Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Egypt unrest squeezes Gaza, prompting shortages

AZA CITY — The unrest in Egypt has sparked a severe shortage in goods and fuel in the already isolated Gaza Strip, which relies on smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border for the majority of its imports.

Ahead of the mass protests across Egypt Sunday, Egypt’s military reportedly moved to shut down the tunnels, fearing Gaza-based militants would exploit any potential chaos to stage attacks on Egyptian security forces. Egyptians, panicked that the demonstrations would cause a sudden collapse of the state, stocked up on provisions and on fuel, causing long lines at gas stations across the country.

Now that Egypt’s military issued Monday a 48-hour ultimatum for President Mohamed Morsi and other political forces to resolve the current political crisis, which saw millions take to the streets in protest Sunday, Gazans are even more worried that their economic situation will worsen.

Egyptian news agencies, quoting eyewitnesses, reported that more army troops arrived on Egypt’s side of the border Sunday, the day millions of people took to the streets to protest Morsi on the anniversary of his inauguration. more

Israeli bulldozers enter Gaza border area

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Several Israeli army bulldozers and vehicles entered the border area in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, locals said.

Locals said four bulldozers entered the Gaza border area from the Kissufim military site near al-Qarara, northeast of Khan Younis.

The bulldozers drove into Palestinian fields but gunshots were not heard in the area.

Residents said local farmers often fear they are at risk of being hit by stray bullets.

The Israeli army operates a no-go zone between the border, which mostly encompasses agricultural land. The army regularly enters the area for it calls "routine" activity. more

Forensics confirm Dura man shot by Israeli forces

HEBRON (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian man who died of wounds Tuesday sustained during clashes with Israeli forces in Dura was killed by an expanding bullet, the Hebron public hospital's forensic doctors told Ma'an.

The hospital's director said forensics confirmed Muatazz Sharawnah, 19, was shot with a "dum-dum" bullet, putting to rest speculation earlier on the man's cause of death.

The Israeli army told Ma'an that it could not confirm the cause of death but said Israeli forces had opened fire during clashes in the Dura city in the southern West Bank district of Hebron.

Earlier, a Palestinian security source had said Sharawnah was struck "deliberately" by a military vehicle.

The Israeli army told Ma'an that the incident was currently being investigated to ascertain Sharawnah's cause of death.

"Initial evidence suggests that one of the suspects began ascending one of the military vehicles. (Israeli forces) once again warned the suspect, and used riot dispersal means. Finally they had to respond with fire towards one of the suspects," the spokeswoman told Ma'an. more