Report: Bin Salman: Death, Power Dealer

The Palestinian developments are coming to the surface again after a period of stagnation and marginalization that followed a string of developments in West Asia region including the eruption of popular uprisings in the Arab states, rise and demise of ISIS terrorist group, and recently the revelation of US plans for the region like revival of the so-called Arab-Israeli peace process. This, of course, highlights the importance of the stances of the rival regional powers, especially those with political influence and a record of playing a role in the Palestinian cause.

Israeli forces killed five Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip on Friday, according to Palestinian authorities, as protesters were demonstrating across the occupied Palestinian territories to mark "Land Day".

 

Hours before the protests, an Israeli tank shell killed a Gaza farmer and wounded another, and later two Palestinians were shot dead, the Gaza health ministry said.

"Omar Samour, 27, was martyred and another citizen was wounded as a result of (Israeli) targeting of farmers east of Qarara village," a Gaza health ministry spokesman said.

Residents of the southern Gaza Strip village said Samour had been gathering crops to sell later.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed the incident. "Overnight two suspects approached the security fence and began operating suspiciously and the tank fired towards them," the spokesman said.

Samour's death came hours before tens of thousands of Palestinians began demonstrating across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel on Friday to mark Land Day and demand the right of return for refugees.

The Gaza Ministry of Health confirmed in the early afternoon that four Palestinians had been killed during clashes, identifying the slain Palestinians as Mohammad Kamel Najjar, 29, who was killed near Jabalia in northern Gaza, Mahmoud Abu Muammar, 38, near Rafah in the south, Mohammad Abu Ummar, and an unnamed 16-year-old.

Israel's Channel 2 reported that at least 20 Palestinians had received medical treatment as of noon Friday after being injured by Israeli forces.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army announced in a statement that it had declared the border area of the Gaza Strip a closed military zone - meaning all Palestinians getting close to the border fence could risk getting shot.

"The march has achieved its goals, it has shaken the pillars of the entity (Israel), and laid the first brick for the road of return," Ismail Haniyeh, one of Hamas' top political leaders, told Middle East Eye. 

Held annually, Land Day marks the killing by Israeli troops of six Palestinian citizens of Israel on 30 March 1976 during a protest against the regime's land confiscations.

In the Gaza Strip, where 1.3 million of the small territory’s two million inhabitants are refugees, protest organizers have called for six weeks of demonstrations called the "Great Return March" along the border of the besieged Palestinian enclave and Israel, starting on Friday and culminating on 15 May for Nakba Day.

 

Nigerian Shiite Muslims’ Muharram ceremonies under army crackdown

Shiite Muslims in Nigeria's northern Kaduna State have demanded that authorities stop ongoing crackdown on worshippers participating in mourning ceremonies during the Month of Muharram.

In a statement, Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) spokesman Ibrahim Musa has warned Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to stop suppressing the religious rights of its members and called on the international community to restrain him. 

According to the IMN the latest episode of denial of their right to worship by El-Rufai occurred on Friday, a day marking the beginning of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar. 

During the period, said the statement, Shiite Muslims worldwide remember the brutal killing of Imam Hussein AS, grandson of Prophet Muhammad PBUH by Yazid forces on the plains of Karbala. INM spokesman added that mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hussein AS is a religious duty. 

On Saturday also, governor El-Rufai ordered armed security agents to disperse Shiite Muslims participating at Muharram mourning ceremonies. According to Musa, the situation was tense adding that, "it was through Allah's grace that loss of lives was averted in Kaduna and Zaria."

A similar thing happened last year in the same Kaduna when the governor used a combination of these security forces and hired thugs to brutally attack mourners resulting in the death of scores of Shiite Muslims. Security forces also torched a religious center and school as well as the unjustified detention of many others to date. 

"This mindless killing spree should not be allowed to repeat itself this year," IMN warned. 

Tensions between the Nigerian government and Shiite Muslims broke out in December 2015 in the city of Zaria in Kaduna state when the army killed over 1,000 innocent Muslims. During the incident The Islamic Movement in Nigeria leader Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife were shot and badly wounded and thereafter detained by Nigerian security agencies. They are still being held incommunicado by security forces with their health rapidly deteriorating. 

The massacre and continued persecution of INM members continues amid a deafening silence by the UN which has ignored the crimes committed by the Nigerian regime against Muslims in the West African state.

 

 

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