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Nasrallah's Escort Killed, Rockets Hit Israel, Iran Arms Proxies

Nasrallah’s Escort Killed, Rockets Hit Israel, Iran Arms Proxies

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Top Headlines: 

  • Hezbollah’s Nasrallah Escort Killed in Israeli Airstrike in Syria
  • Breaking: Hezbollah Fires 40 Rockets at Israel, Killing Two
  • Iran Expands Missile Sites; Missiles to Hezbollah, Drones to Houthis
  • Syrians Fleeing Assad Die of Thirst in Desert
  • Houthis Attack American-Flagged Maersk Ship in Gulf of Aden

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ISRAEL-HEZBOLLAH CRISIS

  1. Breaking: Hezbollah Fires 40 Rockets at Israel, Killing Two

Hezbollah launched a barrage of approximately 40 rockets at the Golan Heights, resulting in the deaths of two Israelis when a projectile struck a car at the Nafah Junction. The victims were pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders. The IDF intercepted most rockets launched from Rab El Thalathine in southern Lebanon toward northern Israel’s Misgave Am area. The Israeli military confirmed the rocket barrage and reported at least eight fires ignited across the Golan. Following the attack, the Golan Regional Council closed Route 91 and advised residents to stay near bomb shelters. This attack was claimed by Hezbollah as retaliation for the Israeli strike earlier in the day, which killed Yasser Nimr Qarnabsh, a high-ranking Hezbollah operative and former bodyguard of Hassan Nasrallah, on the Damascus-Beirut highway. To understand that whole story, go to Syria’s section below. 

  1. Monday Report: Hezbollah Suffers Heavy Losses in Israeli Counterattacks

Intense clashes between Israel and Hezbollah on Monday highlighted the IDF’s operational superiority. Early in the morning, an Israeli drone strike in Qlaileh, southern Lebanon, killed Mustafa Hassan Salman, a key Hezbollah operative in the group’s Rockets and Missiles Unit, raising Hezbollah’s death toll to over 365. In the evening, Hezbollah launched four coordinated attacks on Israeli border sites, including artillery and rocket strikes on settlements like Hagoshrim, Metula, and Manara. Despite these offensives, no injuries were reported on the Israeli side. In retaliation, Israeli fighter jets bombed Hezbollah infrastructure in Maroun al-Ras, Ayta ash-Shab, and Houla. Additionally, the IDF targeted an agricultural farm in Jezzine, resulting in significant livestock losses and a missing shepherd. Later in the evening, the IDF eliminated Ali Vizani, another Hezbollah member in Maroun al-Ras.

  1. Hezbollah’s Propaganda Video Fails to Intimidate Israel

Hezbollah’s recent release of high-definition drone footage showing sensitive Israeli military sites in the Golan Heights has been exposed as outdated, diminishing its psychological impact. Despite evading Israel’s advanced air defenses, the two-month-old video highlights Hezbollah’s failed propaganda efforts. The group continues to use an Iran-funded private telecommunications network to avoid Israeli surveillance, relying on daily-updated code words and couriers for secure communications

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SYRIA

  1. Hezbollah’s Nasrallah Escort Killed in Israeli Airstrike in Syria

An Israeli drone strike on a Hezbollah vehicle near the Damascus road in Beirut resulted in the death of Yasser Karnabash, known as Abu Fadal or al Hajj Amin, the personal escort of Hezbollah’s Secretary General, Hassan Nasrallah. The attack, occurring near the Zabora checkpoint in Syrian territory, killed Karnabash and another individual while injuring one more. Karnabash had previously commanded Hezbollah operations in Marjaayoun in 2000. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the casualties, highlighting the ongoing conflict’s toll. Since the Gaza war began, Israeli airstrikes in Syria have killed at least 24 Hezbollah fighters.

  1. Israeli Airstrikes Hit Buildings Near Baniyas, Syria

Israeli airstrikes targeted two buildings near Baniyas in the Tartous Governorate, causing major explosions and a large fire. One of the buildings was associated with an air defense battalion on Arab al-Malik Beach. Reports indicate a weapons depot was also attacked, linked to an air defense system operated by Iranian militias in the area. Despite significant damage, there were no casualties reported. This is the third strike in the region this year and coincided with the arrival of two Iranian ships at the port of Latakia. Since 2024, Israel has launched 49 attacks on Syria, focusing on weapon depots, headquarters, and vehicles, resulting in 174 military and 16 civilian deaths.

  1. Syrians Fleeing Assad Die of Thirst in Desert

Twelve Syrians, including children, died of thirst in the Algerian desert while attempting to flee their harsh reality and reach Europe. The victims, identified by the “Rescue and Search Association ” in Tamanrasset, were found in the Belqbour area, their bodies scattered next to a disabled vehicle. Journalist Zawi Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq confirmed a 10-year-old boy, Mundhir Muhaimid, born in 2014, among the deceased. This tragic incident underscores the extreme dangers faced by Syrians escaping Assad’s control, who, if not drowning in the Mediterranean, perish in the desert. The agonizingly slow death from dehydration, taking 3-5 days, starkly illustrates their desperate plight. Families are urged to contact the morgue at Bordj Omar Idriss Hospital to reclaim their loved ones, further highlighting the despair and danger inherent in these treacherous migration routes.

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ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Israeli Airstrikes Target Shifa Hospital, Drone Attack Kills Four

Dozens of families evacuated from Gaza City to Nuseirat via the Netzerim corridor, defying Hamas’ call to ignore IDF evacuation orders. Overnight, Israeli warplanes attacked the Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza City twice. Concurrently, the IDF conducted extensive operations in Tulkarm’s Nur Shams refugee camp, employing bulldozers to uncover terrorist infrastructures, causing significant destruction. This operation, ongoing for 12 hours, saw bulldozers reach depths of 1.5-2 meters. A drone attack in Nuseirat’s al Balat market killed four security personnel. Hamas claims Israel aims to evacuate Gaza City to enhance security, allegedly making the city unlivable and providing misleading evacuation maps. 

  1. IDF Reports Hamas Tunnel Network Remains Largely Intact

Despite nine months of conflict, much of Hamas’s tunnel network in Gaza remains operational, according to a recent IDF assessment. The tunnels, especially in central Gaza, Rafah, and Shejaiya, still facilitate Hamas’s ability to approach and potentially cross the Israeli border. The IDF is actively working to destroy these tunnels, but civil defense leaders urge making this a top priority. Senior military officials believe that, despite progress, Hamas retains the capacity for border incursions. The extensive network, estimated at 350-450 miles, poses a significant challenge to neutralize fully.

  1. Hamas Tortures Critic, Breaks All Four Limbs

Amin Abed, a 35-year-old Palestinian activist, faced brutal retribution from Hamas for his critical Facebook posts. Masked men, likely affiliated with Hamas, kidnapped Abed in northern Gaza’s Jabalya neighborhood, where they dragged him from Al-Fakh School to Al-Tawbah area. For over forty minutes, around twenty men took turns beating him, breaking all four of his limbs and continuing to strike his head and body. The severity of the attack left his feet bloodied, and locals eventually intervened, transporting him in a cart for medical care. Abed had long been a vocal critic of Hamas, denouncing their exploitation of Gaza’s citizens, the poor living conditions, and the high unemployment rate. His father, Salah Abed, publicly condemned Hamas leaders amid the devastation in Gaza, highlighting the ongoing repression under their rule. The attack has drawn widespread anger and intensified scrutiny of Hamas’s brutal tactics.

  1. Bank of Israel Lowers GDP Growth Forecast Amid War

The Bank of Israel has reduced its GDP growth forecast to 1.5% for 2024 and 4.2% for 2025 due to prolonged conflict with Hamas. This revision accounts for extended military mobilization and labor supply issues, particularly in construction. Additionally, public and private consumption is expected to slow due to government spending adjustments and potential tax increases. The budget deficit is predicted to decrease, with an interest rate held steady at 4.5%. Governor Amir Yaron emphasized the need for responsible budgeting to avoid increased debt and economic instability.

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IRAN

  1. Iran Expands Missile Sites; Missiles to Hezbollah, Drones to Houthis

New satellite images reveal significant expansions at Iran’s Modarres military base and Khojir missile production complex, attributed to increased missile production. This expansion includes over 30 new buildings, facilitating a doubling of drone manufacturing for Yemen’s Houthis and missile production for Hezbollah, according to Iranian officials. The missiles and drone components will also be sold to Russia for its war in Ukraine. These sites, near Tehran, began expanding last August and October. The dirt berms around structures indicate measures to prevent explosions from spreading. Iran, with over 3,000 missiles, directly attacked Israel in April with over 300 missiles and drones. Meanwhile, however, The Iranian Navy frigate Sahand sank in shallow waters in Bandar Abbas on Tuesday after capsizing on Sunday during repairs, according to the Nournews agency.

  1. Iran’s New President Pledges to Deepen Relations with Putin

Incoming Iranian President Pezeshkian pledged to strengthen ties with Russia during his first call with President Putin, committing to existing agreements and cooperation in energy and transportation. Putin invited Pezeshkian to the BRICS summit in Kazan, while Pezeshkian highlighted ongoing collaboration in international groups like SCO and BRICS. Russian Ambassador Alexey Dedov affirmed Russia’s readiness to work closely with Iran’s new administration, signaling deepening strategic ties amidst regional tensions.

  1. Iran Submits 20-Year Economic Pact with Syria

Iran’s Acting President Mohammad Mokhber has submitted a 20-year strategic economic cooperation agreement with Syria to Parliament. This pact is strategically significant for Iran, allowing it to deepen its influence in Syria and secure critical economic and military footholds in the region. By strengthening economic bonds, Iran can ensure a reliable ally in Syria, facilitating the flow of goods, energy resources, and potentially enhancing military cooperation, thereby solidifying its presence and strategic depth in the Middle East amidst ongoing regional conflicts and international sanctions. The bill, presented to Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf on Monday, requires approval under Article 77 of the Constitution. Approved by the Cabinet on June 16 and proposed by the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, the agreement aims to bolster long-term economic ties between Iran and Syria, with potential for extension beyond the initial 20 years.

  1. Iran’s Strategic Trade Flourishes Under Biden Administration

Iran exporting its first freight via sea-rail transport from Caspian Port demonstrates the lack of sanctions that should be imposed by the United States, thus proving the Biden administration’s help to Iran. The Rasht-Caspian railway line, inaugurated by caretaker president Mohammad Mokhber, facilitates the annual export of 400,000 metric tons of cement to Caspian Sea countries, showcasing Iran’s continued trade and economic development—an issue Iran was not able to achieve during the Trump administration.

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YEMEN

  1. Houthis Attack American-Flagged Maersk Ship in Gulf of Aden

The Maersk Sentosa, a vessel owned by the Danish shipping group Maersk, reported being targeted by a flying object in the early hours of Tuesday morning in the northern Gulf of Aden. This incident occurred approximately 180 nautical miles (333 kilometers) east of Nishtun, Yemen. A spokesman for Maersk confirmed the ship was flying a US flag and operated by its subsidiary, Maersk Line Ltd. Although there was an explosion near the vessel, both the ship and its crew remained unharmed. The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) issued an advisory, confirming the explosion and ensuring the vessel’s safety. Meanwhile, The Palau-flagged cargo ship Verbena, attacked by Yemen’s Houthis on June 13 with three missiles, has been towed to safety. The ship caught fire and later submerged after the crew was rescued, with one member injured.

  1. Houthis and Iraqi Islamic Resistance Target Eilat with Drones

Yemen’s Houthi group announced a joint operation with Iraq’s Islamic Resistance, claiming to have targeted Israel’s port city of Eilat using drones. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed shooting down a suspected drone approaching from the Red Sea early this morning. Residents of Eilat reported hearing a blast during the incident. This marks another in a series of similar attacks by the Houthis and Iraqi resistance against Israeli locations, with a prior attack targeting Haifa.

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 TURKIYE

  1. Turkish Assembly Speaker Kurtulmuş Discusses F-16 Deal and Defense Needs in the USA

Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Numan Kurtulmuş, termed the F-16 deal a positive development, emphasizing Turkey’s ability to meet its defense needs independently if necessary. He highlighted the threat posed by the PYD-YPG and criticized the US for supporting these groups, straining bilateral relations. During his visit to Washington for the NATO Parliament Speakers Summit, Kurtulmuş accentuated Turkey’s commitment to NATO, while also advocating for NATO to reassess its roles amid global conflicts. He called for international cooperation to establish a more equitable world system.

  1. Erdoğan to Address Gaza at Ukraine-Focused NATO Summit

President Erdoğan will attend the NATO summit in Washington to advocate for Western intervention to halt Israel’s actions in Gaza. He plans to call for an end to Israeli attacks and push for lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Erdoğan’s stance contrasts with the summit’s primary focus on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. He will also discuss joint security with Turkish and U.S. leaders and propose Turkiye as a mediator in the Ukraine conflict. Erdoğan has criticized Israel for its military actions and urged international pressure to stop the violence, advocating for a two-state solution based on 1967 borders.

  1. Early Elections Debate Heats Up in Turkiye Amid Economic Concerns

Turkiye faces political tension as the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) calls for early elections, citing economic distress. Opinion polls show the CHP leading over the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). CHP leader Ozgur Ozil emphasized the public’s demand for elections due to economic struggles, urging a vote within two months. The AKP rejects early elections, focusing on reforms and a new constitution. Recent polls indicate the CHP’s growing support, with the economy being the primary concern for voters. The political debate intensifies as both parties prepare for the next electoral cycle.

  1. Economist Mahfi Eğilmez Analyzes Turkiye’s Persistent Inflation Issue

Dr. Mahfi Eğilmez explains Turkiye’s persistent inflation, citing major economic missteps over the past decade. Key errors include ineffective privatization, excessive foreign borrowing, and granting citizenship through real estate purchases without stringent conditions. Eğilmez also criticizes the reduction of interest rates amid rising inflation, which led to increased inflation and the problematic Exchange Rate Protected Deposit scheme. Additionally, the Central Bank’s high interest rates below actual inflation encourage short-term foreign currency deposits, further destabilizing the economy. Despite these policies, an informal economy has helped the country survive, highlighting systemic issues.

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IRAQ

  1. Iraqi-Turkish Coordination on Military Operations Against PKK

Advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani, Ibrahim Al-Sumaidi, confirmed that Turkish military actions against the PKK in the Kurdistan Region are coordinated with Baghdad. He stated that the Iraqi government classifies the PKK as a terrorist organization due to its criminal operations. Prime Minister Al-Sudani emphasized joint security efforts with Turkiye during a meeting with Turkish Ambassador Anil Bora Inan. Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan highlighted the importance of Iraq in combating the PKK. The conflict has led to significant damage in Dohuk Governorate and displacement of residents in affected areas.

  1. Al-Fatah Alliance Urges Expulsion of US Forces from Iraq

Al-Fatah Alliance member Ali Al-Zubaidi called for the expulsion of American forces from Iraq, citing Ayatollah Khamenei’s directive. Al-Zubaidi criticized the silence of Iraqi leaders on this issue, claiming that US forces are combat troops destabilizing security rather than preserving it. He emphasized that their presence is a provocation to the Islamic resistance led by Khamenei and must be opposed under any pretext.

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 EGYPT

  1. Egyptian Remittances Surge to $2.7 Billion in May 2024

Remittances from Egyptians working abroad surged to $2.7 billion in May 2024, marking a 73.8% increase from May 2023, as reported by the Central Bank of Egypt. Compared to April 2024, monthly remittances rose by 26.6%. This boost follows an economic reform package launched on March 6, 2024, which included devaluing the Egyptian pound and expanding an IMF program to $8 billion. These reforms, coupled with significant investments, especially from Abu Dhabi’s ADQ, helped address a foreign currency shortage and stabilize the Egyptian economy.

  1. Egypt Stands Firm on Support for UNRWA

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Badr Abdel Aty declared unwavering support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), rejecting any alternatives. At a press conference with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini, Abdel Aty stressed the Palestinian issue’s priority in Egypt’s foreign policy. He underscored UNRWA’s vital role amid violations in the occupied Palestinian territories and called for a ceasefire in Gaza, unrestricted humanitarian aid, and a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. Abdel Aty condemned the destruction in Gaza, including attacks on UNRWA facilities, and highlighted Egypt’s aid and support for the wounded.

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 THE GULF

  1. Gulf States Redefine Diplomacy Through Cultural Heritage

Gulf states are becoming key mediators in international diplomacy, using cultural traditions like the majlis for discreet dialogue and consensus-building. Qatar has mediated crises like the 2008 Lebanese conflict and hosted US-Taliban talks. Kuwait worked to resolve the GCC rift, while Saudi Arabia has attempted to mediate in Sudan. Oman’s diplomacy led to early US-Iran talks, resulting in the 2015 nuclear deal. The UAE facilitated the Ethiopia-Eritrea peace agreement, hosted COP28, and managed the largest Russia-Ukraine prisoner exchange. These actions highlight a strategic shift towards leveraging cultural practices such as the majlis and Sulh for peace-making.

  1. Sudan, Saudi Arabia Revive Jeddah Peace Talks

On Monday, Sudan’s Sovereignty Council President Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan met Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Walid Al-Khuraiji in Port Sudan to revive the Jeddah peace talks aimed at ending Sudan’s war. Al-Burhan stressed Sudan’s commitment to the Jeddah Platform and called for more mediators, highlighting concerns over support for the Rapid Support Militia. Initiated on May 6, 2023, with Saudi-American mediation, the talks led to an agreement for civilian protection and aid but were suspended due to violations. The conflict, starting in mid-April 2023, has caused around 15,000 deaths and displaced 8.5 million people.

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📌 In case you missed it,

📰  THE EARLY PHOENIX July 9, 2024

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