Sunday, 20 July 2014

Hamas says it has captured Israeli soldier in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Hamas-affiliated al-Qassam Brigades said on Sunday night that it had captured an Israeli soldier, the first since the release of Gilad Shalit in 2011.

Al-Qassam Brigades said during a speech by spokesman Abu Ubaida aired live on Ma'an News that the captured soldier is named Shaul Aron and his military number was 6092065.

"The fact that they did not announce (the loss of the soldier) shows that they were trying to hide their losses," the spokesman said in the speech, noting Israel's lack of response.

The spokesman also warned Israel against taking any steps toward "any kind of foolishness," saying that it was better for them to respond to the rights of the Palestinian people but instead Israel insisted on arrogance.

An Israeli military spokeswoman could not confirm news of the capture. more

Video: Resistance activists down power line in West Bank

In response to the Israeli military attack on Gaza, resistance activists in the West Bank downed a utility pole and cut electricity to an illegal Jewish settlement west of Ramallah. Ynet reports there was a 4 hour power outage in the Talmonim area settlements as a result of the sabotage, which has since been repaired. Israeli police are opening an investigation into the incident.

100 Palestinians killed in Israeli assault on Sunday alone - death toll 437

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces killed at least 100 Palestinians on Sunday including 66 in a single neighborhood of Gaza City, bringing the 13-day death toll to 437.

The assault on Gaza -- which has also left 18 Israels dead -- is the largest and deadliest attack on the besieged coastal enclave since 2008. More than 200 Palestinians have died since the ground invasion began on Thursday.

On Sunday, 66 bodies were recovered from the Shujaiyya neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, in what medical authorities called a "massacre" and a level of violence not seen before in the ongoing conflict.

At least 500 Palestinians were injured in Israeli attacks on Wednesday, with the total surpassing 3,000 as Gazan hospitals struggled to cope with the surge and facing shortages of medical supplies, doctors, and hospital beds.

Hospitals were also facing continuous power cuts, as electricity has fallen by more than 70 percent as a result of Israeli shelling and the siege itself, which even prior to the assault had reduced electricity availability to eight-hour stints.

60 thousand Gazans fled their homes on Sunday alone amid the mass killing in the Shujaiyya neighborhood, adding to a total number of displaced that has now hit 135,000. more

Israeli Army: 13 soldiers killed by resistance fighters Sunday

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma'an that 13 soldiers had been killed in intense fighting in the Gaza Strip on Sunday alone, bringing the total to at least 18 since the beginning of a ground invasion late Thursday.

The Israeli military spokeswoman said that all of the soldiers were killed were from the elite Golani Brigades.

Earlier on Sunday, the Israeli military confirmed that 60 Israeli soldiers had been wounded in fighting, a number which is expected to rise.

Palestinian militants have engaged the Israeli military in fierce fighting across the Gaza Strip since they launched a ground invasion on Thursday.

The deaths include a cross-border raid into Israel on Saturday that killed two Israeli soldiers as they were patrolling int he southern region of Eshkol. more

Israeli military shaken as resistance kills 5 soldiers Saturday - IDF widens assault

Israel confirms five soldiers killed and 17 hospitalized Saturday as resistance disrupts IDF assault. Israel responds by stepping up infantry invasion but risks yet more casualties as resistance anti-tank weapons, snipers and tunnel units exact toll. more

Health ministry calls for probe of Israel's use of banned weapons in Gaza

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Palestinian health ministry appealed to international human rights and civil groups to investigate Israel's use of internationally-banned lethal weaponry against the population in the Gaza Strip.

In a news conference held on Friday in Gaza, deputy health minister Yousuf Abul-Rish urged the concerned groups to delegate envoys to the Strip to document the incidence of war crimes and Israel's use of forbidden weapons against civilians.

Abul-Rish said that specialists examined the bodies of several wounded and killed victims in Gaza and found out their exposure to severe injuries caused by internationally prohibited ordnance.

He added that the use of such weapons is a flagrant violation of the international law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The health official noted that the Israeli army during its military attacks on Gaza deliberately targeted ambulances and paramedics as they were trying to reach casualties in bombed areas.

He also said that the Israeli army targeted civilian structures directly and without prior warning, which led to the killing of large numbers of family members and unarmed civilians. more

Egyptian military block activist aid convoy to Gaza

BALLOZA CHECKPOINT, Egypt (AFP) -- Egyptian soldiers in north Sinai prevented an aid convoy of activists from reaching the Rafah border crossing with the embattled Gaza Strip on Saturday, an AFP correspondent said.

An army officer at the Balloza checkpoint, one of many along the desert highway to Rafah, told an AFP correspondent that the security situation in the restive peninsula was too unstable to allow the convoy of 11 buses and 500 activists to pass.

There was a brief scuffle between some activists and soldiers but no arrests were made. more

Israel massacres 40 in Shujaiyya district of Gaza City

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – On the 13th day of the ongoing military offensive against the Gaza Strip, residents say invading Israeli forces committed "a new massacre" in the Shujaiyya neighborhood of Gaza City.

At least 40 people have been killed and hundreds have been injured in the eastern neighborhood, medics said Sunday. The death toll is expected to rise as more bodies are uncovered.

Medical sources said seven Palestinians were killed in other areas across the coastal enclave.

Spokesman of the Palestinian ministry of health Ashraf al-Qidra said rescue teams evacuated at least 40 dead bodies from destroyed houses. More than 200 injured people were taken to al-Shifa Hospital.

Medical sources identified some of the victims in Shujaiyya as Ahmad Ishaq Ramlawi, Marwah Suleiman al-Sirsawi, Raed Mansour Nayfah, Osama Ribhi Ayyad and Ahid Mousa al-Sirsik.

Among the victims was photojournalist Khalid Hamid and paramedic Fuad Jabir.

Dozens of victims in Shujaiyya haven't been identified. more

100,000 march in London in solidarity with Gaza - French protesters defy ban

Protesters marched from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy in Kensington. A police blockade stopped them from gaining access.

Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly and Hyde Park Corner were closed.

More than 300 Palestinians have been killed since 8 July, officials in Gaza report. Five Israelis have died.

Before the event up to 15,000 people were expected to attend. However, the police were not able to verify how many were there.

The event was organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and is part of a national day of action.

Labour MP Diane Abbott was among the speakers to address protesters as they gathered in Whitehall.

"I am here to show solidarity with the people in Gaza," she said.

We call for an end to the occupation and justice for Palestinians." more

report on France

Gaza: thousands flee homes amid fiercest fighting of 13-day war

The fiercest fighting of the 13-day war in Gaza has erupted as Israel dramatically widened its ground offensive, sending tanks and troops into urban areas and causing thousands of civilians to flee.

Images of the corpses of women and children were posted on Facebook as hospitals were overwhelmed with the dead, injured and those seeking sanctuary from the onslaught.

People ran from their homes, some barefoot and nearly all empty handed. Others crowded on the backs of trucks or rode on the bonnets of cars in a desperate attempt to flee. Some described the bombardment of the Shujai'iya neighbourhood as a massacre.

The Israeli military also suffered casualties, with at least 26 wounded soldiers evacuated to hospitals. There were unconfirmed reports that a number of Israeli soldiers were killed in a cross-border attack by Hamas militants on Sunday morning.

Witnesses reported hearing small arms fire inside Gaza, indicating gun battles on the streets. Heavy shelling continued from the air and sea.

Israel sent more troops into Gaza overnight after demolishing more than a dozen Hamas tunnels and intensifying tank fire on border areas.

Late on Saturday evening, Israeli forces hit eastern areas of Gaza City with the heaviest bombardment yet of the 13-day war. The assault was most intense in the direction of the Shujai'iya neighbourhood, where a constant orange glow of flames lit up the sky.

As the assault continued into Sunday morning, Israel disclosed that four of its soldiers had been killed in the ground offensive.

At one stage, artillery and mortar rounds were hitting the outskirts of the city every five seconds. Later in the night, jets flew low passes over the coast. more