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Israel kills 21 Palestinians in new attack on Central Gaza

Israeli tanks advanced deeper in the western side of the city and took position on a hilltop there

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Cairo/Gaza: Israeli forces bombarded the Gaza Strip’s historic refugee camps in the centre of the enclave and struck Gaza City in the north on Thursday, killing at least 21 people, and tanks pushed deeper into Rafah in the south, health officials and residents said.

A barrage of Israeli airstrikes killed 16 in Zawayda town, Bureij and Nuseirat camps and the overcrowded city of Deir-Al-Balah, the last major urban centre in Gaza not to be invaded by Israeli forces, health officials said.

In Gaza City in the north, medics said five Palestinians were killed in two separate strikes.

The Israeli military said in a statement its forces killed two senior Islamic Jihad commanders in two airstrikes in Gaza City, including one whom it said had taken part in the Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel that triggered the Gaza war.

In Rafah, residents said Israeli tanks advanced deeper in the western side of the city and took position on a hilltop there. The Israeli military said forces located several tunnels and killed several gunmen.

At Al-Amal Hospital, run by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, Palestinian health officials exhumed at least 12 bodies buried inside the medical facility to rebury them at another location.

Reuters footage showed medical workers digging up bodies from graves inside the facility, wrapping them in white shrouds before placing them inside vehicles for transfer to a new burial site as some relatives watched, some in tears.

Areej Hamouda, a mother of one of the dead, clutched some of the sandy earth from the grave of her son and kissed it before medics exhumed the body.

“They (Israel) shot him and he had a loaf of bread with him, which he had to beg for to get for his daughter, they shot him in the eye and the head - it rained on him, he was washed with blood,” Hamouda said, weeping.

“He was (lying) there all day long, they weren’t able to move him, (then) they pulled him with a rope when they brought him to be buried here.”

Israel launches new Gaza strikes after weekend attack kills scores in safe zone

The fighting has pushed the 60-bed Red Cross field hospital in Rafah to the brink of capacity, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement on Thursday.

“The repeated mass casualty events resulting from the unrelenting hostilities have stretched to breaking point the response capacity of our hospital – and all health facilities in southern Gaza – to care for those with life-threatening injuries,” said William Schomburg, head of the ICRC’s subdelegation in Gaza.

More than a million people had sought shelter in Rafah from fighting further north, but most have scattered again since Israel launched an offensive in and around the city in May to root out brigades of Hamas operating there.

More than nine months into the war, Palestinian fighters led by Hamas are still able to attack Israeli forces on the ground, occasionally firing rocket barrages into Israel.

Islamic Jihad said it fired missiles at two southern Israeli communities on Thursday and Hamas said it fired mortar bombs at Israeli forces in southwest Rafah. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.

Health ministry in Gaza says war death toll at 38,664

More than 38,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory offensive since then, Gaza health authorities say.

On Tuesday, Israel said it had eliminated half of the leadership of Hamas and killed or captured about 14,000 fighters since the start of the war. Israel says 326 of its soldiers have been killed in Gaza.

Hamas doesn’t release figures of casualties among its ranks and said Israel was exaggerating to portray a “fake victory”.

Diplomatic efforts by Arab mediators to halt the hostilities, backed by the United States, appear on hold, though all sides say they are open to more talks, including Israel and Hamas.

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Pakistan

Imran Khan, Bushra Bibi move IHC against arrest in new Toshakhana reference

In their petition, former PM and his wife state they have been arrested in violation of law

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Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi have challenged their arrest in a new Toshakhana reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The legal woes of the former prime minister and his spouse refused to die down following the couple's arrest in the fresh NAB reference related to state gifts, which came just hours after their acquittal in the iddat case last week — also known as the un-Islamic nikah case — which was the last hurdle in their release from jail.

In the petition filed in the IHC against the arrests, Khan has nominated the chairman, director general and other officers of the anti-graft watchdog as respondents.

“The petitioners have been arrested in violation of law, Constitution and fundamental rights,” the petition stated.

It maintained that Khan and Bushra had been “illegally” remanded into NAB’s custody while their arrest had affected the fundamental rights of “liberty and pre-arrest”.

On July 13, a team of the anti-corruption watchdog headed by Deputy Director Mohsin Haroon had arrested Khan and Bushra from the Adiala Jail in the new reference related to alleged "misuse of power for acquiring Toshakhana gifts".

The NAB team rearrested Bushra Bibi after she was released from Adiala Jail's Gate No 3, following her exoneration in the iddat case.

Subsequently, an accountability court on Sunday approved eight-day physical remand each of the PTI founder and his wife in the fresh graft reference.

Khan has been behind bars since August last year after he was sentenced in the Toshakhana criminal case and subsequently sentenced in other cases ahead of the February 8 elections.

Although the former PM has been granted bail in several May 9 cases registered in Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Faisalabad, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) last week cancelled his bail 12 May 9 cases registered against him and thousands of his supporters in connection with violence against the military and other state installations that erupted following his arrest in May 2023.

In June, the Islamabad High Court overturned Khan's conviction on charges of leaking state secrets in the cipher case wherein he was handed down a 10-year prison sentence on charges of making public a classified cable sent to Islamabad by Pakistan's ambassador in Washington in 2022.

Also, the ex-premier Khan was given jail sentences — one of 14 years and the other three years — in two cases pertaining to illegally acquiring and selling state gifts. Both sentences have been suspended by high courts while his appeals are heard — however, the conviction in both cases still stands.

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Business

SIFC takes initiative to improve payment system in agri sector

The aim of this collaboration is to economically empower and enable farmers

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Islamabad: Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) has taken a major initiative to improve and simplify payment system in the country's agriculture sector. 

To this effect, it has facilitated an MOU between a fertilizer company and a digital wallet.

The aim of this collaboration is to economically empower and enable farmers who do not have access to local banks to play an active role in the economy.

The partnership between the fertilizer company and the digital wallet will facilitate and make money transactions easier for farmers.

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