Rockets fired at Israel from Lebanon, drawing Israeli fire

admin   •   July 14, 2014   •   1920

Smoke and flames are seen following what police said was an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, July 8, 2014. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

(Reuters) – Rockets were fired at Israel from southern Lebanon on Monday, drawing retaliatory artillery fire from Israeli forces, Lebanese security officials and the Israeli army said, in the third such rocket attack from Lebanon since Friday.

An Israeli police spokeswoman said there was no immediate word of damage or casualties from the rocket fire.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The attacks from Lebanon have coincided with an Israeli offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip which Palestinian officials say has killed at least 160 people.

Palestinian groups have fired hundreds of rockets into Israel from Gaza during the latest hostilities.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the three incidents across the Lebanese-Israeli frontier since Friday.

The Lebanese national news agency said two rockets had been fired just after midnight in the latest salvo from Lebanon.

The Israeli military said several rockets had been fired from Lebanon at western Galilee, one hitting an open area.

“No injuries reported thus far. The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) immediately responded with artillery fire toward the source of the fire,” the military said in a statement.

A witness in Lebanon heard at least five explosions on the Lebanese side of the border, apparently caused by Israeli shelling.

The Lebanese security forces on Friday arrested a man suspected of launching the rockets fired in the first of the three attacks. He was Lebanese and a member of “fundamentalist groups”, the report said, without naming the groups.

Last August, the Brigades of Abdullah Azzam, an organization linked to al Qaeda, claimed a rocket barrage from Lebanon.

Hamas earlier denied a claim that it was behind a rocket attack from Lebanon on Saturday. Hamas officials in Lebanon said the group had nothing to do with a statement issued in the name of its armed wing claiming responsibility for that attack.

Southern Lebanon is a stronghold of the powerful Lebanese Shi’ite movement Hezbollah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006.

While the Iranian-backed group routinely states its readiness for another confrontation with Israel, analysts believe it is keen to avoid one for now as its fighters aid President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in the Syrian civil war.

(Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Writing by Tom Perry in Beirut; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Like Pac-Man, innovative Israeli coronavirus mask gobbles food

UNTV News   •   May 19, 2020

Israeli inventors have developed a coronavirus mask that allows diners to eat food without taking it off, a device that could make a visit to a restaurant less risky.

A squeeze of a lever, much like a cyclist operates a handbrake, opens a slot in the front of the mask so that food can pass through.

The process could get messy with ice cream or sauces, but more solid morsels can be gobbled up in a flash in the style of Pac-Man in the iconic video game.

“The mask will be opened mechanically by hand remote or automatically when the fork is coming to the mask,” said Asaf Gitelis, vice president of Avtipus Patents and Inventions, who demonstrated the device at its offices near Tel Aviv.

“Then you can eat, enjoy, drink and you take out the fork and it will be closed, and you’re protected against the virus and other people sitting with you.”

The company said it plans to start manufacturing the mask within months and had already submitted a patent. It said it would likely sell at a 3 to 10 shekel ($0.85 to $2.85) premium above the price of the simple pale blue medical masks many Israelis wear.

Outside a juice bar in Tel Aviv, Reuters showed a cellphone video of the mask in action. Opinion was divided.

“I think this mask that enables me to eat while I’m still wearing it, it’s a must have,” said Ofir Hameiri, a 32-year-old graduate student.

But maskless and eating an ice cream cone, Ron Silberstein, a 29-year-old musician, said: “I don’t think this mask could hold this kind of ice cream – it’s dripping all over. I wouldn’t want to wear it afterward”.

Israel has largely reopened its economy after a dramatic drop in cases of the novel coronavirus. But restaurants are open only for takeout for the time being. (Reuters)

(Production: Eli Berlzon, Rami Amichai, Rinat Harash, Jeffrey Heller)

Israel’s Supreme Court clears Netanyahu to form government despite corruption charges

UNTV News   •   May 7, 2020

Photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and head of the Blue and White party Benny Gantz signing an agreement to form an emergency coalition government

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment on corruption charges does not disqualify him from forming a government, Israel’s top court said late on Wednesday (May 6), paving the way for the veteran leader to remain in power.

In its ruling against opposition petitioners, the Supreme Court also found that Netanyahu’s unity government deal with his election rival Benny Gantz does not violate the law, dismissing arguments that it unlawfully shields him in a corruption trial.

The ruling removes a critical legal hurdle to the coalition government the right-wing Netanyahu and centrist Gantz plan to swear in next week, following three inconclusive elections in the past year.

It also moves the country closer to ending its political deadlock as it grapples with the coronavirus crisis and its economic fallout.

Netanyahu was indicted in January on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He denies any wrongdoing in all three cases. (Reuters)

(Production: Eli Berklzon, Rami Amichay, Lee Marzel)

Israeli firm treats COVID-19 patient using placenta therapy

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 23, 2020

An Israeli regenerative medicine company that is developing a platform of novel biological therapeutic products has announced that they were able to treat their first coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient in New Jersey, USA under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Single Patient Expanded Access Program, also known as a compassionate use program.

In a statement, Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. said the treatment is “part of the U.S. Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP), an emergency program for possible therapies that uses every available method to move new treatments to patients as quickly as possible.”

Pluristem said the patient was administered a treatment called Placental expanded (PLX) cell therapy.

The company added that the patient was critically ill with respiratory failure due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) prior to the PLX treatment.

The patient was also under mechanical ventilation in an intensive care unit (ICU) for three weeks.

Pluristem CEO and President Yaky Yanay said they are now focusing on the initiation of a multinational clinical study.

“In parallel with our planned clinical trial, we expect to continue treating patients under compassionate use through the appropriate regulatory clearances in the United States and Israel, as well as expanding treatment under compassionate use in other countries,” he said. AAC

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