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Israeli war jets strike Gaza as a response to earlier rocket attack

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Gaza: Israeli war jets struck air-to-ground missiles at military facilities in the Gaza Strip, in response to earlier rockets fired from the enclave into Israel, witnesses and security officials said.

Witnesses said the war jets kept hovering over the Gaza Strip, where several explosions were heard in its northern, central and southern areas, Xinhua news agency reported.

Firefighters and ambulances rushed to the targeted areas.

Paramedics said no injuries were reported, while police and security forces evacuated buildings and security headquarters all over Gaza in fear of being targeted by Israel.

Security officials said that at least one missile was fired at a training facility that belongs to the Islamic Hamas movement’s armed wing, known as al-Qassam Brigades. A huge explosion was heard in the area but no injuries were reported.

The Israeli airstrike was in response to an earlier rocket attack on Israel carried out from northern Gaza city. Israel said three rockets were fired into Israel, but caused no damages or injuries.

However, Palestinian sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that a radical Islamic Salafist group, affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, was responsible for firing the rockets into Israel.

The Israeli media had earlier reported that the Salafists fired rockets into Israel due to deep differences with Hamas movement following Hamas’s crackdown on the group and the killing of one of its members on Tuesday.

It is the second time in one week that this group fired rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Last week, Israeli war jets carried out six airstrikes on Hamas and Islamic Jihad military facilities in response to firing of rockets.

On Tuesday, a Salafist group, affiliated with the IS, claimed responsibility for the rockets, which were fired from Gaza into Israel. It said in a video tape that it was not committed to any truce with Israel.

The group also claimed responsibility for the rocket attack and gave Hamas a 48-hour ultimatum to stop its crackdown on its militants and bring back all the weapons Hamas had confiscated from them.

The airstrikes on Gaza last week and on Thursday have been the most intensive ones since the end of a large-scale Israeli military operation on the Gaza Strip that lasted for 50 days and ended on August 26 last year. (IANS)

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Israel to Help India with Desertification and Water Management

World Day to Combat Desertification, which is observed every June 17 to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification

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The country is one of the world's leading nations in desert technologies and methods of dealing with desertification. Wikimedia Commons

At a time when several parts of India are facing acute water shortage and drought situation, Israel has expressed its keenness to share its experience in dealing with desertification and water management, in which it is a world leader.

Israel, with over 60 per cent of its territory being a desert and another 20 per cent semi-arid land, has developed a variety of solutions to desertification through desert agriculture, irrigation, desalination, aquaculture, afforestation and management of water resources. The country is one of the world’s leading nations in desert technologies and methods of dealing with desertification.

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The statement assumes significance as it comes at a time when several parts of India are facing acute water shortage and drought situation. Wikimedia Commons

“As part of our growing partnership with India, Israel is keen to work together and share all its experience and cutting edge technology in our joint fight against desertification, including a strategic partnership on water management and water security,” said Israeli Ambassador to India Ron Malka in a statement.

His statement came in the context of World Day to Combat Desertification, which is observed every June 17 to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. The statement assumes significance as it comes at a time when several parts of India are facing acute water shortage and drought situation.

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World Day to Combat Desertification, which is observed every June 17 to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. Wikimedia Commons

A statement issued by the Israeli Embassy said MASHAV, the country’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, places special emphasis on development cooperation and assistance in the fight against desertification and drought by introducing international programs of capacity building, training, project development and research.

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MASHAV’s approach is based on Israel’s experience in facing harsh climatic conditions, combines the transfer of adaptable technology, research and development, and a hands-on experience originating from leading Israeli experts and institutions, it added.

Under the Indo-Israeli Agricultural Project with the federal and state governments of India, the centre of excellence for date palms in the heart of the desert in Bhuj, Gujarat introduced Indian farmers to date palms suitable for arid conditions made more common by desertification, the statement said. Date palms are ideal value crops for farmers in arid conditions that can be found in India and Israel alike, it added. (IANS)