Tuesday, 19 August 2014

2 Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinians were killed and at least 16 injured in an Israeli airstrike on the al-Dalou family home in Gaza City on Tuesday, Gaza medical officials said.

A 3-year-old girl and an unidentified woman were killed in the airstrike which targeted the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City.

Ambulance crews and medics were searching for bodies among the rubble of the three-story home, which was reportedly hit by five missiles.

Twelve Palestinians were killed in 2012 when Israel targeted the same home during a military offensive on Gaza. The victims of that attack spanned four generations, from a 1-year-old to an 83-year-old.

At least 18 other Palestinians were injured in Israeli airstrikes across the besieged enclave late Tuesday as warplanes targeted over 30 sites including agricultural lands in Beit Lahiya, al-Zaytoun, al-Maghazi, Deir al-Balah, Al-Qarara, Khuza, eastern Rafah and eastern Shujaiyya.

Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza after three rockets landed near Beersheba earlier in the day. more

Israel boycott support strengthens in Ireland

(Thanks to Muhammad in Belfast)

A group of pro-Palestine demonstrators have removed what they said were Israeli-linked products from the shelves of a supermarket in Belfast.

Dozens of people removed products, including those made by the Coca Cola company, from the shelves of Sainsbury’s supermarket in west Belfast.

Many held aloft banners and flags, shouting 'Free Palestine'.


The footage was published by Seosamh O Bradaigh.

The clip has already received a huge amount of attention through social media.

Elsewhere, leading supermarket chain SuperValu has confirmed it ordered all stores to remove Israeli carrots from their shelves in the Republic.

Despite insisting it has not enforced a boycott of goods from the country, an email instruction was sent to all 232 stores last Friday saying the Chantenay variety must not be sold. more

Reuters exclusive: Hamas fighters show defiance in Gaza tunnel tour


(Reuters) - Hamas fighters, clad in black and armed with assault rifles, navigated the dimly lit tunnel with ease, saying they felt at home in their network of underground passages in the Gaza Strip.

A rare tour that Hamas granted to a Reuters reporter, photographer and cameraman appeared to be an attempt to dispute Israel's claim that it had demolished all of the Islamist group's border infiltration tunnels in the Gaza war.

"We are speaking to you today from inside one of those tunnels, which Israel said it had destroyed. Our men are still operating in those tunnels prepared for all options," said a masked fighter from Hamas's Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades.

But driven, blindfolded, to the secret location in a Hamas vehicle that made a series of turns, it was impossible for the Reuters crew to tell whether it was close to the frontier or further inside the Gaza Strip in tunnels untouched by Israeli bombing. It was not clear where the tunnel led.

By Israel's own account, its ground forces focused only on destroying tunnels within 2 to 4.5 km of the border, while ignoring more distant connecting passages. During the Gaza offensive, Israel's military took reporters through tunnels it discovered at the frontier.

Chatting in soft voices and laughing at times, Hamas men guided the Reuters crew through corridors less than a meter (3.3 feet) wide that are reached by descending a thin metal ladder through a tiny shaft.

"It feels just like home," their commander said. "Fighters dug these tunnels with their own hands just like they built their houses, so they live here at comfort and assurance like they do at home." more

Israeli airstrikes injure 8 in Gaza Strip


Israeli airstrikes injured eight Palestinians, including two children, in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, a health ministry official said.

Ashraf al-Qidra said two children were moderately wounded in an airstrike on the al-Matar area east of Rafah. Another three Palestinians were injured in the northern Gaza Strip.

Israeli warplanes also targeted agricultural lands in Beit Lahiya, al-Zaytoun, al-Maghazi, Deir al-Balah, Al-Qarara, Khuza, eastern Rafah and eastern Shujaiyya.

Nine days of relative quiet came to an abrupt halt when three rockets struck southern Israel just hours before the truce was to expire at midnight local time.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rockets. more

Witnesses: Thousands flee east Gaza City following Israeli air raids


Thousands of Palestinians fled their homes in neighbourhoods of eastern Gaza City on Tuesday, carrying bags of clothes, pillows and mattresses after renewed Israeli air strikes, witnesses said.

An AFP reporter saw hundreds of Palestinians streaming out of Shejaiya, one of the areas worst affected by more than a month of Israeli offensive. more

Israel launches airstrikes - 2 children injured in Rafah


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes targeted an open area in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, after the army reported three rockets fired from the coastal enclave.

There were no immediate reports of injury or damage.

Another airstrike targeted al-Mughazi in central Gaza and an open area in Deir al-Balah.

The strikes came after Israel announced that three rockets from Gaza hit Ashkelon and Beersheva.

In an emailed statement, army spokesman Peter Lerner confirmed the attacks.

"Yet again, terrorists breach the ceasefire and renew fire at Israeli civilians from Hamas ruled Gaza Strip. This continued aggression will be addressed accordingly by the IDF; we will continue striking terror infrastructure, pursuing terrorists, and eliminating terror capabilities in the Gaza Strip, in order to restore security for the State of Israel," he said. more

Israel orders army to respond to Gaza rocket fire


JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel on Tuesday ordered the military to respond after three rockets from Gaza struck the south as the two sides were observing a 24-hour truce, an Israeli official said.

Speaking to AFP, the official said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "ordered the IDF to attack terror targets in Gaza" in response to the fire, which saw three rockets hit near the southern city of Beersheba that is home to some 200,000 people.

A new 24-hour ceasefire in Gaza will last until midnight on Tuesday under a last-minute deal reached in Cairo on Monday night. more

Cairo negotiations resume as truce extended but failure could mean new fighting


CAIRO (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian and Israeli delegations resumed indirect negotiations in Cairo on Tuesday, the head of the Palestinian delegation said.

"We have to use every minute of the next 24 hours to reach an agreement or else the cycle of violence will continue," Azzam al-Ahmad told reporters.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed to extend a five-day ceasefire for another day just hours before it was set to expire at midnight Monday.

Palestinian sources in Cairo had told Ma'an earlier Monday that a long-term ceasefire agreement was being finalized after 15 days of Egypt-sponsored negotiations.

But al-Ahmad and other members of the Palestinian delegation denied the claims, warning that if Israel refused to make concessions, negotiations could collapse, leading to a resumption of hostilities in Gaza. more

UN offers to monitor Gaza construction material


UNITED NATIONS (AFP) -- The United Nations is ready to check imports of construction material sent to Gaza in order to ease Israel's concerns that supplies could be used to rebuild cross-border tunnels, a UN envoy said Monday.

UN Mideast envoy Robert Serry told the UN Security Council that reconstruction of Gaza remained the main priority once a durable ceasefire is agreed between Palestinian factions and Israel.

"Construction material must be allowed into Gaza to this effect -- aggregate, bar, and cement. And their access to Gaza must be facilitated in such a way that fulfills Israel's security concerns," Serry said.

"The United Nations stands ready to lend its support in this regard."

Negotiations over the reconstruction of Gaza are expected to run into resistance from Israel which has in the past severely curtailed the flow of supplies as part of its blockade.

Israel argues that the material may be diverted by Palestinian militants to build tunnels used to bring weapons into the Gaza Strip and to send fighters into Israel to stage attacks.

Serry said some 16,800 housing units have been destroyed or severely damaged in the fighting that erupted on July 8, with the devastation three times worse than during the last Gaza conflict in 2008-2009.

He voiced hope that UN monitoring could be agreed before a major donors conference announced by Norway takes place in Cairo to raise funds for reconstruction. more

Israel 'refusing to make concessions' at Cairo talks


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Ceasefire talks are at risk of collapse given Israel's refusal to make concessions, members of the Palestinian delegation to Cairo said late Monday.

"Israel is seeking to break the confidence between Palestinians and the Egyptian mediators by refusing to make any concessions," said Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batsh.

Al-Batsh said the delegation agreed to extend the ceasefire for 24 hours based on their concern for Palestinians in Gaza.

Meanwhile, he told Ma'an the Palestinian negotiators remained determined to "realize our people's demands, which are worthy of the sacrifices made in the Gaza Strip."

The Israeli government is responsible for potential failure to reach an agreement in Cairo, al-Batsh added.

A Fatah member of the delegation concurred, saying the Israeli delegation had worked hard to obtain a long-term ceasefire without "signing a meaningful agreement." more