Wednesday, 5 November 2014

3 Israeli soldiers injured in hit-and-run south of Bethlehem

Three Israeli soldiers were injured in a hit-and-run accident on Wednesday night near the al-Arrub refugee camp on the main Bethlehem-Hebron road.

A Ma'an reporter in the camp said that a car plowed into three soldiers standing on the road, injuring one seriously and the other two moderately.

The Israeli military said that the incident was a "suspected attempt to run them over," suggesting that the incident was deliberate, and added that soldiers were searching the region to locate the vehicle and its driver.

The wounded soldiers had been evacuated to a hospital, the military said in a statement. more

Body of Jerusalem attack suspect to be released at midnight

An Israeli court on Wednesday ruled that the body of Ibrahim al-Akkari, shot dead by Israeli forces after attacking pedestrians with a car, will be released to his family for burial later this evening.

The body is expected to be released between 11:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. and the court limited the number of mourners to 35.

Mohammad Mahmoud, a lawyer with prisoner rights group Addameer, said that the court denied a request by Israeli police to bury al-Akkari in Anata cemetery and allowed the family to bury him in al-Asbat cemetery.

Earlier Wednesday, al-Akkari drove a car at high speed into a group of pedestrians waiting at a light rail station in Sheikh Jarrah.

An Israeli border policeman, Jadan Assad, 38, was killed in the attack and at least 13 other Israelis were injured, two seriously. more

Hamas claims Jerusalem car attack

Hamas on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a Jerusalem car attack that killed one Israeli border policeman and injured 14 others earlier in the day.

Hamas said in a statement that Ibrahim al-Akkari, the alleged attacker, took "revenge for his people," for the al-Aqsa mosque, and for Jerusalem through the attack.

The military wing of Hamas, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, meanwhile said on Wednesday following the attack that "al-Aqsa is the detonator that will cause a volcano to erupt in Israel's face."

Spokesman for the brigades Abu Ubaida hailed the "heroes of Jerusalem and Hamas fighters" who defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque with their souls and blood. more

Amnesty International accuses Israel of war crimes in Gaza

Amnesty International has accused Israel of committing war crimes during its campaign in Gaza.

A report released by the group on Wednesday says Israel displayed “callous indifference” launching attacks on family homes in the densely populated coastal strip and in some cases its conduct amounted to war crimes. It adds that war crimes were also committed by Palestinian militants.

The 50-day war killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 72 people on the Israeli side, all but six of whom were soldiers.

Israel’s Gaza operation came after increased rocket attacks by Gaza’s Islamic militant Hamas rulers. Israel also arrested scores of Hamas activists in the West Bank, following the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers.

Israel’s foreign ministry rejected the report’s findings, saying Amnesty “ignores documented war crimes perpetrated by Hamas” and had produced no evidence to back up its claims.

Amnesty says it documented eight instances in which Israeli forces attacked homes in Gaza without warning, killing “at least 104 civilians including 62 children”.

“The report reveals a pattern of frequent Israeli attacks using large aerial bombs to level civilian homes, sometimes killing entire families,” Amnesty said.

While possible military targets were identified in some cases, “the devastation to civilian lives … was clearly disproportionate”, it added.

The report charges that when it appeared to have failed to identify any military target in a Gaza residential building, Israel may have “directly and deliberately targeted civilians or civilian objects, which would constitute war crimes”. more

Jerusalem car attack 'injures 10, driver shot dead'

Ten people were wounded, one critically, when a car deliberately rammed pedestrians in Jerusalem on Wednesday, medics said, with media reports saying the driver was shot dead shortly afterwards.

"A commercial vehicle hit and ran over pedestrians at a light rail station," Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said, indicating the incident took place on the Green Line between west and annexed East Jerusalem.

"Ten people were wounded, one of whom is in critical condition," Israeli emergency services spokesman Zaki Heller told AFP.

Israeli media reported that the suspect exited the vehicle after ramming into pedestrians and began attacking passers-by with an iron rod before being shot in the head and neck by border police.

A Ma'an reporter identified the suspect as Ibrahim Muhammad Daoud al-Akkari, 48, from Shufat.

His brother was released and deported to Turkey as part of the Shalit prisoner exchange deal in 2011. more

Clashes rock Aqsa compound

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli police clashed with Palestinian worshipers inside Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Wednesday and right-wing Israeli Jews toured the holy place, witnesses told Ma'an.

Palestinian guards of the mosque said dozens of Israeli officers raided the compound, entering through the Moroccan and Chain Gates and firing stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets to disperse Muslim worshipers.

The guards said several youths suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation and were injured by rubber-coated bullets and shrapnel from stun grenades.

Witnesses added that two of the youths were badly injured -- one in the head and another in the eye.

A doctor and nurse were allowed to enter the compound an hour later.

Israeli forces raided the al-Qabali mosque, where Muslims conduct Friday prayers, and later closed the mosque with chains and steel barriers as right-wing Jews prepared to tour the compound, Azzam al-Khatib, the director of the Jerusalem department of religious endowment, told Ma'an. more

Israeli army opens fire on homes in southern Gaza

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation army on Tuesday opened machinegun fire at Palestinian homes and agricultural property in the southern side of the Gaza Strip.

Local sources told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that the Israeli troops deployed behind the border fence to the east of Qarara district in Khan Younis opened machinegun fire indiscriminately and sporadically at Palestinian neighborhoods and also fired some flashbang grenades.

No Palestinian was injured during the gunfire attack, they noted.

Today's attack was not the first Israeli violation since a ceasefire deal was reached in Gaza last August. Israel had already violated the truce several times in Gaza either in its border borders or off its coast. more

Gaza's destroyed schools flooded

Eleven-year-old Aya Al-Ajlah, a student in Gaza, is sad that her school notebook filled with two months of effort sunk in rain water which poured in from her classroom window. All of the classroom's glass window panes were smashed during the most recent Israeli war on the Gaza Strip. She sits next to the broken window in a school that was targeted by Israeli missiles located in Shujaya, on the eastern border of Gaza.

Al-Ajlah tells a journalist from the Anadolu Agency that the window is covered with pieces of torn plastic, which allows cold air and rainwater to seep in. She calls on the official bodies responsible for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip to take interest in all the schools targeted by Israel and grant the students of Gaza their right to learn in a suitable environment.

She said: "The cold air and rainwater seeping through the plastic is enough to disrupt our studies because we are cold all day and this distracts us."

Taghreed Al-Areer, who works as a science teacher at the same school, complains about the negative impact the recent Israeli war on the Gaza Strip has had, especially on schools.

Al-Areer says that the low temperatures led to schools being flooded by rainwater. However, students and teachers at the schools made a joint effort to get rid of the water.

She demanded that schools in Gaza be reconstructed in a manner that shelters its students from the cold winters and also protects them due to their close proximity to the borders separating east Gaza from Israel.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Education in Gaza, the war waged by Israel on the Gaza Strip on July 7 damaged 244 schools, 70 of which were UNRWA schools and 174 government schools. Some 26 of these schools were almost completely destroyed. more