In brief: Israel, Hamas each claim victory in Gaza war
JERUSALEM – Both Israel’s prime minister and Hamas declared victory Wednesday in the Gaza war, though their competing claims left questions over future terms of their uneasy peace still lingering.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments, delivered in a prime-time address on national television, appeared aimed at countering critics of the war, with both hard-liners in his governing coalition as well as residents of rocket-scarred southern Israel saying the war was a failure because it did not halt Hamas’ rocket attacks or oust the group from power.
Masked Hamas militants carrying heavy weapons gave their own address upon the rubble of one destroyed Gaza neighborhood.
Israel and Hamas agreed to an open-ended truce Tuesday, with each side settling for an ambiguous interim agreement in exchange for a period of calm. Hamas, though badly battered, remains in control of Gaza with part of its military arsenal intact. Israel and Egypt will continue to control access to blockaded Gaza, despite Hamas’ long-running demand that the border closures imposed in 2007 be lifted.
Six dead, 21 missing after landslide hits China
BEIJING – Six people died and 21 remained missing Thursday after a landslide hit a village in southwestern China, according to Chinese state media.
The official Xinhua News Agency reported that 77 houses collapsed or were buried in the Wednesday night landslide in the village of Yingping in Guizhou province. Xinhua said another 21 people were injured.
Teens’ illness feared linked to cancer vaccine
BOGOTA, Colombia – A mystery illness has overwhelmed a small town in northern Colombia as scores of teenage girls have been hospitalized with symptoms that parents fear could be an adverse reaction to a popular vaccine against cervical cancer.
Authorities say they still don’t know what caused more than 200 girls in El Carmen de Bolivar to come down with symptoms ranging from fainting to numbness in the hands and headaches. Some have hinted that the town of 95,000 near Colombia’s Caribbean coast could be experiencing a rare case of mass hysteria.
Parents are on edge however because all the girls, ranging in ages from 9 to 16, were injected in recent months with the vaccine Gardasil.
Francisco Vega, the town’s mayor and a trained physician, told the Associated Press that illnesses first appeared at the end of May and have been steadily increasing since.