iranian government or the Iran Experts Initiative (IEI), a network used by Tehran to influence nuclear and security discussions. Additionally, there are allegations that a foreign government, likely Iran, may have hacked Malley’s devices, further compromising U.S. security. Despite these serious accusations, Malley denies any wrongdoing and awaits the outcome of the investigation.

  1. Khamenei’s Call for Violence and Defiance on American Grounds

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently cheered pro-Palestinian protesters on U.S. college campuses, urging them to continue their fight against Zionist oppression and asserting that they are on the “right side of history.” In a series of social media posts and an open letter, Khamenei labeled Israel as a nation formed by “several thousand terrorists” and claimed that these terrorists have oppressed Palestinians for decades. He encouraged American students to “become familiar with the Quran” and to stand firm against their government’s “ruthless pressure” and support for Zionists. This call to action included a message of solidarity with their professors and a clear incitement to resist U.S. policies, which he equated with state terrorism. Khamenei’s message, which spread widely online and provoked significant backlash from U.S. lawmakers, is seen as an attempt to inflame tensions and promote violence on American soil. Representatives like Brian Mast and Mike Waltz condemned the letter, emphasizing that such praise from Khamenei should prompt students to reconsider their positions, highlighting the Iranian regime’s own brutal history of suppressing dissent.

  1. Inauguration of Iranian Central Radiation Center in Isfahan

The Iranian Central Radiation Center in Isfahan was inaugurated today by Mohammad Islami, head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, along with managers and specialists in the nuclear industry. Equipped with an Iranian-origin gamma self-protection system, the center processes products like grains, medicinal herbs, and nuts. It offers services to the agricultural sector and supports research and technology activities. Eslami noted the importance of Isfahan in Iran’s nuclear strategy and announced plans to open seven more centers for irradiating crops by year-end. He stated that radiation treatment improves food security and reduces crop losses, aligning with international safety standards set by WHO and IAEA.

  1. Iran, Russia Envoys Meet in Vienna Ahead of IAEA Meeting

Russian Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov and Iran’s Representative to the IAEA, Mohsen Naziri, met to discuss the upcoming IAEA Board of Governors’ meeting. The agenda includes reviewing Iran’s nuclear activities under UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and the safeguards agreement. IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi reported that Iran’s enriched uranium reserves are 30 times the limit set in the 1994 agreement.

  1. China May Withhold Support for UAE’s Territorial Claim Against Iran

China might not back the UAE’s territorial claims against Iran during the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing, sources told Iran International. The UAE claims three islands in the Persian Gulf, which Iran took control of in 1971. The Forum, established in 2004, aims to strengthen China-Arab relations. In return for China’s stance, Iran has agreed to disrupt the International North-South Transport Corridor project. This corridor, a strategic initiative involving Russia, India, and Iran, competes with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Last July, Russia supported the UAE’s claim, but Iran remains dependent on its alliance with Russia.

  1. Iran Boosts Trade and Oil Projects to Strengthen Economic Growth

Iran’s exports to Iraq have reached $12 billion annually, with around 2,200 products, highlighting Iraq’s wealth and the need for enhanced trade infrastructure, said Jafar Hosseini. Concurrently, Oil Minister Javad Oji announced 32 oil projects worth $4.6 billion set to launch soon, with 132 projects worth $28.5 billion completed in the past 33 months. Fifty new projects worth over $50 billion have also started to expand the oil industry. Oji noted a 60% increase in oil production since August 2021 and a 20% rise in oil and gas production last year, aiming for further growth this year.

  1. US to Boycott UN Tribute to Iranian President Raisi

The United States will boycott a UN tribute to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash on May 19. The 193-member UN General Assembly will honor Raisi, but a US official confirmed the US will not attend, citing Raisi’s involvement in severe human rights abuses, including the 1988 extrajudicial killings of political prisoners. Raisi, a hardliner, was seen as a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The US had offered official condolences but faced criticism for acknowledging Raisi, who had a history of oppressive actions against Iranian citizens.

  1. Meeting of Top Terrorist Leaders: Assad and Khamenei Vow to Strengthen Ties

In a move that underscores the deepening alliance between two notorious regimes, Bashar al-Assad made an unannounced visit to Tehran to meet with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. This visit followed Assad’s absence at the funeral of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. During their meeting, Khamenei praised Raisi’s efforts to bolster Tehran-Damascus relations and lambasted Western attempts to overthrow the Assad regime.

Assad conveyed his militias’ solidarity with Iran and confidence in its ability to overcome this tragedy. The report also highlights the ongoing rivalry between Iran and Russia for economic and strategic control in Assad controlled territories, taking advantage of the Syrian regime’s desperation for support to maintain its grip on power.

Assad lauded the strategic and evolving ties between his militia and Iran under Khamenei’s guidance. He acknowledged Raisi’s significant contributions to advancing Iran’s regional policies and strengthening Iran-Assad relations.

Ayatollah Khamenei praised Assad’s resistance against external pressures as a defining trait, stressing the importance of preserving this stance. He reiterated the critical nature of the Iran-Assad relationship within the resistance movement, noting the failure of efforts to topple the Assad regime. Khamenei condemned the political and economic pressures from the U.S. and Europe on both nations and called for increased cooperation to overcome these challenges. He celebrated Syria’s “distinguished identity” in the region, attributing it to the Syrian nation’s resistance.

Iran’s Acting President Mohammad Mokhber also met with Bashar al-Assad to discuss mutual interests and the expansion of ties. Mokhber expressed gratitude for Syria’s condolences over Raisi’s death. Both leaders reaffirmed the importance of Iran-Syria relations and their commitment to supporting the resistance front against their common adversaries.

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★ YEMEN

  1. US Army Destroys Two Houthi Missile Launchers in Yemen

US Central Command announced that its forces destroyed two Houthi missile launchers in Yemen on Tuesday. Additionally, two Houthi drones launched over the Red Sea were intercepted on Wednesday. The Houthis also fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles, causing no injuries or damage., Arabian Sea, and Mediterranean Sea, allegedly heading to Israel. The targeted ships included Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree claimed that the group targeted several ships in the Red Sea Moorea, Celedi, Alba, Maersk Hartford, and Minerva Antonia.

  1. Third French Destroyer Arrives to Counter Houthi Threats in Red Sea

US Ambassador to Yemen, Stephen Fagin, revealed that the Saudi peace map presented to the UN is not an immediate agreement but a step towards a long-term solution. Speaking at a Washington Institute symposium, Fagin noted the plan’s near-term impracticality due to Houthi actions and the conflict’s intricacies. Emphasizing a cautious approach, he stressed the need to avoid escalating regional conflicts and warned of potential setbacks, including the risk of the Houthis controlling all of Yemen, which he described as disastrous for both Yemen and the region. Red Sea and Gulf of Aden from Houthi attacks., active sinc This mission e February 19, aims to secure vital maritime routes. The unnamed French destroyer is the third vessel added this month, following a Dutch frigate and a Belgian frigate. Since November, Iranian-backed Houthi militias have targeted cargo ships in these waters, claiming to support Gaza.

  1. US Ambassador: Yemeni Government Unlikely to Sign Saudi Peace Plan

US Ambassador to Yemen, Stephen Fagin, revealed that the Saudi peace map presented to the UN is not an immediate agreement but a step towards a long-term solution. Speaking at a Washington Institute symposium, due to Houthi actions and the conflict’s intrica Fagin noted the plan’s near-term impracticality  cies. Emphasizing a cautious approach, he stressed the need to avoid escalating regional conflicts and warned of potential setbacks, including the risk of the Houthis controlling all of Yemen, which he described as disastrous for both Yemen and the region.

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★ THE GULF

  1. US Seeks Historic Defense Deal with Saudi Arabia, Including F-35 Sales

The Biden administration is pursuing a historic agreement with Saudi Arabia that includes normalization with Israel and a defense pact with Washington. This deal may involve selling American F-35 stealth fighters to Saudi Arabia, similar to the 2020 Abraham Accords arrangement with the UAE. Forbes reports that Saudi-Israeli normalization could also lead to Riyadh purchasing advanced Israeli weapons. The US is considering lifting the ban on offensive weapon sales to Saudi Arabia, imposed in 2021, following a UN-brokered truce in Yemen. The deal aims to reduce Saudi arms purchases and tech cooperation with China, enhancing Saudi defense capabilities.

  1. Saudi Arabia Announces Early Purchase of Sukuk Worth 63.1 Billion Riyals

Saudi Arabia’s National Debt Management Center has completed an early purchase of outstanding sukuk due in 2024, 2025, and 2026, totaling 63.1 billion riyals. Additionally, the center issued new local sukuks worth 64.1 billion riyals, divided into three tranches: 16 billion riyals maturing in 2031, 29.3 billion riyals maturing in 2034, and 18.8 billion riyals maturing in 2039. HSBC Saudi Arabia, Al Ahli Capital Company, Al Rajhi Capital Company, Al Jazira Financial Markets Company, and Alinma Investment Company managed the issuance.

  1. Saudi “Sovereign” Brand Tops Global Rankings at $1.1 Billion

The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) has been named the most valuable sovereign brand in the world, valued at $1.1 billion, according to Brand Finance. PIF’s high appeal and strength, coupled with its ambitious goal to manage $2 trillion in assets by 2030, have boosted its brand value. As a global investor with over $930 billion in assets, PIF is a key driver of Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation. Since 2017, it has launched 94 new companies and created over 644,000 local jobs, significantly shaping the future of the global economy.

  1. African Gold Worth Billions Smuggled to UAE Annually

A SwissAid report revealed that hundreds of tons of African gold, worth tens of billions, are smuggled to the UAE each year. In 2022, 435 tons of gold, valued at over $30 billion, were smuggled, primarily by small-scale miners. The UAE received 405 tons, making it the main destination for this gold. This smuggling creates a large illegal economy that can fund terrorism and evade sanctions. SwissAid’s analysis suggests that despite UAE regulations, significant amounts of illegal gold still enter the country, highlighting flaws in enforcement. The report calls for greater transparency and stronger regulations to combat illegal gold trade.

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★ LEBANON

  1. Bombing in Southern Lebanon and Israeli Mishap with Drone

Israeli warplanes targeted the town of Houla in southern Lebanon on Thursday, with artillery strikes on the outskirts of Alma al-Shaab, Naqoura, and Hanin. Earlier, intermittent shelling hit Aita al-Shaab, reported the Lebanese National News Agency. Hezbollah claimed an attack on Israeli soldiers near Adathar with artillery. In a separate incident, the Israeli army mistakenly shot down its own Hormuz 900 drone near Shlomi. Channel 12 reported missile interceptions over Shlomi following launches from Lebanon.

  1. Lebanon Retracts Decision to Allow ICC Investigation of Israeli War Crimes

Lebanon has withdrawn its decision to permit the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate war crimes committed by Israel on its territory. The caretaker government had initially voted to authorize such investigations but failed to submit the required declaration. Instead, Lebanon will continue filing complaints with the United Nations. The decision comes shortly after the ICC prosecutor sought arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders.

  1. UNRWA Offices Closed in Lebanon in Protest Against Management Policies

Activists from the Palestinian Popular Committees, part of the “Palestinian Forces Alliance,” shut down UNRWA offices in several Lebanese areas today, protesting the agency’s management policies. The closures affected the Talat al-Mahfedh office in Sidon, the main office in Tyre, and the Taalabaya office in the Bekaa region. The protest follows UNRWA’s suspension of Fateh al-Sharif, head of the Teachers’ Union, for organizing a fundraising event for Gaza, deemed a violation of the neutrality law. The coalition vowed to continue peaceful protests and urged UNRWA to address Palestinian demands and resolve the issue.

  1. Syrians Sell Tents in Lebanon Fearing Forced Deportation

Facing pressure in Lebanon, many Syrians are choosing to return to their country, dismantling and selling their tents in the Bekaa region. Syrians told Asharq Al-Awsat that dozens have sold their tent contents, including furniture and appliances, for $500 to $700 before leaving for Raqqa, Aleppo, and Daraa. The departure follows security crackdowns and government measures against displaced Syrians. In the town of Taybeh, Baalbek, 40 out of 150 families have left. The remaining families await their fate, with abandoned tents now serving as playgrounds for children unable to attend school due to transportation costs.

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★ SYRIA

  1. Israeli Strikes in Homs and Baniyas Kill Hezbollah Fighters

Israeli airstrikes originating from Lebanese territory targeted multiple locations in Syria, including a military site near Al-Furqalus in Homs and a residential area in Baniyas. The Assad Ministry of Defense confirmed material damage and injuries in Baniyas, but Syrian opposition sources claim that the destruction was actually caused by a Syrian interceptor missile launched at Israeli warplanes. In Homs, Israeli missiles struck a military site, reportedly killing three Hezbollah members and three others of unspecified nationality. However, Lebanese sources deny the presence of Hezbollah members in the targeted truck, asserting that the driver escaped unharmed. Since the start of 2024, Israel has conducted 43 strikes on Syrian territory, causing numerous casualties and significant damage.

  1. HTS Defies U.S. Criticism: The Grim Reality in Idlib

In response to criticism from the U.S. State Department regarding its brutal crackdown on protests, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) has deflected by calling on the United States to protect the rights of university student protests, particularly those advocating for Palestine and Gaza. Despite HTS’s claims of providing a safe environment for expressing opinions, the reality in Idlib, Syria, tells a different story. Under the leadership of Abu Muhammad al-Julani, HTS continues to dominate the region through repressive measures marked by severe human rights abuses and instability.

HTS has responded to widespread protests with extensive arrest campaigns, targeting dissenters who face torture and threats to their families. A recent video shows an HTS mercenary threatening protesters with graphic violence, aiming to suppress dissent. The group’s brutal tactics, reminiscent of the Assad regime, include arbitrary detentions and secret burials. Economic exploitation further exacerbates the population’s suffering, with HTS monopolizing essential goods and imposing heavy taxes. The presence of extremist foreign fighters supported by HTS adds to the region’s volatility. 

  1. Bashar al-Assad’s Tactical Shift: Asma al-Assad Steps Back from Economic Role

Asma al-Assad, the First Lady of Syria, has announced her withdrawal from direct involvement in Syrian economic affairs due to a leukemia diagnosis. However, this announcement is widely seen as a strategic move by Bashar al-Assad. By sidelining Asma, Bashar aims to deflect attention from the international sanctions imposed on her and mitigate the impact of American and European restrictions on Syria. This maneuver is likely influenced by Saudi pressure and demands for internal reforms within the Assad regime. Asma al-Assad’s previous prominent role in economic matters, along with her public support for her husband during the war, has attracted significant international scrutiny. Her withdrawal serves as a calculated effort by Bashar to adapt to growing external pressures and maintain his regime’s stability.

  1. Syrian Mercenaries Allegedly Recruited by Turkey for Niger Deployment

Agence France-Presse (AFP) has released a report detailing the accounts of Syrian mercenaries purportedly recruited by Turkey to fight alongside Russian forces in Niger. Testimonies from two mercenaries suggest that Turkey has already dispatched two batches of fighters to Niger and is preparing to send a third from occupied northern Syria. The Turkish government’s use of Syrian mercenaries extends its influence into neighboring and historically Ottoman-affiliated regions, including Azerbaijan, Libya, and now Niger. Mercenaries speak openly about their motivations, citing economic hardship and the allure of financial incentives provided by Turkey. Despite fears of death, they view fighting for dollars as preferable to struggling with the Turkish lira.

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★ IRAQ

  1. Iran Announces Significant Export Growth to Iraq

Iranian exports to Iraq have reached $12 billion, with over 2,200 goods being exported. This was revealed by Jaafar Hosseini of Iran’s Planning and Budget Organization. A meeting discussed enhancing trade relations and attracting Iraqi investors. Hosseini emphasized the importance of developing commercial infrastructure, particularly in Kermanshah Province, and noted the potential for creating jobs in Iraq through consumer industries and joint ventures. He also highlighted the need for establishing trade corridors and industrial cities to strengthen economic ties and support employment for Iraqi youth.

  1. Iranian Militias Intensify Operations in Iraq

Iraqi analysts report a surge in armed operations by militias loyal to Iran, targeting American and British businesses in Baghdad. Since the start of the week, over seven attacks have occurred, including on the Cambridge Language Institute and Caterpillar company. Despite heightened security, these attacks continue, highlighting Iran’s influence. Political expert Saad Al-Ani notes Iran’s long-term strategy of establishing loyal armed factions in Iraq. This situation poses challenges for the Iraqi government and impacts foreign investments, with Iran using these militias to send messages to Washington on various issues.

  1. US Condemns Attacks on International Companies in Iraq

The State of Law Coalition, led by Nouri al-Maliki, reported that the Iraqi Government struggles to safeguard American companies in Baghdad. Saad Al-Mutlabi, a coalition leader, highlighted the frequent attacks on these companies, linking them to a boycott against Israel. Al-Mutlabi noted that the government cannot provide specific protection for every company. The Security Media Cell reported bombings at Caterpillar and the Cambridge Institute, causing material damage but no casualties. US Ambassador to Iraq, Alina Romanowski, condemned recent attacks on American and international companies in Baghdad, urging a comprehensive investigation and justice for the perpetrators. She highlighted the risk these attacks pose to Iraq’s ability to attract foreign investments and affirmed the US-Iraqi partnership for economic prosperity.

  1. Cassation Court Undermines Judicial Authority as Corruption and Iranian Influence Emerge

In a pivotal move, Iraq’s Federal Court of Cassation nullified a Federal Court ruling, revoking its “final and binding” status on the retirement of Judge Ali Banyan Kheit. Legal experts label this action as highly controversial, posing threats to the integrity of other Supreme Court rulings. Habib Al-Quraishi, a seasoned legal analyst, highlighted the unprecedented nature of this decision, warning of its potential to destabilize Iraq’s judicial hierarchy. Concerns over judicial corruption and external influence, particularly from Iran, further complicate the scenario, casting doubts on the independence of Iraq’s judiciary.

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★ EGYPT

  1. Iran’s Unverified Claim of Israeli Concessions in Gaza

Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard alleged that Israel sent messages through Egypt’s Foreign Minister to avoid Iranian retaliation for an attack on its embassy in Damascus. He stated that Israel offered concessions in Gaza and emphasized that the “True Promise” operation, a significant missile and drone attack on Israeli positions, was a response to Israeli actions resulting in the deaths of seven IRGC personnel. The operation was described as the largest of its kind globally, targeting two intelligence bases and designed to bypass Israel’s Iron Dome. Despite these claims, there is no independent verification from credible sources, suggesting the need for caution and cross-referencing with trusted information to assess the validity of these allegations.

  1. Egypt’s Solar Energy Market Valued at $250 Billion

Banking sector officials highlighted Egypt’s lucrative solar energy market, estimating it at $250 billion, with only 4% currently utilized. The country’s high energy demand, expected to grow by 2.5% annually, coupled with government incentives for renewable energy, offer substantial opportunities. Egyptian banks offer diverse financing programs for solar projects, including low-interest loans and partnerships with international institutions. Bank Al Baraka’s Nada Havash emphasized Egypt’s strategic focus on climate challenges and the need for infrastructure rehabilitation to boost solar investments. Collaboration among stakeholders is essential for market growth and sustainability.

  1. Egypt-Germany Trade Volume Surges to 6.8 Billion Euros in 2023

Yahya El-Wathiq Ballah announced that trade between Egypt and Germany grew by 23.6% in 2023, reaching 6.8 billion euros. Speaking at a business forum organized by NUMOV, he highlighted the strong bilateral relations, marked by increased investments and technology transfer from 1,444 German companies in Egypt. Emphasizing renewable energy and green hydrogen projects, he also noted the upcoming Egyptian European Investment Forum to deepen economic ties. Additionally, Egypt aims to attract $1 billion in Chinese investments in 2024, targeting sectors like agricultural equipment and textiles to boost exports and industrial growth.

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★ TURKIYE

  1. Turkiye to Warn NATO Allies Over Arms Restrictions and Terrorism

Turkiye will urge NATO allies to lift arms restrictions at the foreign ministers’ meeting in Prague on May 30-31, arguing these sanctions weaken collective security. Represented by Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, Turkiye will emphasize the need for unity in arms sales and cooperation, recalling the decisions from NATO’s 2023 Vilnius Summit. Fidan will also call for stronger NATO involvement in counterterrorism, stressing the importance of abandoning partnerships with groups like the YPG in Syria.  Turkiye seeks a comprehensive defense strategy to address threats from the alliance’s southern borders.

  1. Japan Proposes Joint Projects with  Turkiye in Third Countries

Japan’s Ambassador to Ankara, Katsumata Takahiko, announced plans for Japan and  Turkiye to collaborate on projects in third countries. Celebrating 100 years of diplomatic relations, Katsumata highlighted past joint infrastructure successes like Marmaray and expressed a desire to expand cooperation globally. He noted significant ongoing projects, such as natural gas ventures in Turkmenistan and energy initiatives in the Caucasus and Georgia. Katsumata emphasized the potential for joint infrastructure efforts in Africa, aiming to elevate economic relations and broaden the scope of cooperation between the two nations.

  1. Turkiye Signals Strong Support for Azerbaijan’s Development

At the 11th Meeting of the  Turkiye-Azerbaijan Joint Permanent Commission on Labor and Social Security in Baku,  Turkiye’s Labor Minister Vedat Işıkhan affirmed Turkiye’s commitment to aiding Azerbaijan’s regional development and peace efforts. Emphasizing the strong bilateral relations, Işıkhan highlighted  Turkiye’s readiness to contribute to the development of Karabakh and the Zangezur Corridor. Both nations aim to boost trade and employment, with joint projects and investments underscoring their collaboration. The meeting concluded with the signing of a protocol to enhance cooperation in labor, social security, and occupational health and safety.

  1. Surprise Summit Between Turkiye and the USA in Prague

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan will meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Prague to discuss Gaza and Ukraine. This bilateral meeting will take place during the unofficial NATO foreign ministers’ talks, ahead of the NATO summit in Washington on July 9-11. The last meeting between Fidan and Blinken was in Saudi Arabia on April 29.

  1. Habibollahzadeh: I Will Fulfill Raeisi’s Will for Turkiye

Iran’s Ambassador to Ankara, Habibullahzade, pledged to honor the directives of the late President Raeisi and Foreign Minister to strengthen Iran-Turkiye relations. Speaking at a meeting with the  Turkiye-Iran Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, he emphasized their commitment to advancing bilateral ties, viewing these directives as a testament to fulfill. The meeting included tributes to those lost in a recent helicopter crash, underscoring the deep connection between the two nations.

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📌 In case you missed it,

📰 THE EARLY PHOENIX  May 28, 2024

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