Sunday, 5 May 2013

Hamas condemns Israeli 'aggression' against Syria

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Hamas movement on Sunday condemned Israeli strikes on Syria and called for an end to bloodshed in the country, a statement said.

Hamas denounced the "Zionist aggression on Syria," calling it a continuation of Israel's "policy of terror."

The statement expressed sympathy with the Syrian people amid ongoing fighting, and condemned the killing and torture of civilians, including the recent massacre in the coastal town of Banias.

Earlier, hardline Hamas official Mahmoud Zahhar said Arabs must unite against Israeli attacks on Syria. more

Senior Hamas officials denied entry to Egypt

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian forces on Sunday denied two senior Hamas officials entry to Egypt, a statement from the Islamist group said.

Salah Bardawil and Ismail al-Ashqar were denied entry into Egypt by intelligence officers, Hamas said, with both officials en-route to take part in reconciliation talks. more

Arab Idol contestant wins over fans as the ‘voice of Gaza’

With his glinting smile and powerful vocals captivating audiences and panel of judges, an Arab Idol contestant has become the first Palestinian to advance into a late stage of the pan-Arab talent competition.

Mohammed Assaf, from Gaza, has become a national icon among Palestinians.

On Friday, Assaf performed a song that dates back to 1986 and was first sung by Arab Idol judge and Lebanese singer Ragheb Alama. His performance pleased all four judges and left a roaring crowd chanting Assaf’s name.

“This song is 26-years-old, but I guarantee you that after hearing you sing it, this song will be alive for another 62 years,” said Arab Idol judge Ahlam al-Shamsi commenting on Assaf’s performance.

“If Mohamad Assaf is the next Arab Idol, I will be very proud,” she added.

The Palestinian mobile companies lowered the cost of messages on Friday to inspire residents to vote for Assaf. And the vote for Assaf has even been encouraged by politicians.

Former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad encouraged all Palestinians to support Assaf, saying in a Facebook post last month that the Palestinian contestant is “deservedly representing Palestine.”

“He is the voice of Gaza and all of Palestine,” Noora Ouri, a Palestinian residing in Ramallah, told Al Arabiya on Saturday. more

Israeli forces, settlers attack Ramallah village

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Settlers raided on Saturday night Ras Karkar village west of Ramallah, and attacked several houses there. Clashes between residents and Israeli forces erupted, locals said.

Eight people were wounded by rubber-coated metal bullets, one of them wounded in the eye and one in the chest. Four others sustained bruises and fractures as settlers and Israeli troops assaulted them, locals said.

Ayoub Samhan, 24, was hit by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the chest; the Israeli soldier was 10 meters away when he shot him. Ramadan Filfel was hit by rubber-coated metal bullet in the eye.

Additionally, Mohammad Gamal Yousef was hit by a rubber-coated bullet in the head, and the Israeli forces and settlers banned ambulances from entering the village. After a long time of talking to the Israeli forces, they allowed the ambulance to transfer two wounded people to the hospital.

Hundreds of settlers guarded by Israeli forces entered the Beir Ayoub area at the entrance of the village and clashed with the people there. Townspeople tried to prevent them but their attempts failed. more