BREAKING NEWS

Five Egyptian police officers killed in Cairo shooting 
 
Baghdad suicide blast kills Iraqi policeman
 
IMF approves $1.25 billion loan for Egypt
 

ON THE GROUND


Turkey to buy $2.5B Russian missile defense system

Turkey has agreed to pay Russia $2.5 billion for its most advanced missile defense system, the S-400, according to a Turkish official. Russia will deliver two S-400 missile batteries within the next year and then build another two inside Turkey. The S-400 is a new generation missile system that Russia has previously only sold to India and China. The sale underlines Turkey’s strained ties and growing disappointment with its NATO allies.

 

Trump envoy facilitates water deal between Israel and Palestine

US President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, announced on Thursday that Israel and the Palestinian Authority have reached a water-sharing agreement as part of a broader plan sponsored by the World Bank to build a 120-mile pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. The head of the Palestinian Water Authority, Mazin Ghunaim, and Israel's Regional Cooperation Minister, Tzachi Hanegbi, were present during the announcement at a press conference in Jerusalem. Under the deal, Israel agreed to sell 32 million cubic meters of water to the PA each year.

 

Rebel group accuses Syrian regime of another poison gas attack

A local opposition member in Syria’s eastern Ghouta claimed on Thursday that Bashar al-Assad's regime conducted a poison gas attack Thursday in Ghouta’s besieged Ain Tarma neighborhood. Ten opposition fighters were hospitalized after suffering from vomiting and dizziness. Medical sources confirmed the use of a poisonous substance but have not identified it. Ghouta was the scene of a sarin gas attack that killed hundreds of people in 2013.

Elsewhere on Thursday, a car bomb exploded in the rebel-held town of Azaz near the Turkish border, killing at least four people and wounding seven others. A Syrian Civil Defense official said the blast went off near a school and damaged several nearby buildings.

 

Israeli police officers killed in Jerusalem attack

Two Israeli police officers were killed and another wounded near the Lion’s Gate in Jerusalem today, apparently by Israeli Arab gunmen. The three assailants arrived at the Temple Mount compound armed with rifles and a handgun and approached the Lion’s Gate, where they exchanged fire with police and security forces. After opening fire, the gunmen fled toward the Temple Mount as Israeli security forces shot and killed all three.

 

Egyptian churches suspend outside events amid fear of attacks

Egypt's Coptic and evangelical churches suspended all pilgrimages, holidays and conferences outside their churches for the remainder of July after authorities warned of more attempted attacks by Islamist militants. Coptic Church spokesman Bolus Halim confirmed the temporary moratorium. Egypt will deploy more security forces outside monasteries and churches holding religious activities this week. The Islamic State has killed more than 100 Egyptian Christians since December and is threatening to carry out more such attacks.

 

Iraq accused of forcibly displacing families of alleged IS fighters

Human Rights Watch accused Iraq's security forces on Thursday of forcibly relocating at least 170 families of suspected Islamic State fighters. The human rights watchdog said the families have been forced to move to "rehabilitation camps" as a form of collective punishment. An Iraqi military spokesman in Washington denied the report and said that while Iraqi military forces try to secure safe pathways for civilians from the battle, “there is no situation or scenario where the Iraqi forces will forcefully get people out of their homes as Iraqi citizens.”

 

Qatari foreign minister makes surprise visit to Turkey

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani arrived in Turkey last night for an unexpected visit to one of Qatar's few allies in its showdown with its Gulf neighbors. Thani is expected to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today as well as with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Separately, the Turkish parliament officially approved a deal to deploy more Turkish soldiers to its military base in Qatar. Closing Turkey’s military base in the Gulf kingdom is one of the 13 demands stipulated by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain to end their blockade.

 

Israeli troops raid Hamas TV station in Hebron

Israel Defense Force soldiers raided the offices of Hamas satellite channel station Al-Quds TV in the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday. The IDF confiscated office equipment on the premise that the station was inciting violence. The IDF soldiers simultaneously raided a second Hebron media company that supplies information to another Hamas broadcasting channel, Al-Aqsa TV. 

 

Russia distances itself from Assad 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia does not support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at a forum in Germany on Thursday and argued that Moscow’s intervention in the long-running war is intended to bolster stability in Syria. "As for Assad, we do not support him, we simply categorically do not want to repeat what happened in Iraq when almost all in the West had the desire to liquidate ‘this dictator’ [Saddam Hussein].” Lavrov also compared the situation in Syria to Libya, accusing Western leaders of aiming to “liquidate” former strongman Moammar Qadhafi as well. 

 

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