Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Gaza al-Qassam Brigades fighter killed in mysterious explosion

GAZA CITY: A militant with the armed wing of Gaza's ruling Hamas movement died in Gaza City on Wednesday after the car he was travelling in exploded, Palestinian medical sources said.

There was no accusation against Israel, prompting suspicions it was a "work accident" -- the euphemism for the accidental detonation of explosives held by militants.

Medics named the victim as Ayman al-Shufra, a member of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, and said two other Palestinians who had also been in the car with him were wounded. more

'The Gaza Hacker Group' launches attack on Israeli websites

The personal website of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein was hacked Tuesday, with anti-Israel slogans posted on the page.

The hackers, who identified themselves as “The Gaza Hacker Group,” wrote “Death to Israel” and other rants against the State of Israel and against Edelstein, the Nana 10 news outlet reported.

“This hacking is an act of terror in every way,” Edelstein said of the incident. He declared that no one could silence his advocacy on behalf of Israel and the Jewish residents of the West Bank.

“We are defeating our enemies every day on all fronts, and it will be the same on the Internet and in the various new media,” he said. more

Israeli spending on West Bank settlements up 38%

Israeli government spending on West Bank settlements has increased by 38% under prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, according to official figures disclosed as the cabinet voted to implement an austerity package of tax increases and budget cuts.

According to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, obtained by the business newspaper Calcalist, spending on Jewish settlements in the West Bank was 1.1bn shekels in 2011, up from 0.8bn the previous two years. The overall state budget increased by 2.7% in 2011, Calcalist reported.

Last year's figure was well below a 2003 high of 2.1bn shekels, but since then there has been a steady decrease in settlement spending until 2011.

The money mainly goes on housing, education and services, such as transport and utilities. It does not include security costs.

According to a spokesperson for the Settlers Council quoted by Calcalist, the Jewish population in the West Bank has grown at a rate of 5% a year, almost two and a half times the population growth of Israel. more

Amid shortages Egyptian generals finally OK fuel shipment to Gaza

Over half a million liters of industrial fuel are headed for the Gaza strip from Egypt, according to state run news agency MENA, making it one of the largest shipments since the beginning of the blockade on Gaza.

The containers travelled from Suez to Al-Awja border crossing in North Sinai on Monday.

“No legal document or agreement prevents Egypt from sending fuel to Gaza,” said Saeed Okasha, political expert at the Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, noting the legality of such a move from an international law standpoint.

“Such forms of aid to Gaza have been ongoing from the Egyptian side since the siege was started,” he added.

The increased shipment looks tied to President Mohamed Morsy’s strong relationship with Gaza’s Hamas government, but the fuel also forms part of over 5.5 million litres that have already traveled to Gaza from Egypt following a decision by the head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, to supply Gaza with 20,000 tons of industrial fuel that has been in place since 7 June. more