Sunday , May 19 2024

Erdogan & Hamas Chief hold talks in Istanbul


ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh held talks in Istanbul on Saturday, Turkish media reported.

The meeting at the Dolmabahce Palace started shortly after 2:30 pm, media reported.

Erdogan has sought but failed to establish a foothold as a mediator in the Palestinian conflict that has roiled the region since October 7, Barron’s reports but Erdogan has remained discreet about his meetings with the Hamas head.

“We will keep the agenda between us and Haniyeh,” Erdogan said when questioned by journalists on Friday. Hamas said the war in Gaza would figure in the talks.

Turkish media reported that the meeting at the Dolmabahce palace on the banks of the Bosphorus began shortly after 2:30 pm.

With Qatar saying it will reassess its role as a mediator between Hamas and Israel, Erdogan sent Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan to Doha on Wednesday in a new sign that he wants a role.

“Even if only I, Tayyip Erdogan, remain, I will continue as long as God gives me my life, to defend the Palestinian struggle and to be the voice of the oppressed Palestinian people,” the president said Wednesday when he announced Haniyeh’s looming visit.

Funerals held for Palestinians, including six children, killed in Israeli air attack on Gaza’s Rafah, as Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh meets Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.

Israeli forces continue to raid Nur Shams refugee camp in the occupied West Bank’s Tulkarem for a second day, killing at least five people, including a teenager, and causing “worst destruction in decades”, according to media.

Iran’s foreign minister says his country will respond to the “maximum” if Israeli “adventurism” continues following reports of the shooting down by Iranian air defence batteries of three drones over Isfahan.

Israeli forces have deployed more troops to areas adjacent to Rafah and destroyed agricultural land in the eastern areas of the governorate.

At least 34,049 people have been killed and 76,901 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. The death toll in Israel from Hamas’s October 7 attacks stands at 1,139, with dozens of captives held in Gaza.

The southern city of Rafah has been the main focus for the Israeli military in their operations today, with overnight air strikes killing at least 10 Palestinians.

Meanwhile, surveillance drones are hovering at a very low altitude right now.

Israeli forces also recently targeted a residential house in the western part of the Rafah district. There have been no reports of casualties so far in the attack which seemed to target an empty house that was completely destroyed.

Rafah has been witnessing a surge of Israeli military strikes in the past couple of weeks. This could be seen as a sign that further military incursion could be carried out, specifically in light of the Israeli mobilization of its troops near the border with Rafah.

Over the past few weeks, thousands of Israelis have been protesting to demand the government secure a ceasefire deal that would also free Israeli captives held by Hamas and other groups in Gaza, as well as called for elections.

Demonstrators are expected to take to the streets again tonight in Tel Aviv and dozens of other locations across Israel, according to Israeli media reports.

The growing protests are placing more pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, which has faced widespread criticism over the security failure of the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel in October. (Int’l News Desk)

Check Also

Sonia makes emotional appeal to voters on behalf of son

19-05-2024 Bureau Report + Agencies NEW DELHI: Sonia Gandhi, the leader of India’s Congress party, …