Mohammad Rizwan, the wicketkeeper-batsman for Pakistan, has drawn criticism and online trolls since he dedicated his team’s historic victory over Sri Lanka in Hyderabad to “brothers and sisters in Gaza,” the Hamas-controlled territory that had recently attacked Israel.
Rizwan expressed his sentiments on X, saying, “This was for our brothers and sisters in Gaza. Happy to contribute to the win. Credits to the whole team and especially Abdullah Shafique and Hassan Ali for making it easier. Extremely grateful to the people of Hyderabad for the amazing hospitality and support throughout.”
Rizwan’s gesture of solidarity with Gaza however has sparked angry reactions from fans, with some interpreting it as support for Hamas. Many expressed their strong disapproval on social media. It is also worth noting that Rizwan’s tweet appears to be in violation of the code of conduct established by the International Cricket Council (ICC), which has strict rules regarding cricketers making political and religious statements.
Israel, Hamas start first truce in Gaza war
Israel and Hamas initiated a four-day ceasefire beginning on Friday. During this period, the militants are scheduled to release 13 Israeli women and child hostages later in the day, and aid is expected to enter the besieged Gaza enclave. This marks the first temporary halt in the nearly seven-week-long conflict, Al-Arabiya reported.
The truce began at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT), involving a omprehensive ceasefire in north and south Gaza, and was to be followed by the release of some of the more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack inside Israel, mediators in Qatar said. A number of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons were to be freed in exchange.
Palestinian death toll in Gaza jumps to over 13,300
As of Monday, authorities in Gaza reported that the death toll resulting from the continuous Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7 has surpassed 13,300.
In a statement cited by Anadolu agency, the Gaza-based government media office said the death toll includes 5,600 children and 3,550 women.
It added that the death toll also includes 201 medical staff, 22 members of civil defense rescue teams, and 60 journalists.
Since a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks in the Gaza Strip.
Thousands of buildings, including hospitals, mosques, and churches, have also been damaged or destroyed in Israel’s air and ground attacks on the besieged enclave.
The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, is around 1,200, according to official figures.
First-ever cinema opens in Madinah Saudi Arabia
The inauguration of Empire Cinema’s multiplex in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, marks a historic moment as the city’s first-ever cinema, situated within the Al-Rashid Mall. Featuring 10 screens and 764 seats, including a dedicated children’s theater and play area, this branch signifies Empire Cinemas’ 10th complex in the country.
CEO Gino Haddad expressed that this expansion is a significant step in their Saudi presence.
The lifting of the cinema ban in 2018 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman under Vision 2030 aimed at enhancing the quality of life and diversifying the economy.
AMC Entertainment became the first operating cinema in 35 years, followed by Saudi Arabia’s substantial investments in the entertainment sector, including a $100 million film fund announced at the Cannes Film Festival.
Recent reports from the Ministry of Commerce highlight a 28% growth in the Saudi cinema industry in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the previous year. Predictions from PwC Middle East suggest that Saudi Arabia’s cinema revenue could reach $1.5 billion by 2030.
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