TOLO News

Auditing Process Resumes

13 hours 34 min ago

The auditing process, which was halted temporarily on Wednesday so that presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai can discuss upon a criterion behind invalidating votes, resumed Thursday morning.

A firm consensus has not been reached in the criteria for voiding votes, but both candidates have asked that the United Nations (UN) assist in the process to avoid lengthening the election activity.

In addition to the lack of unanimity, another issue that created a drawback in the auditing process was the presence of a foreign observer from Abdullah's camp who did not have proper documentation to be present during the inspection.

While the process has been moving forward at a snail-like pace, both electoral teams are optimistic of the outcome expressing that the slow progress is not important, but rather the transparency of the procedure is much greater.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) Spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor on Thursday morning said that ballot boxes from 19 provinces have arrived in Kabul. That is a total of 13,619 ballot boxes out of the total 22,778, which makes for 60 percent votes nationwide, that the IEC has received so far.

He added that since the start of the audit procedure a total of 1,027 ballot boxes have been inspected.

With the holy month of Ramadan coming to an end, Noor said that the IEC will increase the number of working teams to enhance the auditing movement.

On Wednesday, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced that the auditing process has been halted, for a second time, because of disputes between the candidates' observers that took place on Tuesday afternoon.

It is said that the process was halted over disagreements about the presence of Abdullah's foreign observers.

Ghani-Ahmadzai's team claimed that some of Abdullah's foreign observers did not have monitoring cards and were giving incorrect information to the UN until the security forces drove them out of the IEC compound.

Abdullah's team has rejected the allegations.

Blast Kills 5 Civilians in Takhar

15 hours 6 min ago

At least five people were killed and more than 21 others wounded in a blast in Khojaghar district of Takhar province on Thursday morning, local officials said.

The incident took place at around 10:30 a.m. in the city of Khojaghar district according to Provincial Spokesman Sunatullah Temor.

He added that the explosives were concealed on a motorcycle.

According to the local officials, most of the victims were civilians who have been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Takhar public health head Hafizullah Safi says that there are nine civilians, including women and children, killed and 24 others wounded. He added that the target was the ALP, but the blast took place before the attacker reached the police.

Khojaghar hospital officials confirmed the death of six people. More than 30 wounded have been brought to the hospital of which eight are in critical condition.

No group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the Takhar attack.

In a separate suicide attack early Thursday morning in Nangarhar province two Afghan Local Police (ALP) were killed and another injured.

Among the killed was Police Commander Malik Nawab.

Provincial Spokesman Ahmadzia Abdulzai said the incident took place around 8:30 a.m. when a suicide bomber detonated himself near a local police check post in Khogyani district.

The victim was taken to a nearby hospital.

Taliban insurgents have claimed responsibility for the Nangarhar attack.

FARAKHABAR: 23 July 2014

15 hours 40 min ago

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday announced that the auditing process has been halted, for a second time, because of disputes between the candidates' observers that took place on Tuesday afternoon.

To watch the program, click here:

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The process was first halted on Saturday of the same week.

According to presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah's observing team, the United Nations (UN) and both campaign teams held joint meetings to resolve the disputes. The process is expected to begin again tomorrow.

Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's team member Daoud Sultanzoy added that the UN is to assign specific tasks to each observer.It is said that the process was halted over disagreements about the presence of Abdullah's foreign observers.

Ghani-Ahmadzai's team claimed that some of Abdullah's foreign observers did not have monitoring cards and were giving incorrect information to the UN until the security forces drove them out of the IEC compound.

Abdullah's team has rejected the allegations.

In this episode of Farakhabar host, Yama Siawish discusses the topic with the following guests:

Waqif Hakimi, Dr Abdullah Abdullah's campaign team member

Abas Noyan, Dr. Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's campaign member

TAKANI: Auditing Process Halted

16 hours 2 sec ago

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday announced that the auditing process has been halted, for a second time, because of disputes between the candidates' observers that took place on Tuesday afternoon.

To watch the program, click here:

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The process was first halted on Saturday of the same week.

According to presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah's observing team, the United Nations (UN) and both campaign teams held joint meetings to resolve the disputes.

The process is expected to begin again tomorrow.

Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's team member Daoud Sultanzoy added that the UN is to assign specific tasks to each observer.

Host Shapoor Bakhtiyar discusses the topic with following guests:

Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, Dr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's campaign team member

Rahil Formuli, Dr Abdullah Abdullah's campaign team member

Hamas Rejects Gaza Truce Unless Blockade Lifted

18 hours 14 min ago

Hamas Wednesday rejected a ceasefire to end 16 days of deadly fighting with Israel unless the blockade on the Gaza Strip is lifted, its chief Khaled Meshaal said in Doha.

"We reject today... and will reject in the future" a ceasefire before negotiations on Hamas's demands, which include lifting years of blockade against the Palestinian enclave, Meshaal told reporters.

Lifting the eight-year blockade is a main demand of Hamas which also wants the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt and Israel to free prisoners.

As international calls for an end to the fighting in Gaza mount, Meshaal insisted that the Islamist Hamas "welcomes all efforts to end the aggression" and "does not object" to mediation by any party, including Egypt.

"We will not accept any initiative that does not lift the blockade on our people and that does not respect their sacrifices," he said.

Egypt, whose President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has sought to isolate the militant Palestinian movement in the neighbouring Gaza, had tried to broker truce between Israel and Hamas.

Hamas had rejected the ceasefire proposal which it said was favourable to Israel.

It argues that Egypt's proposal, which is backed by the United States, United Nations and Arab League, would allow Israel to dictate if and when to ease its blockade on Gaza.

"Let us agree on achieving our demands and we will then agree on the zero-hour for a ceasefire," Meshaal said.

He appealed to the international community and NGOs to "come to the aid of Gaza and not wait until after the war ends."

"I call today for opening border crossings to allow the entry of aid convoys" to Gaza Strip which needs "fuel, food and electricity," he said."We are more concerned (than any other party) about a humanitarian truce, like last Thursday... for evacuating casualties and assisting the population," he said."We are not closing the door to a humanitarian truce... that would not manuever around demands of the resistance," he added.

Meshaal insisted that his movement wants the "aggression to stop tomorrow, today, or even this minute. But lift the blockade with guarantees and not as a promise for future negotiations," he said, adding that "we will not shut the door in the face of any humanitarian ceasefire backed by a real aid programme."

Charity Oxfam said Wednesday that thousands of Palestinians have fled their homes but have nowhere safe to shelter from Israeli airstrikes and warned that supplies of water and food are dangerously low.

The 16-day conflict has so far killed 695 Gazans, 34 Israelis and a Thai worker.

"We do not want a war and we do not want it to continue, but we will not bow in front of it," said Meshaal.

"Nobody could disarm the resistance," he said, setting two conditions to demilitarise Gaza, an Israeli demand: "The end of occupation and the disarmament of Israel."

TOLOnews 6 pm News 23 July 2014

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 16:28

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday announced that the auditing process has been halted, for a second time, because of disputes between the candidates' observers that took place on Tuesday afternoon.

The process was first halted on Saturday of the same week.

"The process stopped as a result of disputes between the presidential campaigns teams," IEC Spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said.

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Conference Promotes National Unity Government

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 15:12

A conference titled "National Agenda" convened on Wednesday in Kabul, where participants focused on the importance of the formation of the "national unity government" called for by the agreement made between the two presidential candidates last week.

The gathering asked the two candidates, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah to reach an agreement over the principles and legal framework for the formation of a national unity government. The participants also said that the candidates must accept that it will require concessions from both sides.

"If you {candidates} agree on the principle and framework of national unity government without considering who is the president, confidently, this model could decrease the electoral tensions and it lead to the success of the process," National Agenda founder Wali Massoud said. "It is a good opportunity to Afghan politicians, God for bid, if the opportunity is missed, then we do not know what direction the crisis will move in."

In attendance at the conference, a number political analysts argued the national unity government plan would be the only way to ensure a smooth transition and bridge the divide between the candidates and their supporters.

"National unity government doesn't mean coalition government or seat adjustment between the two sides, the national government is a way out of the crisis," Hamid Mubarez said.

The candidates had representatives at the conference as well. Abdullah's spokesman said his team is committed to forming a national unity government even if they win the election. He also said negotiations over the agreement are ongoing, but will be completed before results are announced.

"With consideration of text of the agreement, all issues pertaining to national unity government have been discussed generally, so the two teams need to conduct negotiations on that before the election results, details of the agreement must be endorsed by the two sides," said Alimi Balkhi, a member of Abdullah's camp.

Meanwhile, Ashraf Ghani's camp questioned the motivations behind foreign involvement in the election process.

"After this, there shouldn't be a need for Iran, Pakistan and the U.S. to come and intervene, we aren't sold to America so they can come and say that this is right and this not," Ghani camp representative Safia Sediqi said. "They supported us, but should have supported us rightly. There is the possibility that ongoing conflicts are also the work of the foreigners, who do not want to see a better government in Afghanistan and see people breathe in peace."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry came to Kabul last week to meet with the two candidates and try to resolve the disputes that risked derailing the election process.

Kerry's meetings resulted in an agreement that called for the establishment of a chief executive post with the authorities of the prime minister on the basis of presidential decree; the establishment of an opposition seat on the order of the president; the designation of chief executive and leader of the opposition by the losing candidate; equal power sharing between winning candidate and opposition leader; the holding of constitution amendment Loya Jirga within two years of the election; and the implementation of reforms in election management bodies.

Opportunities Lost With Election Delays

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 15:06



This year's election has dragged-out longer than any other similar process in the world. But beyond keeping the public in the lurch, political experts have argued that the delays in the election have led to a number of lost opportunities for the next president.

Based on the original runoff timeline published by the Independent Election Commission (IEC), the final results of the second round were scheduled to be announced by July 22. However, after delays caused by Abdullah Abdullah's disputed claims about fraud in the runoff, along with inefficiencies at the election commissions, the vote audit remains underway and a final result is not expected for some time.

According to some analysts, the delays mean the new president will take office at a disadvantage, having missed the opportunity to represent the country at a few key international gatherings.

"The long lasting elections have taken many opportunities from the future president, such as the NATO Summit in the UK beginning of September, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) conference in mid September, London conference--a follow up of the Tokyo conference-- in October and many other conferences where the president of Afghanistan could have participated and honored commitments made to the people, which is still in President Karzai's hands," Herat MP Nahid Farid said.

According to the leader of the Civil Society Association, Azizullah Rafiyee, the new president - whether Abdullah Abdullah or Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai he did not specify - would have brought greater "strength" to the table than Karzai can.

"The opportunities were a good start for the future of Afghanistan, but unfortunately, the opportunity was lost and the strength that the new president would have brought to the conference, President Karzai will not have," Rafiyee said.

The election process has reportedly caused some government and ministry work to come to a halt, further exacerbating the challenge of this year's transition. However, perhaps more important to the future administration in Kabul, some fear the never-ending election will undermine the public's trust.

"When a process lasts for a year, people's trust and hope are harmed," said Saifuddin Saihoon, a Kabul University Professor.

For many, the uncertainty of how or when the election process will conclude fuels the problem. "A longer lasting election process will have unwanted consequences for Afghanistan; still it is not clear whether it will take another year or two," Senator Daud Asas said.

With Afghanistan still heavily dependent on foreign aid and support when its comes to economics and security, the prolonged election process could have negative effects on important international relations as well.

"The conflicts has reached its peak, so has insecurity; countries who were here to help Afghanistan might lose hope and Afghanistan might return to 13 years ago," Asas added.

Terrorists Still Thrive in Pakistan: NDS

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 15:00

Afghan intelligence officials have maintained that the recent offensive of the Pakistani military to combat insurgents and terrorist groups in the border regions near Afghanistan has failed to disrupt militant activities and served as nothing more than a publicity ploy for Islamabad.

The Pakistani began operations in Northern Waziristan last month that it touted as a striking major blows to terrorist groups in the area that had been launching attacks around Pakistan, but also across the border in Afghanistan. Pakistani officials have made commitments to the international community, especially to Afghanistan and the United States, to uproot all terrorist groups from its soil.

However, according to the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Pakistani military operations were far less effectual than Islamabad suggested.

"Reports indicate that many terrorist training centers were moved to Peshawar and even Islamabad, the real terrorist cell of Haqqani Network was transported through 150 vehicles with some ammunition from Miranshah to Tal and Spin Tal of Kurram Agency," NDS spokesman Hassib Sediqi said.

The Haqqani Network is one of the most active terrorist groups in the region, and particularly in Afghanistan. The group is thought to have been responsible for the recent attacks in Urgoon and at the Kabul International Airport.

Last week, while speaking at the Congress, U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan also questioned whether the Pakistani operations were sufficient. For years, Afghan officials have asked Washington to put pressure on Pakistan to crackdown on militants within its borders and try to help move peace talks with the Taliban forward.

"The international community must know that Pakistan has not brought any changes to its policy against terrorism, and is acting against the will of the international community," Sediqi said. "We do not see any honesty in the words and actions of Pakistan - Pakistan is the cause of all insecurities in the region."

Tensions between Islamabad and Kabul have simmered for years, occasionally reaching a full boil, often over issues related to Pakistan's handling of insurgents and terrorists within its borders. Afghan officials have long accused the government in Islamabad of protecting and supporting militants in secret while disingenuously denouncing them in public.

"Afghanistan has the right to complain to the United Nation, so that all the cells that threaten Afghanistan are destroyed, and all the insecurities are prevented," political analyst Khalil Roman said.

But, assuming Afghan suspicions are right, and Pakistan remains a state-sponsor of terrorism, the question remains: why? Leaders in Kabul and international experts have maintained Islamabad uses the militants as a way of influencing the affairs of its neighboring countries.

That is why MP Muhammad Abda, like others, believes security problems between Afghanistan and Pakistan will not be put to rest until other issues between the two countries are. "The terrorism problem will not be solved between Afghanistan and Pakistan until other problems are solved."

Auditing Process Halted For a Second Time

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 14:51



The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday announced that the auditing process has been halted, for a second time, because of disputes between the candidates' observers that took place on Tuesday afternoon.

The process was first halted on Saturday of the same week.

"The process stopped as a result of disputes between the presidential campaigns teams," IEC Spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said.

According to presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah's observing team, the United Nations (UN) and both campaign teams held joint meetings to resolve the disputes. The process is expected to begin again tomorrow.

"There were some disputes so the UN decided to stop the audit and resolve the problems first," Abdullah's team member, Wahid Omar, said.

Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's team member Daoud Sultanzoy added that the UN is to assign specific tasks to each observer.

"Every observer has his own role," Sultanzoy said. "The UN halted the process to determine the roles of each observer."

It is said that the process was halted over disagreements about the presence of Abdullah's foreign observers.

Ghani-Ahmadzai's team claimed that some of Abdullah's foreign observers did not have monitoring cards and were giving incorrect information to the UN until the security forces drove them out of the IEC compound.

Abdullah's team has rejected the allegations.

The UN has announced that the disagreements have already been resolved, stating that the process will resume tomorrow.

ISAF Transfers Ballot Boxes from 15 Provinces

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 14:38

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has transferred ballot boxes from a total of 15 provinces nationwide to the Independent Election Commission (IEC) central office in Kabul to undergo auditing, IEC officials said on Wednesday.

IEC officials add that ISAF is still operating countrywide in the movement of the ballot boxes from the provinces. Currently, boxes are being transported to Kabul from four additional provinces.

"Till now a total of 12,233 ballot boxes have arrived to the IEC's office," said IEC Spokesperson Noor Mohammad Noor. "These boxes belong to 15 provinces. The remaining boxes are arriving as well."

In a statement ISAF stated that the election commission and the presidential candidates' observers are strictly overseeing the process of the transfers.

"The most important thing to remember is that election materials are moved under strict chain of custody requirements, which includes eyes-on by IEC escorts at all times during the movement," the statement read.

After an agreement was made between the two presidential candidates upon the arrival and mediation of the United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, ISAF is committed in assisting Afghanistan in the prolonged elections.

Vote Invalidation Criteria to Be Finalized

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 14:28



Disagreements over aspects of the criteria in regards to vote invalidation will be resolved Wednesday said and presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani-Ahmadzai's campaign spokesman, Tahir Zuhair, on Wednesday.

"The auditing conducted in the past few days is conclusive; everything has been conducted within the legal frameworks at place," Zuhair said. "The two electoral camps will finalize the vote invalidation criteria today."

Ghani-Ahmadzai and opponent Abdullah Abdullah's teams have held several rounds of discussions but did not reach a conclusive agreement on the criteria for the auditing process.

Reports indicate that majority of the disagreements are surrounded by the following controversial conditions:

1) Votes should be invalidated if the number of votes in a center is not consistent with the number of voters registered.

2) Votes should be invalidated if the registered numbers are repetitive.

Abdullah's camp has stressed that it is important to finalize the criteria so that the auditing process continues to move forward.

"There is no choice except to finalize the criteria," Fazel Ahmad Manavi, who is in charge of the technical negotiations in Abdullah's camp, said. "There are some disputed points, but I am confident that we will reach an agreement and the document will be finalized."

The recent negotiations between the technical teams of the two candidates come 11 days after the candidates reached an agreement on the overall auditing process. If the issue is not resolved, the current disagreements could potentially lead to questioning the legitimacy of the entire auditing process.

Afghan Cricket Team Beats Zimbabwe at Third ODI

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 09:39

The Afghan National Cricket Team won its third One-Day International match in Zimbabwe on Tuesday. The team is set to play a total of four ODI's and two Four-Day Internationals against Zimbabwe.

The host team began the game in its 50 overs, losing eight wickets and reaching 261 runs. Afghan players then chased down the competition with two balls to spare as they rattled up 264-8, helped by a half century from opener Javed Ahmadi.

On the Afghan side, Javed Ahmadi (56) and Usman Ghani (43) added 83 for the first wicket, while Samiullah Shenwari (41) and Captain Mohammad Nabi (42) kept the visitors in touch.

Dr. Noor Mohammad Murad, the head of the Afghan Cricket Board, spoke about the games organized in Zimbabwe and stressed the importance of ODI matches for Afghanistan.

He also congratulated the Afghan Nation for the achievements of its cricket team, but added that Zimbabwe has a longer history with cricket than Afghanistan.

He said victory against such a team was a major achievement for the Afghan side, and good preparation for the World Cup in 2015, which will be Afghanistan first time in the tournament.

TAKANI: National Unity Government

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 08:04

To what extent will the government of national unity be approved by the people and what is the understanding of this governance model?

Host Zabiullah Sadaat discusses the topic with following guests:

Bismillah Afghan, senator

Lailuma Ahmadi, Dr Abdullah Abdullah's campaign team member

Siddiq Patman, Dr Ashraf Ghani's campaign team member

Ghazi Nawaz Tanai, the head of the Afghan Tribal Solidarity (ATS)

To watch the program, click here:

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ELECTION 2014: Review of Ambiguous audits and Inspection Processes of Runoff

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 07:55

In this episode of Entekhabat 93, host Muslim Shirzad discusses the ambiguous audit and the inspection processes of runoff with the following the guests:

Guests:

Fazl Ahmad Manawi, Dr Abdullah Abdullah campaign team member

Daoud Sultanzoy, Dr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai campaign team member

To watch the program, click here:

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Suicide Attack in Northern Kunduz

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 06:03

A suicide bomber denotated his explosives in Chahar Dara district of Kunduz province early Wednesday morning claiming a life and wounding two others.

According to northern Kunduz province local officials, Chahar Dara district police chief, Ghulam Mohiuddin, was heading for work with his three bodyguards when the suicide attacker detonated his explosives injuring Mohiuddin and two of his three bodyguards.

Provincial police spokesperson Syed Sarwar Hussaini says that the incident took place at about 6:50 a.m. local time.

According to Hussaini, two of his bodyguards were wounded and one other killed following the blast.

The victims have been taken to a nearby hospital.

There was no civilian casualties in this blast.

No group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

FARAKHABAR: 22 July 2014

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 05:47

Afghan National Security Advisor Dr. Rangeen Dadfar Spanta on Tuesday warned of potential danger in relying too much on the election commissions or allowing one of the political teams to be excluded from the structure of the next government.

To watch the program, click here:

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Spanta, one of Afghanistan's top security officials, stressed that the transcript of the political settlement made between Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah remains in the U.S. Embassy, and that a legal agreement needs to be established to bolster its terms.

Spanta's comments came at a policy discussion organized in Kabul on Tuesday by the Afghanistan Center of Strategic Studies regarding the formation of the national unity government. He highlighted the public's mistrust of the election commissions and emphasized the importance of seeing through the agreement made between the candidates, and solidifying it in legal form.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Kabul last week in order to meet with the candidates and negotiate an end to the stalemate between them that had driven the country to the edge of crisis. The terms they negotiated included the comprehensive auditing of election results and formation of a national unity government following the release of the results.A number of legal experts have, over the past week, weighed in on the agreement between the candidates and highlighted the importance of legal frameworks in resolving the election disputes.

In this episode of Farakhabar host, Yama Siawish discusses the topic with the following guests:

Mujib Rahman Rahimi, Dr Abdullah Abdullah's Campaign team member

Tahir Zahir, Dr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's campaign team member

Foreign Forces Kill 4 Taliban in Nangarhar

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 05:45

According to the eastern Nangarhar province security officials at least four Taliban insurgents were killed, three wounded and two others arrested by foreign forces on Tuesday.

Nangarhar police spokesman Hazrat Hussain Mashrqiwal says that the insurgents were killed in a foreign force led operation in Haska Mina (Dih Bala) district of Nangarhar province.

"The operation was conducted by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) special forces at about 5 p.m. local time and among the dead were Pakistani and Afghan Taliban," Mashriqiwal said.

There were neither civilian nor foreign casualties during the operation.

According to Mashriqiwal, the operation was conducted solely by foreign forces, he says there were no Afghan forces during the operation.

The Taliban has yet to comment.

Haska Mina (Dih Bala) is a district in southern Nangarhar province, ‎ bordering Pakistan.

Israel Says No Need to Cancel Flights After Rocket Fire

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 04:32

Israel said there was no reason to cancel flights after a rocket fired from Gaza crashed just kilometres (miles) from its main airport Tuesday, prompting some airlines to suspend services.

The Federal Aviation Authority banned US airlines from flying to or from the Jewish state, which is locked in a bloody conflict with Gaza militants, and major European and Canadian carriers cancelled flights shortly after.

Israeli "Transport Minister Yisrael Katz this evening called American companies to explain to them that the take-off and landing at (Tel Aviv's) Ben Gurion airport presented no security problem for the aircraft and the passengers," a Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said.

"There is no reason for American companies to cancel their flights and yield to terrorism," Katz was quoted as saying.

A house was damaged on Tuesday morning "by a rocket strike in the area of Kiryat Ono Yehoud, which is several kilometres north of the airport," Israeli police said.

The projectile was fired from the Gaza Strip, where Israel has been carrying out an offensive against Islamist movement Hamas since July 8.

Israel's national carrier El Al said in a statement that it was continuing "its flight from and to Israel".

Israel Says No Need to Cancel Flights After Rocket Fire

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 04:32

Israel said there was no reason to cancel flights after a rocket fired from Gaza crashed just kilometres (miles) from its main airport Tuesday, prompting some airlines to suspend services.

The Federal Aviation Authority banned US airlines from flying to or from the Jewish state, which is locked in a bloody conflict with Gaza militants, and major European and Canadian carriers cancelled flights shortly after.

Israeli "Transport Minister Yisrael Katz this evening called American companies to explain to them that the take-off and landing at (Tel Aviv's) Ben Gurion airport presented no security problem for the aircraft and the passengers," a Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said.

"There is no reason for American companies to cancel their flights and yield to terrorism," Katz was quoted as saying.

A house was damaged on Tuesday morning "by a rocket strike in the area of Kiryat Ono Yehoud, which is several kilometres north of the airport," Israeli police said.

The projectile was fired from the Gaza Strip, where Israel has been carrying out an offensive against Islamist movement Hamas since July 8.

Israel's national carrier El Al said in a statement that it was continuing "its flight from and to Israel".