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News And Features Articles

Hardline Iranian MP set to become first female presidential candidate

A radical Iranian MP who pushed for executions of protesters has stepped forward to become the country’s first female presidential candidate. Zohreh Elahian has registered to run in the country’s snap elections at the end of June following the sudden death of Ebrahim Raisi, its former president, last month in a helicopter crash. A staunch supporter of Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader, she could potentially become the first woman ever allowed to stand if approved by the Guardian Council.

Israel wanted Gazan clan to take over after war – but Hamas beheaded it

A secret Israeli plan to persuade a powerful Gazan clan to take power from Hamas was derailed when the terror group executed its leader, The Telegraph can reveal. Israel is now trying to recruit more moderate Palestinian leaders from the West Bank to rule Gaza after the war. The plan to install Gaza’s Doghmush clan – the most powerful in the enclave – failed after the group’s leader and several of its allies were assassinated, an Israeli intelligence source with knowledge of the plan said.

Prominent Iraqi-British Jew says urgent action needed to save Mosul’s last synagogue

Urgent action is needed to help save one of Iraq’s last remaining synagogues from crumbling beyond repair, an Iraqi-British Jewish philanthropist has warned. Mosul’s Sassoon Synagogue, which dates back to 1902 and was once the heart of a 6,000-strong thriving local Jewish community, has become a rubbish dump, with its ritual bath - or “mikveh” - now a barn for horses, according to Edwin Shuker who was born in Baghdad but fled to the UK to seek asylum in 1971.

Israel enrols Gazan citizens as recruits to help in search for hostages

Israel’s intelligence services have enrolled a swathe of new recruits from within Gaza to aid them in their search for the remaining hostages. It has become much easier to draw Gazans in to work for Israel after the breakout of war on Oct 7, intelligence sources told the Telegraph, with offers of cash, immunity from prosecution, or physical safety. At the same time it is easier for elite units of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to enter the Gaza Strip unnoticed, and one source told The Telegraph.

Iran’s historical sites being starved of funds during economic crisis

Iran’s budget to preserve its ancient heritage amounts to a paltry £161 per site and £3,000 per building, a minister has complained. Ali Darabi, the deputy minister for cultural heritage, tourism and handicrafts, said that the country’s historical sites risk falling into total disrepair in the middle of a profound economic crisis. “The fact that all this historical greatness and cultural heritage should be preserved and restored with this minimal budget is beyond me,” Mr Darabi said.

‘I shot down drones over Israel and was back in my office sending emails by 4pm’

An Israeli reservist fighter pilot said it was like “Top Gun meets Star Wars” as he described how he shot down Iranian missiles and was back at work in his office before the end of the day. The pilot, identified as “Major G”, said that taking to the skies to defend Israel from more than 350 missiles and drones was “the most complex mission of my life”. “It really was a different thing with hundreds of those UAVs and missiles in the air getting intercepted around you, like Top Gun meets Star Wars."

‘We have to continue living’: Tel Aviv locals keep calm and carry on after night of fear

After a sleepless night for many, Tel Aviv’s coffee shops were bustling on Sunday morning as life returned to relative normality after the unprecedented Iranian bombardment. While children were kept home from school, businesses were back to usual in the city which is more than familiar with war. “What else can we do,” said Shira Cohen, speaking from Tel Aviv’s beachfront where she was doing her morning run. “Thank God it wasn’t more than this, but we have to continue living.”

Mafia crime wave in Israel drives Christians from Nazareth

The centuries-old Christian population in the holy city of Nazareth is slowly disappearing because of a mafia crime wave sweeping northern Israel. Mafia gang members reportedly harass Christian store owners in the northern Israeli city and demand the equivalent of thousands of pounds in protection money. Their numbers are reported to have grown since the outbreak of the Gaza war despite the deployment of Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security agency, last year and extra police patrols.

Israel admits it may not be able to destroy Hamas now US has turned its back

Israel may not be able to destroy Hamas despite five months of intense fighting in Gaza, intelligence officials have admitted. The main objective of the Gaza invasion faces failure as international support turns against Israel, sources warned. Israel believes it has dismantled Hamas’s main command and control structure in central and northern Gaza but pockets of “guerrilla” resistance remain. Senior officials told The Telegraph four out of an original 24 Hamas battalions remain completely untouched.

In Israel’s deserted north, your nearest neighbour can be a Hezbollah fighter who wants to kill you

The beautiful tree-lined roads up the mountainside have been turned into muddy tracks by tanks, with soldiers now patrolling where children once played freely in the 750-strong community. “I miss my children, my wife, the life we lived, the simplicity,” he said, his eldest of two just three years old. “I want to be part of raising my daughter but instead, I’m here, safeguarding what’s left of our community’s homes,” he said, more than 100,000 Israelis have been displaced from the country’s north.

Israel will be forced to ‘cut deals’ for individuals if Hamas refuse complete hostage release

Hamas will not release all of its hostages, forcing Israel to “pay a lot of money” through individual deals to free its citizens, a member of Israel’s negotiating team has said. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the negotiator said there was “no way on earth” the terror group would cut a deal to release all of the hostages taken on Oct 7. “The hostages are the only cards left in the pack for the personal security of the leaders of Hamas and their families.”

Hamas refuses to reveal how many hostages are alive

More than 250 hostages were taken to Gaza when Hamas militia invaded Israel on Oct 7. In November, 105 of them – including 81 Israelis and 24 foreigners – were released from Gaza in exchange for 240 Palestinians, including 71 women and 169 children. Israel is demanding the release of all the remaining hostages as part of the ceasefire negotiations, while Hamas is demanding the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.

Ghoulish ‘war safaris’ force Israeli kibbutzim to close doors to visitors

Kibbutzim in southern Israel have been forced to close their doors to visitors after busloads of souvenir-hunting tourists turned the sites of the Oct 7 attacks into a “safari”. Hundreds of people now arrive daily for “war tours” of the devastated communities to take selfies with the burnt-out homes and blood-stained walls left after the Hamas atrocities, in which 1,200 people died. Some tourists even enter abandoned homes without permission and steal “souvenirs” such as spent bullet casings.

‘Hot Houthi’ pirate says hijacked cargo ship’s hostages taken to Yemen

Yemen’s “Hot Houthi” claimed on Tuesday that the Iran-backed rebel group had taken 25 hostages from a hijacked cargo ship to a secret location on land. Rashid Al Haddad, 19, has emerged as the face of the Islamist militia after his TikTok videos on board the Galaxy Leader ship went viral. The Israeli-owned vessel was stormed in November by armed Houthi rebels and now functions as a tourist destination for curious locals.

How Houthis are using war in Gaza to tighten grip on Yemen

Houthis are seizing on Yemen’s humanitarian disaster to drive up recruitment and strengthen their iron grip on the country, aid workers have warned. The Iran-backed group behind the attacks on Red Sea shipping has been weaponising poverty, famine and popular support for Gaza to draw civilians to its cause, they said. So successful has their recruitment drive been, that the Houthis are now thought to number as many as 100,000 – over half of the total regional militia run by Iran.

Israeli hostages at risk from deadly fungus with ‘no treatment’ in Hamas tunnel network

A mysterious deadly fungus in the Hamas tunnel network poses a new threat to the 136 hostages being held in Gaza, Israeli officials have claimed. A member of the hostage team in Israel, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “There is a deadly fungus in the tunnels with no treatment. Hamas members there are now more immune to it but there is a high chance many of the hostages are sick and deteriorating due to this fungus."
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