Biden Says U.S. Will Airdrop Aid Into Gaza


They went out in the thousands, camping overnight along the coastal road in the cold Gaza night — making small fires to keep warm — huddled together waiting for supplies to come so they could feed their families.

What they encountered was death and injury, as Israeli forces opened fire toward hungry, desperate Palestinians who surged forward when aid trucks finally arrived in the predawn dark on Thursday, according to three eyewitnesses and a doctor who treated the wounded.

“I saw things I never ever thought I would see,” said Mohammed Al-Sholi, who had camped out overnight for a chance at getting food for his family. “I saw people falling to the ground after being shot and others simply took the food items that were with them and continued running for their lives.”

More than 100 Palestinians were killed Thursday morning, Gazan health officials said, when Israeli forces opened fire as huge crowds of people thronged around the aid trucks. Mr. Al-Sholi and two other witnesses said in telephone interviews that they saw Israeli forces firing directly at people as they tried to reach the convoy. A doctor at a nearby hospital described seeing scores of people with gunshot wounds.

An Israeli military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, acknowledged that Israeli troops had opened fire “when a mob moved in a matter which endangered them” without giving details.

But he denied the soldiers had fired at people who were trying to get food. “We did not fire on those seeking aid, despite the accusations,” he said. Most of the deaths were caused by trampling in a stampede, Admiral Hagari said, and some people were hit by aid trucks.

Enormous groups of people have camped out for aid or raced to convoys in recent weeks, hoping for some deliverance from the severe hunger that has gripped northern Gaza through nearly five months of an Israeli offensive that has included intense bombardment, a siege and a ground invasion.

Mr. Al-Sholi, a 34-year-old taxi drive, said he was compelled to join the thousands of people gathered near the Nabulsi roundabout in Gaza City because he and his family, including three young children, are surviving off little but the spices, minced wheat and wild greens that they can find.

On Wednesday, he had heard that people had received bags of flour from aid trucks, and there were rumors that another convoy was coming. So on Thursday, around 7 p.m., he went to the Nabulsi roundabout with friends to wait.

He said he had never seen so many people gathered in one place. Others described tens of thousands of people waiting.

“Right before the trucks arrived, a tank started to move toward us, it was around 3:30 a.m. and fired few shots in the air,” Mr. Al-Sholi said in a phone interview. “That tank fired at least one shell. It was dark and I ran back toward a destroyed building and took shelter there.”

When the aid trucks arrived soon after, people ran toward them in desperation, and the gunfire started, the witnesses said.

“As usual, when the aid trucks arrived, people ran toward them to get food and drink and whatever else they could get,” said Mohammad Hamoudeh, a photographer in Gaza City. But when people reached the trucks, he said, “the tanks started firing directly at the people.”

He added, “I saw them firing direct machine gun fire.”

Mr. Hamoudeh said that, despite the fear and panic at the scene, many still rushed to the supplies. “People were terrified but not everyone, there were those who risked death just so they could get food,” he said. “They just want to live.”

The witnesses said that the tanks fired shells toward people even after they began to run away. They said tanks arrived between 3 and 4 a.m. and started firing regularly toward the Gazans, stopping at around until about 7 a.m.

The Israeli military did not respond to questions about whether Israeli tanks opened fire before or after the aid trucks arrived. Admiral Hagari said the trucks had neared Gaza City around 4:45 a.m.

Partial drone video footage released by the Israeli military, along with social media videos of the scene analyzed by The New York Times, do not fully explain the sequence of events. Videos show panic, including people ducking for cover and taking food from trucks.

Mr. Al-Sholi described chaos as ran from the aid trucks and people around him were hit.

“I saw people falling to the ground,” Mr. Al-Sholi said. “The man next to me was shot in the arm with a bullet and lost his finger immediately.”

As he fled, he said, he saw about 30 people on the ground, either killed or wounded. One of those killed was his cousin, who was shot while running with a bag of flour, he said. About 150 meters away from one of the tanks, he recalled seeing a boy, about 12 years old, lying on the ground with his face covered with blood. Some people were also run over by the aid trucks, he said.

A third witness, a journalist who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from the Israeli military, said the Israeli fire was so intense it was difficult to get to the wounded.

The tanks didn’t stop firing until around 7 a.m. but they did not pull back. People started dragging or carrying the dead and wounded, saying the Muslim declaration of faith as they did so fearing the tanks would start firing again, said Mr. Hamoudeh.

About a mile away ambulances had gathered, unable to get any closer, for fear of being fired on by Israeli forces. Some people carried or brought the wounded to them on donkey carts, or took them to hospitals on their own

Palestinians being treated at Kamal Edwan Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, on Thursday, after Israeli soldiers opened fire at the scene of an aid convoy where Gazans sought supplies.Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Around 150 wounded people and 12 of those killed arrived at the Kamal Adwan Hospital, said Dr. Eid Sabbah, the head of nursing there. He said about 95 percent of the injuries were gunshot wounds in the chest and abdomen.

Many of the wounded were in critical condition and required surgery but the hospital, like the few others still functioning in Gaza, suffered from a lack of electricity, fuel, medical equipment and medicines.

Medical staff were only able to perform 20 operations, with painkillers but without anesthesia, in their three equipped operating rooms, Dr. Sabbah said. Like food supplies, medical aid has become scarce over the last four months, leaving the few hospitals still operating struggling to treat patients beyond first aid.

Dr. Sabbah warned that many of the wounded from Thursday’s shooting could not be properly treated in their hospital.

“In the I.C.U. there are patients who need specializations and medicines and need complicated surgeries,” he said. “Their only hope is to be transferred outside of Gaza to be treated.”

Nader Ibrahim contributed reporting.



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Fazlur Rehman Rejects PML-N Offer, Opts for Opposition


Islamabad: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has declined an offer from PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif for ‘important positions’ and announced his decision to sit in the opposition “for now”.

In a meeting held at Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s residence, attended by Nawaz Sharif along with several PML-N leaders including Rana Sanaullah, Ishaq Dar, and Ahsan Iqbal, the three-time Prime Minister extended the offer.

However, Maulana Fazlur Rehman reiterated his stance of not joining the coalition government and expressed reservations regarding the results of the February 8 general elections.

During the meeting, Maulana Fazlur Rahman declined to immediately commit to any promises and opted to consult with party members. He also rejected the PML-N’s offer of important positions in the Centre, questioning accountability for injustices in the recent polls.

Read more: CM Punjab Maryam Nawaz Orders to Complete Rawalpindi Ring Road by December

In light of these developments, Fazlur Rehman announced the decision to sit in the opposition for the time being.

Additionally, Maulana Fazlur Rehman emphasized that his party, JUI-F, will not participate in the election process for the National Assembly speaker, deputy speaker, prime minister, and president. He affirmed that the JUI-F will firmly remain on the opposition benches in the parliament, refraining from involvement in the election of key positions.



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Public holiday announced in Lahore tomorrow



Public holiday announced in Lahore tomorrow

LAHORE – The district administration in Lahore has declared a local holiday on Saturday, March 2, in honor of the annual Urs of Hazrat Madhu Lal Hussain.

The annual Urs, also known as Mela Charaghan, of the revered Sufi poet Madhu Lal Hussain is set to commence tomorrow in the capital city of Punjab. The three-day celebration will kick off with Chadarposhi at the shrine.

Madhu Lal Hussain, renowned for his Kafis, a poetic form, passed away near the Ravi River in 1591 and was laid to rest in Baghbanpura, Lahore. His profound bond with a Hindu Brahman boy named Madhu is a historic tale, with both individuals now being revered as one under the name Madhu Lal Hussain.

Read more:  Singh govt announces holiday for all educational institutions across province

Madhu, buried alongside Lal Hussain in his shrine, is particularly known for his famous Allao of fire, serving as the central attraction for devotees and followers.

In anticipation of the Urs, heightened security measures have been put in place across Lahore to ensure the safety of attendees and to prevent any untoward incidents.



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Breaking News! Imran Khan’s bail approved


Islamabad: PTI Chairman Imran Khan granted significant relief by Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in four cases.

ATC Judge Arshad Javaid confirmed Imran Khan’s bail in four cases, including the Zulfiqar Shah murder case and the siege of Zaman Park.

Imran Khan was granted bail against surety bonds of Rs. 500,000 each for the four cases.

Cases against PTI Chairman Imran Khan were filed at two police stations, Naseerabad and Model Town Police Stations.

It is worth mentioning that last year in March, Imran Khan was accused of concealing facts in the Zulfiqar Shah murder case. On March 8, 2023, during a PTI rally in Lahore, a Section 144 violation led to a crackdown by the police, during which PTI worker Ali Bilal was killed. Imran Khan had alleged that the Punjab Police had killed PTI worker Ali Bilal (Zulfiqar Shah). The former Chief Minister of Punjab had ordered a thorough and impartial inquiry into the incident.

On March 18, 2023, when PTI Chairman Imran Khan left his residence in Zaman Park, Lahore, to appear before the judge in Islamabad, a heavy police force conducted a search operation at his house, leading to clashes between his party supporters and the police.

Read more: Barrister Gohar Re-elected Unopposed as Chairman PTI

Several cases of terrorism, vandalism, and siege were filed against multiple leaders and workers of PTI under the Anti-Terrorism Act.



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Maryam Nawaz Launches Cleanliness Drive with Ramadan Package in Punjab



Maryam Nawaz Launches Cleanliness Drive with Ramadan Package in Punjab

Lahore: Maryam Nawaz, the newly-elected Chief Minister of Punjab has highlighted the importance of ensuring cleanliness across the province. She announced plans to conduct surprise visits to every district of Punjab to oversee cleanliness initiatives.

Chairing a special meeting regarding the Ramadan Relief Package in Lahore, CM Maryam Nawaz emphasized her commitment to serving people based on merit and transparency. She pledged to extend the Ramazan Relief Package to those who did not vote for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the February 8 general elections

Maryam Nawaz directed authorities to ensure the quality of items prepared under the Ramadan Package for the poor and deserving segments of society. She also instructed district authorities to conduct random checks on the packets prepared for the package.

Additionally, the Punjab CM vowed to make surprise visits to all districts, emphasizing the importance of maintaining cleanliness and addressing issues such as wall-chalking.

Read more: Ramadan 2024: Key dates & fasting hours

Earlier in the day, Maryam Nawaz imposed a ban on transfers and postings across the province, stating that important transfers will require permission from the Chief Minister House via a summary.

Upon assuming office as Chief Minister, Maryam Nawaz instructed the administration to remove encroachments from Lahore markets within one month. This decision came in response to complaints from citizens regarding traffic congestion and accidents caused by encroachments such as stalls and carts placed outside shops.



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Hyundai Pakistan Unveils IONIQ 5 Luxury Electric Vehicle


Islamabad: Hyundai Pakistan introduced its inaugural luxury electric vehicle, the IONIQ 5, during a ceremony held in Lahore. Described as a premium segment EV, the IONIQ 5 offers a revolutionary driving experience that combines style, sustainability, and sheer excitement.

Luxury and Modern Features

The company highlights the IONIQ 5’s premium status and modern features, positioning it as a standout choice among competitors in the luxury electric vehicle market.

Advanced Specifications

Equipped with a permanent magnet synchronous motor and a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 72.6kWh, the IONIQ 5 delivers an impressive output of 253kW. It boasts a maximum power of 225kW (301.6hp), 605Nm of torque, and an all-electric range of up to 430 km per charge. The vehicle also features a single-speed reduction column-type shift-by-wire transmission.

Sleek Design and Dimensions

Measuring 4635mm in length, 1890mm in width, and 1605mm in height, with a wheelbase of 3,000mm and ground clearance of 170mm, the IONIQ 5 showcases sleek dimensions that enhance its overall aesthetic appeal.

Read more: Pak Suzuki announces an increase in car prices; Check latest car prices ( March 2024)

Variety of Colors

The IONIQ 5 is available in six captivating colors, including Atlas White, Abyss Black, and Lucid Blue Pearl, offering customers a range of options to suit their preferences.

Hyundai IONIQ 6 Introduction

In addition to the IONIQ 5, Hyundai also introduced the IONIQ 6 luxury electric vehicle. Priced at Rs23,000,000, the IONIQ 6 is a five-seater car equipped with six airbags, a tyre pressure monitoring system, and rain-sensing wipers.

Variety of Colors and Specifications

The IONIQ 6 is available in seven stylish colors, including Abyss Black Pearl and Serenity White Pearl. It features advanced specifications such as AWD, dual motor, drive modes, wireless charging, and a range of safety features, making it an appealing choice for luxury electric vehicle enthusiasts.



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Photos From the Funeral of Aleksei Navalny


Russians traveled from far and wide to bear witness as Aleksei A. Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who died in an Arctic prison at 47, was buried in Moscow on Friday amid a heavy police presence.

Some mourners chanted his name. Others said, “Thank you for your son!” to Mr. Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, who had fought for days to reclaim his body. Eventually, the authorities relented, but Mr. Navalny’s team described having to overcome a gantlet to persuade a church, a cemetery and a hearse to take part in the burial.

Thousands turned out for the service, Mr. Navalny’s supporters estimated. Foreign diplomats were among the crowd. Some Russians shouted, “No to war,” risking arrest. Mr. Navalny’s coffin was lowered into the cemetery grounds to the strains of the Sinatra song “My Way” and one from the movie “Terminator 2,” video showed.

Mourners, above, walking to the Borisovskoye cemetery on Friday in Moscow during the funeral for Mr. Navalny. Law enforcement officers detained a man near the cemetery, below.

Carrying Mr. Navalny’s coffin from the Moscow church where his funeral was held on Friday.

Laying flowers at the grave in Moscow.

A journalist estimated in a Facebook post that “tens of thousands” of people had assembled for the funeral, though that figure could not be verified.

Diplomats, including the French ambassador to Russia, Pierre Levy, second from left, and the U.S. ambassador, Lynne M. Tracy, second from right, waiting near the church for the service.

Police officers on the roof of an apartment building during the burial.

The police presence outside the cemetery where the burial was taking place.

Some people chanted Mr. Navalny’s name and thanked his mother for her son.

Law enforcement officers outside the church after Mr. Navalny’s funeral.

Videos showed the crowd tossing flowers onto the road as the funeral cortège left the church for the cemetery.

Valerie Hopkins contributed reporting.



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Saudi Arabia Donates 100 Tons of Dates to Pakistan



Saudi Arabia Donates 100 Tons of Dates to Pakistan

Islamabad: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has decided to present Pakistan with a heartfelt gift of 100 tons of dates. This tradition, recommended by the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, signifies the enduring bond between the two nations.

During a ceremony at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Nawaf Bin Said Al-Malki, alongside Abdullah Al-Baqami, Director of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, formally handed over the donation to the Pakistani government.

Read more: Ramadan 2024: Key dates & fasting hours

The donation aims to support the Pakistani community during the holy month of Ramadan, reflecting the spirit of generosity and brotherhood shared by both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.



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Texas Wildfires: What We Know About the Smokehouse Creek Fire


The Smokehouse Creek fire, the largest on record in Texas, is still largely uncontrolled across the state’s Panhandle.

So far, the fire has scorched more than a million acres, making it one of the most destructive in U.S. history. The blaze has devastated cattle ranches, consumed homes and killed at least two people. More hot, dry weather over the weekend threatens to worsen conditions.

Here is what we know so far.

The blaze was ignited on Monday, and it’s not yet clear what started it.

It spread around the town of Canadian, a cattle-country community of around 2,200 people northeast of Amarillo, near the Oklahoma state line. By Wednesday, the fire had spread across vast swaths of ranch lands in the Panhandle. By Thursday, it had become the largest on record in the state.

In order to grow so quickly, a few weather conditions had to align: high temperatures, dry conditions and strong winds.

On Monday, it was 82 degrees in Amarillo. The average daytime high temperature there in February is 54 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

The Smokehouse Creek fire has been burning across a sparsely populated area of Texas that is home to most of the state’s cattle: millions of cows, calves, steers and bulls. Its sprawling ranches are not always easily traversable by road.

Wildfires are nothing new for Panhandle ranchers, many of whom know how to transform their pickups into makeshift fire trucks in order to fight a blaze. But the scale of this fire is without precedent in Texas.

In addition to the ranchers, residents of the small communities that dot the landscape, like Fritch and Canadian, have seen their homes, cars and churches reduced to rubble.

On Tuesday, two people died. Joyce Blankenship, an 83-year-old woman living on the outskirts of the town of Stinnett, perished in her home when flames overtook her property. Cindy Owen, 44, died from burns after flames surrounded her company truck as she drove home to Amarillo from Oklahoma.

The Smokehouse Creek fire was 15 percent contained as of Friday morning, the authorities said.

The rugged terrain of the Canadian River Valley, where the fire started, has been a major obstacle for firefighters because fire trucks cannot navigate some of the cliffs, valleys and steep hills in the area.

Some rain on Thursday helped to stall the fire’s growth. But warm, windy and dry weather was expected to return over the weekend, which could prolong the blaze.

The National Weather Service warned of “critical fire weather conditions” in the region on Saturday — Texas Independence Day — and Sunday, urging residents to avoid outdoor activities that might cause sparks or flames.

A fire weather watch was posted for Saturday afternoon through Sunday evening, covering the Texas Panhandle and nearby parts of Oklahoma.

The Panhandle is home to about 85 percent of the roughly 12 million cattle in Texas, said the state agriculture commissioner Sid Miller. But most of them are kept concentrated in feedlots and dairy farms, and those operations have been largely unaffected by the fires.

Still, wide swaths of the grassland that Texas cattle rely on for food have been reduced to a blackened expanse. Thousands of cattle may have already died, or been so injured in the blazes that they would have to be killed, Mr. Miller said.

Even those ranchers whose cattle have survived were left scrambling for a place for their herds to eat. Mr. Miller said a rancher he knew had 1,500 head of steer but “no grass and no water” and was in a desperate situation, adding that the rancher may have to move the cattle across state lines.

In most of Texas, wildfires happen in the summer. But in the Panhandle, the fire risk is highest around March when temperatures rise, strong winds blow over the flat landscape and dry grass can easily catch fire.

Climate change is most likely making fire season start earlier and last longer by increasing the number of days in a year with hot and dry weather conditions that enable wildfires, said John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas state climatologist and a professor of atmospheric science at Texas A&M University.

Temperatures in Texas have risen by 0.61 degrees per decade since 1975, according to a 2021 report by the state climatologist’s office. The relative humidity in the Panhandle region has been decreasing as well.

Reporting was contributed by Delger Erdenesanaa, Christopher Flavelle, Lucinda Holt and Miglena Sternadori.





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ASP Shehrbano Naqvi’s Wedding Photos Gain Attention


Islamabad: ASP Shehrbano Naqvi of the Punjab Police has garnered widespread praise and attention following her heroic actions in the recent Icchra incident. The incident brought ASP Naqvi into the spotlight as she was the first responder who rescued a lady from a critical situation.

ASP Naqvi’s bravery and quick response have earned her accolades not only from her superiors within the police department but also from the Pakistan Army, celebrities, and the general public. Her performance during the incident has been commended on various social media platforms.

In recognition of her exceptional service, ASP Naqvi has received numerous awards. Additionally, she has been honored with an invitation to be a royal guest in Saudi Arabia, as announced by the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan.

Apart from her professional achievements, ASP Shehrbano Naqvi’s personal milestones have also captured attention on social media. Photos from her wedding, where she looked radiant in a traditional lehenga and jewelry, have gone viral on platforms like Instagram.

Read more: Actress Hania Aamir Sparks Wedding Rumors

ASP Shehrbano Naqvi’s dedication to her duty, combined with her personal accomplishments, has made her a notable figure both within the Punjab Police and in the public eye.

Check out some of the clicks below:



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