Thursday, 26 March 2015

Al-Qassam fighter killed during training in Khan Younis

A fighter of the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, was killed on Thursday during training in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

The Brigades said in a statement that Ahmad Nimr al-Ghazzawi, 21, had been killed during the training but did not provide any more information regarding the details of his death.

Training by the al-Qassam Brigades has continued despite Israeli threats and the recent classification of Hamas as a terrorist organization by neighboring Egypt.

Earlier this month the group's official website reported that it had rebuilt a number of military bases near the Israeli border in the Gaza Strip, asserting that it had recovered from Israel's summer offensive and was "not afraid" of confronting the occupation again. more

Unity govt meets in Gaza amid public employee protests

Dozens of Palestinian civil servants protested Thursday in front of the government's headquarters in the Gaza Strip demanding paychecks they have not received for several months, as Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah finished a rare visit to the coastal enclave.

Prime Minister Hamdallah pledged that Palestinian factions would "work fast" to find solutions to issues facing Gaza on Thursday, on the second day of what is only his second visit to Gaza since the formation of a national unity government between Fatah and Hamas in June.

As Hamdallah and his accompanying delegation left Gaza Strip on Thursday evening, spokesman Ehab Bseiso emphasized that future solutions discussed during the short trip will be comprehensive, including electricity, employment, and reconstruction.

Hamdallah vowed yesterday in Gaza that civilian workers of Hamas' de facto administration in Gaza would be enlisted to the payroll of the Palestinian Authority.

Head of the employees' union, Muhammad Siyam, said that the union will continue to demand the employees' rights, adding that a meeting between the employees' representatives and Hamdallah will be held on Thursday to discuss solutions for the crisis. more

UN says Palestinian death toll highest since 1967

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- The long-running conflict with Israel claimed the lives of more Palestinian civilians in 2014 than any year since 1967, the United Nations said Thursday, in a damning report on the humanitarian situation.

Meanwhile, rights group Amnesty International criticized the "flagrant disregard" by Palestinian armed groups for the lives of Israeli civilians, fingering the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip as a culprit.

In 2014, Israel and Hamas fought a devastating war in Gaza that killed nearly 2,200 people, while intense violence in East Jerusalem and the West Bank killed dozens of Palestinians and several Israelis.

A report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) entitled "Fragmented Lives" called for more restraint on both sides.

"All parties to the conflict... must fulfill their legal obligations to conduct hostilities in accordance with international law to ensure the protection of all civilians and to ensure accountability for acts committed," it said.

"Palestinian civilians continue to be subject to threats to their life, physical safety and liberty," with 2014 witnessing the "highest civilian death toll since 1967," OCHA said.

"In the Gaza Strip, 1.8 million Palestinians endured the worst escalation of hostilities since 1967: over 1,500 Palestinian civilians were killed, more than 11,000 injured and some 100,000 remain displaced."

More than 550 children were among the dead, it added. more