Friday, 16 November 2012

Palestinian killed, 2 hurt in Israeli airstrike on Rafah - death toll reaches 30

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- An Israeli airstrike on Rafah has killed one Palestinian and seriously injured two others, bringing the death toll to 29 in the Gaza Strip.

The strike hit three men riding a motorcycle, killing Khalid Khalil al-Shayer, 28, and seriously injuring two others.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said al-Shayer was a militant involved in anti-tank operations.

Earlier, Israel bombed the al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip killing Hamas military leader Ahmad Abu Jalal, 43, his brother Majd Abu Jalal, 33, Ziad Farhan Abu Jalal, 23, and Hasan Salim al-Hulei, 27. more

“May your children die, you dogs”: As Gaza burns, Israelis bay for blood in streets of Tel Aviv

“They don’t deserve to live, they need to die”

“May your children die, you dogs”

“Now we want to go back there [to Gaza] and kick out all the Arabs.”

“The people demand more shooting”

“Muhammad is dead”

These were some of the calls from a group of Israelis demonstrating in favor of Israel’s attack on Gaza in the streets of Tel Aviv last night.

Peaceful protests by Palestinian students at Israeli university were met with similar incitement.

In Tel Aviv, across the road, another group of Israelis protested against the assault. “We came here to say that we must end this war immediately,” Knesset member Dov Khenin of the communist Hadash party told the anti-war crowd, “every additional drop of blood is needless.”

The duelling demonstrations were filmed by David Sheen. While anti-war voices exist, there’s little doubt that much of the Israeli Jewish population stands behind Israel’s attack on Gaza, believing the government propaganda that Palestinians are firing rockets at Israel unprovoked while Israel seeks peace and quiet. more

Resistance rocket lands near Jerusalem

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli police are searching Jerusalem for the remains of rockets that Hamas says its armed wing fired toward the city of Jerusalem late Friday.

The al-Qassam Brigades said it fired two homemade missiles toward Jerusalem and a long-range missile at the Israeli Knesset in the city.

There were no immediate reports of injury or damage after air raid sirens were heard in Jerusalem and nearby towns near Bethlehem.

A Ma'an reporter in Bethlehem, which is south of Jerusalem, observed a trail from a rocket above the city shortly before a blast was heard.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma'an that the rocket landed in the area of Gush Etzion, a bloc of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Rosenfeld said police received a number of reports of explosions from residents in the area but did not discover the wreckage.

It was the first Palestinian rocket since 1970 to reach the vicinity of the city. The al-Qassam Brigades have named the long-range missile the M75, in honor of assassinated Hamas founder Ibrahim al-Maqadma and its range in kilometers. more

Israelis thrown into confusion as Hamas takes fight to Tel Aviv

Air raid sirens on Thursday, sent residents running for shelter in Tel Aviv, a Mediterranean city that has not been hit by a rocket since the 1991 Gulf War, when it was targeted by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.Two more rockets were fired on Tel Aviv on Friday.

Although there were no specific targets in the districts of Holon and Rishon LeZion, sirens rang out loudly across the city and in Bat Yam and Bnei Brak in the south, damaging the communications networks of Cellcom wireless and Cincinnati Bell, which collapsed and affected residents in that region.

Meanwhile, Al-Qassam Brigades – the armed wing of Palestinian resistance faction Hamas, which recently lost ranking member Ahmed Al-Jaabari – announced it had downed an Israeli surveillance plane with a surface-to-air missile.

If true, this would indicate a marked shift in Hamas' defensive capacity.

According to Hamas spokesman Mohamed Abu-Shaar, the Iranian-made Fajr-5 missile (which boasts a range of 70 kilometres), along with the Russian Kornet and Saray Al-Quds missiles, using launching platforms for the first time are sending strong messages to Israel.

"I believe [Israel] is confused for the first time," said Abu-Shaar.

"Tactical developments on the battlefield will make Israel reconsider its overall operations," he added, "because the balance of power on the ground and the capabilities of the Palestinian factions – which have quickly formed a united command to handle attacks – are different than they were during Israel's 2008/09 Operation Cast Lead."

Abu-Shaar confirmed reports that Israel had, for the first time, asked Cairo to mediate with Hamas with a view to ending the missile attacks that have reached Tel Aviv and southern Israel. Hamas, he explained, had responded by rejecting any mediation for the time being.

"Gaza today realises that it has genuine support abroad that will protect it after the courageous steps that Egypt has taken in light of events," Abu-Shaar said.

"Most importantly, [Gaza has received] medical aid that was preceded by political backing," he said. "The people of Gaza praise these actions, which were unheard of during the Mubarak era, because Mubarak's Egypt coordinated with Israel during Operation Cast Lead. Today, the opposite is happening."

Egyptian Brigadier-General Safwat El-Zayyat said it was necessary to confirm that Israel's deterrent capacity had been eliminated, noting that, for the first time in its history, the Israeli public was not safe from attack. more

Tunisian foreign minister to visit Gaza on Saturday

TUNIS (Reuters) -- Tunisia's foreign minister will visit Gaza on Saturday as part of a delegation to offer support to Hamas and increase Arab pressure on Israel.

"An official Tunisian high-level delegation led by the minister of foreign affairs (Rafik Abdesslem) and the director of the presidential cabinet will go to Gaza tomorrow in confirmation of its initial position to provide all political support for Gaza," the spokesman for the Tunisian president, Moncef Marzouki, said in a statement on Friday.

Egypt's prime minister, Hisham Kandil, visited Gaza on Friday to show support for the Palestinian people after two days of attacks by Israeli warplanes. more

Egyptian prime minister arrives in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil arrived in the Gaza Strip on Friday amid a two-day Israeli military offensive in the enclave.

Kandil entered Gaza through Egypt's Rafah crossing and was greeted by Gaza officials. Yousef Rizqa, an adviser to the Gaza premier, told assembled reporters the visit was highly significant during the bombardment of Gaza, and would sent an important message to Israel.

Israel has said it will suspend all military action during Kandil's three-hour visit so long as Gaza militant groups also halt fire.

Kandil told reporters he will meet Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh to discuss several issues, including the situation of civilians in Gaza. more

Images disprove Israeli official’s denial that Palestinians shot down drone over Gaza

Video posted on YouTube from Al-Aqsa TV shows a drone that Palestinian resistance fighters say they shot down over Gaza.

Israeli government spokesman Ofir Gendelman tweeted, “The drone that Hamas showed on TV is not Israeli and is not in service in the IDF. This is another failed Hamas PR prop.”

However examination of images of the drone suggest it is Gendelman who is lying. In the TV clip, the anchor identifies the downed drone as a “Skylite B,” an unmanned aerial vehicle made by the Israeli weapons firm Rafael. more

Israel bombs Interior Ministry building in Gaza City

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israel bombed the civil affairs department of the Ministry of Interior in Gaza City early Friday morning after a night of heavy raids across the Gaza Strip.

Emergency crews extinguished a huge blaze at the ministry in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood as ambulances transferred wounded Palestinians from residential buildings in the area.

Ministry officials reassured citizens that more than 90 percent of personal files and papers were saved electronically and could still be accessed. The building contained 70 years of records of the Palestinian civil registry, the ministry said.

Israeli shelling of security and civil headquarters will not discourage the government from working, the ministry added. more