Saturday, 6 July 2013

Egyptians continue to keep Gaza's only exit closed

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – The Gaza Strip’s only exit to the outside world, the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the enclave, was shut down for the second consecutive day on Saturday.

Sources at the terminal confirmed to Ma’an that the crossing point was still closed.

On Friday, Palestinian official Mahir Abu Sabha said that Egyptian officials at the site informed the Palestinian side it would remain closed until further notice. more

Warning of humanitarian catastrophe as Egypt tightens siege of Gaza

An Egyptian general has said that President Muhammad Morsi, who was overthrown by the army on Wednesday, may be charged by the military with “collaborating” with the Palestinian resistance group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, urgent action is needed to avoid a looming humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, a human rights group warned today, as the political crisis in neighboring Egypt deepens.

Closing Rafah, blaming Palestinians for Egypt’s problems

Earlier today, Egyptian authorities shut down the Rafah crossing, the only route to the outside world for the vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza. The closure came after reported attacks on several Egyptian army checkpoints and posts in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.

Egyptian authorities and media have routinely blamed such attacks on Palestinians or on Hamas, without any evidence, and Egypt has habitually imposed collective punishments by closing Rafah.

General says Morsi “collaborated” with Hamas

In a striking example today, Brigadier General (Ret.) Ayman Salama, who teaches at Cairo’s Military Academy, told the BBC World Service Newshour that part of the reason the army had overthrown Morsi was his alleged collaboration with Hamas against Egypt. more

Israel uses balloons, radar, to monitor ‘every visible inch’ of Gaza borders

TEL AVIV — Israel’s military has enhanced capabilities in monitoring the Gaza Strip.

The military’s Southern Command has improved training and equipment in maintaining surveillance on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. The command has used its Nesher Battalion to collect combat intelligence from the 360-square kilometer strip.

Surveillance zeppelins are one of the tools being used by Israel to keep tabs on the Gaza Strip.

“The Combat Intelligence Corps has significantly upgraded its detection systems in the past few years,” the military said. On July 2, the military reported that Nesher integrated advanced intelligence collection assets that target the Gaza Strip. The assets were said to have included radar, remotely-operated weapons and balloons that reach an altitude 300 meters.

“These balloons have two missions,” deputy battalion commander Maj. Shai Barda said. “One is to assist the soldiers on the ground in monitoring every visible inch of the borders, and the second is to gather long-distance field intelligence that is requested from us.” The enhancements were reported amid Hamas’ effort to rebuild its

military. Officials said Hamas was focusing on the production of long-range rockets that could strike such Israeli cities as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. more