Palestinian security pulls out of area B in Jerusalem

By Hamdi Yildiz and Aysar al-Ais

RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) – Palestinian security forces have withdrawn from towns and villages in Jerusalem classified as Area B in the Oslo accords.

According to witnesses, Palestinian forces left the northwestern towns of Iksa, Qatanna and Biddu, as well as the northern Abu Dis and Izarriya towns.

Though the Oslo II Accord inked in 1995 between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel, designates area B as subject to Israeli security control, Tel Aviv allowed Palestinian security forces to be deployed there because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Palestinian officials are yet to comment on whether the move was related to recent remarks by President Mahmoud Abbas on Palestine's withdrawal from past agreements with the US and Israel as Tela Aviv is expected to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.

On Tuesday, Abbas said the country was terminating all agreements and understandings signed with Israel and the US, including those on security.

He said Palestine held the US administration responsible for the occupation of the Palestinian people and considered it a key partner in Israel's actions and decisions against the rights of the Palestinians.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, for his part, ordered on Wednesday the implementation of Abbas's decisions to cut ties with Israel and the US.

Accordingly, at the extraordinary cabinet meeting held in the evening, Shtayyeh ordered all ministries to take concrete steps and urgent measures on Abbas's decisions.

The move came in protest of Israeli threats to annex parts of Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.

According to the Oslo II Accord, the Palestinian territories in the occupied West Bank were divided into A, B and C areas.

Area A represents 18% of the West Bank and is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, both security and administrative.

As for area B, it represents 21% of the West Bank and is subject to Palestinian civil administration and Israeli security administration.

Area C forms 61% of the area of the West Bank and is under Israeli security and administrative control, which requires the approval of the Israeli authorities on any Palestinian projects or measures in it.

* Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur and Mahmoud Barakat

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By Handan Kazanci

ANKARA (AA) - Anadolu Agency is here with a rundown of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic and other news in Turkey and around the world.

- Coronavirus in Turkey

Turkey on Thursday confirmed 926 additional recoveries as the country began easing measures against the novel coronavirus, according to the country’s health minister.

The total number of recoveries from the disease hit 131,778 as 926 more patients were discharged from hospitals over the past day, Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter, citing Health Ministry data.

The country's death toll from the outbreak rose to 4,630 as Turkey reported 21 new fatalities over the last 24 hours.

Turkey conducted over 54,000 COVID-19 tests in the past 24 hours, bringing the total tally to more than 2.2 million, said Koca.

Meanwhile, Turkey plans to resume international flights to 40 countries gradually as of June 10, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu said Thursday.

International flights from Turkey will carry passengers first to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Qatar and Greece, Karaismailoglu said in a statement.

Turkey suspended all international flights on March 28 amid COVID-19-related travel restrictions worldwide.

- Global coronavirus developments

A low death toll was once again recorded Thursday as France recovers from the coronavirus pandemic which plagued the country over the last three months, according to the latest statistics reported by the Health Ministry.

The country registered a total of 46 deaths in hospitals Thursday, a drop of 39 cases over those reported Wednesday.

Italy on Thursday reported 88 more fatalities from the pandemic, bringing the death toll to 33,689 as authorities unveiled new guidelines to prevent crowded summer spots like beach resorts from becoming new virus hotbeds.

The slowing trend in the number of deaths registered in May continued in early June, confirming that the peak of the crisis has been passed.

Face masks on English public transport will be mandatory from June 15, the British government announced Thursday, as a further 176 people died from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours.

British authorities announced that the UK-wide death toll from COVID-19 is now 39,904.

As Spain prepares for its state of emergency over COVID-19 to last until June 21, the Health Ministry reported Thursday that 195 more people were infected with the coronavirus and five more had died.

The number of infections diagnosed Wednesday was down slightly from the 219 people who tested positive Tuesday but up from Monday and Sunday. In total, 240,660 infections have been confirmed in the country.

Health officials in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza announced Thursday the arrival of medical supplies sent by Turkey to help fight the novel coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra confirmed that two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines had been delivered for detecting the virus.

- George Floyd Memorial service

Hundreds of mourners on Thursday attended the first of several memorials for George Floyd – an unarmed black man who was killed in police custody on May 25.

The service at North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota was attended by Floyd's family and Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing the family, as well as celebrity guests.

Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday urged demonstrators joining protests over the death of George Floyd to get tested for the novel coronavirus.

Speaking at his daily press briefing, Cuomo said around 30,000 people have taken part in the statewide protests demanding justice for the killing of the unarmed black man in police custody.

Of them, 20,000 were involved in rallies in New York City.

In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged citizens not to overlook the racism problem in Germany while intensely discussing racism and police brutality in the US after the death of George Floyd.

"This murder of George Floyd is very, very terrible. Racism is something terrible,” Merkel said Thursday evening in an exclusive interview with public broadcaster ZDF.

“Racism has always been present, but sadly we also have this [problem]. We should first sweep in front of our own door,” she stressed.

- Other developments

Turkey and Libya plan to advance cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean, including exploration and drilling activities, to further benefit from natural resources, Turkey’s president said in a meeting with Libya’s prime minister Thursday.

The meeting between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Fayez al-Sarraj took place at the presidential palace in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Erdogan said Turkey and Libya have reached a consensus on expanding their cooperation areas on the territory of Libya.