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Moroccans Stage Protest Against Israel’s War In Gaza

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Tens of thousands protested in Morocco Sunday in support of Palestinians amid the Gaza war, the biggest demonstration in the North African kingdom since it normalised ties with Israel in 2020.

According to AFP, crowds stretching for two kilometres (more than a mile) marched through the capital Rabat in the mass rally called by an alliance of Islamist parties and a left-wing coalition.

“The people will liberate Palestine,” demonstrators chanted while others waved huge Palestinian flags, donned keffiyehs and voiced “unconditional support for resistance to the occupation”.

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“We apologise to the people of Gaza because we can’t do more than protest,” said university professor Sheherazade Bekkari, 50, who had travelled more than 200 kilometres from Fez with her children to join the protest.

READ ALSO: Jews Gather In synagogues, Light Memorial Candles For Slain Israelis

“Down with Zionism”, read some placards, while others declared that “Hamas is Palestine”.

Israel’s new war was sparked when the Islamist group Hamas, which rules Gaza, attacked southern Israel on October 7 and killed at least 1,400 people.

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Israel has launched an intense reprisal, pounding the Gaza Strip with air strikes and killing more than 2,450 people.

Some protesters in Morocco stamped on Israeli and American flags, denouncing Washington’s support for Israel.

Other placards denounced “terrorism regardless of its perpetrators”.

READ ALSO: Dozens Of Airlines Cancel Tel Aviv Flights Amid Israeli, Palestinian Deadly War

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The protest, which was punctuated by prayers against “tyranny and oppression”, was the largest in Morocco since it normalised relations with Israel in December 2020 in a US-sponsored deal.

“The people want to abolish normalisation” some protesters chanted, as well as the slogan “against occupation, against normalisation”.

Until now, Morocco’s anti-normalisation movement had been able only to mobilise, at most, a few hundred people.

The treaty with Israel has been of great importance to Rabat because it came in exchange for Washington recognising Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

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READ ALSO: Israeli Airstrikes Kill 558 People In Gaza

Morocco maintains that the territory, a former Spanish colony under its control, is an integral part of the kingdom.

The Polisario Front, which campaigns for Western Sahara’s independence with the support of Algeria, demands a referendum on self-determination.

Israel and Morocco have strengthened their economic and security cooperation following the deal.

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However, Moroccan supporters of normalisation have been embarrassed by extreme right-wing parties entering Israel’s government and surging violence in the occupied West Bank over recent months.

 

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[JUST IN] US Elections 2024: Biden Drops Out Of Presidential Race Amid Pressure

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United States President Joe Biden has heeded calls to withdraw his re-election bid, thrusting this year’s already high-wire race for the White House into an uncertain territory.

The announcement on Sunday by the oldest sitting president in US history came amid mounting pressure from his fellow Democrats, with more than 30 Congress members publicly pushing for his exit.

In a post on X, Biden, 81, said he will remain in his role as president and commander-in-chief until his term ends in January 2025 and will address the nation this week.

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READ ALSO: Biden Speaks Of Quitting Presidential Race If…

“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as your President. And while it has been my intention to seek reelection, I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and to focus solely on fulfilling my duties as President for the remainder of my term,” Biden wrote.

His initial statement did not include an endorsement of Vice President Kamala Harris, but he followed up a few minutes later with an expression of support.

Harris, 59, would become the first Black woman to run at the top of a major party ticket in the country’s history.

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The Democratic backlash against Biden came after he delivered an unsteady performance at the first presidential debate of the 2024 election season as he lost his train of thought and struggled to articulate basic talking points.

READ ALSO: Heated Rhetoric As Republicans Blame Biden For Trump Shooting

The 46th US president’s departure from the race leaves the Democratic Party in an unprecedented situation, with only a month until the Democratic National Convention and less than four months until the November 5 election.

It was unclear whether other senior Democrats would challenge Harris for the party’s nomination – she was widely seen as the pick for many party officials – or whether the party itself would choose to open the field for nominations.

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Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Washington, DC, said Biden had been under a lot of pressure recently.

“It is very difficult to say what made him make the decision now,” he said. “What we do know is that he has been repeatedly insistent that he would not step down … So it comes as a bit of a surprise and a bit of a shock that Biden is saying he will step down after weeks of saying he won’t.”

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Three Nigerians sentenced To 235 Years In US Prison

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A court in Mississippi, United States of America has sentenced three Nigerians to 235 years in prison.

The jury found all the three personguilty of mail fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud and theft of government property.

Oladimeji Seun Ayelotan, 30, was sentenced to 95 years in prison, while Rasaq Aderoju Raheem, 31, got 115 years jail term.

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READ ALSO: Applicants Decry N640,000 UAE Visa Fee Hike

Also, Femi Alexander Mewase, 45, received 25 years in jail.

They were convicted for running online scams.

They were said to have duped people of tens of millions of dollars.

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Deadly Blaze Kills Even In France

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An apartment building blaze early Thursday killed seven people in the southern French city of Nice and police were investigating the fire as a possible arson, authorities said.

The dead include three children – 5, 7 and 10 years old – and a 17-year-old teenager who tried to escape by jumping from a window, they said.

The apartment was occupied by a family believed to have Comoran origins, the regional prefect Hugues Moutouh said, referring to the southern African island nature.

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Ten people were inside when the fire broke out.

Rescuers were alerted at around 2:30 am (0030 GMT) to the blaze on the seventh floor of the building in the low-income neighbourhood of Les Moulins, known for being a drug-dealing hub, in the west of the city.

READ ALSO: 100-year-old WWII Veteran Returns To Normandy Beach In France To Marry 96-year-old Bride[PHOTOS]

In spite of the substantial resources deployed, “unfortunately seven people died during this fire”, firefighters said.

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Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on social media that the quick arrival of firefighters “probably prevented more deaths”.

Nice prosecutor Damien Martinelli said investigators were looking into a “criminal” cause for the fire.

“In light of the initial evidence, I have opened an investigation into acts of arson leading to death,” he told reporters at the scene.

The authorities said the blaze probably broke out on the building’s second floor and spread to higher floors.

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READ ALSO: Seven Sentenced To Life Imprisonment In S’Africa For B*rning Two Sisters To D@ath Over Alleged Witchcraft

Rescuers said that three people were taken to hospital, one of them with life-threatening injuries.

They said firefighters were confronted by a “raging apartment fire” on the seventh floor of the building. They carried out three aerial ladder rescues and evacuated dozens.

In total, 25 fire engines and 72 firefighters tackled the fire.

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Twenty people were evacuated to a temporary shelter, with Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi saying a crisis unit to help anyone affected by the fire.

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