World this week
Palestinian militants in Gaza launched rockets at southern Israel and Israeli aircraft struck targets in the coastal enclave early Thursday (Feb. 22) after a gunbattle triggered by a deadly Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank killed 10 Palestinians. The bloodshed extends one of the deadliest periods in years in the West Bank, where dozens of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of the year. Palestinian attacks on Israelis in 2023 have killed 11 people.
The Israeli military said Palestinian militants fired six rockets and two anti-aircraft missiles from the Gaza Strip toward the country's south early Thursday. Air defences intercepted five of the rockets and one landed in an open field, according to the military. The missiles did not hit their targets. The attacks were not immediately claimed by Palestinian militant groups. Israeli aircraft then struck several targets in northern and central Gaza. There were no reports of injuries in Israel or Gaza from the rocket attacks or strikes.
Iran directly acknowledged an accusation attributed to international inspectors that it enriched uranium to 84% purity for the first time, which would put the Islamic Republic closer than ever to weapons-grade material. The acknowledgment came from Iran's Nour News, a website linked to Iran's Supreme National Security Council, overseen by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Bloomberg first reported that inspectors had detected uranium particles enriched up to 84%. The IAEA, a United Nations agency based in Vienna, has not denied the report, saying only "that the IAEA is discussing with Iran the results of recent agency verification activities."
Nour News urged the IAEA to "not fall prey to the seduction of Western countries." "It will be clear soon that the IAEA surprising report of discovering 84% enriched uranium particles in Iran's enrichment facilities was an inspector's error or was a deliberate action to create political atmospheres against Iran on the eve of the meeting of" its board, Nour News said on Twitter.
Shamima Begum, the British woman whose U.K. citizenship was revoked after she travelled to Syria as a teenager to join the Islamic State group has lost an appeal in her fight to have her citizenship restored. Begum, now 23, was 15 when she and two other girls from London joined the extremist group in February 2015. Authorities withdrew her British citizenship on national security grounds soon after she surfaced in a Syrian refugee camp in 2019.
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission, a tribunal which hears challenges to decisions to remove someone's British citizenship on national security grounds, ruled there was a "credible suspicion" that Begum was trafficked to Syria for "sexual exploitation." It said there also were "arguable breaches of duty" by state bodies in allowing her to travel to the country. But Judge Robert Jay said that evidence was "insufficient" for Begum to win the argument that the deprivation of her British citizenship failed to respect her human rights. Given that she remains in Syria, UK authorities are not compelled to facilitate her return, the judge said.
The Biden administration announced that it will generally deny asylum to migrants who show up at the US southern border without first seeking protection in a country they passed through, mirroring an attempt by the Trump administration that never took effect because it was blocked in court. The measure, while stopping short of a total ban, imposes severe limitations on asylum for any nationality except Mexicans, who don't have to travel through a third country to reach the U.S.
The measure is almost certain to face legal challenges, AP reports. President Donald Trump pursued a similar ban in 2019 but a federal appeals court prevented it from taking effect. The Biden administration rule proposed Tuesday has to first go through a 30-day public comment period before it can be formally adopted. If adopted it would remain in place for two years. Administration officials expect the rule will take effect when a pandemic-era rule that denies asylum on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19 ends.
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