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Ultra-Orthodox Jews block highway to protest Israel's new mandatory military service ruling

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men blocked a major highway in central Israel for two hours on Thursday to protest a recent Supreme Court decision ordering young religious men to enlist for military service.

Military service is compulsory for most Jewish men and women in Israel. But politically powerful ultra-Orthodox parties have won draft exemptions for their followers that allow them instead to study in religious seminaries.

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Israeli troops, warplanes strike north Gaza

Israel's military on Friday said it was conducting raids backed by air strikes in northern Gaza, killing "dozens" of militants in an area where it had declared the command structure of Hamas dismantled months ago.

The operation in Shujaiya, on the edge of Gaza City, caused numerous casualties, witnesses and medics said on Thursday when it began.

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19 sick or wounded kids leave Gaza in first medical evacuation in nearly 2 months

Israeli authorities say 68 people — 19 sick or wounded children plus their companions — have been allowed out of the Gaza Strip and into Egypt in the first medical evacuation since early May, when the territory's sole travel crossing was shut down after Israel captured it.

The nearly nine-month Israel-Hamas war has devastated Gaza's health sector and forced most of its hospitals to shut down. Health officials say thousands of people need medical treatment abroad, including hundreds of urgent cases.

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Israel launches airstrikes on Gaza as war grinds on

Israel launched air strikes on Gaza Thursday and the war ground on, despite comments Sunday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the "intense phase" of the conflict was nearing an end.

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Israeli soldier killed and 16 wounded during West Bank raid

The Israeli military says a soldier was killed and 16 others were wounded during a military operation in the West Bank overnight. It said Thursday that an explosive device detonated in the area of the northern city of Jenin, which has seen frequent raids and gunbattles with militants in recent years.

There were no immediate reports of Palestinian casualties. Israel says it has arrested over 4,000 Palestinians in the West Bank since Hamas' Oct. 7 attack ignited the war in Gaza, including around 1,750 suspected of being Hamas members.

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Palestinians surrounded by sewage and garbage in searing heat of Gaza summer

Children in sandals trudge through water contaminated with sewage and scale growing mounds of garbage in Gaza's crowded tent camps for displaced families. People relieve themselves in burlap-covered pits, with nowhere nearby to wash their hands.

In the stifling summer heat, Palestinians say the odor and filth surrounding them is just another inescapable reality of war — like pangs of hunger or sounds of bombing.

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Ship attacked in Red Sea in latest maritime assault likely carried out by Houthis

A ship traveling through the Red Sea on Thursday reported being hit in an attack likely carried out by Yemen's Houthi rebels, authorities said, the latest in the campaign targeting shipping over the Israel-Hamas war.

The ship issued a radio call off the coast of the rebel-held port city of Hodeida saying it had been struck, the private security firm Ambrey first reported. A warship in the area was responding to the attack, Ambrey said.

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US, Israel cite progress on resolving weapons rift

Israel and the United States said they have made progress toward resolving a rift over U.S. weapons shipments after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly accused President Joe Biden's administration of slowing down deliveries.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met Wednesday top officials over three days in Washington as he voiced hope for quietly working through disagreements with Israel's vital ally, drawing an implicit contrast to Netanyahu's more confrontational approach.

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3 dead, 11 hurt in Israeli strike on pro-Iran groups near Damascus

Two people were killed in an Israeli strike on southern Syria on Wednesday, the official SANA news agency reported, citing a military source.

According to the NGO Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the strike targeted the service center of a foundation affiliated with pro-Iranian groups including Lebanon's Hezbollah.

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From Beirut, Vatican envoy urges Middle East parties to accept peace plans

Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin on Wednesday urged warring parties in the Middle East to accept "peace proposals," saying the region including Lebanon "doesn't need war."

"The Middle East is going through a critical moment," Parolin told a press conference in Beirut during a days-long visit to Lebanon.

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