Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones said Saturday the teacher who was shot by a 6-year-old student “is in stable condition and trending in a positive direction.” However, the teacher is still currently in the hospital, and the 6-year-old suspect was taken into custody by cops Friday afternoon, 13 News Now reported, citing local authorities.

Cops confirmed a woman was shot at Richneck Elementary School and rushed to the hospital, but did not expand on what her injuries were or how the child accessed the gun. Police said at an evening press conference Friday that the shooting, which took place in a first-grade classroom, did not appear to be accidental. No students were injured in the incident. Mr Jones said the incident was “a red flag for the country.” “I do think that after this event, there is going to be a nationwide discussion on how these sorts of things can be prevented,” he said.

In Milwaukee County, black individuals had the highest suicide rate in 2022, according to data released by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office. This follows a national trend that experts with the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.

Factors Causing Black Suicide

There are three overwhelming reasons that blacks commit a higher rate of suicide.

Socioeconomic Barriers

About 10% of adult black males in Wisconsin do not have health insurance that covers mental health care. Even if a person has BadgerCare or Medicaid, they may have trouble finding a provider that will accept their coverage.


Especially with older black individuals, there is often a belief that having a mental health condition is a sign of weakness. Therefore, many put off getting help when it is available. Additionally, many rely on their house of faith or music to give them a mental boost. While both can be vital, seeking help is also necessary. A counsellor can set up a plan to incorporate things essential to you into your program.

Quality of Care

Historically, black individuals have received poorer health care than white individuals. This has caused a stigma where many in the community do not want to seek help. Additionally, black people are more likely to describe physical symptoms when seeking care. Therefore, medical doctors often miss diagnosing mental health conditions.

Questions to ask a Mental Health Care Provider

 Therefore, some clinics encourage doctors to ask black people to ask questions includingː
Have you treated other black people?
Have you completed cultural training?
How do you perceive my culture affecting my treatment?

Source: American behavioural clinics


In his ill-advised confessional Spare, the Prince boasts of killing 25 supposed Taliban fighters at distance from an attack helicopter ‘only to prevent further loss of life’ — what scandalous nonsense, writes JOHN WIGHT

AMID the deluge of royal angst unleashed by Prince Harry in his autobiography, Spare, his treatment of his time on deployment to Afghanistan flying Apache helicopters is easily the most salient in that it provides an insight into the diseased and murderous mind of those programmed to kill on command in the name of Western “civilisation.”

In extracts from the book published by the BBC, after revealing that he killed 25 people during his two tours of the country, Harry goes on to reveal: “It wasn’t a statistic that filled me with pride but nor did it leave me ashamed.”

Continuing, he offers: “When I found myself plunged in the heat and confusion of combat I didn’t think of those 25 as people. They were chess pieces removed from the board. Bad people eliminated before they could kill good people.”

Where to begin?

With the above rendering of Afghans as unpeople — as mere chess pieces removed from the board — our benighted Prince reveals the racist character of Britain’s long history of colonial wars.

Worse than Harry boasting of his exploits as a “Taliban killer” was the manner in which at the time every mainstream newspaper carried it across their front and inside pages without a word of criticism attached; eminently proud, as they were, of his martial might.

Of course, the Prince was quick to qualify his boast with the assertion that it was an exercise in “taking a life to save a life.” Well, not according to the website Costs of War, which estimates that 70,000 Afghan and Pakistani civilians were killed in Afghanistan between 2001, when hostilities began, and 2020, when Britain and the US withdrew from the country.

Who’s to say that one of the bullets fired by the Prince did not find its way into the body of an Afghan civilian, perhaps an old man, woman, or child?

The sheer number of civilians slaughtered tells its own story here, surely. Of course, such subtleties were lost at the time amid the eruption of patriotic fervour over the Prince’s exploits of military derring-do.

On a much wider and more serious level this story, the way in which a member of the so-called royal family feels so comfortable in boasting publicly of the fact he personally killed while on active service, is further evidence of the extent to which a war culture is part and parcel of British society — normalised, sanitised, and in some quarters deified as a motive force of British values and the nation’s place in the world.

Social historians will look back and see this as a consequence of the brave, determined but ultimately failed attempt of the anti-war movement at its height in the run-up to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to halt the Blair government’s determination to join the US as it embarked on an era of war without end.

The innocent dead of Afghanistan

Not only has it resulted in disastrous consequences for the victims of said wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and more, but it also heralded a polarised and rightward shift in society at home, reflected in the imperviousness of the country’s political establishment to the suffering of the poor and vulnerable under that mass experiment in human despair otherwise known as austerity.

Among the millions nailed to this particular cross have been thousands of military veterans dealing with the ravages of PTSD but, unlike Harry, without the support of the best medical treatment that money can buy.

The bald truth is that Harry’s role in Afghanistan as part of an Apache helicopter crew was both base and cowardly. It does not take courage to fly over one of the poorest countries in the world in the most advanced attack helicopter there is, shooting at people armed only with small arms from a considerable distance away.

Neither is it noble to be part of a military occupation that only succeeded in perpetuating the suffering of an entire people in violation of their dignity, self-determination, and human rights.

There is nothing heroic about colonialism and imperialism. It is a cancer in our world, one responsible for huge suffering and the loss of innocent life on a grand scale.

Bad enough that we send young men, the majority from low-income communities, to kill and be killed or maimed in the interests of a political establishment that in truth cares not one jot about their welfare. But to have this sickening spectacle added to buy Harry pimping himself as a poster boy for Apache helicopters takes it to a whole other level.

Perhaps now some enterprising company will produce a video game in his honour, one in which the object is to kill as many Taliban from the cockpit of an Apache within a certain time frame, losing points every time you mistakenly blast a civilian.

Perhaps there will be a new Prince Harry Action Man produced in time for next Christmas, replete in desert fatigues and aviator sunglasses.

Harry is not the victim he has gone out of his way to cultivate in the public mind. He’s an entitled fool whose insights into the machinations of the royals only further make the case for the abolition of this rancid and arcane institution, along with the class system it represents and upholds.

Ultimately, only when we as a society weep for the victims of the Harrys of our world will we know that progress is being made.

Source: morningstaronline

While some people depart by land from Bangladesh to Thailand, others set out on perilous and even fatal ocean expeditions.

Refugees from the Rohingya ethnic group are increasingly taking perilous treks to Southeast Asia in order to flee the risks of an uncertain life in the camps in eastern Bangladesh.

In early December, around 150 such refugees were stranded at sea off Thailand’s coast after their boat broke down. Rights activists suspect that many may have died and requested the country’s authorities to rescue the survivors.

The episode came on the heels of a number of similar incidents to have occurred intermittently over the past two years. Late in 2021, for instance, there was a standoff involving a boat carrying Rohingya refugees and the Indonesian navy, which ended after 18 hours with a rescue of the refugees by the navy.

The trail to Southeast Asia and the Middle East from refugee camps in Bangladesh and the Rohingya-inhabited region of Myanmar’s Rakhine State began decades ago after the Myanmar military launched Operation Dragon King (Nagamin) against Rohingya in the late 1970s.

Several more military operations followed in the decades thereafter, compelling hundreds of Rohingya to relocate to Bangladesh and other countries.  The biggest exodus was in 2017 when the Myanmar military launched attacks that forced more than 700,000 people to cross the border into Bangladesh, where most now remain.

The Rohingyas, a Muslim minority group living predominantly in Rakhine State, are often described as the world’s most persecuted people. They have been at the receiving end of institutionalized discrimination and repression by Myanmar’s ethnic Bamar-dominated military.

Conversations over the telephone with three Rohingya refugees rehabilitated at different camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, revealed details of the immigration to overseas destinations in Southeast Asia that could continue in the future.

“People are continuously escaping from the camps in Cox’s Bazar.  The numbers keep on changing but it could be somewhere between 50 and 100 people every day who leave for Southeast Asia,” claimed a refugee in his early 30s. “It is likely that more people are exiting from the camps in Bangladesh than from the Rohingya inhabited zone in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.”

Emigration has picked up dramatically after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic began to recede around two years ago.  The journey is arranged by a network of brokers who are active in a majority of the 34 refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar and the Rohingya region in Rakhine State. But only the families who can cough up the exorbitant rates demanded by the brokers can hope to depart for Southeast Asia.

According to the refugees, the current rate charged by the brokers is around $4,800- $5,800 per person.  On many occasions, families sell all their belongings to obtain the necessary funds, which can also be paid in instalments.  But that is not the end of the story. Sometimes the brokers employ a range of tactics to extract more money from the families before they are allowed to depart.

One refugee recalled an instance in which a broker forcibly separated a child from his parents and detained him near Sittwe, the state capital of Rakhine State, for many days as he wanted more money. The family was allowed to proceed further in the journey only after his demands were fulfilled.

Brokers hand over every group to other brokers at specific destinations on the two routes through which the refugees are ferried. The overland route originates at Teknaf and passes through Maungdaw and Sittwe in Rakhine State and then onward to Thailand overland via Ayeyarwady Division.

Photographs that are in circulation at some camps in Cox’s Bazar reveal that refugees are usually herded beneath the merchandise in trucks that ply the route between Yangon and Ayeyarwady Division. On November 27, a truck transporting many refugees hidden beneath sacks of ginger skidded off the road near Yangon.  A few days later, the bodies of 13 men, most of them teenagers, were found dumped near Ngwe Nanthar village in Hlegu township.

Many groups of Rohingya refugees have been detained in Ayeyarwady over the past several months.  According to an estimate, more than 400 refugees were sent to prison in the region since the military coup in Myanmar early in 2021.

The other route is by sea on rickety boats to various countries in Southeast Asia. Most of the escapees prefer Malaysia to other countries owing to its government’s past leniency toward Rohingya refugees (though this may be changing). Harrowing tales had surfaced about the experiences of refugees after reaching Thailand, where they have been imprisoned or forced into bonded labour unless more funds are paid.

More than 1 million Rohingya refugees are lodged at the camps in Cox’s Bazar.] An uncertain future coupled with the squalid conditions in the camps here has prompted an increasing number of refugees to undertake hazardous journeys to Southeast Asia.

The refugees alleged that despite active support from several NGOs, education and health facilities at all the camps have been improved, but they are still insufficient for the full population of Cox's Bazar. They bemoaned the fact that there aren't many jobs available in Bangladesh, which has led to more adults and young people leaving the camps in search of safer pastures.


2022 witnessed a devastating decline in journalists’ safety, as 66 journalists and media workers worldwide were killed in connection with their profession, according to International Press Institute (IPI) data. This figure marks a steep increase from the total of 45 journalists killed in 2021.

Spiraling attacks against journalists in Mexico as well as Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine were leading factors behind the rise in journalist killings. Fourteen journalists were killed in Mexico in 2022, the deadliest year for the country’s media since 2017. Meanwhile, eight journalists were killed covering Russia’s war in Ukraine, including both Ukrainian and foreign reporters.

This year saw other shocking attacks on journalists, such as the fatal shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli forces while reporting on an Israeli raid in the West Bank in May.

States’ failure to ensure justice for attacks on journalists continues to provide fertile ground for violence against the press. IPI calls on authorities around the world to end impunity for these crimes and to ensure the protection of journalists.

Documenting killings of journalists since 1997

Today, the IPI global network published its annual report on journalist killings. In 2022, the IPI Database of Killed Journalists documented a total of 66 journalists who were killed in connection with their work or lost their lives on assignment. Eight were female and 58 were male.

IPI’s database categorizes journalist killings into five categories. There were 39 targeted killings in 2022, meaning that journalists were murdered due to their work. Seven journalists were killed while covering armed conflict, compared to three cases in this category in 2021. Two were killed while covering civil unrest, and two lost their lives while on assignment. In the remaining 16 cases, the circumstances and motive behind the journalist’s killing remain unconfirmed, but a work-related killing cannot be ruled out.

Since 1997, IPI has been documenting the killings of journalists, editors, and photojournalists, as well as other media workers who directly contribute to news content, such as camerapersons. IPI’s statistics are based on the organization’s regular monitoring of attacks on journalists. In addition, IPI works closely together with its network of members and with local journalism organizations to assess whether the killing of a journalist was likely to be work-related or not.

Tragic year for journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin America and the Caribbean was the deadliest region for journalists in 2022. This year marked one of the darkest periods for the Mexican press in recent memory. With 14 documented killings, Mexico remained the deadliest country in the world for journalists, even compared to active war zones such as Ukraine.

In most of these cases, journalists were targeted deliberately due to their work. Journalists working in remoter regions of the country were in particular danger. Many of the killed journalists, like Heber López Vázquez, Margarito Martínez, Juan Carlos Muñiz and Jorge Luis Camero, reported on corruption and organized crime. Some of them, like Antonio de la Cruz and Maria Guadalupe Lourdes Maldonado López, received serious threats for their reporting.

There is virtually complete impunity for crimes against journalists in Mexico. Measures taken by the authorities to protect journalists in danger have been inadequate. Moreover, despite promises made by Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador to “end corruption and impunity”, the president has instead become known for his verbal attacks on journalists. In February, he aggressively rejected a resolution passed by the European Parliament condemning the recent rise of violence against the press in Mexico.

“The horrific slaughter of journalists in Mexico shows that the criminals are in control, as they can act with impunity”, IPI Executive Director Frane Maroević said. “The Mexican government has to act now to protect journalists who are risking their lives and to reinstate the rule of law, ensuring justice for those who were killed.”

In addition to Mexico, an alarming number of journalists were killed in Haiti, where a total of eight journalists lost their lives due to their profession. Haiti has recently suffered from political unrest and rising gang violence. Young Haitian journalists Frantzsen Charles and Tayson Lartigue were shot to death by alleged gang members, and journalists Amady John Wesley and Wilguens Louissaint were burned alive by gang members on the outskirts of Haiti’s capital, Port–au-Prince.

Ukraine: Courageous reporters on the front lines

Since Russia started its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, IPI has recorded a total of eight journalists and media workers, including Ukrainian and foreign reporters, who are confirmed to have been killed in the line of duty or because of their journalistic profession. There is evidence that up to four more Ukrainian journalists and media workers may have been killed by Russian troops in connection to their profession, though these cases have not yet been verified, and they are not recorded on IPI’s Database of Killed Journalists.

Many of the journalists were killed while covering the war on the front lines, including Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, Pierre Zakrzewski, Oleksandra Kuvshynova, Mantas Kvedaravicius, and Brent Renaud, who were killed when their vehicles came under fire in separate incidents. Ukrainian camera operator Yevhenii Sakun died during the Russian bombing of the Kyiv TV tower, and Russian investigative journalist Oksana Baulina was killed after coming under Russian shelling while she filmed destruction at a shopping centre in Kyiv. Ukrainian photographer and documentary filmmaker Maks Levin was killed in the Kyiv region with two shots from small arms by Russian soldiers. According to Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office, Levin was unarmed and wearing a press vest.

Under international law, deliberately targeting journalists working in a conflict zone constitutes a war crime. The IPI network calls on military forces to take all possible steps to ensure the safety of all journalists reporting on the ground. Those responsible for targeting journalists must be held to account.

“This year has again demonstrated the critical and dangerous role of journalists covering wars. Without them, we would only hear from the military”, Maroević said. “IPI honours the memory of all the journalists who lost their lives reporting on the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

Violence against journalists remains a global issue

Although the number of killings in Asia and the Pacific declined somewhat – to 11 cases compared to 18 cases recorded in 2021 – the situation in the Philippines took a dark turn with a total of five radio broadcasters killed in 2022. Independent journalists in the Philippines work in a climate of intense hostility and violence, following years of attacks on the press by former president Rodrigo Duterte.

The Middle East and North Africa saw a slight increase compared to last year, with five recorded killings. There were three documented killings in sub-Saharan Africa, including dissident Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif, who was shot dead in unclear circumstances in Kenya.

Impunity fuels further violence

Impunity for journalist killings continues to drive the cycle of violence against the press. The U.N. Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists was launched in 2012 to better protect the press and combat impunity, but ten years later it is obvious that not enough has been done. Journalism has become one of the most dangerous professions in the world, and in at least nine out of ten cases, the killers of journalists go unpunished – especially those who ultimately ordered the murders.

On November 2, as U.N. member states convened in Vienna on the International Day to End Impunity, IPI held a public demonstration and launched a new campaign to draw attention to the ongoing global issue of impunity for crimes against journalists. IPI also joined together with press freedom advocates around the world in a preliminary joint Call for Action to all states. The Call for Action includes a series of concrete recommendations to improve journalists’ safety and to tackle impunity in crimes against journalists.

Despite immense international pressure, credible evidence, and eyewitness accounts, the Israeli government has refused to conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the killing of IPI-IMS World Press Freedom Hero Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing and hold those responsible to account. Six months after her death, the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into the killing, and IPI alongside other stakeholders submitted a formal request for an investigation to the International Criminal Court.

Even in the rare cases where there has been progress toward accountability, full justice has not yet been secured. In the murder case of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta’s leading investigative journalist, the two hitmen were finally sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment in October 2022. However, five years after her murder, legal proceedings are still pending against the alleged mastermind, Yorgen Fenech, and two men who allegedly supplied the bomb. The fight for full justice continues, as concrete reforms to protect journalists remain elusive due to the lack of political will of the Maltese authorities.

In many cases, investigations into journalists’ killings stall due to a lack of political will, as the truth might implicate those in power or bring corrupt systems to a fall. Impunity has a chilling effect on press freedom, weakening democracy, preventing journalists from reporting on certain topics, and encouraging more violence towards the media.

“It is outrageous that journalists are killed because they are bringing us information that someone wants to hide. It is unacceptable that families are losing their loved ones and that the public is denied information simply because someone wants to hide the information, because someone is killing the messengers”, Maroević concluded.

“Every single one of these 66 killings is not only an immense tragedy for their loved ones, their friends and colleagues, each killing is an attack on global press freedom.”

Source: premiumtimesng

On Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a warning that the major source of terrorism in Western nations is far-right ideology.

He stated at a year-end press conference at the UN Headquarters in New York "it has been proved that the biggest terrorism threat today in Western countries comes from the extreme right, neo-Nazism, and white supremacy."

"And I believe that we need to be very clear and very firm in our condemnation of any manifestations of neo-Nazism, white supremacism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Muslim hatred that we are witnessing grow in both Western nations and other areas of the world. There is no doubt that this poses a threat, and we must act decisively to eliminate it "added said.

The far-right coup attempt to overthrow the German government is just one of the examples of the threat to democratic societies around the world, he said.

According to Guterres, social media companies have a special obligation to protect press freedom while also preventing hate speech and other extremist expressions. And I would be more startled if we see threats to press freedom, restrictions on journalists' ability to do their jobs and an increase in hate speech at the same time.

He added that whoever controls any social media platform needs to make sure that hate speech, neo-Nazism, white supremacism, and other types of extremism do not spread through those social platforms and that the freedom of expression be upheld, especially for journalists./agencies

An official said on Monday that the Sri Lankan navy rescued 104 Rohingya refugees stranded off the northern coast of the Indian Ocean island, as members of the Muslim minority continue to flee violence in Myanmar and hardship in Bangladesh refugee camps.

Every year, many Rohingya people risk their lives by attempting to reach Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia on rickety vessels, and their numbers have increased in response to deteriorating conditions in the camps and Myanmar's military coup last year.

 According to a navy spokesperson, Captain Gayan Wickramasuriya, the boat was first detected by the Sri Lanka Navy when it was 3.5 nautical miles from shore, and a search and rescue operation was launched to eventually tow the vessel to a northern harbour on Sunday night.

"The people have been handed over to the police," Wickramasuriya said, according to Reuters. "The police will present them to a magistrate, who will decide the next course of action."

According to a navy statement, 104 Myanmar nationals were discovered aboard a small trawler believed to have originated in Myanmar and was on its way to Indonesia when it suffered engine trouble in rough seas.

 According to Wickramasuriya, 39 women and 23 minors were among those rescued, and an 80-year-old man, one mother, and her two children were hospitalized with minor illnesses.

Following a military crackdown in Myanmar that included mass killings and rape, more than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to neighbouring Bangladesh in 2018.

Civilians have been killed and villages have been burned, according to rights groups and the media./Reuters

According to Turkey's ambassador to the Czech Republic, Egemen Baş, anti-Muslim practices are on the rise globally and are particularly prevalent among Muslims in Europe.

Baş remarked, "The battle against xenophobia and hate speech about ethnic origins and religions should be the major agenda item of international gatherings in order to address multifaceted problems," during a conference held in Prague by the Czech Foreign Ministry.

"Muslims, who comprise the majority of immigrant communities in most European countries, are currently the main target of this approach," Baş said, noting that the actual number of racist attacks is higher than stated in official documents because many do not report the mistreatment they encounter on a daily basis.

"Racist and discriminatory practices in education and social life clearly cause immigrant communities to withdraw into themselves and stymie integration efforts."

Noting that immigrants are viewed as a security risk in Europe, Baş emphasized the importance of multidimensional international platforms in raising awareness about the challenges they face.

According to Baş, new platforms should be established where victims can report negative acts such as hate speech, xenophobia, and anti-Muslim attacks directly.

"I would like to reiterate that Türkiye actively supports international efforts to raise awareness for people who are subjected to violence and intolerant behaviour because of their religion or worldview."

While analysts think Türkiye can lead the fight against it, Turkish officials have chastised their Western counterparts for being oblivious to anti-Muslim sentiment and feeding the ideology. Turkey has often urged world leaders to intervene to stop the demonization of Muslims and has been doing so by taking steps to address the rising issue.

The West refuses to do action to combat the rising anti-Islamic sentiment, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Additionally, Erdogan urged Turkish institutions to act on matters affecting Turks and Muslims in these nations.

The Source: D.S


During a visit to Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron in the southern West Bank, a diplomatic delegation witnessed the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

The delegation, comprised of diplomats and representatives from 16 countries, including EU representative Kuhn von Borgsdorf, travelled to Masafer Yatta, where they learned about the suffering and dire humanitarian situation of approximately 1,300 Palestinians living in twelve small villages because of the imminent threat of forced expulsion and the increase in settler violence and Israeli forces raids.

They made a stop at the Isfey Al-Fouqa primary school demolished by Israeli forces almost a month ago.

Hebron Governor Jibrin Bakri, who coordinated the visit, briefed the delegation on the situation in Hebron Governorate, in general, and the implications of settler violence and Israeli forces violations against Palestinians in Masafer Yatta as well as in the Old City of Hebron, in particular.

He stressed the need for the international community to exercise serious pressure on "Israel", the occupying power, to stop assaults against Palestinians and demolitions of their property, including mosques and schools.

Meanwhile, EU diplomat Borgsdorf said that this was the fifth time for him to visit Masafer Yatta, where he saw the policy of ethnic cleansing exercised by Israel against the Palestinian residents.

He added that they would address letters to their respective governments to update them on "Israeli" violations against Palestinians living in the area, including students, including demolitions of dwellings and schools while pledging that they would urge their governments to make every effort to put pressure on the Government of "Israel" to stop its gross violations of Palestinians’ rights.

The delegation also toured the Old City of Hebron and the Ibrahimi Mosque, where they witnessed the impact of intense movement restrictions and "Israel’s" heavy military presence on the city’s Palestinian population. Hebron’s former commercial heart, Shuhada Street, is now a ghost town, with Palestinians prohibited from access and hundreds of shops now closed down.

Following their tour, they stressed the need for "Israel" to comply with international law, which provides for the Palestinian people’s right to a decent life.

Recently, “Israel’s” top court gave the army the green light to forcibly expel some 1,300 Palestinians living in twelve villages or hamlets making up the Masafer Yatta area, which relies heavily on animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, marking one of the largest expulsions carried out by the State of Israel in recent decades.

Located in Area C of the West Bank, under full Israeli administrative and military control, the area has been subjected to repeated Israeli violations by settlers and soldiers targeting their main source of living - livestock.

Since the 1980s, it has been designated as a closed Israeli military training zone, known as Firing Zone 918.

Israeli violations against the area include demolition of animal barns, homes and residential structures. Issuance of construction permits by Israel to local Palestinians in the area is non-existent.

 The drowning of eight young Palestinian would-be migrants off the coast of Tunisia has reverberated across Gaza, drawing attention to the dire conditions in the territory. 

Their funerals took place in front of thousands of people with many critical of what drove the men to undertake the journey to seek new lives in Europe.

Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade of the Gaza Strip 15 years ago after Hamas was elected in Gaza. The blockade that Gaza faces amounts to collective punishment for all people.

The blockade has stifled the economy of Gaza, where unemployment hovers near 50 per cent.

The eight men, who were buried Sunday (Monday AEDT), all from the southern town of Khan Younis, were among about two dozen Palestinians who drowned over the past three months en route to Europe.

In the past few years, thousands of migrants from poverty-stricken or war-ravaged countries in Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan have perished in the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea.

“If there was work here for those sad youths, would they have left and migrated?” she said.

He followed a path taken by thousands before him, fleeing to Turkey, one of the few countries that accept Palestinians from Gaza, on a perilous journey meant to reach Europe.

From Turkey, he went to Egypt and then to Libya. The family said it lost contact with him on October 4, holding out hopes that he had somehow made it to Belgium. But the bad news came on October 24: he was on a boat that sank off Tunisia.

According to the Geneva-based non-profit Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, around 360 people from Gaza have either died or gone missing in the Mediterranean on smuggling ships since 2014.

The bodies of the eight Palestinians on Adam’s boat were returned to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. Eight ambulances carried the bodies to a hospital, where thousands of wailing people joined a mass funeral.

The procession broke down into smaller funerals as each family took their son home for a final goodbye before burial.

Another family, the al-Shaers, buried their son, 21-year-old Mohammed. But his younger brother Maher, 20, is still missing. They were on the same doomed boat.

Meanwhile, a 19-year-old has been charged in the UK with abetting illegal immigration after four migrants died trying to cross the Channel into Britain last week when the inflatable boat they were using started to sink.

One of those who died in Wednesday’s tragedy was a teenager, regional authorities said. Thirty-nine migrants, including 12 children, were rescued by a British fishing boat.

Police said a suspect who they named as Ibrahima Bah, of no fixed address, had been charged with facilitating attempted illegal entry into Britain and was due in court on Monday.

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