Sunday, 28 December 2014

Egypt to demolish 1,200 homes for buffer zone near Gaza border

Egypt plans to destroy 1,200 homes to extend the depth of its security buffer zone on its border with the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip.

According to Egyptian military sources, an Egyptian technical engineering committee has finished surveying the homes that are located between 500-1,000 meters from the Gaza border.

The homes will be destroyed to expand the buffer zone on the border to a width of one kilometer.

In November, Egypt decided to extend its security buffer zone on its border with Gaza from 500 meters to one kilometer.

Citing security officials, Egypt’s MENA state news agency said on November 17 that the decision had been taken “after the discovery of underground tunnels with a total length of 800 to 1,000 meters” along the border with Gaza. more

Video: Israeli police shoot 5-year-old in the face while exiting school bus

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Wednesday afternoon shot a 5-year-old Palestinian child in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet in East Jerusalem as he was getting out of a school bus on his way home, relatives said.

"An Israeli soldier fired a black rubber-coated bullet at the child from a close distance, injuring him under the eye," the uncle of 5-year-old Muhammad Jamal Ubeid told Ma'an.

The incident reportedly took place in the East Jerusalem village of al-Issawiya, where Muhammad's family lives.

The child's uncle said that Muhammad and his 14-year-old sister stepped out of a school bus and had started to walk home when the Israeli forces shot him.

The uncle said there were no confrontations at all in the area between Israeli forces and Palestinians at the time of the shooting.

An Israeli police spokesman did not return a request for comment. more

Still reeling from summer assault, Gaza faces new Israeli threats

Muhammad al-Gharib says his life was turned upside down when his father and younger sister were killed in an airstrike during Israel’s 51-day offensive on the Gaza Strip this past summer.

Shortly after his father, Baha, 58, and his sister, Ola, 16, stepped out of their home in Rafah on 29 July, they were directly struck by an Israeli missile. “They were only about two hundred meters [218 yards] from the house when they died,” al-Gharib, a first-year university student, told The Electronic Intifada. “We ran outside and couldn’t believe what we saw. They were dead.”

“As the war got really bad during the last days of his life, it was like he knew something bad was going to happen,” al-Gharib said of his father. “He was laughing all the time and joking, but we had a bad feeling.”

Amid a summer of soaring tensions and frequent clashes in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israel launched its third major military operation in Gaza in the last six years.

Armed Palestinian factions fired rockets into southern and central Israel, while Israeli forces attacked the blockaded coastal enclave from air, land and sea.

Home to an estimated 1.8 million Palestinians, Gaza endured unprecedented destruction. Unlike during the 2012 attacks, the last full-scale assault on Gaza, Israel launched a ground invasion that devastated the Strip, particularly in areas bordering the south of present-day Israel.

The United Nations monitoring group OCHA estimates that 2,257 Palestinians were killed as a result of the fighting, including 1,563 civilians. Sixty-six Israeli soldiers and seven civilians were also killed. more