Friday, 12 February 2010

Three Palestinians killed by IDF as airstrikes and shelling raises tension

Two killed in latest Israeli airstrike as IDF goes on high alert over fears of attempt new by Palestinian fighters to capture Israeli soldiers. Also a Palestinian man was shot near Hebron and died on the way to hospital, allegedly after trying to stab an Israeli soldier.
Ma'an – Israeli forces shelled an area east of the Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp on Monday, hitting the central Gaza Strip region with several artillery shells in at least three barrages, witnesses said. Unconfirmed Israeli media reports said two Palestinians were killed.

Camp residents said the shells were mostly landing in the Abu Hamam area, and said the hits began at approximately 9am.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the fire was the response of an army unit near the Kissufim military base, south of the Al-Maghazi camp, to an attempt by armed men who were "identified detonating an explosive device" near the border fence that she said was "targeting soldiers." After soldiers heard an explosion nearby, they responded, she said.


Mashaal meets Russians - says next war will be regional - vows revenge for al-Mabhouh murder

Hamas leader in exile Khaled Mashaal, in an interview with London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat, says if war is foisted on Gaza again the fighting will not be confined to the strip but will be regional. He was speaking after meeting with Russian diplomats who hope to get peace talks going again. On this Mashaal said he did not see any prospects for peace in the near future because of Israel's extremist leadership, which he said was encouraged by division among Palestinians and the weak response of the Arab nation as a whole. He also vowed to avenge the killing of al-Mabhouh.

He also welcomed Russia's refusal to follow the West in labelling Hamas as a terrorist movement.

Tunnellers dig deeper to bring in the basics of life for people of Gaza

Good article, as always, by Robert Fisk in today's UK-based Independent newspaper, on the role of the tunnellers keeping a lifeline open for the besieged people of Gaza.
They are threatened with drowning by the Egyptians and punitively taxed by Hamas. Our correspondent meets the Palestinian smugglers bringing oranges, car batteries and bottle tops to a territory under siege.

They are the real resistance. They are the lung through which Gaza breathes. True, missiles must pass along their subterranean tracks, Qassam rockets, too, Kalashnikov ammunition, explosives. But by far the greatest burden of the tunnellers of Gaza is the very life-blood of this besieged little pseudo-Islamic statelet: fresh meat, oranges, chocolate, shirts, trousers, toys, cigarettes, wedding dresses, paper, entire motor-cars in four bits, car batteries, even plastic bottle tops. The tunnellers of Gaza are bombed by the Israelis, they die in their own collapsing tunnels – and now they face a new Egyptian wall, even the fear of drowning. Terrorists they may be to the Israelis – the promiscuous use of this word makes it fairly meaningless these days – but heroes they are to the Palestinians of Gaza. Rich ones, too, perhaps.