John Irvine

Senior International Correspondent

Senior International Correspondent John Irvine set up the ITV News Dubai bureau in 2010 and covers stories across the Indian sub continent, Africa and the Gulf region for ITV News. He won two Royal Television Society Awards for his reports on the Gulf War and was also the first ITV News correspondent to report from Port-au-Prince after the Haiti earthquake, forming part of the ITV News team that won a BAFTA for coverage of the disaster.

  1. John Irvine

Executions help explain Hamas' stranglehold over Gaza

Hamas clearly wanted publicity. Not only were these public executions - they allowed photographs to be taken. Most of the images are too gruesome to show.

Palestinians crowd in to watch as Hamas militants execute Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

Obviously these public executions do nothing for the Palestinian cause in the international court of public opinion, but they do illustrate why Hamas has such a stranglehold over Gaza.

One of the recurring questions throughout this war is: How much support does Hamas actually have? Well this ruthless display explains why there are so few dissenting voices.?

  1. John Irvine

Gaza conflict: Peace is off the table

I suspect that the resumed fighting is less in Hamas' interest than in Israel's.

Hamas look weak at the minute for one thing and they barely have a friend in the world. Yes, Arab countries have condemned the Israelis over the death toll is Gaza but there have been few, if any, expressions of support for Hamas.

The same is true of the West Bank. One might have imagined that Palestinians on the West Bank would have risen up by now in support of their Gazan brethren but that hasn't been the case.

Hamas relies on global sympathy for the situation in Gaza, but of late the World's attention has been focused on the barbarism of Islamic militants in Iraq and I suspect that may have diluted any tolerance or support there was for Hamas' conduct.

They too are Islamic militants, so for the time being I think the Israeli's are going to hammer Hamas. Peace is off the table.

  1. John Irvine

The desperate struggle to save Iraq's stranded Yazidis

It was an act of compassion that lifted the soul.

The Iraqi Army helicopter pilot had landed on Sinjar Mountain. Five minutes on the ground was what he’d stipulated; and just a handful of people could be allowed on board for the airlift out of mile-high hell.

Twenty minutes later and there were more than fifty of us crammed onto that old bird and she was struggling to lift off. The pilot had relented and allowed all of those who had rushed us to get on. The captain later told me that the helicopter has a recommended passenger capacity of 15. We were more than times three that.

One of the crew gestured with five fingers…..five people had to get off. The young men were the obvious choice and at least one was reluctantly ejected. A middle-aged man stood and stoically said farewell to his wife and children before walking down the ramp.

The weight difference was just enough and we lifted off the top of Mount Sinjar, a mile-high hell on which these people had survived for a week without much in the way of anything.

There’s a reason the mountain is uninhabited. It’s barren and boiling, there’s little in the way of shade or shelter and no food or water. The faces of the people on the helicopter told the story. Redemption was theirs and they cried and cried.

The Iraqi Army helicopter was codenamed Fox 1. This was the third journey to and from the mountain taken by the crew on Monday. It was one of two helicopters operating. Obviously they, on their own, can’t bring enough supplies up or transport enough people down.

Exactly how many Yazidis are left on the mountain nobody knows for sure, but it must run into the thousands.

There were fifty fewer thanks to the bravery of the crew of Fox 1 and the compassion of the skipper.

When we landed and the relieved Yazidis limped off onto the tarmac they sat down. The captain counted and took pictures. He couldn't quite believe what they’d managed.

  1. John Irvine

Can broken Iraq be put back together again?

Islamic State militants might have suffered a temporary setback in Iraq, but solving the troubled country's problems will be a far bigger challenge. By Senior International Correspondent John Irvine in Irbil.

Islamic State fighters in northern Iraq wave their flag

While the humanitarian crisis affecting the poor people on and around Mount Sinjar persists, the sense of crisis in Iraqi Kurdistan has eased somewhat thanks to today's victory, and perhaps a little breathing space has been created.

The Americans have made clear they do not think the answer to Islamic State is laser-guided bombs ahead of a Kurdish advance. Rather, they want all Iraqis to reject the Islamists.

But the truth of the matter is that Iraqi Sunnis prefer Islamic State to the government in Baghdad and creating a more inclusive government in Baghdad is an excruciatingly slow process.

It is no wonder President Obama says that rolling back the militants and putting Iraq back together again is a project that may take years - if it is possible at all.

  1. John Irvine

Israel neither admits or denies responsibility for attack

The Israelis are not admitting responsibility but they are not denying it either.

An Israeli military spokesman told ITV News that there was an "extensive battle in the area" around the school today, as Israeli soldiers responded to Hamas' anti-tank missiles and mortars.

He said Israel had had yet to determine whether it was Israeli ordinates or Hamas ordinates that struck the school - but if it was the Israelis it was a mistake.

Relatives of Palestinian victims of the attack mourn outside a hospital in Gaza. Credit: Reuters

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today his staff in Gaza had been trying to arrange an evacuation.

Israel said it had been urging an evacuation over the last three days, but had no idea why the evacuation did not happen.

So something that was agreed in principle didn't happen in practice, and I'm afraid the cost in that has been very high indeed.

  1. John Irvine

Battle in Gaza developing a 'dangerous dynamic'

The seven killed today brings to 25 the number of Israeli soldiers lost since Saturday and that's a lot for them. Several of those soldiers were buried after funerals here today.

The Israeli incursion into Gaza has evolved into a ground war which, of course, Hamas is getting to fight on home turf.

The battle, I think, is developing a dangerous dynamic of its own and that will be hard to stop.

Several Arab countries and the Americans are trying to thrash out some sort of framework for a deal. The difficulty is that while the Israelis will exchange quiet-for-quiet, Hamas will not.

They have pre-conditions for a ceasefire, which the Israelis will not sign up to. They're worried that any concessions will be construed by Hamas as a victory, so the war goes on.

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