Media Summary

Israeli aircraft hit Iranian targets near Damascus

The Associated Press reports that Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes early on Thursday near Damascus, wounding eight soldiers, Syrian state media said, while an opposition war monitoring group said the strikes targeted army positions as well as Iran-backed fighters, killing 12.

Reuters and The Associated Press report that a car ran down and injured 12 Israeli soldiers and two other people in Jerusalem early on Thursday before fleeing, Israeli military and medical officials said, in an incident police described as a suspected Palestinian attack.

The Guardian reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has backtracked on a plan to apply Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank, as Israel’s settler movement are furious that promised annexation of large parts of West Bank will not happen immediately.

Reuters reports that Sudan has agreed to allow flights heading to Israel to cross its airspace, a military spokesman said on Wednesday, two days after Sudan’s military head of state held a surprise meeting with Israel’s prime minister.

The Associated Press reports that Syrian opposition fighters, supported by Turkish artillery fire, drove government troops out of a key town in Syria’s northwest hours after the soldiers fought their way in on Wednesday, an observer group and activists said.

The Guardian reports that Saudi Arabia is using a secretive special court set up for terrorism-related cases to systematically prosecute human rights activists and other dissenting voices who defy the country’s absolute monarchy, a new report has found.

Reuters reports that the US stepped up warnings to Russia over its Syria policy on Wednesday, saying Moscow was trying to challenge the U.S. presence in northeastern Syria by violating the terms of a de-confliction agreement and was also helping escalate the fighting in the northwestern province of Idlib.

The Financial Times reports that Iran has yet to ramp up its atomic output following its decision last month to scrap all commitments to the 2015 international nuclear accord, according to the head of the UN agency monitoring Tehran’s nuclear programme.

The Telegraph reports that Saudi Arabia is this week hosting its first cybersecurity conference, just days after it faced accusations that its crown prince was behind a hacking campaign on critics and billionaire businessman Jeff Bezos.

The Financial Times reports that Iranian hardliners are attempting to shape a radical new parliament, as veteran MP, Ali Motahari, has been disqualified from participation in parliamentary polls this month.

In The Independent, Omar Hassan, Boris Johnson’s former head of Middle Eastern investment, says his administration is making poor trade decisions in areas where the UK has a comparative advantages vis a vis regional states, such as technology and social capital.

In the Associated Press, Samya Kullab and Qassim Abdul-Zahra argue there has not been a wholesale break in the US-Iraq military alliance, but rather ‘fissures’ after the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani and a non-binding Iraqi Parliamentary resolution demanding a US exit.

Kan news followed up a report on Syrian TV that Israel carried out air strikes in Syria that targeted Al Kiswa, Marj al-Sultan and Jisser Baghdad near Damascus and a suburb of Daraa. According to the report, missiles were fired from the Golan Heights and Lebanese air space. Syrian media said Syrian air defences successfully intercepted most of the missiles. The UK based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Israeli air strikes hit Syrian regime and Iranian militia bases. According to the Syrian army, 8 soldiers were wounded in the attacks.

All the Israeli media report that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has decided not to oppose Justice Minister Amir Ohana’s appointee for acting state attorney. The new acting state attorney will be Dan Eldad, who currently serves as the director of the Economic Crimes Division in the State Prosecutors office, which investigates high level corruption. Mandelblit refused to endorse Ohana’s original candidate for the job, the Tel Aviv district economic crimes prosecutor Orly Ginsberg Ben-Ari. At the time, Mandelblit said Ohana’s authority to appoint key officials was limited because he served as a caretaker justice minister in an unelected government.

All the Israel media report that Blue and White MK Chili Tropper has donated a kidney to a stranger. Tropper now recovering in hospital after the successful operation is the first Knesset member to donate a kidney in Israel. All the media report the support and encouragement he has received from across the political spectrum. Israel Hayom quotes Rabbi Yeshayahu Heber from the non-profit organisation ‘Gift of Life’ that is dedicated to encouraging healthy volunteers to donate kidneys to patients who require a transplant saying, “I am full of appreciation to Tropper for the kidney donation, a life-saving donation that solves a problem with no other solution. We are really pleased that Tropper not only saved a person’s life, but can also serve as an example and means to raise awareness of kidney donation in Israel. He is our 780th donor.” Channel 12 News reported the emotional first meeting, yesterday after the operation between Tropper and the patient, an elderly man from northern Israel.