ISTANBUL: Here is a rundown of all the news you need to start your Sunday with, including Israeli preparations for a ground offensive in the Gazan city of Rafah, candidates backed by Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan winning the most seats in Pakistan elections, and Israeli strikes in Lebanon.
Netanyahu asks army to remobilize reserve soldiers in preparation for ground offensive in Rafah
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the army to remobilize reserve soldiers in preparation for a ground offensive in the city of Rafah, southern Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu had earlier asked to submit a dual plan to evacuate Palestinian residents from Rafah, home to more than 1 million residents seeking refuge from war, and to defeat the remaining “Hamas battalions.”
?According to Channel 13, Chief of General Staff Herzi Halevi said “the army will be able to handle any mission, but there are political aspects that must be addressed first.’
Pakistan polls: Imran Khan-backed candidates ahead as
final results near
As final results near conclusion, independent candidates, mainly backed by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan, are in the lead in Pakistan’s elections.
The independents supported by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party are ahead of two major parties, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party and three-time ex-Premier Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
Khan’s party has called for protests, and mounted legal challenges over results it alleges were manipulated. While the former prime minister claims to have numbers to form the government, two other main parties advance talks to form a governing coalition.
Casualties as Israel conducts strike in central Lebanon
Israel struck the coastal area of Wadi al-Zeina in central Lebanon on Saturday, causing casualties, Anadolu learned.
Witnesses said an Israeli airstrike targeted a vehicle in the Wadi al-Zeina area, Chouf district.
The move came as Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian visited Beirut to meet Hezbollah S
ecretary General Hassan Nasrallah and others.
NEWS IN BRIEF
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned that a potential Israeli operation in Rafah would lead to a humanitarian catastrophe.
Thousands of Israelis demonstrated Saturday in Tel Aviv and Haifa to demand the dismissal of the government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, the holding of early elections and a hostage swap deal with Hamas, according to media reports.
At least three police officers and a candidate were killed during a protest against alleged rigging in Feb. 8 Pakistan polls in North Waziristan tribal district.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said charges accusing him of mishandling classified documents should be dropped now that a special counsel investigation declined to charge President Joe Biden.
Pro-Palestinian protesters interrupted former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech at Columbia University, and called her a ‘war criminal.’
UAE Defense Ministry said three personnel from its armed forces and an offic
er from the Bahrain Defense Force was killed and two others wounded in a terror attack in Somalia.
Trkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the country’s main goal is to attain ‘complete energy independence.’
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Defense Ministry announced Sunday that three personnel from its armed forces and an officer from the Bahrain Defense Force were killed with two others wounded in a terror attack in Somalia.
The Yemeni Houthi group announced on Saturday that 17 of its fighters were killed in airstrikes carried out by the US and UK on Yemen.
Qatar win 2023 AFC Asian Cup
Qatar won the 2023 AFC Asian Cup after beating Jordan 3-1 in the final.
Akram Afif was person of the match, sealing the win with a hat-trick of penalties.
South Africa finish 3rd in Africa Cup of Nations
South Africa finished third in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) by beating the Democratic Republic of Congo 6-5 on penalties.
South Africa goalkeeper Ronwen Williams saved a fifth penalty by Congo defende
r Chancel Mbemba to give their fans hope.
Williams took center stage again and became the hero for South Africa as he saved a seventh penalty taken by Elia Meschak and brought his team victory.
BUSINESS and ECONOMY
Moody’s lowers Israel’s ratings to A2, changes outlook to negative
Moody’s said it lowered Israel’s foreign-currency and local-currency senior unsecured ratings to A2 from A1, and changed its outlook to negative.
The global rating agency said “the ongoing military conflict with Hamas, its aftermath and wider consequences materially raise political risk for Israel as well as weaken its executive and legislative institutions and its fiscal strength, for the foreseeable future.”
Freight rates see slight decrease, ship traffic in Red Sea continues to decline
Freight rates have seen a slight decrease in the last two weeks after they skyrocketed amid geopolitical tensions in the Red Sea.
But the rates still are well above last year’s levels.
The 40-foot container composite index stood at $1,38
2 on Nov. 30, according to data from the Drewry World Container Index compiled by Anadolu.