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The Latest on developments in Israel and the Palestinian territories (all times local):

8:15 a.m.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he’s cutting short his visit to Washington after a Gaza rocket attack on Israel.

Netanyahu described Monday morning’s rocket launch that struck a home in central Israel as a "criminal attack" and vowed to strike back hard. He says he will return to Israel to handle the crisis shortly after meeting with President Donald Trump on Monday.

An Israeli rescue service said the rocket from the Gaza Strip struck a house in central Israel, wounding seven people.

The sounds of air raid sirens woke up the residents of the residential Sharon area, northeast of Tel Aviv, sending them scurrying to bomb shelters. A strong explosion followed.

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6:15 a.m.

An early morning rocket from the Gaza Strip has struck a house in central Israel on Monday, wounding seven people, raising concerns the attack could set off another round of violence shortly before the Israeli election.

The sounds of air raid sirens woke up the residents of the residential Sharon area, northeast of Tel Aviv, on Monday, sending them scurrying to bomb shelters. A strong sound of an explosion followed.

The Israeli military says it identified a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip. Israeli police say the rocket hit a residential home in the community of Mishmeret, north of the city of Kfar Saba, setting off a fire and destroying the house.

The Magen David Adom rescue service said it was treating seven people, including two women who were moderately wounded. The others, including two children and an infant, had minor wounds.

Source: Fox News World

Explosions have been heard in central Israel after air raid sirens wailed.

The Israeli military says a rocket was launched early Monday from the Gaza Strip toward Israel and was looking into the reports.

The apparent attack comes 10 days after rockets were fired toward Israel’s densely populated commercial capital of Tel Aviv. Gaza’s Hamas leaders said it was fired accidently.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility to Monday’s incident.

Gaza is controlled by Hamas, an Islamic militant group that seeks Israel’s destruction. The territory is home to other militant groups, including Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed armed organization that also has a formidable rocket arsenal.

Source: Fox News World

The leaders of Romania and Honduras have announced they will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, following the lead of President Donald Trump.

Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez delivered their announcements Sunday at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference in Washington. The announcements were welcomed by Israeli politicians.

Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the U.S. Embassy to the city, a move that was applauded by Israel. Guatemala followed suit.

The move angered the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as capital of a future state.

Most countries have embassies in Tel Aviv out of sensitivity over the contested city. The Palestinians, and most of the international community, say the city’s final status should be resolved in negotiations.

Source: Fox News World

A Kenyan teacher from a remote village who gave away most of his earnings to poor students has won a highly competitive $1 million global prize that honors one exceptional educator a year.

Peter Tabichi is a science teacher who gives away 80 percent of his income to help the poor in the remote village of Pwani where almost a third of children are orphans or have only one parent, and where droughts and famine are frequent.

He was selected out of some 10,000 applicants and awarded the Global Teacher Prize on Sunday during a ceremony in Dubai hosted by actor Hugh Jackman.

He’s the first African and male teacher to win the prize, which is awarded by the Varkey Foundation, whose founder established the for-profit GEMS Education company.

Source: Fox News World

Iraq’s parliament deputy speaker says the house’s majority has voted to sack a provincial official following the tragic sinking of a ferry in the Tigris River that killed nearly 100 people.

Hassan al-Kaabi told The Associated Press Sunday that the majority of the house’s 329 members voted to sack the governor of Nineveh province and his two deputies.

Angry residents of Mosul have protested against Nofal al-Akoub, demanding his firing. The ferry loaded with holidaymakers celebrating the Kurdish and Persian new year, sank on Thursday.

Police official Mazen Abdullah said 97 were killed and 67 remain missing. Abdullah said 55 were rescued.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi ordered an investigation into the incident, which residents blamed on corruption and lack of rescue means. He also called for the governor’s sacking.

Source: Fox News World

Gaza’s Health Ministry says a Palestinian has died of wounds sustained from Israeli gunfire at protests along the perimeter fence.

The ministry says Sunday that 24-year-old Habib al-Masri was shot in the chest at protests near Beit Hanoun the previous night, and that two others were wounded. Hundreds had gathered for protests in various locations, hurling stones and firebombs toward Israel.

The Israeli military says that in response to the explosives its aircraft targeted two Hamas observation posts in the southern Gaza Strip.

The protests are aimed at breaking a blockade that Israel and Egypt imposed when Hamas seized power in 2007. Over the past year, about 190 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier have been killed in weekly rallies. Two more Palestinians were killed on Friday.

Source: Fox News World

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been hailed on social media by Muslims around the world for her response to two mosque shootings by a white nationalist who killed 50 worshippers. She wore a headscarf at the funerals in line with Islamic custom and swiftly reformed gun laws.

An image of the prime minister embracing a grieving woman was projected onto the world’s tallest tower in Dubai over the weekend with the Arabic word for "peace."

Yet for many Muslims, Ardern’s most consequential move was immediately labeling the attack an act of terrorism.

That stands in contrast to numerous ideologically-motivated mass shootings in North America by white non-Muslim gunmen that were not labeled acts of terrorism, say Muslim leaders and terrorism experts.

For too long, terror attacks have been depicted as a uniquely Muslim problem, with acts of violence described as "terrorist only when it applies to Muslims," said Abbas Barzegar of the Council on American Islamic Relations. He works on documenting and combating anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobia.

"We’ve got an issue in this country where anytime a violent act is committed by a Muslim, the media starts at terrorism and then works backward from there," added Colin Clarke, a senior research fellow at The Soufan Center, a New York-based think tank.

It’s the opposite when the shooter is non-Muslim and white, said Clarke, who’s spent his career studying terrorism, particularly Muslim extremism.

The March 15 attacks on the New Zealand mosques raised questions about whether Islamophobia and the threat of violent right-wing extremism was being taken seriously by politicians and law enforcement.

The gunman in the New Zealand massacre called himself a white nationalist and referred to President Donald Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity." Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with murder in the attacks.

Trump expressed sympathy for the victims, but played down the rise of white nationalism around the world, saying he didn’t consider it a major threat despite data showing it is growing.

The Anti-Defamation League found that right-wing extremism was linked to every extremist killing in the United States last year, with at least 50 people killed. The group said that since the 1970s, nearly three in four extremist-related killings in the United States have been linked to domestic right-wing extremists and nearly all the rest to Muslim extremists.

"It’s really important that this attack not be dismissed as some crazy lone wolf, isolated incident," said Dalia Mogahed, who leads research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, an organization that focuses on research of American Muslims.

"I think it needs to be seen as … a symptom of a wider problem, a transnational rising threat of white supremist violence where anti-Muslim rhetoric is the oxygen for this movement," she said.

A study by the ISPU found that foiled plots involving Muslims perceived to be acting in the name of Islam received 770% more media coverage than those involving perpetrators acting in the name of white supremacy. Another study by Georgia State University found that out of 136 terror attacks in the U.S. over a span of 10 years, Muslims committed on average 12.5 percent of the attacks, yet received more than half of the news coverage.

Mehdi Hasan, a commentator, TV host, columnist and adjunct professor at Georgetown University, said the public has been conditioned since the 9/11 attacks to see terrorists "as people with big beards, brown skin, loud voices shouting in Arabic."

"I don’t think anyone can deny that the entire War on Terror has fed into this idea (of) Muslims as a threat, as ‘the other’, as inherently violent," Hasan said.

Additionally, when non-Muslim white gunmen are the perpetrators of violence, there are often attempts at examining their mental health or childhood in ways not consistently afforded to others, Hasan said.

Some of the most notorious recent attacks by white assailants with racist or extremist views— the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that killed 11 people in October and the church shooting that killed nine black worshippers in Charleston in 2015 — were not labeled terrorism and the assailants were not tried as terrorists. Neither was the shooting by a white assailant at a mosque in Quebec, Canada in 2017 that killed six Muslims.

Clarke, the terrorism expert, said he’s been called to testify on Capitol Hill three times in the past two years about jihadi terrorism. "Where are the hearings about right-wing violence?" he asked.

Meanwhile, sectarian, cultural and ideological differences among the world’s Muslims complicate efforts to uniformly push back against negative stereotypes — including the perception by some that Islam condones or encourages violence.

Such biases have been exacerbated by multiple attacks by Islamic extremists in European capitals and by years of conflicts that seem to pit Sunni and Shiite Muslims against each other. In the Middle East, the victims of extremist violence have often been fellow Muslims, targeted by groups like Islamic State or al-Qaida because they don’t share their hard-line ideology.

The Islamic State group, which promoted an extremist version of Sunni Islam, terrorized millions of people during a five-year reign in parts of Syria and Iraq that only ended Saturday, with the loss of the last speck of land of its self-proclaimed caliphate.

Some leaders of majority-Muslim countries have been accused of exploiting the debate.

Las week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stirred controversy when he was seen as politicizing the New Zealand attacks to galvanize Islamist supporters during a campaign ahead of municipal elections. The attacker had livestreamed the shootings on social media, and Erdogan screened clips of the attack— despite New Zealand’s efforts to prevent the video’s spread.

Mogahed, who co-authored a book called "Who Speaks for Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think" based on interviews with tens of thousands of Muslims around the world, said it’s important to ask whether someone needs to be speaking for Islam, particularly when other groups of people are afforded the presumption of innocence when horrific acts are carried out in their name.

Some Muslim community leaders, like Dawud Walid, an imam in Detroit, said they are troubled by demands that Muslims condemn extremism carried out in the name of Islam. This suggests that Muslims share some sort of collective responsibility for the actions of extremists.

Hasan says this "subliminally reinforces the idea that terrorism is a Muslim problem."

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Follow Aya Batrawy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ayaelb

Source: Fox News World

Sudanese officials say eight children have been killed in an explosion near a military facility where they were searching for scrap metal to resell.

The officials say the explosion happened Saturday in Omdurman, the twin city of the capital, Khartoum. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors, an independent professional union, says seven children died at the scene and the eighth succumbed to wounds in a hospital.

The committee is part of an umbrella opposition movement that has been organizing street protests since December calling on President Omar al-Bashir to resign. A security crackdown has killed dozens of people.

Source: Fox News World

Supporters of a pro-Kurdish party in Turkey are planning to rally for local elections that will test the Turkish president’s popularity.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP, is holding the rally Sunday in Istanbul amid a polarized race for municipal seats and a crackdown on its members by the government for alleged links to outlawed Kurdish militants considered terrorists by Turkey and its Western allies. Party lawmakers and mayors have been jailed.

The party has fielded candidates for the March 31 vote in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast but is sitting out critical races in Turkey’s major cities, including Istanbul and Ankara. That way it aims to send HDP votes to Turkey’s main secular opposition party to help challenge Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party.

Millions of ethnic Kurds will vote in the March 31 election.

Source: Fox News World

Cyprus’ government spokesman says authorities have arrested a Turkish Kurd against whom Germany has launched criminal proceedings for "terrorist activities."

Prodromos Prodromou said in a written statement Saturday that the individual had been recognized by Cyprus as a political refugee and had been granted Cypriot travel documents. He said the person was detained on the strength of a European arrest warrant.

Prodromou said a court on Saturday ordered the suspect detained.

He said the suspect, whose identity was not released, will remain in custody until a court rules whether to extradite him to Germany within 60 days of his arrest.

Source: Fox News World


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