Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Israel ends deadly Gaza assault after Egypt brokers ceasefire - Palestinian death toll 162, 1,222 injured


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli military stopped firing on the Gaza Strip after 9 p.m. Wednesday in line with an agreement with Hamas and announced by Egypt hours earlier.

Both sides said they were sticking to the terms of the deal although 12 rockets were fired at Israel after 9 p.m. and Israeli airstrikes killed two Palestinians after the deal was announced.

Eight days of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza killed at least 170 Palestinians since the army assassinated a senior Hamas military official last Wednesday. Palestinian armed groups responded with rockets that killed five Israelis and reached further than ever before outside of Gaza.

Egypt’s foreign minister announced the ceasefire during a news conference in Cairo with the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, who praised Egypt's role.

Mohamed Kamel Amr said the ceasefire would come into effect at 9 p.m. more

Egypt and Israel announce Gaza ceasefire starting at 19:00 GMT


CAIRO (Reuters) -- Egypt announced on Wednesday that a ceasefire had been reached to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, starting later in the day.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr made the announcement in a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The ceasefire would come into effect at 9 p.m., Amr said.

"These efforts ... have resulted in understandings to cease fire and restore calm and halt the bloodshed that the last period has seen," Amr said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US President Barack Obama on Wednesday he was ready to give a ceasefire with Hamas a chance, his office said in a statement. more

Egyptian solidarity convoy puts Palestine back on map


(Photo: Nada El-Kouny)


Flooding into the main courtyard of the Dar Al-Shifaa hospital in Gaza, over 550 Egyptians on a solidarity convoy chanted, "Gaza, Gaza, Egyptians are with you." In the press conference held in the main courtyard, the Gazan Minister of Health Hani Abdeen, together with the organisers of the convoy, spoke to the crowd.

Despite regular shelling being heard as the convoy entered Gaza, the Palestinians said this was the first time since the start of the latest offensive that the shelling had halted for at least an hour.

The grim reality of the situation quickly sunk in.

A woman’s screams could be heard from inside the hospital. Shortly afterwards she was ushered out by her family members: her relative had just passed away.

The ambulances started to come thick and fast, dropping off bodies at the main doors.

Paramedics routinely cleaned off stretchers, pushed them back into the vehicles and rushed off to another scene.

Distraught families, concerned onlookers and frenzied journalists stood in the chaotic main emergency room. more

Tel Aviv bus bombing followed by massive airstrikes on Gaza City


TEL AVIV (Reuters) - An explosion hit a bus in the heart of Tel Aviv on Wednesday, wounding at least 10 people in what officials said was a terrorist attack.

The blast shattered windows on the bus, which was driving on a street that runs alongside Israel's defense headquarters. Israel's ambulance service said three of the wounded were in a moderate-to-serious condition.

"A bomb exploded on a bus in central Tel Aviv. This was a terrorist attack. Most of the injured suffered only mild injuries," said Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a message on Twitter, he said police were combing the area for the person who planted the device, apparently confirming reports that it was not a suicide attack.

The bombing happened on the eighth day of an Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip and threatened to complicate Egyptian-led efforts to secure a ceasefire.

Celebratory gunfire rang out in Gaza City when local radio stations reported news of the Tel Aviv explosion. more

Video: Hamas' Al Qassam Brigades hijack Israeli TV channel broadcasts

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an): Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades hijacked Israeli TV channels on Tuesday evening and broadcast messages warning against a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, the group said.

The Israeli news site Ynet said viewers reported that broadcasts were interrupted by short films with Hamas insignia showing an Israeli army tank being hit by a missile.

"This is a message to the armored corps," the text read.

A video uploaded to YouTube claims to show the interruption on Channel 10. The text reads in Hebrew and Arabic: "A message for the Zionist tanks forces," then "Do you remember?" more

Israeli deputy PM's Facebook, Twitter accounts hacked, filled with pro-Palestine messages


The Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts of Israeli Deputy Premier Silvan Shalom have been hacked and filled with pro-Palestine status updates. ZCompanyHackingCrew claimed responsibility for this latest act of cyber war against Israel.

The group also claims to have hacked Shalom’s email and extracted personal mail, contacts and documents. The hackers announced plans to release the documents shortly. In Shalom's hijacked Twitter feed, the hacker group posted calls for protest against "unjust war and occupation," and asked, "Who can bare to see the horror, the deaths of children and innocent people trying to protect their occupied land?"

The full-scale cyber attack on the top Israeli official comes just days after prominent hacker group Anonymous leaked the personal information of 5,000 Israeli officials. Anonymous also hacked over 700 Israeli websites, including the Bank of Jerusalem, the Israeli Defense Ministry, the IDF blog, the president's official website and many others, with the majority of the pages still down.

The Israeli finance minister acknowledged the wave of attacks, saying the government is now waging a war on a “second front.” more

Israel strikes government buildings across Gaza Strip


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes and naval forces heavily shelled the Gaza Strip early Wednesday morning, destroying several government buildings.

The Israeli army said it hit "dozens of terror infrastructure sites throughout the Gaza Strip" including the Ministry of Internal Security, a police compound and tunnels used to transport fuel.

"Israeli Navy soldiers targeted a rocket launching site, a Hamas post and a structure used for Hamas' terror activity," the army said in a statement.

In southern Gaza, Israel bombed the al-Karama security compound, west of Rafah, and flattened the police station in Khan Younis, also damaging several buildings in its vicinity.

The Abu Khadra government building in central Gaza City was hit multiple times. The attack also damaged the offices of Al Jazeera and The Associated Press.

Shortly before midnight, an Israeli attack targeted a building housing the Gaza City office of Agence France-Presse, an AFP photographer said. He said at least three attacks appeared to have hit the sixth floor.

The Israeli military says it hit "a Hamas intelligence operations center, which was deliberately located in a media building in the Gaza Strip."

It was the fourth day in a row that Israeli airstrikes damaged buildings housing media offices. On Tuesday, airstrikes killed three journalists. more