Australia boosts sanctions enforcement
CANBERRA, Australia — Australia has assigned a guided missile frigate to the East China Sea to boost international efforts to enforce sanctions against North Korea, an Australian officer said Friday.
The Australian Defense Force chief of joint operations, Air Marshall Mel Hupfeld, said the warship with a crew of 230 will be supported by two Australian AP-3C Orion surveillance aircraft based in Japan.
“Despite the easing of tensions on the Korea Peninsula, Pyongyang continues with its nuclear weapons and ballistic weapons programs in defiance of … United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Hupfeld told reporters.
“The occasional deployment of … maritime patrol aircraft and surface vessels to the region … adds weight to Australia’s ongoing economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea and enhances the capacity of ongoing multinational enforcement efforts,” he added.
The Australians would work in cooperation with Japan, the United States, Canada and South Korea to enforce sanctions, Hupfeld said.
He likened detecting illegal ship-to-ship transfers of goods from among the many legitimate transactions in the East China Sea to finding a needle in a haystack.
Hupfeld would not say whether the frigate HMAS Melbourne’s role would be intercepting suspect cargo ships.
Six Gaza Palestinian protesters shot dead
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli forces shot dead six Palestinians on Friday, four of them in a single incident, in one of the deadliest days in months of mass protests along the security fence separating Gaza and Israel, Gaza’s Health Ministry said.
The ministry said four were killed in one location, where the Israeli military said it opened fire on a crowd of Palestinians who breached the fence and approached an army post. No Israeli troops were harmed, the army added.
Two other Palestinians were killed in other protest locations, the ministry said, adding that at least 140 Palestinians were wounded by live bullets.
The Israeli military said 14,000 Palestinians thronged the border fence areas, burning tires and throwing rocks, firebombs and grenades at soldiers stationed atop earth mounds on the other side of the barrier.
Since March, Hamas has orchestrated near-weekly protests along the fence, pressing for an end to a stifling Israel-Egyptian blockade imposed since the militant group wrested control of Gaza in 2007.
More than 150 Palestinians participating in or present at the marches have been killed since they began. In May, about 60 protesters were killed in a single day, making it one of the deadliest since a 2014 war between the two sides.