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178 items tagged "Gaza Region"

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Haniyeh confirms: We are building tunnels

Category: News
Created on Monday, 01 February 2016 10:32
Ismail Haniyeh0Hamas is no longer denying that it is rebuilding its terrorist tunnel infrastructure.
 
On Friday, Hamas deputy leader Ismail Haniyeh publicly confirmed the group is developing its military capabilities and rebuilding the underground tunnels leading from Gaza to Israel in preparation for a future conflict, reported Haaretz.
 
Haniyeh made the comments as part of his weekly sermon at the end of Friday prayers in Gaza and ahead of a funeral for seven Hamas terrorists who were killed this week when a tunnel collapsed in northern Gaza.
 
"There are those who think that the calm is a time of rest," Haniyeh said, according to Haaretz. "But this is a continuation of the struggle. Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades are working and preparing for Palestine. Fighters are digging twice as much as the number of tunnels dug in Vietnam."
 
"In east Gaza there are heroes digging tunnels under the ground and in the west there are those testing rockets. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades are digging tunnels to defend Gaza and turn it into a launch pad for all of Palestine," he declared.
 
Haniyeh also praised Gaza steadfastness "thanks to the patience of the Strip's residents and despite the siege and war and schemes against Gaza. I tell all those who are doubtful at our resilience: forgo this logic. We are prepared to go without bread and without water, but we will not live without respect."
 
Hamas has been working feverishly to rebuild its infiltration tunnel network into Israel, after the IDF destroyed the network during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
 
According to some estimates Hamas has already succeeded in digging tunnels into Israel sovereign territory once again, using materials sent by international donors which were earmarked for rebuilding Gaza's civilian infrastructure damaged during the war.
 
As recently as last summer, one year after Protective Edge, Hamas released a video clip showing its terrorist fighters training for attacks against Israel inside terror tunnels.
 
In the video, the terrorists of the so-called "tunnel unit" were seen practicing organized action, infiltration, attacking Israel military and civilian targets and evacuation of the wounded.

Egypt reinstates ambassador in Israel

Category: News
Created on Monday, 04 January 2016 11:02
Youssef ZiedanFor the first time in over three years, Egypt will be stationing an ambassador to Israel in Tel Aviv.
 
Ambassador Hazem Khairat landed in Israel last week and will take the position to the head the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv.
 
Former president Muhammad Morsi removed the previous Egyptian ambassador in protest of Israel's November 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza. Morsi was later deposed and replaced by President Abbad Al Fatah a-Sisi, who has much closer relations with Israel.
 
Additionally, Egypt has recently been attempting to stifle smugglers as well as terrorists escaping from Gaza into the Sinai Peninsula, escalating tensions between Egypt and the Hamas controlled strip.  
 
Egypt’s preventative actions have included the recent bombardment of the Rafiah area of the Sinai Peninsula, as well as the flooding of smuggling tunnels used to transfer weapons, goods and drugs in and out of the strip.
 
During the cabinet meeting on Sunday morning Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed the new Ambassador.
 
"This past weekend a new Egyptian ambassador arrived to Israel, Hazem Khairat. I welcome his arrival; I welcome the re-stationing of an Egyptian ambassador in Israel, which will enable us to further strengthen relations with this important and key Arab country."

Egyptian Air Force jets enter Gaza airspace in bombing raids

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 31 December 2015 11:17
Egyptian helicopter over the SinaiThe Egyptian Air Force (EAF) began intensive bombardment near the Gaza Strip this morning in the area surrounding the Egyptian town of Rafah. According to Palestinian media reports EAF planes entered into the airspace of Gaza itself.
 
The target of the air raids are positions belonging to ISIS's Egypt branch, known as "Sinai Province." Arabic language Sky News reported 15 fatalities thus far due to the bombings.    
 
Hamas at times helps ISIS supporters in the Sinai Peninsula by supplying them with weapons and supplies smuggled out of the strip. Reports of bombings within the strip itself have increased tensions between Egypt and Hamas.
 
Recently Egypt has been flooding the smuggling tunnels that Hamas has set up connecting the strip to Sinai, causing the tunnels to collapse while killing the Hamas operatives inside. Last week a high ranking Hamas operative, Abed al Rahman Salah al Mubashar, who was one of the kidnappers of Gilad Schalit, was killed in a tunnel collapse due to flooding.
 
Continued Egyptian bombardment and floodings threaten the drinking water reserves of those in the strip, which are already in danger of salt contamination due to overuse. Tensions spiked on Friday when a Palestinian teen was shot to death after swimming across the border into the Sinai peninsula.
 
Hamas is very limited with regards to making any sort of response against the Egyptian Air Force. While Hamas does have a supply of shoulder mounted anti-aircraft missiles, it is unlikely that they would risk a direct confrontation with Egypt that would result from a direct attack on an Egyptian fighter jet.    

ISIS's Sinai commander in Gaza for Hamas talks

Category: News
Created on Friday, 04 December 2015 08:06
shadi meneiShadi al-Menei, the commander of the Islamic State (ISIS) branch Sinai Province, is currently in Gaza on a secret visit to speak with Hamas leaders.
 
The surprising revelation reported late Thursday by Channel 2 exposes the deep level of coordination between the terrorist organizations, which has been kept tightly under wraps.
 
Al-Menei held talks with the heads of Hamas's "armed wing," the Al-Qassam Brigades, about expanding the cooperation between the groups according to the report.
 
The channel notes that Hamas is being aided by ISIS in order to smuggle in weapons through the cross-border tunnels that Egypt's army has not yet destroyed, and in return is providing Sinai Province with advanced weapons such as Cornet anti-tank missiles which ISIS has used in Sinai against Egypt - including against an Egyptian patrol ship.
 
The head of Sinai Province, which was called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis before pledging loyalty to ISIS, has been a wanted man in Egypt for several years. Last May it was thought that he had been eliminated, but later it emerged that he survived the attempt.
 
Al-Menei is responsible for the terrorist attack on Highway 12 in 2011, in which nine Israelis were murdered. He also orchestrated rocket fire on Eilat, Israel's southernmost port city.
 
Back in July Israel announced it had information that Hamas had supplied ISIS with the weapons it used in a particularly brutal attack on Egyptian soldiers that left over 70 dead. Likewise, Hamas commanders were revealed as having supplied organizational support in the attack.
 
Days after the revelation, a senior IDF officer said Hamas was cooperating with Sinai Peninsula to keep its influx of weapons going through smuggling tunnels, and prepare for its next war against Israel.
 
Hamas, for its part, repeatedly rejected announcements by Israel that it is aiding ISIS, which is also gaining a foothold in Gaza itself through local Salafist groups voicing support for ISIS. Those groups are in conflict with Hamas, but are also not official branches of ISIS like Sinai Province is.
 
"Hamas is fighting ISIS in the Strip, but on the other side there is cooperation between Hamas elements from Gaza and ISIS in Sinai," Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) explained in July.

In Gaza: Knife-wielding mannequins - and a shop called 'Hitler'

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 12 November 2015 21:46
Knives - theyre all the rage in Gaza right nowA picture from Gaza is creating a stir online, providing a chilling insight into the degree to which popular Palestinian Arab society and culture, particularly in the Islamist-ruled enclave, has become saturated with violent incitement.
 
The photo, purportedly taken in Gaza City, was first published by the pro-Hamas Shehab News Agency Facebook page. It shows the outside of a clothing store with mannequins  outside, some of which are holding knives and have had their faces covered with balaclavas in solidarity with the wave of stabbing attacks against Israelis by Arab terrorists.
 
The photo, taken November 1, was removed after being highlighted by the pro-Israel Israellycool blog, but is still available on the Facebook page of man claiming to be the original photographer.
 
Another sinister detail not available in this particular photograph but appearing in the other, now removed versions, is the name of the clothes store itself: Hitler.
 
The ceaseless, violent, anti-Semitic incitement being produced by all major Palestinian factions - from Hamas to the "moderate" Fatah party of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas - and even from the PA and Abbas himself, have been repeatedly highlighted by Israeli officials, and in the media.
 
But that incitement has permeated furthest in Gaza, where the ruling Hamas regime is openly sworn to Israel's destruction and the eventual annihilation of the Jewish people, as detailed in its charter.
 
In one recent case reported by Arutz Sheva, a Gazan family even named their child "Knife of Jerusalem."
 
But efforts to indoctrinate Gazans goes far deeper. 
 
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has perhaps best documented the often absurd degree to which incitement to violence has become a part of mainstream culture in Gaza, for example in two recent recordings of soccer matches during which the commentator inexplicably punctuates his commentary with gushing praise for terrorist attacks against Jews.
 

Hamas Official: There's No Room for Jews in 'Palestine'

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 13 August 2015 10:53
Hamas supporters hold copies of the Koran during demonstration in Khan Yunis GazaHamas continues to incite young people to violence and jihad against Israel.
 
On Tuesday, the group concluded a course entitled “Al-Quds Army for Girls”, which trains young female Hamas activists on basic combat skills and assistance to fighters.
 
Rajaa al-Halabi, who heads the Hamas women's movement, said at the closing ceremony of the course that "the liberation army, the pioneers of the liberation, the Al-Quds Army, will liberate Palestine from the defilement of the occupation ... and the next battle will be the decisive one."
 
Halabi added, "The Israeli occupation has begun to realize that it has no place on Palestinian land ... and the primary mission of the military camps of Al-Quds for girls is to liberate Palestine, all of Palestine, and to restore the rights to their owners, as Palestine, all of Palestine belongs to us, and we will never give up a single grain of its land. Al-Quds, Al-Aqsa and Palestine are indivisible."
 
Hamas has continuously incited youths in Gaza towards violence against Israelis. One of its trademarks is the annual military-style summer camp for 25,000 Gazans, in which young children are encouraged to commit jihad against Jews.
 
Past clips of footage from the group’s youth camps have shown young cadets learn how to use weapons and simulate the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier.
 
Another clip shows a televised graduation ceremony for a similar Hamas youth camp in Gaza. At the ceremony, suicide terror attacks against the “Zionist enemy” were glorified by Hamas officials.
 
Hamas has also in the past released a cartoon honoring its “military wing,” and last year began a program to teach “resistance” to Israel in Gaza’s public school system.

Fatah Demands That Hamas Hand Over Control of Gaza

Category: News
Created on Monday, 03 August 2015 08:55
Azzam al-Ahmed fileThe back and forth between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas continued on Monday, with a Fatah official saying that Hamas must hand over rule of Gaza as a condition to forming a unity government.
 
Speaking to the Ma’an news agency, Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad said Hamas has to "lift their hands" from Gaza and allow the unity government to work.
 
Al-Ahmad, who heads reconciliation talks for Fatah, added that his Hamas counterpart, Moussa Abu Marzouk, is "unqualified" to call for a unity government after their work was "foiled" by Hamas.
 
The Palestinian unity agreement signed in April 2014 sought to end seven years of bad blood between Fatah and Hamas, but the sides have continued to quarrel over many issues.
 
The unity government between Hamas and Fatah collapsed in June when Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who heads Fatah, decided to dissolve it amid a deepening rift between the sides.
 
Negotiations on a new government were set to restart after the Eid celebrations marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, but the sides have continued to quarrel.
 
Earlier this month, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah criticized Hamas for creating a shadow government in Gaza and blocking efforts to reach political unity.
 
Hamas has in turn accused the PA of executing a plan to "eradicate" the movement from Judea and Samaria, saying that an arrest campaign of over 200 members was carried out by the PA to target reconciliation efforts between the two factions.
 
On the weekend, senior Hamas member Salah Bardawil sharply attacked Abbas, following Abbas’s claim that Hamas refuses to implement the final clauses in the reconciliation agreement regarding personnel changes in the unity government.
 
Bardawil told the Quds Press news agency that Abbas does not believe in national unity and proceeded to called him “a dictator who every day proves to be an enemy of the Palestinian people and who unsuitable to govern.”
 
He added that Abbas is the main reason that the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah is not being implemented, accusing Abbas of stalling the formation of a joint Arab effort to deal with the "Zionist enemy".

Abbas: Israel is in Talks to Give Hamas a State in Gaza

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 19 July 2015 17:05
Abbas penned a letter to Gazans - ReutersPalestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas claimed in a recent interview with an Egyptian paper that the Hamas terrorist group, which he signed a reconciliation treaty with early last year, is holding secret negotiations with Israel to establish an Arab state in Gaza.
 
Speaking with the paper Raz Al-Youssef last month in statements that were just recently translated by MEMRI, Abbas criticized Hamas for starting last summer's terror war against Israel, blaming it for the destruction to Gaza caused by the clash.
 
He said former US President Jimmy Carter had visited him after the war in an attempt to sign an accord on forming a full unity government between Hamas and PA ending the feud between them, to which Abbas said he had no need of such agreements and instead wanted PA elections held within three to four months. According to him, Carter left at that point and never came back.
 
But Abbas, who has remained in office since his term ended in January, 2009, said, "I cannot declare elections, because it would mean severing the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. I do not want that. I only want a whole homeland that includes Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem."
 
Abbas then claimed that "there is security coordination on the border between Hamas and the Israeli occupation. There is a stretch of 50-60 meters beyond the border that acts as a route along which both sides move freely" under an agreement signed with former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.
 
"Now there are direct talks between Hamas and the Israelis regarding the establishment of a Gaza state (by) Hamas, the preparations for which began during the Muslim Brotherhood (i.e. Morsi - ed.) regime," charged Abbas.
 
He said that members of the Muslim Brotherhood, to which Morsi belonged and of which Hamas is a Gazan offshoot, told him, "'we want to grant our beloved (Hamas - ed.) several kilometers in the Sinai' and I told them at the time that I would never demand an inch of Egypt and stressed, 'Egyptian land for Egyptians and Palestinian land for Palestinians.'"

Hamas: Israel Sent ISIS to Destroy Us

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 08 July 2015 22:01
Hamas terrorist in Gaza0After last Friday admitting Islamic State (ISIS) is active in Gaza after months of denial, Hamas has launched a string of criticism against the jihadist group indicating the deep-seated fears Hamas has that ISIS will realize its threats to seize Gaza.
 
Faiz Abu Shamala, a journalist for the official Hamas paper Palestine, on Sunday tried to harm ISIS's image by posing a series of questions.
 
"Why doesn't Daesh attack international naval ships on the Red Sea and the Israeli tourists in Sharm el-Sheikh?," questioned Shamala, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS. "Why does Daesh attack the Palestinian fighters and not the collaborators with Israel?"
 
"Why doesn't Daesh start a war front against Israel from the West Bank which could more greatly affect Israel than from the Gaza Strip? Why does Daesh spread a poster calling for Christians to leave Jerusalem but doesn't publish a similar poster against the Zionists? Why doesn't Daesh act against Israel from the Jordan border and (why) doesn't it attack the Jordanian regime even as the Jordanian air force strikes Daesh targets?"
 
Shamala posed an answer to his own questions with a conspiracy theory claiming that Israel is using ISIS to destroy Hamas, after being "unable" to destroy Hamas in direct warfare.
 
ISIS recently threatened to overthrow Hamas in a video message, expressing animosity to the Gazan offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood for not fully implementing Islamic Sharia law and for being too "moderate."
 
It is believed that ISIS has several hundred to a few thousand active members in Gaza.
 
The ISIS affiliate in Gaza has worked in tandem with the Sinai Province branch of ISIS, which just last Friday fired rockets at southern Israel from the Sinai.
 
Sinai Peninsula has also attacked Hamas in coordination with its Salafist affiliates in Gaza; in May it claimed launching two "bombs" - reportedly 82 mm mortar shells - at Hamas posts in Gaza.
 
The ISIS presence in Gaza goes back to as far as last summer, when members of the group took part in Hamas's terror war against Israel. However, until recently, Hamas tried to play down the group's presence so as to hush up challenges to its iron rule in the coastal enclave.

Egypt May 'Invite' IDF to Strike ISIS in Gaza

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 07 July 2015 12:28
Egypt-IDF to Strike ISIS in GazaAn Egyptian source has revealed that if after launching a brutal attack in Sinai the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group approaches Gaza, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi may "invite" the IDF to strike it.
 
The source, who is "familiar with Egypt's decision-making process," told Haaretz on Thursday that Sisi may give the green light given that Gaza falls under Israel's responsibility.
 
"The two armies may already be coordinating in preparation for such a possibility," revealed the source. "The Egyptian problem is that a military campaign inside Gaza could lead to breaking down the fences and a mass flight of civilians from Gaza to Sinai."
 
The statement comes after Sinai Province, ISIS's affiliate in the region, conducted a massive coordinated string of attacks on Wednesday that left over 50 Egyptian soldiers dead.
 
Sinai Province, which was formerly Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis before swearing allegiance to ISIS and changing its name, has reportedly captured the Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid and has mined the roads to block Egyptian forces from entering.
 
ISIS may spread its control to the city of El Arish, and thereby encroach on Gaza, leading to the potential cooperation between Egypt and the IDF.
 
In a video on Tuesday, ISIS threatened to topple Hamas, and likewise threatened the "state of the Jews."
 
Egypt has been willing in the past to confront Hamas, which is a Gazan offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that Sisi's government has violently been putting down.
 
Aside from imposing a siege on Gaza, Egypt has evacuated over 2,000 homes on the Gaza border in occupying part of southern Gaza and creating a buffer zone to block the smuggling of arms between Hamas and Sinai terrorists.
 
Haaretz notes that many of the Gazan evacuees, who were not compensated for their demolished homes or offered alternative housing, have moved to El Arish and Sheikh Zuweid, and may be tempted to join forces with ISIS, which pays comfortable wages to its members.

Islamic Jihad Threatens to End Gaza Ceasefire

Category: News
Created on Monday, 29 June 2015 22:22
Islamic Jihad ThreatensIsrael last August 26 ended Operation Protective Edge by sealing a ceasefire agreement with a confederation of terrorist organizations in Gaza, foremost among them Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but that deal now appears to be on the brink of collapse.
 
Khaled Al-Batash, a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad terrorist group, announced his organization may soon breach the agreement, in statements made during a speech to Islamic Jihad members at an event showing support for Khader Adnan, a jailed Islamic Jihad leader hunger-striking in an Israeli prison.
 
Al-Batash said that if Adnan dies as a result of his hunger-strike, the ceasefire with Israel will end, and "the enemy, the security of its settlers and cities, will be the target of the Islamic Jihad."
 
"Khader Adnan may suddenly die at any moment, doctors have confirmed to me,"  Jawad Boulos, legal counsel for the Ramallah-based Prisoners Club of the Palestinian Authority (PA) told AFP on Saturday. In 2012 Adnan was released from prison after a 66-day hunger strike.
 
Al-Batash emphasized that Islamic Jihad will not give up on its fundamental principles and will continue to try and free jailed terrorists.
 
He called on Egypt to increase its pressure on Israel to force it to give in to Adnan's demands, as he apparently is striking for better jail conditions, even though jailed terrorists have been revealed to receive perks criminals don't receive in prison.
 
The Islamic Jihad leader also voiced support for the campaign being waged by Palestinian Authority (PA) embassies to rally international public opinion against Israel regarding Adnan, who has repeatedly incited for suicide bombings and terror attacks of various sorts against Israeli civilians.
 
The warning to breach the ceasefire deal comes even as the ceasefire has proven itself to be ever more tenuous in recent weeks.
 
This last month rockets have been fired at Israel no less than three times. In the first two attacks Hamas accused a Salafist affiliate of Islamic State (ISIS) for being behind the attack to cause Israel to strike back at Hamas.
 
There have been reports that Hamas may be involved in secret talks with Israel to reach an extended ceasefire allowing it time to rebuild its abilities to attack the Jewish state again, as the group reconstructs attack tunnels and develops domestically produced rockets.

Latest Flotilla Sets Sail from Crete

Category: News
Created on Monday, 29 June 2015 10:24
Turkish FlotillaThe next flotilla attempting to breach Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza officially got underway on Friday, as activists set sail from the coast of Crete towards the coastal enclave.
 
"Finally, we are aboard the Swedish freedom boat the Marianne, and we are on our way to Gaza," MK Basel Ghattas (Joint Arab List) announced on his Facebook page before the flotilla left the coast of Crete, according to the AFP news agency.
 
The Marianne of Gothenburg is part of the so-called Freedom Flotilla III - a convoy of ships carrying pro-Palestinian Arab activists including Ghattas, a former Tunisian president and at least one European lawmaker.
 
The Marianne of Gothenburg last month sailed from Sweden to waters off Crete, where it was to be joined by a number of other vessels carrying around 70 people, according to the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine.
 
Another activist on the Marianne, Israeli-born Swede Dror Feiler, had claimed on Thursday that one of the flotilla's ships had been sabotaged by "professionals", and that a propeller had to be fixed before setting off.
 
"There are dark forces that are trying to stop us," he was quoted as having told Israeli Arab Radio Ashams, without elaborating.
 
The so-called “Freedom Flotilla 3” has been backed by the European Campaign to Break the Siege on Gaza. Members of the European Parliament, journalists, athletes, artists, as well as radical leftist Israelis will be on board. 
 
Arutz Sheva has exclusively revealed that the flotilla is indirectly funded by the French government via a pro-Palestinian NGO.
 
Israel's deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely last week called the flotilla "the work of provocateurs whose aim is to blacken Israel's face".
 
The ministry had been working "through diplomatic channels night and day" to prevent it from reaching Israeli waters, she said.
 
A statement Friday from the flotilla's media team said its goal was "to highlight the violation of the rights of 1.8 million Palestinians living in the world's largest open-air prison."
 
The newest flotilla is the latest in a series of attempts by activists to break the naval blockade on Gaza, imposed by Israel after Hamas violently took control of Gaza from rival Fatah in 2006.
 
The most famous of the flotillas was the 2010 one involving the Turkish Mavi Marmara, which claimed to be providing "humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza."
 
The ship repeatedly defied orders to turn around and dock at the Ashdod port and ignored repeated warnings to change course, forcing IDF troops to board the vessel - only to be attacked by Islamist extremists on board wielding knives and metal bars. The wounded soldiers had no choice but to open fire, resulting in the deaths of ten of Islamists on board.
 
After an investigation, Israeli authorities discovered the vessel to be carrying no humanitarian aid - in fact, no aid supplies at all - indicating how the true goal of the provocative move was to open Gaza to free naval access, which it has consistently used to smuggle in weapons to be targeted against Israel.
 
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday he believed "a flotilla will not help to address the dire situation in Gaza," but reiterated his call on Israel to "lift all closures, with due consideration of Israel's legitimate security concerns."
 
MK Ghattas, meanwhile, has been blasted by Jewish MKs - spanning parties on both sides of the political spectrum - for his participation in the flotilla. The MKs have branded his behavior an act of treason and are pushing for him to be stripped of his diplomatic immunity as a result.
 
His move has also triggered a new proposed bill, which would ban from election any MKs who advocate violence against the State of Israel.

Truce or Rearming? Hamas Doesn't Want Long-term Ceasefire

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 18 June 2015 05:50
Osama HamdanAfter Hamas and Israeli sources both confirmed indirect talks being held to reach a long-term ceasefire deal on Tuesday, a senior Hamas source revealed that a document of ceasefire ideas, drafted by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, had been received. Blair served in the past as the Quartet envoy to the Middle East. 
 
The source, Osama Hamdan, is responsible for the international relations of the Hamas terrorist organization.
 
He told the Hamas paper Palestine on Tuesday that the organization's leadership is currently debating the ideas outlined in the document, and that Hamas is demanding clear guarantees from Israel that it will implement the ceasefire sealed last August 26 after Operation Protective Edge.
 
Hamdan rejected the notion that Hamas is ready for a ten-year ceasefire, and generally ruled out a long-term ceasefire.
 
However, the group is ready for a agreement on "quiet" in return for a removal of the Israeli "blockade" of Gaza, he said, indicating the group's desire to continue covertly rebuilding its depleted weapons stockpiles.
 
The "blockade" is partial at best, seeing as hundreds of trucks carry goods into Gaza every day, despite the security checks. 
 
Hamdan stated that the terrorist organization reserves the right to "respond" at the time and manner of their choosing to any Israeli breach of the agreement.
 
Western states are aware that the situation in Gaza is liable to spin out of control and are therefore interested in a solution, he said, noting how the West is pressing for a ceasefire agreement.
 
Hamdan also emphasized that Hamas demands that an agreement include the opening of all border crossings to Gaza, as well as an opening of the Gaza port which Israel has warned would allow an unchecked influx of weapons to the terror group.
 
Hamas has already been busily siphoning off construction materials to rebuild its terrorist attack tunnels into Israel, and has likewise been developing its domestic missile program to prepare for its next attack on the Jewish state.

Israeli Source Confirms 'Indirect Contacts' with Hamas

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 18 June 2015 04:22
Hamas-chief-Khaled-Meshaal-L-and-senior-Hamas-leader-Ismail-HaniyehAn Israeli source confirmed on Tuesday night there had been indirect contacts between Israel and Hamas, hours after sources in the terrorist group said Israel and Hamas have been holding indirect contacts about ideas for cementing a long-term truce in Gaza.
 
"There are contacts with Egypt and other elements over an easing of the blockade and the entry of materials to Gaza in exchange for quiet," the Israeli source told AFP.
 
"But Hamas is finding it difficult to control Islamic Jihad and other elements in order to do this," he said, referring to the recent flurry of sporadic rocket fire from Gaza, most of which have been claimed by a small Islamic extremist group bent on challenging the ruling Hamas movement.
 
A source with Hamas told AFP earlier that the contacts with Israel have gone through a number of Arab and European channels in a bid to firm up an informal ceasefire agreement that took hold last August, ending a 50-day war in Gaza started when Hamas escalated its rocket attacks on Israeli civilian centers.
 
"There has been indirect contact between Israel and Hamas, messages passed via Arab channels as well as through European and Turkish sources," one of the sources said, describing it as "an indirect exchange of ideas."
 
The Egyptian-brokered truce came into effect on August 26, with the sides pledging to resume indirect contacts within a month to pin down a lasting ceasefire and discuss crunch issues.
 
But the follow-up talks were delayed several times and never formally resumed.
 
"We are ready for an agreement. Hamas wants to solve the problems in Gaza," the source said. But he insisted the contacts were purely informal and that there was no formal initiative or proposal on the table.
 
Tuesday’s report confirms an earlier report from May which said the sides were holding secret negotiations on finding a way to deliver goods more efficiently to Gaza.
 
Those reports described the talks as being directly between Israel and Hamas, and taking place in various European capitals, under the authority of Turkey.
 
Even as it negotiates an extension of the ceasefire, Hamas has been secretly rebuilding its terrorist attack tunnels into Israeli territory and developing its domestic rocket arsenal for its next attack against Israel; last summer's war was the group's third attempt to destroy the Jewish state.

Hamas Accuses PA over Gaza Bombings

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 13 June 2015 16:02
PA Gaza BombingsThe interior ministry of the Hamas terrorist organization government in Gaza has accused sources in the Palestinian Authority (PA) of being behind a string of bombings that have plagued the coastal enclave in recent weeks.
 
The Hamas ministry claimed political and security sources in the PA were behind the explosions, and that they had launched the attacks to try and destabilize security in the Hamas terror stronghold, reports Yedioth Aharonoth.
 
Despite the unity deal signed between Hamas and the PA last April, tensions have remained high between the two rivals, with Fatah and Hamas officials in Gaza, Judea and Samaria becoming targets in mysterious assassination attempts over recent months.
 
As for the bombings, not only have Hamas training camps and the Hamas security headquarters been targeted, but so has been the Gaza home of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, casting some doubt as to the PA's role in the attacks.
 
Despite the accusations against the PA - whose Fatah party members are closely monitored in Gaza - a more likely culprit is the growing number of Salafist-jihadist factions intent on challenging Hamas's rule.
 
Indeed, in recent weeks Hamas arrested scores of Salafists in Gaza, claiming that they were involved in the bombings. 
 
Those arrests have accompanied an uptick in tensions between local Salafist groups affiliated with Islamic State (ISIS) and Hamas, and last month led to an ISIS-affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula claiming it launched two "bombs" at Hamas posts in Gaza.
 
ISIS has been building its power in Gaza, and has threatened to destroy Hamas and replace it, for what it sees as Hamas's refusal to fully implement Islamic law (Sharia) in Gaza and accepting a ceasefire in hostilities with Israel.

Hamas Blames Israel for Defending Itself From Rockets

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 07 June 2015 19:52
HAMAS ROCKETSThe IAF airstrikes in response to Wednesday's rocket attack from Gaza that targeted Israeli cities is being denounced by the Hamas terrorist organization, which blames Israel of "aggressiveness" in defending itself.
 
Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan said Hamas had turned to Egypt and other international sources demanding that they force Israel to maintain the ceasefire agreement sealed after last summer's Hamas terror war, which Gaza has already breached in several rocket attacks such as the one that prompted Wednesday's response.
 
Radwan blamed Israel completely for last summer's escalation, even though Operation Protective Edge was launched after Hamas cranked up its steady trickle of rocket fire to a torrent of hundreds of missiles within days necessitating the operation.
 
Wednesday's attack was claimed by an Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate Salafist group in Gaza, which said it had fired the rockets that led to an Israeli counter strike as an act of revenge for the death of a Salafist leader affiliated with ISIS, who on Tuesday was shot dead by Hamas forces in Gaza City as they tried to arrest him and he allegedly opened fire on them.
 
Mere minutes after the attack a senior Hamas source reportedly contacted Israel via Egypt, saying that the ISIS-affiliated Salafists had launched the attack to try and provoke conflict between Hamas and Israel.
 
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) responded to the message on Thursday, saying, "even if those firing on Israeli territory are gangs of rebels from global jihad organizations interested in challenging Hamas by firing at us, we view Hamas as responsible for the goings-on in the (Gaza) Strip, and we won't tolerate attempts to harm our citizens."
 
Hamas is said not to be interested in another conflict with Israel at the current stage, and instead is focusing on rebuilding its terrorist infrastructure including attack tunnels and domestic rocket production in ongoing missile tests.
 
In parallel Hamas is engaging in a diplomatic push for recognition; earlier this week Israel condemned the UN's decision to recognize a Hamas front group NGO.

Egyptian Army Destroyed 521 Gaza Tunnels over Last 6 Months

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 27 May 2015 21:49
Tunnels Along the Gaza BorderEgyptian security forces have destroyed more than 500 tunnels infiltrating Egypt from Gaza, according to state media.
 
Egyptian military spokesman Mohammed Samir told the state-owned Al-Ahram daily that the army had uncovered 521 tunnel entrances from Gaza into the Sinai Peninsula over the past six months, including 63 openings located between 1-2.8 km from the border.
 
The Sinai Peninsula has seen a series of major military operations by Egyptian forces aimed at rooting-out Islamist terrorists conducting an insurgency against the central government, many of whom have links to terrorists organizations inside Gaza.
 
As part of operations, Egypt has sought to shut down the complex and extensive network of smuggling tunnels from Gaza, used to transfer both commercial goods as well as weapons and fighters in and out of the Hamas-run enclave.
 
Earlier this month, Cairo claimed the Egyptian army had killed 725 jihadists in operations the past six months.
 
But terrorists have still managed to launch deadly attacks of their own, particularly in Sinai's restive northern region.
 
As part of its crackdown in the Sinai, Egypt is working to establish a buffer zone along the border with Gaza. The buffer was initially planned to be 500 meters wide, but was later expanded by another 500 meters.
 
In establishing the buffer zone, Egypt has destroyed at least 1,220 homes belonging mostly to Palestinian Arabs in the city of Rafah, which straddles the border with Gaza, and "evacuated" their residents elsewhere.

Gaza Terrorists Taught Tunnel Tactics to Syria Rebels

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 26 May 2015 10:02
Tunnel Tactics to Syria RebelsA powerful Syrian rebel faction has for the first time openly revealed that its forces were taught how to dig attack tunnels by Islamist terrorists in Gaza.
 
In a report for the pro-opposition Orient TV posted online earlier this month and translated by MEMRI, a reporter is given a tour of a tunnel dug by Ahrar al-Sham - an Islamist rebel faction which often fights alongside Al Qaeda's Nusra Front, and is considered one of the most prominent and powerful rebel forces in Syria.
 
The tunnel is located in Idlib province, where a rebel coalition including Ahrar al-Sham, called the "Army of Conquest," recently scored a series of victories against regime forces, seizing most of Idlib including its provincial capital.
 
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During the report, a grinning rebel commander shows off a huge stash of explosives packed in the tunnel, and boasts of an imminent "earthquake" when the explosives - located beneath a regime position - are detonated.
 
Explaining how his forces managed such an impressive technical feat, the commander says: "We asked for the advice of our brothers in Gaza... They even sent me a video, and we did it exactly the way they do it."
 
Syrian rebels have repeatedly employed attack tunnels to strike at regime forces throughout the country, detonating tons of explosives under positions including command centers and other concentrations of pro-regime troops.
 
The rebel commander does not say which Gazan terrorist group he contacted, but reports Hamas was training Sunni rebels in Syria - and specifically instructing them on how to dig attack tunnels - first surfaced in 2013. An article in the UK's Times newspaper cited Syrian opposition sources who claimed that "several hundred" Hamas terrorists were operating out of the numerous Palestinian Arab "refugee camps" in Syria, and transferring their skills honed in warfare with Israel with their Syrian rebel counterparts.
 
The reports were contentious due to Hamas's complicated relationship with Damascus, and elicited a quick denial by Hamas at the time. Today, rebel factions linked to Hamas operate openly in places such as the Yarmouk camp on the outskirts of Damascus.
 
The confirmation that Syrian rebels are targeting Assad regime forces with tactics learned from groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza contains no small measure of irony.
 
Those two factions - who control the Gazan tunnel network - are both funded, trained and equipped by Assad's key ally Iran.
 
But Tehran is also the key backer of the Assad regime, and many of the fighters targeted in rebel tunnel attacks belong to militias directly supported or even commanded by Iran, including Tehran's most important regional proxy Hezbollah.

Blast in Gaza 'Training Camp' Wounds at Least 50

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 16 May 2015 11:51
Blast in Gaza Training CampAt least 50 Palestinian Arabs were wounded in a blast that occurred Thursday inside a training camp for terrorists in Gaza, Hamas officials, medics and witnesses said, according to AFP.
 
"An explosion happened inside a post of the resistance in Beit Lahya," said interior ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozum, in reference to the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s so-called “military wing”.
 
The health ministry spokesman in Gaza, Ashraf al-Qudra, said the blast wounded 50 people, five of them in a serious condition, and including children.
 
Witnesses said the blast took place inside a training camp of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades in northern Gaza, where Hamas is the de facto power.
 
A doctor in the enclave, Baker Abu Safia of Al-Awda Hospital, said 30 wounded people were brought to his establishment, most of them women and children.
 
He said the hospital "declared a state of emergency" after the explosion took place.
 
The cause of the explosion is not yet known nor is it known who is behind it, but it comes one week after  a Salafist group in Gaza that is affiliated with ISIS threatened to kill Hamas members “one by one” in retaliation for the arrests of its members.
 
Last Friday, those threats appeared to be edging to fruition, after an ISIS-affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula claimed it launched two "bombs" at Hamas posts in Gaza.
 
There have also been explosions in Gaza related to the failed Hamas-Fatah reconciliation pact, as the sides continue to quarrel despite forming a unity government last year.
 
In addition, there have been “work accidents” in the region, involving terrorists who are in the midst of preparing an explosive device.

ISIS Mobilizing in Gaza

Category: Reports
Created on Thursday, 14 May 2015 13:49
ISIS MobilizingPalestinian Authority (PA) security officials have warned that Islamic State is acting to mobilize in Gaza to serve as an extension of its activities in the Sinai Peninsula. 
 
Journalist Gal Berger reports that the PA knows of eight extremist Salafi groups operating in Gaza in recent years with several hundred members total. 
 
Many of these are former Hamas members who left the organization after it decided to participate in PA "elections" and to integrate into the Palestinian government.
 
Salafi activity is being compartmentalized into different roles in Gaza and funding is allegedly coming from within. 
 
Hamas sources stated that there are several dozens of Salafi activists who have pledged sole allegiance to ISIS, but added that they "do not pose a serious threat" to stability in the region. 
 
Berger noted that a senior member of the Salafi movement in Gaza, named as Adnan Mitt, was arrested last month. Mitt is a former Hamas member. 
 
Last week, sources stated to Maariv that ISIS is threatening to declare war on Hamas and take over Gaza from within. 

ISIS in Sinai Claims Attack on Hamas in Gaza

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 13 May 2015 20:27
ISIS in SinaiIslamic State's (ISIS) threats to declare war on Hamas in Gaza after the latter began a crackdown on local Salafist groups appears to be edging to fruition, after an ISIS-affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula on Friday claimed launching two "bombs" - reportedly 82 mm mortar shells - at Hamas posts in Gaza.
 
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which earlier this year swore loyalty to ISIS and changed its name to Sinai Province, claimed credit for the attack on a military post of Hamas's "military wing," the Al-Qassam Brigades in Khan Younis, located in southern Gaza.
 
The ISIS forces said they conducted the attack due to Hamas's actions towards Salafists in Gaza, reports Walla!.
 
They warned in a message to Gaza residents: "distance yourself from military and security posts and guard your lives." To the Salafists currently jailed by Hamas, who reportedly have been tortured, they wrote, "we will not give up on saving you."
 
Corroborating the claimed attack, witnesses told AFP they heard explosions close to Khan Younis.
 
But Hamas was in denial, with the spokesperson of its interior ministry Iyad al-Bozum denying to AFP any mortar fire and saying the claim of an attack is "baseless."
 
On Wednesday clashes were reported after Hamas demolished a Salafist mosque, arresting 40 members of the Salafist organization "Islamic State Supporters in Bayt Al-Maqdis."
 
The Hamas move was said to be a response to ISIS's assault on the Palestinian Arab Yarmouk neighborhood in Damascus, during which a senior Hamas official and other members of the group were beheaded.
 
In response to the demolition and arrests, ISIS in Gaza warned Hamas it had 72 hours to release them or else it would kill all of Hamas's personnel one by one.
 
The latest escalation comes after an explosion hit the Hamas general security headquarters in Gaza on Monday, with Salafists claiming credit and saying it was a response to the arrests and torture of Salafists in the Hamas stronghold.

Explosion Rocks Hamas Security Headquarters

Category: Reports
Created on Sunday, 10 May 2015 10:52
Hamas Security HeadquartersResidents of Gaza report that an explosion occurred on Monday at the Hamas general security headquarters.
 
According to the reports, which were cited by Yedioth Aharonoth, the blast was the work of Salafists who are demanding the release of several Salafist prisoners being held by Hamas.
 
The Salafist group Salafist Trend on Saturday accused Hamas of torturing the jailed Salafists, and of monitoring and cracking down on other members of the group, threatening Hamas that they must release the prisoners or face consequences.
 
"Once again we ask the wise people of Gaza to stop the ongoing Hamas criminality and abusive detention of our brothers before it's too late," read the Salafist statement. 
 
According to the report Monday, a group of activists published an announcement before the blast, stating "we give Hamas 72 hours to release all the prisoners." It remains unclear if the group of activists referred to in the report is the same Salafist Trend group.
 
Last month Hamas arrested Salafists who it claimed contacted Islamic State (ISIS), which has been growing a presence in Gaza, Judea and Samaria.
 
In the Salafist Trend statement, the group said it "has details about what is going on inside the detention cells of the interior security service, including names of the criminal interrogators who torture and insult our people."
 
Other than the prison guards, it said it has the names of security officers it says are monitoring Salafist supporters and raiding their homes, warning, "those also won't escape punishment, sooner or later," in a threat to the Hamas security forces.
 
In the background of the Salafist position in Gaza is the rivalry between Hamas and the Fatah faction which leads the Palestinian Authority (PA).
 
Reportedly Fatah views the Salafist movement as a counter-force to Hamas and has been supporting it, given that despite a unity agreement last April, Fatah and Hamas have only escalated in enmity recently. Hamas ousted Fatah from Gaza in 2007 after overwhelmingly winning in elections.
 
Aside from the Salafists, many in Gaza are feeling animosity towards Hamas over the organization stealing much-needed building materials, siphoning off the materials to build its terror tunnel infrastructure.

Hamas Accused of Torturing Salafists in Jail

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 10 May 2015 10:13
Egyptian Salafi leaderHamas has been accused of torturing members of a Salafist group in Gaza who are being held in jail, while monitoring and cracking down on other supporters of the group throughout its stronghold.
 
A statement by the Salafist Trend group on Saturday threatened Hamas that if it didn't release the members being tortured in prison, it would suffer the consequences, reports the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency.
 
"Once again we ask the wise people of Gaza to stop the ongoing Hamas criminality and abusive detention of our brothers before it's too late," read the Salafist statement. The Salafist movement of Sunni Islam is characterized by its strict observance of Islamic Sharia law.
 
The accusation against Hamas and its prison system puts the group in a somewhat ironic position given how Hamas has long claimed its terrorists are "mistreated" in Israeli jails, despite the fact that despite their crimes they actually receive numerous perks and preferential treatment.
 
Salafist Trend said it "has details about what is going on inside the detention cells of the interior security service, including names of the criminal interrogators who torture and insult our people."
 
It warned that aside from the Hamas prison guards, it has the names of security officers it says are monitoring Salafist supporters and raiding their homes, threatening, "those also won't escape punishment, sooner or later."
 
The Salafist movement in Gaza has reportedly received the support of the Fatah faction which leads the Palestinian Authority (PA), and which views it as a potential counter-force to Hamas in Gaza.
 
In this way the position of the Salafists gives expression to the massive rivalry between Fatah and Hamas, which despite a unity agreement last April has only escalated in enmity recently.
 
Hamas violently seized power and ousted Fatah from Gaza in 2007 after overwhelmingly winning in elections.

End of 'Unity'? PA Unity Govt. Cuts Contact With Hamas

Category: News
Created on Monday, 27 April 2015 09:55
Terrorist leadersThe unity government fraught with high tensions since being formed between Hamas and the leading Palestinian Authority (PA) faction Fatah last April appears to be closer then ever to a collapse, as the unity government cut contact with Hamas on Sunday.
 
PA unity government Labor Minister Mamoun Abu Shahla told the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency on Sunday that the move has come as part of the fallout after a unity government delegation was allegedly held hostage in their hotel during a visit to Gaza last Monday.
 
The delegation, which had arrived on Sunday and left almost immediately after while charging Hamas with not allowing them to visit ministry headquarters to sort out a wage dispute, included eight unity government ministers.
 
According to Abu Shahla, "there has been no contact between the government and Hamas since the return of the ministerial delegation, which was unable to achieve its aims due to restrictions imposed by Hamas."
 
"The actions of Hamas during the delegation's visit will not go unnoticed and certainly there will be consequences," threatened the minister.
 
Abu Shahla warned that there is no reason to think the rapidly widening gaps between the PA and Hamas can be patched up, indicating that the growing tensions may be quickly leading Fatah and Hamas to the point of no return.
 
He added that unity government Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah's planned visit to Gaza this week will likely be cancelled amid the growing hostilities.
 
"Hamdallah was scheduled to visit Gaza tomorrow after returning from Indonesia, but there is currently no talk of the visit," said Abu Shahla, noting that future steps vis-a-vis Gaza are to be discussed during a government meeting next Tuesday.
 
Heading back to open warfare?
 
The latest brouhaha in Gaza revolves around a topic that has been a source of tension since PA chairman and Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas torpedoed peace talks with Israel last year by signing the unity agreement with Hamas - namely Hamas's demand that the unity government pay the wages of its employees.
 
Hamas wants payment for its 50,000 public workers, who were hired in 2007 when the organization violently seized control of Gaza after having resoundingly won in elections.
 
Those employees took the place of 70,000 PA employees in Gaza who continue to be paid by the PA, and who the unity government insists should return to their posts, with Hamas employees being retained "according to need." It has been estimated that the PA has avoided paying the Hamas salaries, fearing that paying the wages of members of an internationally recognized terrorist group may harm its own international funding.
 
After the incident last week with the delegation leaving Gaza early, Islamic Jihad spokesperson Daoud Shihab said the "crisis and the issue is bigger and deeper than the unity government."
 
The spokesperson of the Gaza-based terrorist group said the problem is that "each side interprets agreement based on personal and factional opinion."
 
Illustrating the depth of that "crisis" has been a series of assassination attempts and bombings targeting Fatah and Hamas officials both in Gaza as well as Judea and Samaria, in what appears to be a growing resurgence of violent conflict between the two factions.
 
As the tensions threaten to spill over again between Hamas and Fatah, a surprising Hamas victory at a student election at Birzeit University outside Ramallah last week, traditionally a stronghold of Fatah, indicates how the Gaza-based offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood has strong backing even in the stomping ground of the PA seat of government in Samaria.

Egypt Continues to Destroy Tunnels Along the Gaza Border

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 23 April 2015 11:58
Tunnels Along the Gaza BorderThe Egyptian army has destroyed 69 tunnels along the border with Gaza since March 28, an Egyptian army spokesman said Saturday, according to the Ma’an news agency.
 
The spokesman, Muhammad Samir, said that Egyptian border forces stationed in the Egyptian side of Rafah had discovered and destroyed the tunnels in coordination with army engineers.
 
Last month Samir had said the army destroyed 194 tunnels between February 1 and March 19, and another statement at the end of March said that 22 tunnels had been destroyed between March 20 and 27.
 
The latest 69 puts the total number of tunnels destroyed at 285 since February.
 
Also in late March, Egyptian border guards said they had uncovered a 2.8 kilometer-long tunnel near the Gaza border, which they claimed was the longest tunnel uncovered between Egypt and Gaza since the start of operations near the border to crack down on smuggling.
 
Earlier this month, the Egyptian Cabinet approved a draft resolution criminalizing the act of tunnel-digging along Egyptian borders with the punishment of life imprisonment. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is reportedly seeking the death penalty for anyone convicted of digging tunnels into Gaza.
 
Egypt has been cracking down on the smuggling tunnels as part of an ongoing security campaign in the northern Sinai against terrorists launching attacks on Egyptian police and military personnel.
 
After a bombing killed more than 30 Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai in October 2014, the military stepped up the campaign to build a buffer zone along the border, as it accused Hamas of supporting the group that carried out the attack, which Hamas has strenuously denied.
 
The buffer zone was initially planned to be 500 meters wide, but Egypt later decided to expand it by another 500 meters.
 
The ongoing tensions between the Egyptian government and Hamas deepened further last month when an Egyptian court declared Hamas’s “military wing” a terrorist group.
 
Senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk said that the Egyptian ruling against the Al-Qassam Brigades “is a coup against the history, ethics of Egypt and its principles.”

Hamas Threatens Abduction of 'All Israelis' to Free Terrorists

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 23:08
al-Haya Ahmed al-MudalalA senior Hamas official in Gaza called on Thursday for the abduction of Israelis, who would be used to release terrorists held by the Jewish state.
 
"We tell the Zionist enemy: you are all a target for us and the resistance, we will fight you until we finally get rid of you and take as many captives as possible to free our heroes," said Khalil al-Haya, whose Islamist terror group de facto rules the enclave.
 
"Our men, our women, our children all envision kidnapping your soldiers and settlers, wherever they are," he said on the eve of "Prisoners Day" which Palestinian Arabs set for April 17. This year it comes a day after Holocaust Remembrance Day.
 
"And it is our right because we have no other way to free our heroes, and it is the Zionist enemy responsible for this state of affairs," Haya told hundreds of Palestinian Arabs listening.
 
Haya said jailed terrorists should "rest assured" because terror groups led by Hamas's military wing Al-Qassam Brigades "will release you as they did your brothers" in 2011.
 
The year refers to when Israel released 1,027 Arab terrorists, many with blood on their hands, is in return for captive soldier Gilad Shalit. Many of those terrorists immediately returned to murdering Israelis.
 
Ahmed al-Mudalal of the Islamic Jihad terror group in Gaza promised the rally that "the resistance will not falter until Israeli prisons are emptied of their Palestinian prisoners."

ISIS Seizure of Yarmouk 'Harms Palestinian Right of Return'

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 09 April 2015 08:42
Palestinians-YarmoukIslamic State (ISIS) forces this week have taken over the Yarmouk neighborhood in southern Damascus, which is popularly known as a "Palestinian refugee camp," with reports indicating ISIS has been conducting arrests and acts of mass murder.
 
Representatives of the Islamic nationalist forces in Gaza, which are a confederation of the various Palestinian Arab groups, met with the Islamic Jihad headquarters in Gaza, after which an announcement condemning the activities of the "armed gangs" was published without listing ISIS by name.
 
The Islamist nationalist forces in the statement said that ISIS in Yarmouk is committing "genocide and harming the refugee problem and their right of return (to Israel)."
 
The mention of "right of return" refers to the fact that the residents of Yarmouk are the descendants of Arab residents of Israel who left the country during the 1948 War of Independence. Roughly 800,000 of the so-called "Palestinian refugees" left, whereas 850,000 Jewish refugees were forced out of Arab lands in the same time period, although their plight has received no international fanfare.
 
The statement called on the "armed gangs" to immediately withdraw from Yarmouk and release the captives.
 
In the statement, the Gaza representatives expressed their support of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) delegation that was sent to Syria on Monday to try and help residents of Yarmouk.
 
ISIS beheaded at least one senior Hamas figure in Yarmouk, which was largely under Hamas influence. The jihadist group views Hamas and the other Palestinian organizations as enemies, because they do not fully embrace jihad according to ISIS's definition and have not been immediately imposing Islamic Sharia law.
 
That enmity has seen expression in Gaza, where ISIS has expressed its intentions to depose Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Hamas: No Palestinian State Without Gaza

Category: News
Created on Monday, 06 April 2015 18:56
Ismail Haniyeh0Hamas's deputy politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh, who previously was prime minister of Hamas's government, slammed how Gaza has been marginalized from the peace process after his terrorist group violently seized control of Gaza in 2007 after overwhelmingly winning in elections.
 
Speaking in a telephone speech for a Hamas student rally at Al-Najah National University in Shechem (Nablus) on Sunday, Haniyeh said "the struggle in all its aspects is a strategic choice of the Hamas movement. The struggle has political, military, security, media, legal and public expressions."
 
"There won't be a (Palestinian) state and there won't be any sort of state without Gaza, and there is no existence to a Palestinian state without Al-Quds," said Haniyeh, referencing the Arabic name for Jerusalem.
 
The call for Gaza to be included in peace talks comes as Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been calling for renewed talks, after he torpedoed the last set of negotiations last April by signing a unity deal with Hamas - a "unity" that has been fraught with coup attempts and massive in-fighting between the two rivals.
 
There have been many reports of negotiations for a three to five year ceasefire deal between Hamas and Israel, but Ziyad Zaza, also a member of Hamas's political bureau, denied the reports.
 
According to Zaza, the reports consist of statements made by international and local figures, but they haven't reached the level of plans and proposals.
 
Therefore Hamas is not dealing with the topic until concrete proposals are formed, said Zaza, who called for all nations interested in intervening to submit official ceasefire proposals to Hamas.
 
The reports on ceasefire deals were strengthened by the PA, which revealed last month that Israel decided to allow Portland cement into Gaza, reversing its ban on the dual-use materials despite evidence that Hamas is using such materials to rebuild its terror tunnel infrastructure.
 
Leaked documents purportedly from the ceasefire negotiations indicated Hamas was demanding an ease of imports as part of the ceasefire extension.
 
IDF Southern Command head General Sami Turgeman confirmed last week that Hamas has indeed started rebuilding its terror tunnels into Israel meant to attack Israeli civilian centers.

Abbas Calls on Arab States to Attack Hamas

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 31 March 2015 12:17
Abbas0Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas used the platform of the Arab League summit in Sharm el-Shekh, Egypt, this Saturday to attack his "unity partner" Hamas, making a subtle call for the Arab states to take military action against the Gaza-based Muslim Brotherhood offshoot.
 
Speaking at the 26th summit in the southern Sinai peninsula, Abbas made reference to the campaign of airstrikes launched last Thursday by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries against Iran-backed Shi'ite Houthi rebels in Yemen - the Houthis have overthrown the government while rapidly expanding their control.
 
"I hope that the Arab countries will take the same policy they employed in Yemen for all Arab countries suffering from internal conflict - like Palestine, Syria, Libya and Iraq," Abbas said according to Yedioth Aharonot, in an open jab at Hamas in Gaza. 
 
Making Abbas's comments calling for military intervention in "Palestine" all the more pointed is the fact that just two days earlier, Abbas's adviser on Religious and Islamic Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash, who also serves as PA Supreme Sharia (Islamic law) Judge, made similar remarks.
 
Al-Habbash urged the Arab countries to take action and strike Hamas with an "iron fist," in an open call for military intervention.
 
Hamas and the PA signed a unity deal last April, which has done little to damper the enmity raging between the rivals ever since Hamas violently seized control of Gaza in 2007 - the most obvious example of the how the deal has not changed tensions was when Hamas tried to stage a coup against the PA in Judea and Samaria last year.
 
Responding to Al-Habbash, Hamas said the comment is "a dangerous and not nationalist call."
 
Abbas's call for Arab intervention comes after Arab foreign ministers meeting in Egypt last Thursday declared the establishment of a joint Arab military force, reportedly meant to rapidly respond to security threats to Arab nations.
 
Arab League secretary-general Nabil al-Arabi was assigned with coordinating the details with the chiefs of staff of the various Arab armies within one month, so as to work out the logistics of establishing the new force.

Female Gaza Lecturer: Islam Defends the Rights of Women

Category: Islam
Created on Saturday, 28 March 2015 14:14
Arab womenA female lecturer from the Islamic University in Gaza recently claimed in a television interview that, contrary to the claims of Westerners, Islam defends the rights of women.
 
The interview aired on the Hamas-owned Al-Aqsa TV channel on March 8 to mark International Woman's Day. It was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
 
The professor, Tahani Abu Jazar, said - ironically while her face was covered in an Islamic veil - that the “woman who is allegedly deprived of her rights in Islam in fact receives her rights in full.”
 
The West raises doubts about women’s right in Islam, she claimed, because these “doubts are indications of their own weakness, because they cannot live like in the Islamic world, which glows like a shining star in the skies. They cannot honor the woman as she is honored by Islam. That is why there are doubts.”
 
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Since violently taking over Gaza in 2007, Hamas has enforced a stringent interpretation of Islamic law in Gaza.
 
The terror group has banned women and teenagers from smoking hookahs in public, ordered that women's clothing stores are not allowed to have dressing rooms, men cannot have hairdressing salons for women and that mannequins shaped like women must be dressed in modest clothing.
 
Hamas is not the only offender in this regard. Women’s rights are nearly non-existent in Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia where women are physically punished if not wearing compulsory clothing, are almost entirely excluded from political life, and cannot drive, or Iran, where crimes such as “adultery” are punishable by death by stoning of the woman.

Gaza Terror Group Trains Women to Become Jihadists

Category: Islam
Created on Sunday, 01 March 2015 11:55
ISIS-west-virginiaHezbollah’s Al-Manar TV recently aired a report which featured Gazan women training in the use of weapons and explosive devices in the Al-Nasser Salah Al-Din Brigades, the “military wing” of the Popular Resistance Committees.
 
The report aired on February 20, 2015, and was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
 
In the report, the women are described as learning the art of war “in order to become one day mujahid women fighting the occupation”.
 
The report also says that some 40 women “graduated” from the war training after the last Gaza war, meaning Israel’s anti-terrorism Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer. 40 others are currently in training.
 
The  Popular Resistance Committees is one of the three groups that participated in the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006.
 
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The terror groups in Gaza have been recruiting women and children to their ranks. MEMRI released a video earlier this month which shows footage from a youth camp organized by the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s so-called “military wing”.
 
The video shows young cadets demonstrating military skills, such as use of weapons, and simulating the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier.
 
A clip released by MEMRI last year shows a televised graduation ceremony for a similar Hamas youth camp in Gaza. At the ceremony, suicide terror attacks against the “Zionist enemy” were glorified by Hamas officials.
 
Hamas has previously released a cartoon honoring its “military wing,” and last year began a program to teach “resistance” to Israel in Gaza’s public school system.
 
In a previous video exposed by MEMRI, principals in Gaza schools and Hamas officials defended the paramilitary training that children are forced to undergo in schools as “chivalry” class and “sports training.”

Hamas and Fatah Sliding Towards Open War in Gaza

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 17 February 2015 08:50
Azzam al-Ahmed  Ismail HaniyehDespite having formed a unity agreement last April torpedoing peace talks, Hamas and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction seem to be slowly sliding into open warfare in Gaza, as an attempted assassination on a Fatah official on Monday caps off incessant back and forth car bombings.
 
Mamoon Sweidan, the Fatah official who serves in the Gaza office on foreign relations, told the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency that on Monday two masked gunmen in a Subaru conducted a drive-by shooting, targeting him as he was getting into his car outside the al-Saadi building in Gaza City where he lives.
 
The official said two of his guards exchanged fire with the would-be assassins, and that both guards were wounded.
 
The assassination attempt is just the latest in a recent string of attacks that risk pushing Hamas and Fatah back into outright warfare; the two have been enemies since Hamas ousted Fatah by force in 2005, seizing control of Gaza, and the lukewarm unity deal has done little of substance to lessen that enmity.
 
On Sunday unidentified attackers set the car of Fatah official Abed al-Munim Ramadan Tahrawi on fire in the Nuseirat "refugee camp" before fleeing the scene.
 
That arson came just hours after the car of a senior Hamas official in the interior ministry of the terrorist organization's government was likewise set on fire in Jabaliyah in northern Gaza earlier on Sunday.
 
Just over a week ago, the car of Hamas official Sheikh Sami Hams was bombed in Nuseirat.
 
The spate of back and forth car bombings was in full swing in January as well, with the car of Fatah official Adil Udeid set on fire in front of his Gaza home, and Fatah leader Ahmad Alwan's car blown up in Gaza City.
 
Just prior to that the car of Administrative and Financial Manager of the Hamas-run military police, Helmi Khalaf, was blown up in Gaza City.
 
ISIS wild card
 
While the likelihood is that Hamas and Fatah are slowly returning to all-out war, there is a chance that Islamic State (ISIS) is behind some of the attacks, possibly fanning the flames between the two so as to advance its own position in Gaza, Judea and Samaria.
 
In the bombing of Sheikh Sami Hams's car over a week ago, it was reported that he had recently delivered a critical sermon against ISIS, feasibly raising their ire and sparking the attack.
 
ISIS hinted in a publication distributed in Gaza, Judea and Samaria last month that it intends to depose Hamas and the PA. 
 
The publication emphasizes that there's an obligation for jihad holy war in fighting the police and army of "the rule of tyranny and heresy," giving a not-so-subtle call for ISIS followers to attack Hamas and the PA, and further framing such a coup as a religious command.
 
Israeli security sources estimate hundreds of Hamas terrorists have been steadily switching over to ISIS, viewing Hamas as "too moderate" in comparison. 
 
An ISIS terror cell was recently busted in Hevron, showing its presence in an area controlled by the PA, and last October ISIS showed its power in Gaza by claiming a bombing attack on the local French Cultural Center.

Did ISIS Blow Up a Hamas Official's Car in Gaza?

Category: News
Created on Monday, 09 February 2015 10:14
carbombIslamic State (ISIS) has steadily been gaining hold in Gaza since taking part in last summer's terror war on Israel, but an attack Friday indicates the terror group may have turned its sights on Hamas to vie for leadership of the coastal enclave.
 
The car of a Hamas official was detonated on Friday night, according to Al-Akhbar and other Arabic reports.
 
"Police have opened an investigation after a makeshift bomb blew up the car of Sheikh Sami Hams in Nuseirat refugee camp," south of Gaza City, a security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
 
While some reports indicate the bombing is part of an internal feud, other local reports significantly reveal that Hams recently delivered a sermon criticizing ISIS, possibly running him afoul of the brutal group.
 
The official of the Hamas terror organization was not in the vehicle when it detonated and only the car was apparently damaged. Pictures of the mangled wreckage were posted to Twitter.
 
If the bombing was indeed the handiwork of ISIS, it comes after the group hinted in a publication distributed in Gaza, Judea and Samaria last month that it intends to depose Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
 
The publication emphasizes that there's an obligation for jihad holy war in fighting the police and army of "the rule of tyranny and heresy," giving a not-so-subtle call for ISIS followers to attack Hamas and the PA, and further framing such a coup as a religious command.
 
Israeli security sources estimate hundreds of Hamas terrorists have been steadily switching over to ISIS, viewing Hamas as "too moderate" in comparison. 
 
An ISIS terror cell was recently busted in Hevron, showing its presence in an area controlled by the PA, and last October ISIS showed its power in Gaza by claiming a bombing attack on the local French Cultural Center.
 
The car bombing last Friday is in fact the latest in a series of similar blasts, after late last month a Fatah leader's car was similarly targeted, just two days after the car of the Administrative and Financial Manager of the Hamas-run military police, Helmi Khalaf, was blown up.
 
It remains unclear who perpetrated the various attacks, as no credit has yet been claimed.

Hamas Claims Egypt Opened Fire on its 'Military Posts' in Gaza

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 04 February 2015 17:10
Hamas Military Posts in GazaNot only has Egypt been able to expel Gazans from the border with Sinai and demolish their homes and mosques to create a counter-terror buffer zone as the world silently watches, but on Tuesday morning Egyptian troops reportedly opened fire on Hamas "military posts" in Gaza near the border with impugnity.
 
Reports of the shootings were relayed by witnesses in Gaza to the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency, although there were no reports of wounded.
 
Iyad al-Buzm, a spokesperson for the Hamas terrorist government's "Ministry of Interior," accused the Egyptians of "firing directly and deliberately at two Palestinian military posts on the southern Gaza Strip borders."
 
He said the Egyptian soldiers fired without warning, and that the Hamas side had not committed any breach of conditions that would have warranted the potentially lethal response.
 
"This is a dangerous indicator which necessitates an immediate investigation to call to account those involved in it," al-Buzm said.
 
However, the Egyptian army had a different version of events. Earlier on Tuesday it reported that a bomb exploded in a military vehicle near the Gaza border, marking the first such incident, and possibly initiating a military response against the apparent terrorist attack.
 
Casting further doubt on the claims by the Hamas ministry and Gaza residents was Abu Ubayda al-Jarrah, commander of Hamas's Gaza national security forces, who said the incident was not intentional.
 
The Egyptian troops accidentally opened fire "near our forces," said al-Jarrah, saying the burst of gunfire was part of the ongoing Egyptian operations in Rafah and did not specifically target Hamas forces.
 
If the shooting on Tuesday did actually target Hamas watch towers, it would provide further testimony of the dual standard imposed by the world when judging Israel's counter-terror operations in Gaza as compared to those actions taken by Egypt.
 
Egypt has demolished thousands of homes in expelling all Gazans from the Sinai border to create a wide one kilometer (over half a mile) buffer zone.
 
The decision to do so was made following two deadly attacks last October in Sinai's El-Arish, which killed dozens of Egyptian soldiers and were claimed by Egypt’s deadliest terrorist group, Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis.
 
Egyptian sources have revealed that Hamas terrorists had provided the weapons for the lethal attacks in El-Arish through one of its smuggling tunnels under the border to Sinai, thus necessitating the buffer zone.
 
As a follow-up, Egypt on Saturday banned Hamas's "military wing," the Al-Qassam Brigades, as a terrorist organization.
 
Hamas responded by saying it no longer views Egypt as a mediator in talks with Israel, and on Monday hundreds of supporters of the Hamas terrorist organization marched in protest.

Hamas Supporters Demonstrate Against Egypt

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 03 February 2015 11:45
Hamas terrorists parade rocketHundreds of Hamas supporters marched in Gaza on Monday to protest a ruling by an Egyptian court to declare the group’s “military wing” as a terrorist group, AFP reported.
 
Waving the green flag of the movement, which is the de facto power in the coastal enclave, the demonstrators chanted "Hamas is not terrorist" and "Hamas is our pride", the report said.
 
In a speech to the crowd, senior Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said that Saturday's ruling against the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades was "political" and meant to "conceal failure and the lack of security in Egypt at this time."
 
Saturday’s verdict followed a complaint from a lawyer accusing the Hamas armed wing of direct involvement in "terrorist operations" in the Sinai, which borders Gaza, a court official said.
 
The lawyer also accused the movement of using tunnels under the frontier between Egypt and Gaza to smuggle arms used in attacks against the police and army, the official added.
 
The Egyptian court’s decision to blacklist Hamas comes as no surprise. While the government of Islamist Mohammed Morsi was friendly with Hamas, the military-led government that ousted him has cracked down on the group, which it accuses of an attack on Egyptian police headquarters, and of planning church bombings in Sinai.
 
Most recently, Egypt accused Hamas of providing the weapons used by terrorists for two lethal attacks in El-Arish in October, in which dozens of soldiers were killed.
 
On Sunday, senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk said that the Egyptian ruling against the Al-Qassam Brigades “is a coup against the history, ethics of Egypt and its principles.”

Egyptian Court Overturns Hamas Ban

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 09:08
A PRC terrorist commanderEgypt's Emergency State Security Court on Monday overturned an earlier decision to list Hamas as a terrorist organization, the Ma’an news agency reported.
 
The court ruled that determining whether or not Hamas is a terror group does not fall under its jurisdiction.
 
The same court had decided in March 2014 to ban Hamas activities in Egypt and ordered the movement's assets to be seized.
 
At the time, Egyptian lawyer Samir Sabri filed a lawsuit against Hamas, saying it was behind attacks in the Sinai Peninsula and that Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal had planned them.
 
Hamas has denied any involvement in any attacks in Egypt, as has the Muslim Brotherhood, which was also blacklisted by Egypt as a terror group in 2014.
 
While the government of former Islamist president Mohammed Morsi was friendly with Hamas, the military-led government that ousted him has cracked down on the group, which it accuses of an attack on Egyptian police headquarters, and of planning church bombings in Sinai.
 
Most recently, Egypt accused Hamas of providing the weapons used by terrorists for two lethal attacks in El-Arish in October, in which dozens of soldiers were killed.
 
Egypt declared a state of emergency in the Sinai following that attack and began to create a buffer zone along the border with Gaza.
 
Most of the attacks in the restive Sinai Peninsula have been claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, a group that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS).

ISIS Hints it Wants to Depose Hamas and PA

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 25 January 2015 08:17
ISIS Islamists in Iraq fileThe Islamic State (ISIS) branch in "Bayt al-Maqdis," an Arabization of the Hebrew Holy Temple and a term for Jerusalem, has started distributing publications explaining ISIS's platform, in a campaign to expand its influence in Gaza, Judea and Samaria.
 
On the opening page of the publication by ISIS in "Palestine" is written "this is our position, this is our worldview, these are our founding principles. ...The liar will not be left with an excuse, and the supporters will not be left with doubt."
 
A large ISIS symbol is drawn on the center of the page, including the oath of allegiance to Islam that reads "there is no God but Allah." Along with it appears a ring of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, with three words on it: Allah, Prophet, Mohammed.
 
Jihad holy war in the path of Allah is a commandment for all to "liberate the Muslim lands," states the publication, emphasizing that there's an obligation to fight the police and army of "the rule of tyranny and heresy."
 
From the statement, it can be inferred that ISIS is calling for its followers to attack the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Judea and Samaria, and Hamas in Gaza, framing such a coup as a religious command.
 
The publication stresses that Jews and Christians will no longer enjoy "defense" among the Muslims as it claims was practiced in the past, calling for the non-Muslims to reach a new agreement with the Islamic State that aims for global domination.
 
Addressing the PA, the local ISIS branch added that any agreement reached with the "occupier" does not obligate Muslims, and is completely worthless.
 
The threats on the PA and Hamas come as Israeli security sources estimate hundreds of Hamas terrorists have been steadily switching over to ISIS, viewing Hamas as "too moderate" in comparison.
 
An ISIS terror cell was recently busted in Hevron too, in an area controlled by the PA.
 
ISIS already reportedly has a foothold in Gaza where it took an active part in last summer's terror war against Israel, and where it claimed a bombing attack on the French Cultural Center last October.

Hamas Blackmail: Pay for Rebuilding or Face Gaza Extremism

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 18 January 2015 08:23
Hamas Blackmailofficial with the Hamas Islamist terrorist organization warned on Wednesday that Gaza could "become" a breeding ground for extremism, unless the world forks over more funds to rebuild after Hamas's latest terror war against Israel.
 
"Our message to the world, which is scared of terrorism and extremism, is that the delay in rebuilding Gaza and the continuing blockade against it will make it a ripe environment for the spread of extremism and terrorism," Khalil al-Haya told a Gaza City meeting of Hamas MPs.
 
"We warn of the consequences," he said without elaborating, reports AFP.
 
The statement is ironic given that Hamas is an extremist terrorist organization, which called its unity partner Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas a "hypocrite" for attending an anti-terror rally in Paris this Sunday. Likewise a Hamas-linked publication last Friday lauded the three Islamist terrorists who conducted the attacks last week, murdering 17 people.
 
Hamas issued a perfunctory condemnation of the Paris attack on satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, but refused to condemn the hostage crisis at a kosher supermarket in which four Jews were murdered.
 
However, the Hamas statement may indicate that the organization is indeed worried about extremism and terror - just not it's own.
 
Israeli security officials have estimated that hundreds of Hamas terrorists are switching over to Islamic State (ISIS), viewing Hamas as too "moderate" evidently in terms of strictly instituting Sharia Islamic law.
 
That accusation of "moderation" comes despite the fact that Hamas's charter clearly calls for the genocidal slaughter of all Jews and the destruction of Israel.
 
Hamas's threat of terrorism if it doesn't receive funds comes on the background of pledges by world nations to give the Hamas-stronghold $5.4 billion - four months since the end of Operation Protective Edge that aid still has been slow in arriving.
 
Part of the reason for the delay is that Hamas has been limitations in transfer to Gaza due to the fact that Hamas has been using the reconstruction materials, including cement, to rebuild its massive array of terror tunnels meant to attack Israeli civilians.
 
In the operation over 30 such tunnels were destroyed by the IDF, but from the moment the operation ended Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been busily rebuilding.
 
Hamas has also breached the truce from last August that ended the operation several times, with a rocket attack last month leading Israel to conduct an airstrike on concrete factories used to rebuild the terror tunnels.

Egyptian Soldiers Shoot and Kill Gazan in Rafah

Category: News
Created on Monday, 05 January 2015 07:18
Egyptian soldiers in RafiahEgyptian soldiers firing from across the border shot dead a Palestinian Arab man in the Gaza frontier town of Rafah on Friday, medics said, although the motive was not immediately known.
 
The border troops shot the 23-year-old man "in the back and the bullet settled in the heart. He died on the spot," emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told the AFP news agency.
 
The shooting was confirmed by the spokesman of the interior ministry in Gaza, Iyad al-Bazm, in a message on his Facebook page.
 
"A Palestinian citizen, aged 23, was killed by Egyptian army fire on the Egyptian-Palestinian border and the security agencies are investigating the incident to find out the motives," the message said, according to AFP.
 
The man, whose identity was not revealed, is the first Palestinian "to have been killed in a long time"  along the border between Gaza and Egypt, according to Qudra.
 
While the motive remains unclear, Egypt is including Gaza in its crackdown on terrorism in the Sinai, which it claims Gaza’s Hamas rulers have been assisting.
 
On Tuesday, Egypt announced that work to double the width of a buffer zone  along the Gaza border would begin next week to prevent militants infiltrating from the Palestinian enclave.
 
The decision on the buffer zone was made following two deadly attacks in October in El-Arish, which killed dozens of soldiers and were claimed by Egypt’s deadliest terrorist group, Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis.
 
Egyptian sources have revealed that Hamas terrorists had provided the weapons for the lethal attacks in El-Arish through one of its smuggling tunnels under the border to Sinai, thus making the buffer zone necessary.
 
As part of the buffer zone plan, the Egyptian military is seizing and evacuating homes belonging to Gazans.
 
Egypt initially said it would wipe out all homes to a depth of 500 meters (over 1,640 feet) all along the 13 kilometer (over eight mile) border. Later it doubled that depth to 1 kilometer (0.62 miles).
 
The international community has been silent thus far about the buffer zone and the expulsions that have resulted from it. One exception is Amnesty International, which condemned Egypt's demolition of hundreds of homes and called for a halt to its "unlawful evictions" of residents.
 
After October’s attack, Egypt declared a three-month emergency in parts of North Sinai, a remote but strategic region bordering Israel and Gaza, and closed the Rafah border crossing for two months.
 
Egypt reopened the crossing for two days in November and again in December, for three days, to allow people stranded in Egypt to return to Gaza and for Gazans to leave.

Egypt Set to Begin Doubling Gaza Buffer Zone

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 01 January 2015 05:13
Egypt destroys Gaza home for buffer zoneEgypt said Tuesday that work will begin next week to double the width of a buffer zone being built along the border with Gaza to prevent terrorists infiltrating into Egypt from the region, AFP reported.
 
A 500-meter wide buffer zone is now being built along some 10 kilometers of the border, with some 800 homes being demolished in the process.
 
Work will begin next week to expand it by another 500 meters, North Sinai provincial Governor Abdel Fattah Harhur said.
 
Harhur told AFP he had met families from the area to be evacuated and told them they needed to inform authorities of the border city of Rafiah whether they want financial compensation or alternative housing.
 
The decision on the buffer zone was made following two deadly attacks in October in El-Arish, which killed dozens of soldiers and were claimed by Egypt’s deadliest terrorist group, Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis.
 
Egyptian sources have revealed that Hamas terrorists had provided the weapons for the lethal attacks in El-Arish through one of its smuggling tunnels under the border to Sinai, thus making the buffer zone necessary.
 
As part of the buffer zone plan, the Egyptian military is seizing and evacuating homes belonging to Gazans.
 
Egypt initially said it would wipe out all homes to a depth of 500 meters(over 1,640 feet) all along the 13 kilometer (over eight mile) border. Later it doubled that depth to 1 kilometer (0.62 miles).
 
The international community has been silent thus far about the buffer zone and the expulsions that have resulted from it. One exception is Amnesty International, which condemned Egypt's demolition of hundreds of homes and called for a halt to its "unlawful evictions" of residents.

Hamas Shows Off Army 'Ready to Conquer Jerusalem'

Category: Media
Created on Sunday, 28 December 2014 07:07
Hamas Ready to Conquer JerusalemThe propaganda unit of Hamas's "military wing", the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, kicked into overdrive recently with a new film, which attempted to portray the terrorist organization's Gazan fighting force as a modern Islamic army, exhibiting advanced weaponry training for a wide range of scenarios - and with its sights on Jerusalem.
 
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In the video a large unit of terrorists are shown with all the equipment of a modern army, from combat vests to advanced assault rifles. Several are seen bearing a flag reading "the army of Al-Quds (Jerusalem)."
 
The Hamas "army" is seen conducting an array of operations modeled on attacks launched against Israel from Gaza - including several attacks in recent weeks that the terror group has denied responsibility for.
 
It appears to be an attempt to showcase a recently-announced "popular army", which the Islamist terror group said it formed following Operation Protective Edge to "liberate Palestine".
 
In one scene, the terrorists are seen raiding a model IDF post and kidnapping an Israeli soldier. In another, a sniper is seen shooting an IDF soldier; just last Wednesday an IDF soldier was critically wounded by sniper fire during repairs on the security barrier, although Hamas denied it was behind the attack from territory it controls. Tellingly, however, the head of Hamas's reconnaissance unit was killed by IDF return fire during the incident.
 
Rockets, including the domestically produced M75, are seen being fired on numerous occasions throughout the propaganda film, after just two weeks ago a rocket was fired on Israel from Gaza in a breach of the truce, marking at least the third such case of rocket fire since Operation Protective Edge.
 
In response to the latest rocket attack, the IAF struck Gaza concrete factories used to rebuild the terror tunnels leading into Israel and built to attack Israeli civilians. Over 30 such tunnels were destroyed in the operation, but since it ended Hamas has been busily rebuilding them.
 
Indeed, the propaganda film shows Hamas terrorists in terror tunnels, preparing for new attacks. Likewise naval commandos sporting diver equipment are shown firing from boats, before hopping off into the water and continuing to fire with assault rifles made for maritime usage.
 
Aside from attempts to model itself as a modern, conventional army of sorts, the video is equally a clear attempt to emphasize the group's jihadi credentials, at a time when other actors - from Islamic Jihad to Al Qaeda and most recently ISIS - have in many ways stolen its thunder.
 
The opening scene includes a commander riding a horse, a common prop utilized by jihadi groups to hark back to the early Islamic armies; equally the white flag of jihad its terrorists are waving - though not identical - bears a resemblance to the classic jihadi flag adapted by groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS.
 
At the end of the film, the Hamas army is seen crossing a security barrier and approaching Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock glittering on top of the Temple Mount, clearly advertising the terror group's aspirations of creating a Palestinian state on the ruins of Israel.
 
Propaganda aside, the much-vaunted "commandos" of Hamas did not fair quite as well during the recent summer war with Israel. Numerous attempts to infiltrate via sea - comprised of terrorists most likely from the same "naval unit" as the one shown in the video - failed miserably, with the terrorists cut down by IDF fire almost immediately upon landing ashore.
 
Indeed much of the propaganda surrounding Hamas's "new" army is unlikely to be much more than that - an attempt to rebuild its image after a largely futile war with Israel which saw it, and the territory it controls, ravaged by fighting with little to show for it.
 
But Israeli intelligence officials will be studying such videos carefully, and those politicians and military leaders who pushed for a more decisive victory during Operation Protective Edge will likely view such a show of force as vindication of their position.

Qatar Cuts Hamas Funding for Egypt Alliance

Category: Reports
Created on Saturday, 27 December 2014 15:23
qatar-abbas-hamasReports in a Kuwaiti paper Friday morning indicate that Qatar has temporarily cut its funding for the Gaza-based Muslim Brotherhood-offshoot Hamas terrorist organization, in an attempt to cull favor with Egypt and lead to rapprochement between the two rival nations.
 
The report in Al Jarida cited a senior Egyptian source saying that Qatar has informed Hamas leaders that it will temporarily stop its support of the group to press it to make several concessions that will aid ties with Egypt, which has been cracking down on Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Those concessions include a cessation of Hamas's antagonistic policy towards Egypt, incitement against Egypt, and an end to transferring weapons to Islamic terrorist organizations in the Sinai Peninsula.
 
In return, Hamas asked that Qatar serve as an intermediary between it and Egypt so as to reduce the tensions between the two, according to the Egyptian source; the reports have yet to be officially confirmed.
 
Hamas reportedly supplied the weapons used in lethal attacks on Egyptian soldiers in Sinai last October, which led Egypt to expel Gazans in establishing a wide buffer zone on the Gaza border with Sinai that has severely impacted Gaza.
 
Meanwhile Qatar has been taking active steps to solidify improved relations with Egypt, after years of tension due to Qatar's support of Muslim Brotherhood.
 
As part of those steps of rapprochement, Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera news network on Monday shut down its Egypt channel, easing a source of tension as Egypt has accused the news source of being a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Just two days earlier, a Qatari envoy met with Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the first such meeting since he was elected in June.
 
Al-Sisi’s office said Egypt hoped the meeting, which was attended by a Saudi royal envoy, was the beginning of a "new era" that puts the past disagreements between the two countries behind.
 
"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has expressed its welcome regarding ongoing steps that will strengthen relations between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Qatar, including the visit made by Special Envoy of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdelrahman Al Thani to Egypt," read a Saudi Royal Court statement after the meeting.
 
"Saudi Arabia stressed its support and keenness on opening a new page between the two countries for enhancing integration and cooperation between the two countries to achieve higher interests of the Arab and Islamic nations, hoping of all honorable scientists, intellectuals, writers and men of the media outlets responding and supporting this step," it added.

Gaza Deploying Security Forces Along Border Following Gunfire

Category: News
Created on Friday, 26 December 2014 17:11
the border fence with GazaReuteThe Ministry of the Interior in Gaza is deploying security forces on the border with Israel and intensifying its presence in the area in order to prevent Palestinian Arabs from crossing into Israel from Gaza without documents, the Ma’an news agency reported on Wednesday.
 
The announcement came hours after a gunfight erupted on the border with Israeli soldiers, leaving one soldier critically wounded.
 
Ministry spokesman Iyad al-Buzm did not directly mention the incident, noted Ma’an, instead stressing that the deployment was about preventing Gazans from crossing into Israel.
 
"There are a few cases where young people try to sneak into the '48 lands (Israel -ed.), but Palestinian security forces have arrested some this year and Israeli forces arrested those who successfully entered," al-Buzm said.
 
"We are looking carefully at the issue in order to stop the Israeli side from recruiting collaborators," he added, according to Ma’an.
 
Al-Buzm said that Gaza security forces had been working on the issue for the last two months.
 
Al-Buzm called on the unity government to fully carry out its duties in Gaza, adding that the security situation in Gaza is stable despite the difficult circumstances, including a lack of salaries and contact with the unity government's ministry of the interior.
 
Wednesday’s incident came after Gaza terrorists fired a rocket at Israel last Friday in a breach of the truce with Israel, in at least the third such rocket attack since the ceasefire that ended Operation Protective Edge in August.
 
In response to the rocket attack, the IAF struck Gaza concrete factories used to rebuild the terror tunnels leading into Israel and built to attack Israeli civilians. Over 30 such tunnels were destroyed in the operation, but since it ended Hamas has been busily rebuilding them.
 
After Wednesday’s incident, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that Israel is not interested in an escalation in Gaza but will respond to any acts of aggression from terrorists in the region.
 
"We are not interested in an escalation or harming the rehabilitation operations in Gaza, but Hamas must not test our patience in the face of attempts to disrupt our lives,"  Ya’alon said.
 
"We consider Hamas responsible for what is happening in Gaza. We will not allow a routine of firing and we will also respond with determination and strength in any similar case," he added.
 
Hamas has denied that the sniper who carried out Wednesday morning's attack against IDF soldiers was one of its members.
 
The group previously said that it was committed to the ceasefire reached with Israel at the end of Operation Protective Edge, accusing Israel of violating the ceasefire.

Senior Hamas Official Accused of Sexual Harassment

Category: Reports
Created on Tuesday, 09 December 2014 04:06
Sami Abu Zuhri0Sami Abu Zuhri, one of the most high-profile spokesmen for Hamas, is apparently being investigated by the Islamist terrorist group for sexually harassing a foreign female reporter.
 
According to several Fatah-linked websites, the unnamed foreign reporter approached Fouzi Barhoum - another Hamas spokesman - and complained that Abu Zuhri had sexually harassed her.
 
According to sources inside Gaza, Barhoum then relayed the accusations to his superiors, who temporarily suspended Abu Zuhri pending an internal investigation.
 
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The report has not been confirmed by Hamas or by any independent sources, so it is difficult to ascertain its veracity, or whether it is simply an attempt by Fatah activists to discredit one of their Islamist rival's most visible figureheads. However, it is notable that the once-prolific Abu Zuhri has all but disappeared from the limelight in recent weeks.
 
During the summer's 50-day conflict between Israel and terrorists in Gaza, Abu Zuhri became a familiar face, relaying Hamas's official line to Arab and international media outlets.
 
In one particularly infamous instance he was recorded encouraging Palestinian civilians in Gaza to act as human shields - a blatant violation of international humanitarian law which was cited as yet more evidence by pro-Israel groups of Hamas's policy of using human shields to deter Israeli strikes or otherwise inflate the civilian death toll.

Egypt Doubles Size of Gaza Buffer Zone

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 23 November 2014 05:05
Hamas fighters hold picture of Mohammed MorsiEgypt will double to one kilometer (0.62 mile) the depth of a buffer zone it is clearing on its border with Gaza, Reuters reported on Monday.
 
"A decision was taken to increase the buffer zone along the border in Rafah to one kilometer. The decision...came after the discovery of underground tunnels with a total length of 800 to 1,000 meters," the state MENA news agency said.
 
The decision on the buffer zone was made following two deadly attacks in El-Arish, which killed dozens of soldiers and were claimed by Egypt’s deadliest terrorist group, Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis.
 
As part of the buffer zone plan, the Egyptian military is seizing and evacuating homes belonging to Gazans.
 
Residents of Sinai, who complain they have long been neglected by the state, say they rely on smuggling trade through the tunnels for their living and the creation of the buffer zone has stoked resentment. Egyptian authorities see them as a threat and regularly destroy them.
 
Egyptian sources have revealed that Hamas terrorists had provided the weapons for the lethal attacks in El-Arish through one of its smuggling tunnels under the border to Sinai.
 
In the recent Operation Protective Edge, the IDF was faced with lethal attack tunnels from under mosques, but nevertheless was hit by massive international criticism for its defensive operation - a criticism that has been completely absent regarding Egypt's "buffer zone" plan.
 
Egypt has been cracking down on Hamas, in recent months banning the Muslim Brotherhood offshoot and implementing a siege on Gaza.
 
While Egypt has deployed troops to the Sinai to fight the rampant jihadist terrorism in the region in coordination with Israel, concerns remain that the Egyptian disarmament of the peninsula as part of its peace agreement with Israel may be in danger of collapsing altogether, posing a potential military threat to Israel.

Gaza Schoolchildren Traumatized by Sounds of Hamas Torture

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 27 September 2014 08:50
Hamas terrorist leads condemned man to his execution - ReutersChildren at a school in southern Gaza are reportedly being terrorized by the sounds of Hamas detainees being tortured at an adjacent police compound.
 
Arabic-language Al Hayat Al-Jadida says parents of children attending the school in central Khan Younis have complained to authorities on numerous occasions about the phenomenon, which includes the chilling sounds of "shrieks and cries of pain", and has left students shaken. The sounds of torture apparently emanate from a building belonging to the Department of General Intelligence, which is tasked among other things with detaining and interrogating suspected "collaborators" or informants for Israel.
 
One ninth-grade student, identified only as "Y", testified how on her first day in the school she was shocked when her class was interrupted by bloodcurdling screams. She said she was left traumatized by the incident and feels "unsafe" at the presence of the compound near her school.
 
"Y" complained that the police were meant to make Gazans feel safe "not to provoke fear and terror."
 
Hamas authorities in Gaza have been widely accused of torturing detainees, as well as carrying out executions without due process.
 
The Islamist movements brutal repression of its own people - particularly political rivals from the secular-nationalist Fatah party - was highlighted during its 50-day war with Israel, when dozens of people were summarily executed in public after being accused of "collaboration" with Israel.
 
Human rights groups condemned the executions, as did Palestinian Authority officials, who claimed that the condemned men were not in fact "collaborators" but were shot in an opportunistic purge by Hamas of its rivals.
 
One leading Fatah party official went so far as to compare Hamas with the Islamic State (also known as IS or ISIS) - a comparison made repeatedly by Israeli officials including Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Mashaal: Disarmament Isn't Open for Negotiations

Category: News
Created on Friday, 26 September 2014 12:31
Khaled MashaalHamas leader Khaled Mashaal on Sunday asserted that the group’s weapons are for use only against Israel, Bloomberg reported.
 
Speaking at a conference in Doha, Qatar, Mashaal ruled out Israeli demands for disarmament in Gaza.
 
“The subject of the resistance’s weapons isn’t open for negotiations,” Mashaal said, adding, “Those weapons are for fighting the occupying enemy. They are not for internal affairs.”
 
Talks between Israel and Palestinian Arab factions, which started after 50 days of deadly fighting between in Gaza ended on August 26 with an open-ended truce agreement, are scheduled to restart this week.
 
The Egyptian-brokered negotiations are aimed at discussing key issues, including Hamas's unprecedented demand for a port and an airport and for terrorist releases, as well as Israel's demands for the area's demilitarization.
 
Hamas has repeatedly declared that it would reject any attempts to disarm the terrorist groups in Gaza.
 
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri recently said that the demilitarization of the factions was "inconsistent with international law and our people will not allow it."
 
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, on the other side, has clarified that there is “no chance” Israel would agree to Hamas’s airport and seaport demand.
 
"Hamas in essence accepted the terms of the ceasefire as we wanted, without all the issues it tried to bring up - a seaport, airport and prisoners. In accepted a ceasefire as we wanted without conditions," Ya’alon said in a television interview, making clear that "there is no chance that Hamas will receive a seaport - it is not in Israel's interest, it is not an Egyptian interest, it's not even in the interest of the Palestinian Authority."
 
In Sunday’s comments, Mashaal also declared that Hamas is committed to its unity agreement with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, saying talks with Fatah will take place in the next few days, as was reported on Saturday

'Thousands' Sneaked Out of Gaza During Operation Protective Edge

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 25 September 2014 22:11
Egyptian soldier guards Rafiah crossingA human smuggling ship reportedly was intentionally capsized by traffickers last week off the coast of Malta, killing all but four of the 100 Gaza residents on board who were part of "thousands" of Gazans fleeing the Hamas stronghold in recent months.
 
Osama, who lives in the United Arab Emirates and whose 23-year-old brother Yasser was on the ship, revealed to AFP details about Gaza's human trafficking network, which Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction exposed as being run by Hamas.
 
Yasser boarded the Italy-bound ship with 500 other passengers at Damietta in Egypt last week, after struggling to find work in Gaza following his graduation from a local Gazan university last year.
 
"There is no future for them in Gaza," Osama told AFP. "I tried to bring him to the Emirates but after seeing several of his friends reach Europe by boat, he decided to leave too." Osama said he still doesn't know if Yasser was among the ten total survivors of the shipwreck.
 
While Osama said Yasser crossed the Rafah crossing and paid "local Egyptians" $3,000 to fix passage to Europe, he added "you never know who you're giving the money too."
 
As noted, Fatah revealed this week that Hamas is running a human smuggling network, charging between $2,000 and $3,500 per person to traffic Gazans to Europe via Egypt.
 
"Thousands" have left Gaza in the last two months
 
Despite the recent Egyptian siege and Israeli blockade on the Hamas-enclave of Gaza, reportedly thousands of residents of the coastal strip of land have illegally made their way out in recent months through Hamas's smuggling tunnels to Sinai.
 
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that some 2,890 self-defined "Palestinians" have arrived in Italy this year. Some doubt has been cast on that figure, as some migrants claim to be "Palestinians" to avoid repatriation to countries with extradition agreements with the European Union (EU).
 
However, a Gaza-based human rights worker confirmed the appraisal, revealing to AFP "we estimate that thousands of people have left the Gaza Strip clandestinely over the past two months, especially during the war," referring to Operation Protective Edge.
 
"Due to the fact they left through tunnels to Egypt - an illegal, secret way to leave - we have no precise figure," added the worker, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
 
Hamas has remained markedly tight-lipped about the entire issue of residents fleeing their territory, where they are often used as human shields directly on top of targeted buildings, or indirectly due to Hamas embedding its terrorist infrastructure in civilian centers.
 
Hamas official Iyad al-Buzum claimed to AFP there are only "isolated cases (of emigration), which do not reach into the hundreds."
 
However, Raji Sourani, director of the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights, said if the numbers are indeed limited, it is merely because Hamas is not allowing residents to leave freely.
 
"If Gazans had the right to free movement, tens of thousands of young people would leave the country because all their opportunities are blocked here," said Sourani, incorrectly referring to Gaza as a "country."
 
The appraisal by the Gaza human rights director surprisingly dovetails nicely with the strategy proposed by MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud), who during the operation called on Israel to provide a financial stimulus for Arab residents to leave Gaza, allowing the Jewish state to declare sovereignty over the region.

Palestinian, Egyptian Commentators Argue about Gaza War

Category: Media
Created on Thursday, 25 September 2014 17:10
Israeli airstrike in GazaThe Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has translated a recent TV debate between Dr. Muhammad Al-Shtayyeh, a Fatah leader in Cairo, and Ashraf Abu Al-Houl, deputy editor-in-chief of the Egyptian Al-Ahram newspaper.
 
The two argued over the achievements that Hamas had claimed following the Gaza war.
 
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The debate was broadcast on the Egyptian ON TV channel on August 28. While Shtayyeh said that “the victory can be attributed to the Palestinian people”, Al-Houl blasted Hamas and said the group gave justification for Israel to attack by kidnapping and murdering Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Sha’ar.
 
Al-Houl also said that Hamas had humiliated Egypt by refusing its ceasefire proposal and asking for another country to mediate in the ceasefire talks.

Gaza Imam: Weapons Are Our Only Means to Establish the Caliphate

Category: Islam
Created on Sunday, 21 September 2014 15:23
Weapons Are Our Only Means to Establish the CaliphateThe Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has released a video of an imam in Gaza who was filmed during a Friday sermon while brandishing a gun and saying that weapons were the Palestinian Arabs' only means to establish a caliphate.
 
MEMRI noted that the cleric, Sheik Iyad Abu Funun, was released to the Palestinian Authority-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria as part of the Shalit prisoner swap deal in 2011. He was arrested again, and was sentenced to complete his 10-year term in prison.
 
In July 2013, after threatening to go on a hunger strike, he was released and deported to Gaza.
 
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“The (Israelis) came to conquer the Gaza Strip. Did they succeed in doing so? No, they did not. They came to take these weapons from us,” Abu Funun said.
 
He then picked up his weapon and declared, “Do I still hold this weapon, or not? They came to take these weapons from us. Did they succeed?”
 
“They came to take our guns, but the guns remain in our hands...This war has proven that these weapons are our only means to liberate our land. These weapons are our only means to liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque. These weapons are our only means to establish the Islamic State,” said Abu Funun.
 
The video is just the latest example of incitement against Israel, both by Hamas as well as by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction.
 
Such incitement ranges from the glorification of Nazism and the lionization of Adolf Hitler, to programs on official PA television featuring heavily-stereotyped Jews as villains (and encouraging violence against them), and various TV and radio shows which literally wipe the Jewish state off the map.

Fatah Official: What's the Difference Between Hamas and ISIS?

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 20 September 2014 10:05
Member of IsisA leading Fatah party member has compared Hamas's methods of executing and brutalizing its political opponents in Gaza to the gruesome executions carried out by the "Islamic State" terrorist group, or ISIS.
 
In an interview with the Palestinian Authority's official TV station, Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Tirawi expressed his anger over a string of executions and shootings of Fatah members in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, and said the "unity deal" between Hamas and the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority was "a mistake."
 
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Prior to his interview, which was translated by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), Al-Awda TV aired footage from an interview with a Fatah member from Gaza who said he was maimed by Hamas gunmen for leaving his home after being put under house arrest.
 
"I was told that I was under house arrest - I was forbidden to leave home - for reasons unknown to me," the man, who was lying on a hospital bed with his wounded legs under a sheet. His identity was hidden for obvious security reasons.
 
He said that despite that fact he went outside "but stayed close to home. I didn't go far away."
 
"All of a sudden, a car with three men stopped. They got out and told us to stay where we were," he recalled. "They asked me my name, and I told them, and then all three of them opened fire at me."
 
His story matches dozens of other accounts by Fatah members who say Hamas used the fog of war to settle political scores with its rivals.
 
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has spoken out against the attacks on several occasions, most recently in an interview last week. But Tirawi was distinctly less diplomatic.
 
"I do not believe that we can keep quiet about what was done to our people in Gaza," he said, blasting Hamas for what he later described as the "nightmarish" way it was treating members of its supposed "unity government" partner, Fatah.
 
"National unity is not just an agreement that you sign," he fired.
 
"That agreement was a mistake, a mistake, a mistake. It was dictated from above. A bulls*** agreement with no details and no mechanism for implementation," such as who would actually run Gaza and its numerous "security agencies".
 
Tirawi also accused Hamas of undermining efforts to fight against Israel.
 
"If we want to wage war we must be united and prepared. How can we possibly be prepared, when Fatah members in (Gaza) are forbidden to bear arms and fight?"
 
He claimed that several of the more than two dozen men summarily executed by Hamas during Operation Protective Edge were "officers in the security agencies."
 
"Hamas says they are spies. Did they place them on trial? Did they interrogate them? Where are the confessions?" he demanded.
 
"According to what laws did they execute these people? What is the difference between (Hamas) and Al-Zarqawi, not to mention ISIS?" he continued. Abu Mousab Al-Zarqawi was the infamous and brutal founder and head of ISIS's predecessor, the Islamic State of Iraq.
 
"I don't want to mention ISIS, which beheads people," he went on, but then asked: "What is the difference between beheading people and executing them by gunfire? Aren't they both killers, regardless of the execution method, which we all denounce?"
 
Hamas proudly and openly broadcast news of the executions, including photos of menacing-looking masked gunmen lining up the victims for execution, in an attempt to project strength in the aftermath of a series of Israeli airstrikes targeting key Hamas leaders.
 
But the images - as well as the very use of summary, public executions without trial - caused many people to compare Hamas to the Islamic State, which broadcast footage of the brutal beheading of US journalist James Foley at around the same time.
 
The comments surface after tensions between Hamas and the PA have begun to boil over, with Hamas ordering its members in Judea and Samaria to resist summonses for investigation by PA forces earlier this month; recently Hamas staged a failed coup attempt on Abbas in Judea and Samaria.

Fatah Official: What's the Difference Between Hamas and ISIS?

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 20 September 2014 10:05
Member of IsisA leading Fatah party member has compared Hamas's methods of executing and brutalizing its political opponents in Gaza to the gruesome executions carried out by the "Islamic State" terrorist group, or ISIS.
 
In an interview with the Palestinian Authority's official TV station, Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Tirawi expressed his anger over a string of executions and shootings of Fatah members in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, and said the "unity deal" between Hamas and the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority was "a mistake."
 
{youtube}ATu_xquX0HM{/youtube}
 
Prior to his interview, which was translated by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), Al-Awda TV aired footage from an interview with a Fatah member from Gaza who said he was maimed by Hamas gunmen for leaving his home after being put under house arrest.
 
"I was told that I was under house arrest - I was forbidden to leave home - for reasons unknown to me," the man, who was lying on a hospital bed with his wounded legs under a sheet. His identity was hidden for obvious security reasons.
 
He said that despite that fact he went outside "but stayed close to home. I didn't go far away."
 
"All of a sudden, a car with three men stopped. They got out and told us to stay where we were," he recalled. "They asked me my name, and I told them, and then all three of them opened fire at me."
 
His story matches dozens of other accounts by Fatah members who say Hamas used the fog of war to settle political scores with its rivals.
 
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has spoken out against the attacks on several occasions, most recently in an interview last week. But Tirawi was distinctly less diplomatic.
 
"I do not believe that we can keep quiet about what was done to our people in Gaza," he said, blasting Hamas for what he later described as the "nightmarish" way it was treating members of its supposed "unity government" partner, Fatah.
 
"National unity is not just an agreement that you sign," he fired.
 
"That agreement was a mistake, a mistake, a mistake. It was dictated from above. A bulls*** agreement with no details and no mechanism for implementation," such as who would actually run Gaza and its numerous "security agencies".
 
Tirawi also accused Hamas of undermining efforts to fight against Israel.
 
"If we want to wage war we must be united and prepared. How can we possibly be prepared, when Fatah members in (Gaza) are forbidden to bear arms and fight?"
 
He claimed that several of the more than two dozen men summarily executed by Hamas during Operation Protective Edge were "officers in the security agencies."
 
"Hamas says they are spies. Did they place them on trial? Did they interrogate them? Where are the confessions?" he demanded.
 
"According to what laws did they execute these people? What is the difference between (Hamas) and Al-Zarqawi, not to mention ISIS?" he continued. Abu Mousab Al-Zarqawi was the infamous and brutal founder and head of ISIS's predecessor, the Islamic State of Iraq.
 
"I don't want to mention ISIS, which beheads people," he went on, but then asked: "What is the difference between beheading people and executing them by gunfire? Aren't they both killers, regardless of the execution method, which we all denounce?"
 
Hamas proudly and openly broadcast news of the executions, including photos of menacing-looking masked gunmen lining up the victims for execution, in an attempt to project strength in the aftermath of a series of Israeli airstrikes targeting key Hamas leaders.
 
But the images - as well as the very use of summary, public executions without trial - caused many people to compare Hamas to the Islamic State, which broadcast footage of the brutal beheading of US journalist James Foley at around the same time.
 
The comments surface after tensions between Hamas and the PA have begun to boil over, with Hamas ordering its members in Judea and Samaria to resist summonses for investigation by PA forces earlier this month; recently Hamas staged a failed coup attempt on Abbas in Judea and Samaria.

Hamas: Attempts to Disarm Us Are 'Worthless'

Category: News
Created on Monday, 01 September 2014 11:35
Sami Abu Zuhri0Hamas on Saturday declared that any attempts to disarm the terrorist groups in Gaza are "worthless," the Ma’an news agency reported.
 
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement quoted by the outlet that the demilitarization of the factions was "inconsistent with international law and our people will not allow it."
 
"It is not required to disarm the Palestinian people, but rather to disarm the (Israeli) occupation and to ban the American administration from providing it with the weapons that are used to kill children and women," Abu Zuhri declared, according to Ma’an.
 
The comments come several days after a long-term ceasefire agreement ended the latest round of violence in Gaza.
 
Further negotiations on a permanent ceasefire are ongoing, and one of Israel’s main demands has been a demilitarization of Gaza.
 
Hamas has been demanding, among other things, that a seaport and an airport be built in Gaza. On Friday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon clarified that there was “no chance” Israel would agree to this demand.
 
"Hamas in essence accepted the terms of the ceasefire as we wanted, without all the issues it tried to bring up - a seaport, airport and prisoners. In accepted a ceasefire as we wanted without conditions," Ya’alon said in a television interview, making clear that "there is no chance that Hamas will receive a seaport - it is not in Israel's interest, it is not an Egyptian interest, it's not even in the interest of the Palestinian Authority."
 
Hamas leaders have been trying to present the ceasefire as a victory for Hamas, even as videos disseminated on the internet show aerial views of the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza, which was reduced to rubble in the fighting between Hamas and the IDF.
 
Shortly after the truce took hold on Tuesday, several senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders appeared in public for a victory celebration. They had been hiding underground during the course of the Israeli operation.
 
Among them was Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior member of the Hamas political wing, and senior Islamic Jihad leader Mohammed al-Hindi who gave a rousing victory speech to thousands of people gathered in a square in Gaza City's Rimal neighborhood.
 
"We're going to build our port and our airport, and if they attack the port, they attack the port. But anyone who attacks the airport will have their airport attacked again," Zahar said.

New York Times Misleads over 'Righteous Gentile' Gaza Anger

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 24 August 2014 10:38
Operation Protective EdgeA front-page story in Friday's New York Times reported that an Israeli-honored Righteous Gentile had returned his award because of an Israeli airstrike that "flattened a house in the Gaza Strip, killing six of [his] relatives by marriage."
 
The Times quoted a surviving relative saying that "none of his family members were militants." The tone of the report was that though Israel "says" it takes precautions to avoid killing civilians, "it has offered no information on [justification for the] strike that killed six civilians."
 
However, research by blogger Elder of Ziyon suggests that the newspaper could have, it if wished to, found out that in fact, one of the people killed in the attack was a full-fledged Hamas terrorist – a valid military target by all accounts.
 
In its review of the July 20th strike, B'tselem reported that one of the victims  - Muhammad Mahmoud al-Maqadma, 30 - was none other than a “military branch operative.” In fact, he was a member of the Al Qassam Brigades of Hamas.
 
Various explanations for his presence could be presented: The house could have been built atop a weapons cache, bunker, or other military target… He could have been using the family as human shields… The family might have been protecting him of their own volition…
 
The point is, however, as Elder of Ziyon concludes, "this information [as to the presence of a terrorist] is available. The New York Times first discussed the bombing of that same house on August 4, and by then the identity of the “guest” was known to NGOs… The same research that people can do on the Internet is available – along with much more  - to the staffs of major media outlets like the NYTimes… The information that contradicts [the claim that there were no military targets in the house] is out there - if they would bother to look for it. They don’t."

Amended Ceasefire Proposal Includes Terrorist Releases

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 23 August 2014 17:12
Mahmoud Abbas0The amendments to the Egyptian 11-point truce proposal submitted by the Palestinian Arab delegation in Cairo was revealed on Monday morning, hours ahead of the end of the current ceasefire at midnight.
 
The response to the Egyptian proposal submitted by the delegation, which includes Hamas, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Islamic Jihad, was published in the Palestinian Arab Sawa news agency and revealed by Walla!.
 
Comparing the document with the original 11-point proposal, the first clause calling for an immediate cessation of IDF action and strikes in Gaza remains untouched.
 
The second clause promising an end to attacks from Gaza on Israel remains as well - although the promise to stop the construction of terror tunnels is notably absent.
 
The third clause goes beyond the Egyptian proposal of Gaza Crossings being opened and specifically says "the blockade on Gaza will end." It also specifically calls for open trade between PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria with Gaza to include building materials, despite the use of cement to build terror tunnels.
 
It is worth noting that Hamas has clarified that any truce deal would be seen only as an opportunity to plan the next terror war on Israel.
 
The fourth clause adds to the call to have Israel coordinate with the PA about matters of finances and reconstruction of Gaza with matters of "the transfer of funds to different echelons," apparently in a return to the controversial proposal to have Israel pay the salaries of Hamas officials.
 
The fifth clause's call to eliminate the buffer zone on the Gaza side of the border is still present, but it no longer specifies that PA security forces will be deployed to secure the area starting January 1, 2015 as the Egyptian proposal stated. The buffer zone was meant to prevent terrorist infiltration into Israel.
 
The sixth clause still calls to expand the Gaza fishing zone to 12 nautical miles. Israel on Sunday lifted the ban of Gaza fishing to three nautical miles in a "goodwill" gesture, although the maximum zone in times of calm has been six nautical miles.
 
No notable change is discernible in the seventh clause, calling for Israel to assist in rebuilding Gaza's infrastructure and providing medical assistance.
 
Instead of calling for the PA, Israel and international organizations to provide basic products to rehabilitate Gaza and return displaced persons, the eighth clause now calls for the entry of building materials to Gaza to be eased according to a temporary defined schedule, still so as to return displaced persons. The change appears to remove some oversight in the process.
 
The ninth clause still has Egypt providing humanitarian aid and transferring funds to rebuild Gaza in a defined schedule, apparently referring to internationally donated funds gathered by Egypt and Norway.
 
The amendments drop the bombshell in an additional clause before the former tenth clause.
 
In the new tenth clause, the delegation calls for a "cancellation of the regulations that Israel fixed in the West Bank after June 12, 2014 (when the three Israeli teens were abducted and murdered), (including) the release of prisoners (arrested in Operation Brother's Keeper), particularly (Hamas) members of the (PA) parliament, and the release of the fourth batch of prisoners."
 
The last piece is a reference to the terrorist prisoner release "gestures" during the Israel-PA peace talks, which broke down in April before the last batch of terrorists was released, but after 78 terrorists had already gone free.
 
Clause eleven corresponds to the old tenth clause, saying talks will be completed in Cairo a month after the truce deal.
 
However, an important caveat was slipped into the clause, saying "afterwards the process of exchanging the prisoners and returning the two bodies (of Second Lt.Hadar Goldin and First Sgt. Oron Shaul hy''d) will be completed between the sides."
 
While AFP noted on Sunday that the return of the two bodies was being pushed off for the talks a month after the truce deal, it did not specify that the return of the bodies for a proper burial was being used as a trump card in pressing Israel to free terrorists.
 
The twelfth clause remains as the previous eleventh clause, saying discussions over establishing a sea and airport in Gaza will be held in the talks a month after a truce.
 
A final thirteenth clause is added in, saying "Egypt calls on both sides to uphold the understandings from 12:01 a.m. of August 14, 2014," a reference to the previous ceasefire extension in calling to maintain the lull in fighting.

Hamas Threatens Terror in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 23 August 2014 10:57
Gaza Hamas terroristsThe Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza on Sunday called for an escalation of terror attacks on Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria as an "expression of support" for the war on Israel being waged from Gaza.
 
Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum told the Palestinian Arab Safa news agency that such terror attacks serve to wear down the "occupation" and press Israel to end the "aggression" in Gaza, by forcing it to open the blockade and submit to Hamas's demands.
 
According to the Hamas representative, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's "insistence" not to accept Hamas's demands, which include a sea and airport in Gaza, are "an additional new act of foolishness and gambling that will bring more disasters on him and the Israelis, beyond the decision for aggression and a ground war against Gaza."
 
While Netanyahu last Tuesday reportedly was "softening" ministers up to Israeli concessions in truce talks with Hamas in Cairo, on Sunday he vowed not to give Hamas a "political achievement."
 
However, the Egyptian truce proposal, which Hamas has apparently rejected, reportedly would have Israel ease the blockade on Gaza and allow construction materials in despite the use of cement to build terror tunnels. It further would cancel the perimeter no-entry zone on the Gaza side of the border, meant to deter terrorist infiltration, and have Israel help rebuild Gaza.
 
Larger issues such as the disarmament of Gaza and the Hamas demand for a sea and airport would be postponed to talks held within a month after the truce takes effect.
 
Barhoum's call for terror in Jerusalem and the region comes two weeks after he praised an Arab terrorist in Jerusalem who killed an Israeli and wounded four others in Jerusalem with a tractor.
 
"The action in Jerusalem was very brave, a natural response to the occupation," said Barhoum. "We call on those living in the West Bank and Jerusalem to continue fighting, no one needs to command them what to do."
 
The call also mirrors recent statements by Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, which has vowed a return to terror against Israel in Judea and Samaria, as well as Gaza.

Hamas Admits Harassing, Deporting Journalists Who Filmed Rockets

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 17 August 2014 08:57
Hamas Harassing Deporting JournalistsIn a remarkably candid interview on Lebanese TV, the head of foreign relations at Hamas's Information Ministry in Gaza explained how harassment, interrogations and deportations were used to ensure that journalists reporting from Gaza during Operation Protective Edge stuck to Hamas's official line and did not report "the Israeli narrative".
 
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Speaking to Mayadeen TV, Isra al-Mudallal decried how some foreign reporters had reported on Hamas rocket fire against Israeli civilians, and claimed that their interest was due to the fact that "the journalists who entered Gaza were fixated on the notion of peace, and on the Israeli narrative."
 
The interview was translated by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute.
 
Foreign journalists have regularly complained of being harassed by Hamas authorities in Gaza, directly leading to biased coverage in favor of Islamist terrorists and against Israel. 
 
Allegations of intimidation, beatings, imprisonment and deportations of journalists who dared to question Hamas's official line culminated in a strong protest by the Foreign Press Association earlier this week.

Saudi FM Slams Israel, Pledges $500 Million to Gaza

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 16 August 2014 17:56
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-FaisalOn the heels of reports that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) promised funds to Hamas in order to procure the current 72-hour ceasefire, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal openly pledged $500 million to "rebuild" Gaza.
 
Speaking at an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Jeddah on Tuesday, al-Faisal accused Israel of trying "to wipe off Palestinian existence," and blamed the world for supporting "Israel's savagery against the people of Gaza."
 
Calling for Arab unity at a time when internecine bloodbaths are raging throughout the Middle East, al-Faisal urged the Arab nations to stand together on "one line" to oppose Israel.
 
"Divisions among Islamic nations are causing civil strife, leading Israel to repeat its crimes," said al-Faisal, recommending Arab countries "support all Egyptian efforts to stop the aggression."
 
"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia considers the Palestinian cause its primary cause," boasted the Saudi foreign minister, announcing that his country would provide $500 million in funding to "rebuild" Gaza.
 
While reports of Saudi funding to promote the ceasefire noted the money was conditional on usage for civilian projects and not the rebuilding of terror tunnels, no system of checks and balances has been presented. Additionally, Hamas routinely uses civilian buildings, schools and hospitals as weapons caches, booby-traps and rocket launch sites.
 
Further, the Palestinian Arab Sawa news agency revealed Sunday that Hamas paid two-months of salary in full that morning to its terrorist "military wing," the Al-Qassam Brigades. It is suspected the sudden unexpected infusion of cash was likely given by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
 
"Peace" - or no survival
 
Taking a slightly more threatening tone in his rhetoric, al-Faisal continued saying "Israel must understand that the only solution for its survival is peace with the Palestinians."
 
"Israel isn't embarrassed to conduct terror on every level in order to achieve its goals, while ignoring laws, religious commandments and humanitarian considerations," charged the Saudi foreign minister.
 
It should be noted that Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in response to a rapid escalation in Hamas rocket fire on its civilian centers, and has agreed to numerous humanitarian ceasefires while taking pains to warn civilians before conducting airstrikes.
 
Concerning al-Faisal's comment on religious commandments, Chairman of the Bnei Akiva Yeshivas and head of Yeshivat Or Etzion, Rabbi Haim Druckman, stated last month that the operation falls under the category of milchemet mitzvah (war of commandment), given that it is a war to defend Israel from attack.
 
"This is a holy war by all accounts, a war of salvation and for the existence of Israel in its homeland," clarified Rabbi Druckman.

Israel Welcomes EU's Call on Gaza Groups to Disarm

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 16 August 2014 16:18
eu flag 0Israel’s Foreign Ministry welcomed on Friday the call by the European Union (EU) for terrorist groups in Gaza to disarm.
 
The EU’s call came in a statement in which the bloc offered to take charge of Gaza's border crossings and work to prevent illegal arms flows.
 
“Israel, like the foreign ministers of the European Union in their statement tonight, places great importance on the Egyptian initiative to achieve a long and steady calm,” said the Foreign Ministry’s statement.
 
“Israel welcomes the ministers’ repeated calls for the terrorist organizations in Gaza to disarm. A commitment to the principle of demilitarization, which will be implemented by an effective monitoring mechanism, will ensure that the situation changes fundamentally,” the statement added.
 
“As always, Israel will continue to maintain a dialogue with the European Union on these important questions,” it concluded.
 
The EU’s statement comes amid continued talks between the sides for a long-term ceasefire. The talks are mediated by Egypt which has reportedly offered an 11-point ceasefire plan to the sides.
 
An Islamic Jihad spokesperson claimed on Friday that a truce deal with Israel will be signed as soon the current five-day ceasefire ends next Monday at midnight.

IHH Confirms New Gaza Flotilla

Category: News
Created on Friday, 15 August 2014 08:00
WeaponsThe Turkish group IHH said on Monday it would send a new flotilla of ships to “break Israel's siege of Gaza”, four years after the deadly storming of its vessel by Israeli commandos, according to AFP.
 
IHH, which organized the first flotilla, said in a statement quoted by the news agency that activists from 12 countries had met in Istanbul and taken the decision to send the ships "in the shadow of the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza."
 
"As most governments are complicit, the responsibility falls on civil society to challenge the Israeli blockade on Gaza," it said.
 
The IHH would hold a press conference on Tuesday, it added. The group is considered to be close to the Turkish government.
 
Monday’s statement comes several weeks after the head of the IHH announced that his organization is planning a new flotilla and has embarked on legal procedures and paperwork required to obtain a permit for the trip.
 
In the 2010 flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, which claimed to be providing "humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza," defied orders to turn around and dock at the Ashdod port. After it ignored repeated warnings to change course, the IDF boarded the vessel - only to be attacked by Islamist extremists on board.
 
The soldiers had no choice but to open fire, resulting in the deaths of nine of the IHH members on board.
 
After an investigation, Israeli authorities discovered the vessel to be carrying no humanitarian aid - in fact, no aid supplies at all - whatsoever. 
 
That incident caused a breakdown in Israel’s relations with Turkey, as Turkey demanded an apology and compensation from Israel, which refused.
 
Since the 2010 flotilla, the IHH has been accused of secretly funding the Al-Qaeda terrorist group. In January, the offices of the IHH were raided by the Turkish anti-terror police.

U.S. Blasts Israel for 'Disgraceful' Attack on UN School

Category: News
Created on Monday, 11 August 2014 07:38
Jennifer PsakiIsrael was once again criticized on Sunday for an attack on a United Nations school in Gaza, which the United States said was “disgraceful”.
 
According to the AFP news agency, in one of the most strongly-worded statements yet from Washington since the conflict began nearly a month ago, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States was "appalled" by the attack on the school in Rafiah.
 
At least 10 people were killed in the shelling, the third time in 10 days that a UN school has been hit in fighting.
 
"The United States is appalled by today's disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons, in which at least 10 more Palestinian civilians were tragically killed," Psaki said in a statement quoted by AFP.
 
"We once again stress that Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties."
 
She noted that the United Nations had "repeatedly" communicated to the Israeli Defense Forces the coordinates of the school and the world body's other facilities.
 
The IDF confirmed it had fired on a target "in the vicinity" of the school.
 
"The IDF targeted three PIJ (Islamic Jihad) terrorists on board a motorcycle in the vicinity of an UNRWA school in Rafiah," an army statement quoted by AFP said.
 
"The IDF is reviewing the consequences of this strike," the statement added.
 
Psaki's statement, however, said the presence of terrorists near the facility could not excuse the attack.
 
"The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians," she said.
 
"We call for a full and prompt investigation of this incident as well as the recent shelling of other UNRWA schools," she added.
 
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also decried the shelling as "a moral outrage and a criminal act."
 
"This madness must stop," Ban said through his spokesman, decrying what he termed "yet another gross violation of international humanitarian law."
 
"This attack, along with other breaches of international law, must be swiftly investigated and those responsible held accountable. It is a moral outrage and a criminal act," he charged.
 
This is the second time in less than a week that Israel has been condemned for the shelling of an UNRWA school being used as a shelter in Gaza.
 
Israel said in response to last week’s accusations that initial inquiries showed that "Hamas militants fired mortar shells from the vicinity of the school, and [Israeli] soldiers responded by firing towards the origins of the fire.”
 
The United States later said there was little doubt Israeli artillery was the source of the "totally indefensible" strike on the UN school, urging Israel “do more” to ensure the safety of innocent civilians.
 
The IDF has previously provided video evidence that Hamas fires rockets from inside schools.
 
Hamas has also been using UNRWA schools as storage sites for its rockets. Last week, a third such stockpile was discovered in a UN school.
 
After the first finding of rockets at an UNRWA school, it was reported that rather than destroying the rockets, UNRWA workers called Hamas to come remove them.

'Moderate' PA Leader: Jews Brought the Holocaust on Themselves

Category: Islam
Created on Sunday, 03 August 2014 13:39
Jibril RajoubFormer Palestinian Authority security chief Jibril Rajoub, often touted as a "Palestinian moderate", has accused Israel of inflicting a "holocaust" on Gaza - while saying that Jews deserved the genocide inflicted on them by the Nazis.
 
In an interview with Palestinian Authority TV, translated by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), Rajoub - who is a senior member of the Fatah party's Central Committee - labeled Israeli society as "a fascist society", adding that "the racism of this fascist society is unparalleled throughout history."
 
One parallel that Rajoub could find, however, was with Nazi Germany, claiming that Israelis were "the new Nazis", and that "Israel, (especially) the Israeli right wing, constitutes a replica of Hitler, Eichmann and Goebbels."
 
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His statements followed a long introduction by his interviewer, who also equated Israeli actions with the holocaust, accusing "the people who today evoke the spirit of Nazism" of "master(ing) the art of genocide."
 
Towards the end of the interview, Rajoub made the oft-repeated claim by Palestinian officials and their supporters that the establishment of the State of Israel was the result of European guilt over the holocaust, intentionally ignoring the indigenous status and nearly 4,000-old ties of the Jewish people to the land of Israel.
 
Going further, he claimed that Jews had only suffered the holocaust because of their own "behavior".
 
"...they say that six million of them were killed - while the whole world stood idly by, because their behavior led them to those circumstances."

UNRWA Finds Another Rocket Stockpile in Gaza School

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 03 August 2014 06:37
UNRWA HQ in GazaThe United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) announced on Tuesday that another rocket stockpile has been found at one of its schools in Gaza, Breitbart reported.
 
This instance marks the third time since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge that a weapons arsenal has been found at an UNRWA school in Gaza.
 
UNRWA has yet to place blame on any individuals or organizations for placing the weapons stockpile within a children’s school. The UN body refused to do so on the past two previous occasions as well.
 
UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness condemned those responsible for placing civilians in harm's way by storing the rockets at the school.
 
"We condemn the group or groups who endangered civilians by placing these munitions in our school. This is yet another flagrant violation of the neutrality of our premises. We call on all the warring parties to respect the inviolability of UN property," Gunness said in a statement quoted by the Reuters news agency.
 
After the first finding of rockets at an UNRWA school, it was reported that rather than destroying the rockets, UNRWA workers called Hamas to come remove them.
 
While UNRWA confirmed the existence of rockets in one of its schools last week, the organization refused an Israeli request to provide a picture of the weapons. A picture could have helped Israel show that Hamas uses civilian institutions to store weapons and launch attacks.
 
Hamas has openly used human shields in its latest conflict with Israel. The terrorist group has also issued a statement urging Gaza residents to ignore IDF warnings to evacuate their homes.

Hamas Arch-Terrorist: No Ceasefire Until Siege Ends

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 02 August 2014 16:37
Operation Protective EdgeIn a rare audio message, the head of Hamas’s “military wing” declared on Tuesday that the only way to reach a ceasefire in Gaza is for Israel to end its “siege” on the coastal territory.
 
The message by Mohammed Deif, head of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was broadcast on Hamas’s television network, and is the first official statement by Deif since Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012.
 
In the message, the arch-terrorist repeated Hamas’s conditions for a ceasefire, saying, "The firing will stop only if the [Israeli] aggression ends only if and the blockade is lifted. The Zionist entity will not enjoy security if our people cannot live in freedom and dignity."
 
Deif referred to Israel’s operation in Gaza as a "barbaric attack" which includes killing children.
 
"The enemy is destroying our homes. The steadfastness of the Palestinian people is what brought victory in battle,” he stated.
 
Deif is considered the official who determines the agenda of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades and is regarded as the “brain” behind Hamas.
 
He is likely hiding underground somewhere inside Gaza, fearing the IDF will try to eliminate him.
 
Reports last week said that an Israeli airstrike in Gaza had targeted Deif’s home.

Hamas Spells it Out: Our Aim is the Extermination of the Jews

Category: Media
Created on Friday, 01 August 2014 10:56
Islamic breacherAs the 22nd day of the IDF's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza draws to a close, MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute) has published a video in which a Hamas cleric lays out the organization's "doctrine" in its fight against Israel: genocide.
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Speaking in a televised address from Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, the preacher said that Hamas's aim was to "totally exterminate" the Jews living in Israel, because "wherever the Jews lived they spread corruption".

Mashaal: We Fight the Occupiers, Not the Jews

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 19:34
Khaled MashaalHamas is willing to live together with Jews but not with “the occupiers”, its leader Khaled Mashaal said Sunday.
 
Speaking with Charlie Rose of CBS News, Mashaal said, “We are not fanatics. We are not fundamentalists. We do not actually fight the Jews because they are Jews, per se. We do not fight any other races. We fight the occupiers.”
 
“On the contrary, we actually respect the religious people,” he continued. “We ask for tolerance, for coexistence. The Buddhists, the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims, as you know, God created us as nations. We are different. And the Koran says that in order for the nations to live together and coexist......without occupation and without any blockade.”
 
Rose asked Mashaal “what does Hamas want?” to which the leader said, “The war in Gaza sends two messages, to the world. The first message, it is high time to lift the siege on Gaza.”
 
“Since 2006, when the world refused the outcomes of the elections, our people actually lived under the siege of eight years. It is -- this is a collective punishment. We need to lift the siege. We have to have a port. We have to have an airport,” he continued.
 
“This is the first message. The second message, in order to stop the bloodletting, we need to look at the underlying causes. We need to look at the occupation. We need to stop the occupation. [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu doesn't take heed of our rights,” claimed Mashaal.
 
“[U.S. Secretary of State] Kerry months ago tried to find a window through the negotiations in order to meet our target, to live without occupation, to reach our state. Netanyahu has killed our hope or killed our dream. And he killed the American initiative,” he charged.
 
Asked if he believes coexistence of between Palestinian Arabs and Israelis in the Middle East was possible, Mashaal replied, “I can't coexist with occupation.”
 
“I'm ready to coexist with the Jews, with the Christians and with the Arabs and non-Arabs and with those who agree with my ideas and those who disagree with them,” he added. “However, I do not coexist with the occupiers, with the settlers
 
Mashaal said recently that Israel's ground operation in Gaza was destined to fail.
 
"What the occupier Israel failed to achieve through its air and sea raids, it will not be able to achieve with a ground offensive. It is bound to fail," he declared.
 
He further said Hamas has "clear demands", including an end to "the aggression and collective punishment against our people...as well as the lifting of the Gaza siege."
 
Last week, Mashaal stated that Israel must accept his list of unprecedented conditions for a ceasefire in order for any truce to be implemented. Many of the demands include, effectively, lifting all travel and import restrictions in Gaza and re-releasing arrested terrorists. 

Israeli Aircraft Hit Home of Hamas Leader Haniyeh

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 19:09
Ismail Haniyeh0Israeli aircraft hit the home of Hamas's top leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, inside the Shati region of Gaza on Monday night, his son said.
 
"The Israeli enemy struck our house twice," Abed Salam Haniyeh said in a statement quoted by AFP.
 
The Reuters news agency quoted Gaza’s interior ministry as having said that the airstrike caused damage but no casualties.
 
An IDF spokeswoman had no information on the report but was checking for details.
 
Haniyeh served as the prime minister of Hamas’s government in Gaza, but stepped down when Hamas and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement reached a deal on a unity government.
 
The Telegraph recently revealed that three of Haniyeh’s sisters are living as full Israeli citizens.
 
The three, according to the report, married Bedouin and became full citizens 30 years ago. The three now hide in the anonymity of the Israeli desert.
 
Several of Haniyeh’s relatives have received medical treatment in Israel - including his mother in-law and granddaughter - despite the fact that he has pledged its utter destruction. 

Turkish Group Plans 'Flotilla II' to Gaza

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 06:43
Nazi flag hoisted by Turkish flotilla supportThe Turkish organization IHH is currently organizing a "Freedom Flotilla II", four years after the 2010 flotilla to Gaza which ended in the raid on the Mavi Marmara, the Middle East Monitor website reports.
 
The website cited comments by IHH chairman Bulent Yildrim, who said the second flotilla will carry humanitarian aid to Gaza.
 
In statements to Gulf Online, Yildrim said that his organization has embarked on legal procedures and paperwork required to obtain a permit for the trip. As soon as a final permit is issued, the IHH along with other international organizations will immediately set up the convoy, he reportedly said.
 
According to Middle East Monitor, Yildrim also said that Turkish army troops will accompany the ships to protect it from any potential attack, pointing out that his organization demanded the government to provide protection for them as Turkish citizens.
 
In the 2010 flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, which claimed to be providing "humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza," defied orders to turn around and dock at the Ashdod port. After it ignored repeated warnings to change course, the IDF boarded the vessel - only to be attacked by Islamist extremists on board.
 
The soldiers had no choice but to open fire, resulting in the deaths of nine of the IHH members on board.
 
After an investigation, Israeli authorities discovered the vessel to be carrying no humanitarian aid - in fact, no aid supplies at all - whatsoever. 
 
That incident caused a breakdown in Israel’s relations with Turkey, as Turkey demanded an apology and compensation from Israel, which refused.
 
Since the 2010 flotilla, the IHH has been accused of secretly funding the Al-Qaeda terrorist group.
 
In January, the offices of the IHH were raided by the Turkish anti-terror police.

Fatah Declares 'Open War' on Israel

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 13:26
Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade terroristsThe Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the so-called “military wing” of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, has declared an "open war" against the "Zionist enemy."
 
In a recorded message dated July 23, three terrorists from the organization announced that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade will not sit idly by while Israel’s operation in Gaza continues, adding they intended to launch a campaign in Israeli territory.
 
"The language of blood" is the only language in which to answer “the aggression of the Zionists”, the statement said, and stressed that international law grants the Palestinian Arabs the right to conduct an armed struggle “on all Palestinian lands.”
 
All units operating under the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade were ordered to act against the "Zionist enemy", in a campaign in which "all options are open".
 
This is an "open intifada", a spokesman for the group declared in the statement.
 
It should be noted that it is not just Hamas that incites against Israel but that Abbas’s movement does this on a regular basis as well.
 
Incitement in the PA includes the glorification of Nazism and the lionization of Adolf Hitler, as well as programs on official PA television featuring heavily-stereotyped Jews as villains (and encouraging violence against them), and various TV and radio shows which literally wipe the Jewish state off the map.
 
Fathi Hammad, who served as the Interior Minister in Hamas’s government in Gaza, recently called on Fatah to join Hamas and “wage Jihad” against Israel.
 
“This is a time to be real men, a time for determination, a time for Jihad, a time for resolution, a time to make sacrifices for the sake of Allah,” he said.
 
The conflict in Gaza has already spread to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria as thousands of Palestinian Arabs rioted in Qalandiya, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, on Thursday night.
 
The riots turned into clashes when the rioters threw rocks and firebombs at IDF and Border Police officers who were on the scene. Some of the rioters opened live fire at the security forces, who responded by using riot dispersal means.
 
Clashes also broke out at the Temple Mount, as Arabs threw rocks and targeted police with firecrackers. Two officers were lightly wounded. Ten rioters were arrested.

Iran: We Provided Hamas with Rocket Technology

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 26 July 2014 05:30
Ali Larijani Speaker of the Iranian Parliament - ReutersIran provided the Hamas terrorist group with the technology it has used to rain down rockets on Israel from Gaza, its parliament speaker boasted on Thursday.
 
Tehran frequently boasts of the financial and material support it gives to Hamas and Islamic Jihad but more rarely talks of its military assistance, noted AFP.
 
"Today, the fighters in Gaza have good capabilities and can meet their own needs for weapons," speaker Ali Larijani was quoted as having told the Arabic service of state television.
 
"But once upon a time, they needed the arms manufacture know-how and we gave it to them," he said.
 
During the last major conflict in and around Gaza in November 2012, Larijani said Iran was "proud" to have provided "both financial and military support" to Hamas.
 
Israel accused Iran of supplying Gaza militants with its Fajr-5 missile, which has a range of 75 kilometers (45 miles), for use during that conflict.
 
Hamas fired several such missiles at Tel Aviv and even Jerusalem in 2012, all of which exploded in open areas and did not cause any physical injuries or damages.
 
The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, claimed at the time that it was not the missiles that had been supplied but their technology.
 
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on the Palestinian Arabs on Wednesday to keep fighting Israel and to expand their resistance from Gaza to Judea and Samaria.

Israeli Islamist Leader: Gaza Will Rub Israel's Nose in the Mud

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 26 July 2014 04:41
Kamal Al-KhatibKamal Al-Khatib, deputy head of the radical Islamic Movement in Israel headed by Raed Salah, said in a recent speech that Gaza “will rub Israel's nose in the mud.”
 
The comments were made in a speech in Kafr Kanna, an Arab town located in the Galilee. The speech was broadcast on the Lebanese-based Al-Quds TV and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
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“Gaza, which vanquished the Tatars and the Mongols in July 1260, is the same Gaza that is vanquishing the Israelis in July 2014. The Israelis are the new Tatars,” he declared.
 
“The Palestinian David of our times is terrifying you, oh Israelites. The Gazan David of our times, who challenges you, is not a secularist, a socialist, a leftist, or a capitalist. The David of our times is an Islamist, whose motto is: ‘Allah is our goal, the Prophet Muhammad is our role model, the Koran is our constitution, Jihad is our path, and death for the sake of Allah is our loftiest aspiration,’” he added.
 
“Oh Israelites, the David of Gaza is telling you today that the notion of turning the other cheek is a thing of the past. The David of Gaza tells you that we shall break the hand that aims to harm us. The David of Gaza tells you that he will repay you in spades, and will rub your nose in the mud,” said Al-Khatib.
 
Throughout the speech, the crowd responds with chants of “Allahu Akbar”.
 
In April, Al-Khatib claimed that Israel is “land that has been occupied since 1948.”
 
Speaking to the Hamas journal Falastin, Al-Khatib said that Israel is taking advantage of the troubles in surrounding Arab countries to “Judaize” Jerusalem.
 
He accused Israel of acting towards a gradual implementation of sovereignty over Jerusalem, including shared the use of the Temple Mount among Jews and Muslims.
 
In light of this "threat" against Jerusalem, he stressed that "the protection of the Al-Aqsa mosque is not solely a task for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, residents who have been occupied since 1948 (referring to the State of Israel) and the Palestinian people themselves. It is the task of the entire Muslim and Arab world."
 
Several months earlier, the same Al-Khatib warned of a possible internal conflict with "the Israeli occupation" and threatened a "huge eruption" if Israel intervened on the Temple Mount and continued, according to him, to bother the Muslims praying there.

Kuwaiti Cleric to Hamas: No Ceasefire Until They Bow Before Us

Category: Islam
Created on Friday, 25 July 2014 06:14
Tareq Al-SuwaidanA Kuwaiti cleric recently called on Hamas not to give up on its fight against Israel, and not agree to a ceasefire until Israel is erased.
 
The comments by Tareq Al-Suwaidan were posted to the internet on July 14 and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
 
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“We are in a conflict over our very existence with the sons of Zion,” he said, adding, “In geography as well as in history, the state of Israel is a deviant country. It is destined to be eradicated in its entirety.”
 
Al-Suwaidan continued, “Gone are the days when we would demand a ceasefire. I find it strange that some people are demanding a ceasefire. Absolutely not. The shooting and the launching of rockets continue. If you should be suffering - they are suffering as you are suffering.”
 
He went on to say that the rocket attacks on Israel have “paralyzed” it completely and that Israelis “all went trembling into their holes”.

Canada's FM Demands Probe into Rockets at UNRWA Schools

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 24 July 2014 17:02
john-bairdCanada's Foreign Minister on Tuesday called for a United Nations (UN) investigation of the discoveries of weapons caches at schools it operates in Gaza.
 
"I was appalled to hear reports, one as recent as today, of stockpiles of rockets in a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza," Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said, according to the AFP news agency.
 
"Even more alarming were reports that in the first case, officials with the United Nations returned these weapons to Hamas (which Canada lists as a terrorist organization), once Israeli officials discovered their location," he said.
 
Baird did not specify the source of these allegations.
 
"Canada unequivocally calls on the United Nations to launch an immediate independent investigation to determine the facts surrounding these reports. Canada also calls on the United Nations to ensure that in the second case, no rockets are returned to Hamas,” said the Canadian Foreign Minister.
 
"Anything less than an independent investigation would be absolutely unacceptable," he declared.
 
UN officials had earlier announced the discovery of weapons in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip, the second time in a week.
 
The UN agency for Palestinian Arab refugees UNRWA last Thursday said it had launched an investigation after finding 20 rockets hidden in another of its vacant schools in the Gaza Strip.
 
It condemned the incident -- the first of its kind -- as a "flagrant violation" of international law, and said the rockets had been removed and the "relative parties" informed.
 
However, it was later reported that rather than destroying the rockets, UNRWA workers called Hamas to come remove them.
 
While UNRWA confirmed the existence of rockets in one of its schools last week, the organization refused an Israeli request to provide a picture of the weapons. A picture could have helped Israel show that Hamas uses civilian institutions to store weapons and launch attacks.
 
Hamas has openly used human shields in its latest conflict with Israel. The terrorist group has also issued a statement urging Gaza residents to ignore IDF warnings to evacuate their homes.

Kerry Pledges $47 Million in Aid for Gaza

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 13:46
John-Kerry-a Muslim Brotherhood in EgyptU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday pledged $47 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza as he flew to the region to intensify efforts for an immediate truce, AFP reports.
 
Kerry, who has voiced willingness to tour the region as long as needed, started his mission in Cairo where he met visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The two leaders both called for an end to two weeks of violence.
 
"We are deeply concerned about the consequences of Israel's appropriate and legitimate effort to defend itself," Kerry told reporters as he met Ban.
 
Kerry said that the United States would provide $15 million to a $60 million emergency appeal from UNRWA, the refugee agency for “Palestinian refugees”.
 
The UN agency said that the number of Palestinians seeking refuge at its sites in Gaza has soared to more than 100,000.
 
Ban and Kerry both urged Hamas, which controls Gaza, to embrace an Egyptian-proposed ceasefire that has been accepted by Israel.
 
"Only Hamas now needs to make the decision to spare innocent civilians from this violence," Kerry said.
 
Hamas categorically rejected attempts for a ceasefire in multiple statements, insisting that the terms of the agreement 'did not apply' to them.
 
Later, Hamas officials reportedly set a series of unprecedented demands on Israel to accompany a ten-year truce - before threatening Israelis if the government refused to accept.
 
Ban said that Hamas "should immediately stop firing rockets" but added, "While I understand how and why Israel has to respond militarily, there is a proportionality and ... most of the death toll (has been) Palestinian people."
 
Kerry plans to hold his own meetings Tuesday with the Egyptian leadership including President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
 
But U.S. officials acknowledged that diplomacy could prove more difficult than in the past, in part because Egypt, long the key regional broker, had little leverage with Hamas after the army overthrew Islamist president Mohammed Morsi last year.
 
"The objective here is to get the fastest possible ceasefire. That doesn't mean that it's going to be fast, and it certainly doesn't mean it's going to be easy, but that's the goal," a senior U.S. official travelling with Kerry said on condition of anonymity.
 
A report on Monday night said that a ceasefire in Gaza was imminent and could start as early as Tuesday.
 
The report, which aired on the Lebanese-based Al Mayadeen network, has not been confirmed by any sources in Israel.

Kerry to Visit Cairo to Broker Gaza Ceasefire

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 08:51
kerry0The U.S. State Department confirmed on Sunday night that Secretary of State John Kerry would  travel to Cairo on Monday, where he will meet with senior officials from Egypt and other countries about bringing about a ceasefire in Gaza.
 
“The United States – and our international partners – are deeply concerned about the risk of further escalation, and the loss of more innocent life,” said a statement from State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
 
“We believe there should be a ceasefire as soon as possible – one that restores the ceasefire reached in November of 2012. Secretary Kerry is working to support Egypt’s initiative to pursue that outcome, and will travel to the region as part of those efforts,” she added.
 
Earlier on Sunday, President Barack Obama called for an "immediate ceasefire" in Gaza.
 
Obama spoke by telephone with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to express his concern after more than 100 Palestinian Arabs and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in one day.
 
Obama, who also condemned attacks by Hamas on Israel, "raised serious concern about the growing number of casualties, including increasing Palestinian civilian deaths in Gaza and the loss of Israeli soldiers," the White House said in a statement quoted by AFP.
 
During their second call in three days about the escalating situation in Gaza, Obama and Netanyahu "discussed Israel's ongoing military operation," including "the loss of Israeli soldiers," the White House added.
 
It said Obama "reaffirmed Israel's right to defend itself."
 
The White House said Kerry will seek "an immediate cessation of hostilities based on a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement" and stressed the need to protect civilian life both "in Gaza and in Israel."
 
During the two leaders’ previous call, which was held on Friday, a siren could be heard in the background as Hamas fired rockets on Tel Aviv.
 
Netanyahu remarked to Obama that this is the reality in which Israelis have been living recently, and Obama later mentioned the siren when speaking to reporters, saying that “no nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders or terrorists tunneling into its territory.”
 
Kerry will be coming to the region one day after he was caught on a hot microphone while expressing an unfavorable reaction to Israel’s operation in Gaza.

Mashaal: Israeli Operation Doomed to Fail

Category: News
Created on Friday, 18 July 2014 09:59
Khaled Mashaal in Gaza fileHamas chief Khaled Mashaal said on Thursday night that Israel's ground operation in Gaza was destined to fail, in remarks to AFP in the Qatari capital.
 
"What the occupier Israel failed to achieve through its air and sea raids, it will not be able to achieve with a ground offensive. It is bound to fail," Mashaal declared from his exile in Doha.
 
He further said Hamas has "clear demands", including an end to "the aggression and collective punishment against our people...as well as the lifting of the Gaza siege."
 
Mashaal insisted that the "source of the problem lies with the Israeli occupation and the construction of settlements" which he said the Palestinian Arab people are "determined to get rid of sooner or later".
 
The Hamas leader also called on the international community to "assume its responsibility and put an end to Israeli terrorism..
 
A Hamas spokesman in Gaza said earlier that "Israel will pay a high price" for launching the ground operation and that Hamas "is ready for the confrontation."
 
"With this action the Israeli government seeks to restore the morale of its soldiers and the morale of its army leadership - a leadership that is collapsing because of the qualitative blows of the resistance,” the spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, claimed.
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said earlier Thursday that the ground assault on Gaza was meant to hit the terrorist tunnels leading from Gaza into Israeli territory, and noted that the operation was a direct result of Hamas’s refusal to accept Egypt’s proposal for a ceasefire.
 
Barhoum’s threats came several hours after Osama Hamdan, who is in charge of foreign affairs in Hamas, threatened that Hamas has additional “surprises” in store for Israel.
 
"In the next campaign,” he promised, “we plan to manufacture larger missiles, and we will plan the liberation of the land (inside Israel) and its annexation to the liberated territory (in Gaza) and we will attack them by land.”
 
Meanwhile, Egypt has blamed Hamas for the current escalation in Gaza, though it also pointed a finger at Israel for launching a ground attack.
 
According to Kol Yisrael radio, the Egyptian government said it was placing the responsibility on Hamas for “the possible deaths of Palestinian civilians”, citing Hamas’s refusal to accept Egypt’s proposal for a ceasefire.
 
The report quoted Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, as having said that had Hamas accepted the ceasefire proposal, it would have saved the lives of at least 40 Gazans who were killed in Israeli airstrikes.
 
In a statement quoted by AFP, however, Egypt's foreign ministry also denounced Israel's "escalation" in Gaza and again demanded both sides accept a Cairo proposed truce.
 
"Egypt condemns the Israeli escalation in Gaza and calls for self-control as its air strikes and ground operation only aggravate the situation and do not help preserve Israel's security," the foreign ministry said.
 
It said both Israel and Hamas must "immediately and unconditionally accept the Egyptian (ceasefire) proposal as it offers protection to the Palestinian people. It is the only way to halt the aggression and preserve the blood of our brotherly Palestinian people."
 
 Egypt’s envoy to Ramallah, Wael Nasr Eldine Attiya, urged Egyptians in Gaza to be "extra cautious and avoid places that could be targeted" by Israeli forces.
 
He also urged Egyptians "willing to leave Gaza to head to Rafah crossing...so they can enter Egypt," the official news agency MENA quoted him as saying.

Egypt Blames Hamas for Escalation in Gaza

Category: News
Created on Friday, 18 July 2014 08:58
Israel -Gaza Ground AssaultAs Israel launched a ground operation in Gaza on Thursday, Egypt blamed Hamas - but also Israel - for the latest escalation and for the deaths of civilians.
 
According to Kol Yisrael radio, the Egyptian government said it was placing the responsibility on Hamas for “the possible deaths of Palestinian civilians”, citing Hamas’s refusal to accept Egypt’s proposal for a ceasefire.
 
The report quoted Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, as having said that had Hamas accepted the ceasefire proposal, it would have saved the lives of at least 40 Gazans who were killed in Israeli airstrikes.
 
Shoukry further said that Hamas was cooperating with Qatar and Turkey to harm Egypt’s status in the region.
 
In a statement quoted by the AFP news agency, however, Egypt's foreign ministry also denounced Israel's "escalation" in Gaza and again demanded both sides accept a Cairo proposed truce.
 
"Egypt condemns the Israeli escalation in Gaza and calls for self-control as its air strikes and ground operation only aggravate the situation and do not help preserve Israel's security," the foreign ministry said.
 
It said both Israel and Hamas must "immediately and unconditionally accept the Egyptian (ceasefire) proposal as it offers protection to the Palestinian people. It is the only way to halt the aggression and preserve the blood of our brotherly Palestinian people."
 
Shoukry’s comments on Hamas echo those made earlier by Egypt’s former Foreign Minister, Mohammed Al-Arabi, who said that Hamas was not serious about a ceasefire – and that the terror group was deliberately trying to embarrass Egypt.
 
Speaking in an interview in an Egyptian newspaper, Al-Arabi blamed Hamas for not only failing to come to a ceasefire, but for “shedding the blood of innocent Palestinians” by continuing to attack Israel.
 
Israel launched a ground attack on Gaza Thursday night, as large forces from the IDF's infantry, armor, artillery, engineering and intelligence corps began operating in several zones within Gaza.
 
The zones are in Gaza's northern, central and southern sections. The Diplomacy and Security Cabinet has authorized the IDF to widen the operation further at its discretion.

IDF Spokesman: We're Dealing Hamas a Powerful Blow

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 17 July 2014 18:57
IDF spokesman Brigadier General Moti AlmozIDF spokesman Brigadier General Moti Almoz said on Thursday night that the IDF was dealing the terrorists in Gaza a powerful blow.
 
Addressing the media as the IDF launched a ground operation in Gaza, Almoz called on the residents of Gaza to stay away from areas in which Israeli troops are operating.
 
"We are entering the second part of the operation after the very significant achievements we accomplished in the first part,” he said. “We severely harmed Hamas, its infrastructure and its activists, and will continue to harm them also in the second part of the operation.”
 
Almoz added that ground forces, assisted by the Air Force and the Navy, were taking over targets in Gaza.
 
"Our troops over the past several days were engaged in promoting preparedness for this part [of the operation],” he said. “All the commanders, from the battalion commanders to the Chief of Staff, approved the plans and were engaged in many details in order prepare the troops.”
 
"Our forces are determined and full of motivation,” said Almoz, adding, “I ask the residents of Gaza to evacuate the areas in which the army is operating.”
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said earlier Thursday that that the ground operation in Gaza was meant to hit the terrorist tunnels leading from Gaza into Israeli territory, adding that the operation was a direct result of Hamas’s refusal to accept Egypt’s proposal for a ceasefire.
 
Hamas, meanwhile, responded to Israel’s actions by threatening that it will pay a "high price" for launching a ground assault on Gaza.

After Another Rocket Salvo, Hamas Agrees to UN Ceasefire

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 17 July 2014 07:32
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu ZuhriHamas agreed on Wednesday night to a temporary humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, but not before firing another salvo of rockets towards Israel.
 
"The group agrees to a ceasefire for five hours," starting from 10:00 a.m. local time Thursday, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement quoted by the AFP news agency.
 
"The Palestinian factions agreed to accept the offer from the United Nations for a cooling-down on the ground for five hours starting from 10 in the morning," he told the news agency.
 
Shortly before 2:00 a.m. Thursday morning, however, sirens were heard in the Eshkol region, Hof Ashkelon region, Ashdod, Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi.
 
Sirens were also heard in the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council, near Jerusalem. Three rockets exploded in open regions in the region, causing no physical injuries or damages.
 
Several rockets from Gaza exploded in open areas in the Hof Ashkelon and Eshkol regions, causing no physical injuries or damages.
 
The Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted one rocket over Kiryat Gat and one rocket over Kiryat Malachi. A third rocket exploded in an open region in Kiryat Malachi.
 
Israel earlier on Wednesday accepted a request by UN envoy Robert Serry to enact a "humanitarian ceasefire" for several hours starting Thursday morning.
 
The IDF Spokesman said the ceasefire will be a “window of opportunity” for Palestinian Arabs in Gaza to get supplies and evacuate.
 
Meanwhile, Egyptian efforts to mediate a ceasefire continue, and an Israeli delegation will be in Cairo on Thursday for talks on the issue.

Bennett Calls on Hamas 'Cowards' to Stop Using Human Shields

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 14:33
Naftali Bennett fileEconomics Minister Naftali Bennett rejected criticism from leftist NGOs over Israel's military operation against terrorist rocket fire from Gaza, and said the moment Hamas decided to invest in improving the lives of the people of Gaza instead of attacking Israel, the Jewish state would be first in line to help.
 
In an interview with the BBC's Gaza correspondent, Bennett was asked "what it would take" for Israel to end Operation Protective Edge. His answer was simple, and echoed statements by other senior officials, including Prime Minister Netanyahu: "for Hamas to stop shooting rockets and missiles at Israel... they just need to stop... and this whole thing will go away."
 
"Hamas has decided to export misery and terror on its own citizens and it's shooting rockets across Israel," he continued, noting that his own infant children were currently being forced to run to bomb shelters in central Israel. "If they decide to stop and disarm the whole thing will stop within one second."
 
Responding to criticism over the civilian death toll in Gaza as a result of IDF strikes, the Jewish Home party leader said that Hamas was responsible for those deaths given its use of human shields in violation of international law.
 
"Hamas is killing its own children and women" by "placing missile launchers within schools, within hospitals and within homes," he said.
 
"It's putting its own women and children as human shields and by doing that it's killing its own people."
 
He called on the Islamist group to "stop that cowardly and cynical action of hiding missile launchers within women and children and shooting at my home."
 
Bennett also dismissed criticism from leftist "human rights" groups, retorting that "those human rights groups criticize Israel whatever we do -even if we hand out chocolate they'll criticize us. They're irrelevant."
 
What was relevant, he continued, was the fact that after Israel left Gaza completely in 2005 amid promises that the Palestinian Authority would take the opportunity to build a peaceful, stable "Singapore of the Middle East", it instead witnessed a rapid takeover by Hamas and the establishment of "a fortress of terror."
 
"If at any moment Hamas decides that they want to invest their money in building their economy... in creating a prosperous country down there we'll give them all the backing. They have to decide... do you want to fight or create peace?"
 
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Hamas rejected a ceasefire proposal brokered by Egypt Tuesday morning, choosing instead to fire more than 80 rockets into southern and central Israel and provoking international condemnation. After several hours of restraint, the IDF resumed its airstrikes on Gaza Tuesday afternoon.
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pointed out earlier in the day that a Hamas rejection of the ceasefire would leave Israel with no choice but to continue and expand its military operation. He called on "responsible members of the international community" to offer Israel their "full support" as it exercised its "right to self-defense."

Egyptian TV Hosts 'Sick and Tired' of Hamas

Category: Media
Created on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 09:16
Hamas fighters hold picture of Mohammed MorsiIt is no secret that the Egyptian government has been taking some pleasure in watching events unfold in the Gaza Strip.
 
After the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi, and the subsequent insurgency campaign by his Islamist supporters, the Brotherhood was declared public enemy number one and blacklisted as a terrorist group amid a bloody crackdown. It's "Palestinian branch", Hamas, was accused of cooperating with insurgents and terrorist groups in the Sinai Peninsula, and first the interim military administration, and then the government of President Sisi, tightened the screws on Hamas specifically. Cairo imposed a blockade even more rigorous than that imposed by Israel, and destroyed many of the smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, which were a vital source of weapons and finance for Hamas.
 
In doing so, the Egyptian military was reflecting the views of many Egyptians who, while still hostile towards Israel, saw in the rise of Islamism a mortal enemy far more dangerous than the dreaded "Zionists".
 
But while Sisi's administration has remained notably silent during Operation Protective Edge, limiting itself to bland statements calling on "both sides" to show "restraint", that enmity has bubbled to the surface of Egyptian TV - which, it should be noted, is state-controlled.
 
And in a collage of segments from Egyptian television translated by MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute), a variety of animated anchors share some choice words about Hamas with their viewers.
 
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Perhaps the most prominent theme is summed up by talk show host Mazhar Shahin, who begins his anti-Hamas tirade by drawing a line between supporting "the Palestinians" and supporting Hamas.
 
"Just like we died in the past in defense of the Palestinian cause, we are ready to die today in defense of the Palestinian cause - but we are not ready to die in defense of Hamas," he declared, going on to say that the Egyptian people "are not prepared to sacrifice even a single hair from the eyebrow" for the Islamist group.
 
Other hosts echoed those sentiments, and goaded Hamas and other Palestinian Islamist leaders who encourage young Arabs to die for the sake of "jihad", but who themselves live in luxury away from the front lines.
 
Mohamed Moustafa Sherdi took the opportunity to attack Hamas for its smuggling tunnel network, which he said was built to "smuggle all of Egypt's wealth" into Gaza.
 
Talk show host Ahmad Mousa took an even more openly mocking tone, pointing out that despite its bravado Hamas had not managed to inflict major losses on Israel, and making fun of the lifestyle and expanding waistline of Hamas "prime minister" Ismail Haniye.
 
He also joined other Arab commentators in questioning Hamas's use of human shields.
 
"Why do you, the Al Qassam Brigades [Hamas's military wing - ed.], hide among civilians?" Mousa asked.
 
"Why do you use people's homes? You should keep your hideouts away from people's homes. you know full well that when you launch a missile from a home, a [Israeli] missile will land on that home within one minute. 

Haniyeh: The Zionist Enemy Started the War

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 08:49
Ismail HaniyehHamas will not agree to any ceasefire that does not “meet the demands of the Palestinian people”, the group’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said on Monday night.
 
In a televised address in which he responded to reports that Egypt had proposed a ceasefire that will go into effect at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, Haniyeh said, "We will not agree to any ceasefire that does not cater to the demands of the Palestinian people and brings honor to its victims."
 
“Today we are facing an important stage in the conflict with the Israeli occupation. Years of a blockade did not prevent our resistance from taking all possible measures to protect the Palestinian people,” he added.
 
“The Zionist enemy forced the war on us and planned it. Today we are fulfilling our duty to protect our people and our honor," declared Haniyeh.
 
Haniyeh’s comments echo those of a Hamas official who reiterated earlier Monday that the group would not accept any deal without Israel meeting several harsh conditions for a truce, including releasing terrorists and stopping a blockade. 
 
Israeli media reported on Monday night that the proposed ceasefire by Egypt does not include a removal of weaponry from Gaza but is expected to result in a weakened Hamas.
 
The Cabinet is expected to meet early Tuesday morning, discuss the proposal and vote on it. Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett is expected to vote against it, as is Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, head of Yisrael Beytenu.
 
Israel reportedly offered Hamas a 40-hour cease-fire last week, sources said Sunday afternoon, which Hamas immediately rejected.
 
Nationalist MKs expressed outrage over the proposed ceasefire on Monday night, warning that a ceasefire at this time will only make Hamas stronger.

Operation Protective Edge Enters Day 7

Category: News
Created on Monday, 14 July 2014 13:14
gaza-airstrikes july 2014As the counterterrorism Operation Protective Edge enters its seventh day on Monday, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit has released a summary of the operation thus far.
 
Since the start of the operation, over 940 rockets have been fired towards Israel, the IDF said Sunday night. Of them 740 hit Israel and nearly 187 have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
 
The IDF has targeted over 1,425 terror targets, with both naval and aerial capabilities, the statement said.
 
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The statement further noted that he IDF dropped leaflets above northern Gaza and sent cell-phone messages to locals on Sunday.
 
The messages warned civilians to move away from Hamas terrorists and command centers, which pose a grave risk to their safety. Hamas urged Palestinian Arabs to ignore these warnings.
 
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said on Sunday that more than 17,000 Gazans have taken shelter in its installations after Israeli aircraft dropped the warning leaflets.
 
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UNRWA has opened eight schools to accommodate the evacuees from northern Gaza, said Robert Turner, director of UNRWA operations, during a press conference held Sunday in one of these schools. He said about 4,000 people had already taken shelter in the schools and that the stream of evacuees was increasing.
 
Meanwhile, a Palestinian Authority (PA) official has somewhat surprisingly admitted that the PA has no hope of pressing charges against Israel in international courts - because Palestinian Arab terrorist groups are far worse violators of international law themselves.

ISIS Spokesman Explains Why 'Islamic State' Not Supporting Hamas

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 13 July 2014 21:21
ISIS Spokesman -Not Supporting HamasThe Islamic State, or ISIS, has responded to critics who have questioned why its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is not actively supporting Hamas in fighting Israel.
 
After capturing vast swathes of Iraq and Syria, ISIS declared the regions under its control as a "Caliphate", or Islamic state, and appointed Baghdadi as "leader of the Muslims". While many jihadists celebrated the announcement, others - including Al Qaeda, which ISIS broke off from last year - have criticized the move for a variety of reasons.
 
Since the recent escalation between Israel and Islamist terrorists in Gaza, some of those critics have questioned why a self-declared "Caliphate" is not rushing to the aid of Muslims in the Hamas-controlled territory. 
 
In a statement a spokesperson for the group, Nidal Nuseiri reaffirmed that conquering "Bayt el-Maqdis" (Jerusalem) and destroying the State of Israel is central to the group's "jihad", or holy war.
 
However, he pointed out that ISIS has been taking a systematic approach in its campaign, and outlined six specific stages it said needed to be fulfilled before taking on Israel.
 
Some of those "stages" - building a firm base for an Islamic state in Iraq, and using it as a springboard to wage war in Syria and Lebanon - have already been achieved. But he said a number of other criteria still needed to be fulfilled before challenging Israel directly.
 
Among them, Nuseiri said that the US - seen as Israel's greatest ally - needed to be weakened politically and economically via attacks on the American mainland, as well as US interests in Muslim countries. Additionally, the existing "Islamic State" needed to expand its borders to cover all of "Greater Syria" (which would include Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and possibly Gaza); such a state, he said, would then be in a position for a direct confrontation with Israel.

Hamas Spokesman Encourages Using Civilians as Shields

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 13 July 2014 20:57
Sami Abu ZuhriThe IDF Spokesperson’s Unit continues to expose Hamas’s use of civilians as human shields.
 
Hours after it published photographic evidence of this, it published another video, this time of Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri admitting that the group uses civilians as human shields and encouraging Gazans to continue to do this.
 
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Abu Zuhri’s comments were made on Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV. He referred to the night of June 8, when the IDF avoided civilian casualties by aborting an air strike. He then encouraged Palestinian Arabs in Gaza to continue the practice in order to deter IDF strikes.

Hamas Warns Israel: You Will Pay a Heavy Price

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 12 July 2014 16:55
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu ZuhriHamas has no intention of caving in to Israel and allowing the Jewish state to “impose conditions on the Palestinian people”, its spokesman said on Monday evening.
 
Directly addressing Israeli citizens, the spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, “Our people will not give in to your crimes. You will pay a heavy and painful price.”
 
He continued by saying that the rocket attacks from Gaza on southern Israel were a natural response to the “Israeli aggression.”
 
"Your threats do not frighten us and we will respond to all the crimes you have committed if you do not stop your actions," said Abu Zuhri, who added, "Israel must understand that message and internalize it."
 
The comments come in the wake of yet another escalation in the rocket fire from Gaza. As of 10:30 p.m., the number of rockets that were fired towards Israel stood at over 80, including over 30 rockets that were fired in a ten-minute period between 8:00 p.m. and 8:10 p.m.
 
Shortly before midnight, the Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted a rocket that had been fired towards the city of Sderot.
 
The barrage follows the Security Cabinet decision to prepare for escalation in the South, including a possible military campaign. 
 
At least 1,500 reserve soldiers had been called up for preparatory training for a possible operation, security officials stated earlier Monday. Hours earlier, photos surfaced showing tanks and IDF forces gathering close to the Gaza border. 

Hamas Threatens Israel After its Members Killed in Airstrike

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 12 July 2014 11:42
Jihad terrorists in GazaHamas said on Sunday night that six of its members were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza, and its spokesman threatened to make Israel pay.
 
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) confirmed it had launched airstrikes against nine terror targets in Gaza, including concealed rocket launchers and terrorist centers in central Gaza.
 
Witnesses told AFP that the Hamas members were killed when a tunnel collapsed on them following the Israeli strike.
 
Gaza health services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told the news agency that two Palestinian Arabs were killed and two others wounded in the attack east of Rafiah, but could not confirm Hamas’s statement that its members were killed.
 
Nevertheless, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri took to Facebook to threaten Israel over the deaths.
 
"This is a serious escalation and the enemy will pay the price," he wrote.
 
The airstrikes that killed the Hamas members came several hours after an Israeli airstrike killed two terrorists from the Islamic Jihad group.
 
The two were identified by the Ma’an news agency as Mazen al-Hadba and Marwan Salim.
 
The airstrikes are an Israeli response to the endless rocket fire from Gaza. The Home Front Command and IDF announced earlier on Sunday that a total of 110 rockets have hit Israel over the past five days.
 
Another 40 rockets were fired from Gaza on Sunday, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
 
Several ministers and MKs have called for Israel to retake or attack Gaza and institute a "zero tolerance" policy against terrorism over the weekend.
 
Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman (Jewish Home) dismissed the notion that “restraint is power” and called on Israel to issue a harsh response to the rocket fire.
 
"One million citizens have become hostages of Hamas and the government responds weakly. What is happening here is unacceptable. Hamas must understand that it will not pay off for it to continue firing rockets,” he told Arutz Sheva on Sunday.
 
"The role of the state is to protect its citizens and at the moment it is doing so feebly,” he continued. “People are not willing to accept this reality. Our children’s routines are interrupted, they live in fear. Children are not our soldiers.”
 
"They say that restraint is power. That’s not true,” said Wortzman. "Restraint is a scandal and a disregard for citizens. It's that simple.”

Israel Has 'Full US Backing' For Ground Assault

Category: News
Created on Friday, 11 July 2014 07:33
Israel -Gaza Ground AssaultUS Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro spoke to Galei Tzahal (IDF Radio) on Friday morning, and committed America's firm support for Israel if it decides to launch a ground offensive on the Hamas stronghold of Gaza.
 
The statement comes after the IDF on Thursday afternoon sent telephone warnings to 100,000 residents of Gaza, telling them to evacuate the area near the security border in an indication of an imminent ground entry.
 
"No one wants a ground operation, and we want that Hamas would stop sending the missiles and rockets. But in any case, Israel has full American backing," said Shapiro on the "Good Morning Israel" radio show.
 
Just before Shapiro's talk of full backing for a ground assault, US President Barack Obama called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday night and offered to broker a ceasefire with the terrorist organization Hamas.
 
"The president expressed concern about the risk of further escalation and emphasized the need for all sides to do everything they can to protect the lives of civilians and restore calm," the White House said in a statement. "The United States remains prepared to facilitate a cessation of hostilities, including a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement."
 
While the 2012 deal, brokered by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egypt, ended the counter-terror Operation Pillar of Defense, Hamas did not keep to the ceasefire.
 
As of June, before the recent escalation, Gaza terrorists had already fired over 450 rockets at Israel since the start of 2014 according to the IDF.
 
Since Operation Protective Edge began on Monday, Gaza terrorists have fired well over 500 rockets and mortars, and the IDF has hit over 1,100 terror sites.
 
America has given mixed messages during the course of the operation, supporting Israel's right to defend itself, even as US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday night called Netanyahu after Gaza terrorists fired 80 rockets, and asked him to "show restraint."

Israeli Airstrikes Hit 10 Gaza Targets

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 06 July 2014 07:52
Explosions in Gaza fileThe Israel Air Force (IAF) on Saturday night launched airstrikes on ten targets in Gaza, in retaliation for the endless rocket attacks by Gazan terrorists on southern Israel.
 
According to a statement from the IDF, the targets included concealed rocket launchers and a weapons manufacturing site.
 
“The IDF is prepared to defend the citizens of Israel from any threat and will continue to act decisively and as long as necessary until calm is restored,” said the statement, which added that Hamas was responsible for the constant rocket attacks.
 
Fifteen rockets and mortar rounds were fired at Israel on Saturday, lightly wounding one soldier and sending tens of thousands of Israeli civilians into bomb shelters.
 
Most of the rockets fell in the Eshkol region; however, two reached as far as Be'er Sheva. Of those two, one was shot down by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, and the other exploded in an empty field.
 
Little to no progress has been made in rumored talks between Israel and Hamas since Friday, which were allegedly mediated by Egypt to broker a ceasefire. 
 
Hamas has been ignoring the IDF's ultimatum, which on Thursday called to stop the rocket fire within 48 hours or face war.

Veiled Admission? Hamas Says Kidnapping Was 'Failed Activity'

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 05 July 2014 20:19
Hamas terroristsA Hamas spokesperson on Tuesday released a statement just after the funeral of Eyal Yifrah (19), Naftali Frenkel (16) and Gilad Sha'ar (16), who were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists.
 
Mushir al-Masri, the spokesperson, labeled the abduction as "an activity that failed," reports Channel 10.
 
While the statement sounds like an admission, al-Masri did not take responsibility for the murder.
 
All the same, he did emphasize that in the future, Hamas will take further steps against Israel to "balance" the crackdown the IDF has been conducting on Hamas's terror infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.
 
Israeli security forces have already identified the two main Hamas terrorists behind the abduction and murder as Marwan Kawasmeh and Amar Abu-Eisha, and is currently hunting to track them down.
 
As far as the abduction "failing," reports coming after the bodies of the three teens were found on Monday indicate they were murdered shortly after the kidnapping.
 
In the chilling recording of Sha'ar's frantic last call to the police emergency 100 hotline, which was released on Tuesday, the terrorist kidnappers can be heard noticing that Sha'ar had called the police, after which shots ring out amid an apparent struggle as the boys cry out in pain.
 
The evidence would seem to suggest the kidnappers realized the police had been contacted and decided to murder the teenagers on the spot. It is not yet known whether they had initially meant to keep them alive in the hope of bartering them in exchange for jailed terrorists, However, many analysts estimate the terrorists always planned to murder the youths - particularly since it would have been near impossible for two people to control and hide three young captives for a prolonged period of time - but were simply forced to act sooner after the call to police was made.
 
Blood and spent bullet casings were discovered in the burned-out car they used, which was found shortly after the kidnapping.
 
As for the "additional steps" against Israel, there has already been a dramatic upsurge in rocket fire from the Hamas-enclave of Gaza since the kidnapping, which has notably peaked this week.
 
After 15 rockets were fired over Sunday night and Monday morning from Gaza, Israeli security forces announced Hamas was directly behind the rocket fire, reportedly marking a first since the end of the counter-terror Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012. Hamas has not taken responsibility for the rocket fire officially.
 
While there has been a steady stream of rocket fire even since the Operation Pillar of Defense "ceasefire" that was brokered by Egypt, the Gaza-based Islamic Jihad terror group and terrorist factions other than Hamas have largely claimed the attacks, with Hamas simply turning a blind eye.

Fatah Asks Egypt to End Siege of Gaza

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 22 June 2014 13:12
Azzam al-Ahmed filePalestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction has sent a delegation to Egypt to discuss opening the Rafah Crossing between Gaza and Sinai, even as terrorists in the Hamas-enclave continue firing rockets at Israel.
 
The delegation arrived in Cairo and is led by Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmed, who represented Fatah in the reconciliation signed with Hamas in April and led negotiations in forming the unity government two weeks ago.
 
Leaders of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), a group recognized as representing the "Palestinian people" but which has never renounced terror, also are part of the delegation, according to a minister in the new unity government.
 
An Egyptian official revealed two weeks ago that newly elected President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's administration strongly supports the new Hamas-Fatah unity government, and is considering giving it supervision of the Rafah Crossing.
 
The Crossing has been closed for months as part of an Egyptian siege on Gaza, which has sealed off the illegal smuggling tunnels that are used to transport fuel and goods from Sinai, but also weapons and terrorists, and has consequently caused an economic collapse in Gaza.
 
As part of Egypt's conditions for easing its siege, Abbas would be required to re-open presidential headquarters in Gaza, said the official.
 
Additionally, the official stipulated that Hamas would have to separate from the Muslim Brotherhood, which it is an offshoot of, and not interfere with Egyptian affairs.
 
Israel has partially closed the Kerem Shalom Crossing and the Erez Crossing to Gaza out of concern that the Hamas terrorists who kidnapped the three Israeli teens last Thursday might abscond to the Hamas enclave with them.
 
Unconfirmed Arab reports on Monday suggested that Israel contacted Egypt to help negotiate the return of the three youths, even as Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Badr Abdellaty said Monday that Israel must show "maximum self-restraint" in trying to rescue the three.
 
Sisi has said there is a chance for "true peace" with Israel if it adopts the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which demanded Israel withdraw from Judea and Samaria, at which point the Arab states would supposedly recognize it. He added that he would be willing to change the peace agreement with Israel.

Hamas and Fatah Threaten Israel With 'Force'

Category: News
Created on Friday, 20 June 2014 19:43
Fatahs Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade fileTerrorist organizations in Gaza, including Hamas and Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade faction, threatened on Tuesday that they would take action if Israel continues its crackdown on the Hamas terror infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.
 
Commenting on the IDF operation seeking to rescue the three Israeli teens kidnapped by Hamas terrorists last Thursday, the terrorist groups declared that the IDF would "fail" to break the will power of the "Palestinian resistance."
 
In a joint statement read at a press conference in Gaza, the terrorists said, "We support the sons of our nation in the West Bank given the terror attack," referring to the IDF counter-terror operations targeting Hamas.
 
"The resistance will not stand helpless against the policy steps of the occupation; we are one nation, our suffering is one, our fate is one and our struggle is one," added the joint statement.
 
Despite the words of unity, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas have had a sort of falling out over the kidnapping, with the PA celebrating it even while distancing itself from Hamas and threatening to break the unity pact over the Hamas abduction in unconfirmed reports. Hamas for its part has condemned the PA for allegedly cooperating with Israel in the search.
 
The terror groups also stated their support for the hunger-striking jailed terrorists, praising their "heroism" against the "racist occupier that only understands the language of force."
 
80 jailed Arab terrorists have been hospitalized after refusing to eat for nearly two months; in response the Knesset has presented a controversial bill to force-feed them.
 
Signed onto the statement were: Al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas, Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, Al-Nasser Salah Al-Din Brigades of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), National Resistance Brigades of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Al-Aqsa Defenders' Brigades and Saif al-Islam.

Egypt Willing to Give PLO Unity Government Gaza Border

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 08 June 2014 18:28
Fence along southern border - illustrativeA senior Egyptian official revealed Saturday that newly elected President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's administration strongly supports the new Hamas-Fatah unity government, and is considering giving it supervision of the Rafah crossing from Gaza to Sinai.
 
The official, who spoke to the Judea and Samaria-based Arab Ma'an News Agency on condition of anonymity, said Egypt is willing to open the crossing which has been closed for months.
 
The move is part of an Egyptian siege of the Hamas-enclave of Gaza, which has sealed off the illegal smuggling tunnels that are used to transport fuel and goods from Sinai, but also weapons and terrorists, and has consequently caused an economic collapse in Gaza.
 
As part of Egypt's conditions for easing its siege, Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas would be required to re-open presidential headquarters in Gaza.
 
Additionally, Hamas would have to separate from the Muslim Brotherhood, which it is an offshoot of, and not interfere with Egyptian affairs. Apparently the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah has impacted Egypt's appraisal of Hamas relations.
 
Egypt banned Hamas in March, accusing the terrorist group of a December attack on Egyptian police headquarters, and of planning church bombings in Sinai last Christmas. Hamas has denied the Egyptian government’s allegations, claiming they were an "attempt to demonize Hamas."
 
Sisi, who is to be sworn in to his role as president on Sunday, strongly supports the new unity government according to the official, and will meet Abbas in Egypt to arrange relations between the new government and the new Egyptian administration.
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres congratulated Sisi last Friday for his Tuesday victory.
 
Sisi laid out his policy in interviews before the elections, stating that there was a chance for "true peace" if Israel adopts the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which demanded Israel withdraw from Judea and Samaria at which point the Arab states would supposedly recognize it.
 
In the same interview Sisi said he would be willing to change the peace agreement with Israel.

U.S. Officials: Iranian Weapons Might Have Been Meant for Sinai

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 29 March 2014 10:07
Iranian Weapons for SinaiSome U.S. intelligence analysts and Middle East security officials believe that the rocket shipment that was seized by Israel in the Red Sea may have been destined for the Egyptian Sinai and not for Gaza, Reuters reported Tuesday.
 
A U.S. official and two non-Israeli regional sources said Israel appeared to be insisting on the Gaza destination in order to spare the military-backed interim Egyptian administration embarrassment as it struggles to impose order in the Sinai.
 
"Were the Israelis to say the rockets were going to Sinai, then they would also have had to say who in Sinai was going to receive the rockets," one source told Reuters, adding that such a statement would draw attention to the terrorists in the Sinai.
 
The IDF conducted the raid of the ship, the Klos C, in the Red Sea several weeks ago, between the waters of Sudan and Eritrea. 
 
The ship flew a Panamanian flag and carried weapons which were made in Syria under Iran’s directives. The destination of the weapons was Sudan, from where they can be then taken to the Sinai Peninsula and smuggled to Gaza through the underground tunnels.
 
Both Iran and Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers have denied any connection to the Klos C. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, denied that his country was behind the ship and also claimed that Israel had purposely revealed the capture of the ship the same week that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in Washington for the AIPAC conference.
 
The officials who spoke to Reuters said that it would have been hard for the M302 rockets on board the Klos C to enter Gaza, given the Israeli naval blockade of the region as well as Egypt’s ongoing crackdown on the smuggling tunnels.
 
A U.S. official said Washington had confirmed the Syrian and Iranian provenance of the rockets and believed they were to have been used against Israel, but added that half of U.S. intelligence analysts thought that Sinai, not Gaza, was the destination.
 
"You look at those things and it's obvious they couldn't have been slipped into Gaza," the official said, adding that the M302s were not designed to be disassembled for easier smuggling.
 
Experts noted that with their 160 km (100 mile) range, the M302s could have been launched from areas of Sinai well away from Israeli spotters along the Egyptian border, and struck Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
 
Rocket attacks from the Sinai at Israel are certainly a possible. A Salafi group based in the Sinai, Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis, has claimed several rocket attacks from the Sinai at the Israeli resort city of Eilat.

Coming Soon to Gaza: Lashes in Criminal Code

Category: Islam
Created on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 17:35
Lashes in Criminal CodeHamas is taking another step towards the full implementation of strict Islamic Sharia law in Gaza, and is planning to introduce a penalty of lashes for certain criminal offenses.
 
Nafez Al-Madhoun, the secretary of Hamas’s parliament in Gaza, said on Tuesday that the government is working on passing a new law pertaining to lashes. Speaking in an interview with a local newspaper, Madhoun said that the provisions of the new law will include a range of between 80 lashes for major offenses to 20 lashes for minor crimes.
 
Madhoun further explained that a change in the Penal Code to include lashes is required, in light of the reality where the current law does not deter criminals, who view the Gaza prisons as a place for a vacation.
 
He also noted that the lashes can accumulate depending on the number of offenses of which the defendant was convicted in court. If the convicted criminal’s life may be in danger due to the lashes, they may be done in several batches.
 
Hamas has enforced a stringent interpretation of Islamic law in Gaza since violently taking power there in 2007.
 
The group has banned women and teenagers from smoking hookahs in public, ordered that women's clothing stores are not allowed to have dressing rooms, men cannot have hairdressing salons for women and that mannequins shaped like women must be dressed in modest clothing.
 
The group also introduced a strict dress code for female university students, demanding that they wear “modest clothing”.
 
Last year the Hamas government banned residents of Gaza from participating in the national reality singing show “New Star”, which follows the same format as popular U.S. shows “American Idol” and “The X-Factor.”
 
Hamas claimed the program was “indecent,” adding it contradicts the customs and traditions of the Gaza community.
 
Despite Hamas’s moves, the extremist Salafists in Gaza say that Hamas is not strict enough for their liking. The Salafists hope to wrest control of Gaza from Hamas and install a Sharia-bound regime instead.

UN's Falk Accuses Israel of Ethnic Cleansing

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 23 March 2014 08:16
Richard Falk addresses a news conference on March 21 2014 - ReutersDays before he is to step down from his position, Richard Falk, the UN’s “human rights expert” who probes Israel's conduct towards Palestinian Arabs, on Friday accused the Jewish state of a campaign of ethnic cleansing and apartheid policies.
 
"The realities on the ground are worsening from the point of view of both international law and from the point of view of the Palestinian people," Falk told reporters, according to AFP.
 
Since he was appointed in 2008, he claimed, Israel has built more Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, imposed "collective punishment" on Gaza, demolished homes and repeatedly deployed "excessive force."
 
Falk accused Israel of a "systematic and continued effort to change the ethnic composition of East Jerusalem" by voiding Palestinian Aras' residence permits, confiscating property and allowing “unlawful Israeli settlements” there.
 
"This is systematic discrimination on the basis of ethnic identity, with the objective of creating a different demographic in Jerusalem," he said, according to AFP, calling it a form of "ethnic cleansing."
 
"All of these features that are objectionable from the point of view of international law have continued and intensified during my six years," claimed Falk.
 
"What is called occupation is now more widely understood to be a form of annexation, the embodiment of apartheid in the sense that there's a discriminatory dual system of law, giving legal protection to the Israeli settlers and subjecting the Palestinian population under occupation to a continuing existence without rights," he charged.
 
Excerpts from Falk’s final report to the UN Human Rights Council published by Reuters last month made the same accusations towards Israel that he made in his news conference on Friday.
 
In the report, Falk accuses Israel of a “systematic oppression of the Palestinian people and de facto expropriation of their land”.
 
He also suggests that UN member states should consider imposing a ban on imports of produce from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
 
Falk has a history of anti-Israel statements, and has in the past compared Israelis to Nazis. He also criticized Israel for keeping an Islamic Jihad terrorist in custody, even after a video of him pleading for suicide bombers to “carry the next explosive belt” was exposed.
 
Last year, Falk publicly called on the UN to investigate and potentially expel the UN Watch watchdog organization, after it mobilized world leaders to condemn his comments blaming the Boston Marathon bombings on “the American global domination project” and “Tel Aviv.”
 
He has repeatedly locked horns with Israel, the United States, Canada and some human rights groups over his anti-Israel positions.
 
Washington has said he should quit his UN role, which like other rights monitors at the world body he holds on an unpaid, voluntary basis.
 
Falk consistently rejected calls on him to resign, claiming his opponents were trying to silence his criticism of the Jewish state by labelling him as an anti-Semitic.
 
On Friday, he once again brushed off the criticism.
 
"Anyone who is 10 percent objective would come to similar conclusions about international law and international morality to the conclusions I've reached on the main issues that are in contention," he claimed, according to AFP.

Hamas Slams Egypt's Siege of Gaza

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 08:38
Rafiah border closedGaza's Hamas terrorist rulers on Tuesday sharply criticized Egypt's closure of the Rafiah border crossing, saying Cairo's tightening of restrictions on Gaza was a "crime against humanity," AFP reported.
 
"The Egyptian authorities' insistence on closing the Rafiah crossing and tightening the Gaza blockade... is a crime against humanity by all standards and a crime against the Palestinian people," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement quoted by the news agency.
 
He condemned "the continuation of this blockade and closing the crossing, all whilst Israel escalates and (increases) aggression."
 
"We hold all parties to the blockade of Gaza completely responsible for the consequences of this crime," charged Barhoum.
 
The government of former Islamist president Mohammed Morsi was friendly with Hamas, but the military-led government that ousted him has cracked down on Hamas, which it accuses of a December attack on Egyptian police headquarters, and of planning church bombings in Sinai last Christmas.
 
Hamas has denied the Egyptian government’s allegations, claiming they were an “attempt to demonize Hamas”.
 
In addition to closing the Rafiah border crossing and essentially imposing a siege on Gaza, Egypt has also sealed most of the smuggling tunnels that are used to transport fuel and goods from Sinai, but also weapons and terrorists.
 
The Hamas interior ministry said that Rafiah, for many Gazans the only passage in and out of the Strip and a crucial crossing for supplies, has now been closed for 39 straight days.
 
The UN, reported AFP, slammed closures to Gaza's border crossings by both Egypt and Israel, expressing concern for Gazans in need of medical treatment.
 
"Extremely limited movement in and out of Gaza from (Israeli-controlled) Erez and Rafiah crossings continues to afflict the civilian population, including patients awaiting medical treatment," UN under-secretary general for political affairs Jeffrey Feltman said in a Tuesday briefing to the Security Council.
 
"Recurrent drug and medical equipment shortages are affecting the Gaza medical system, further increasing the number of patients seeking referral outside for medical conditions that could have been treated inside Gaza, were supplies available," he added.
 
Earlier this week, dozens of sick and disabled residents of Gaza protested the Egyptian siege, demanding passage to Egypt for ongoing medical treatment in the Nile state and other countries.
 
Roughly 1,500 sick and injured people in Gaza are waiting for the reopening of the border crossing.

Gazan Sick Protest Egyptian Siege

Category: News
Created on Monday, 17 March 2014 17:19
Gazan Protest Egyptian SiegeDozens of sick and disabled residents of Gaza protested the Egyptian siege on Saturday, demonstrating across from Egypt's Rafah Crossing leading to Sinai. Their demand -- passage to Egypt for ongoing medical treatment in the Nile state and other countries.
 
Roughly 1,500 sick and injured people in Gaza are waiting for the reopening of the Rafah Crossing, which has been closed for 36 days, reports a spokesperson for the protest group.
 
The spokesperson revealed the information to journalists in front of the Egyptian embassy in Gaza, representing the protest that was organized by the terror group Hamas, which rules Gaza.
 
The spokesperson blamed Egypt for, in his words, aiding the "enemy," namely Israel, by besieging the Hamas-enclave even as it is "struck" by Israel. The man further called on the international community to pressure Israel and Egypt to open the crossings.
 
Gaza's protest came the same Saturday that the terror-stronghold's lone power plant was turned off due to a fuel shortage.
 
Aside from the Egyptian siege, which has cut off smuggling tunnels from Sinai to Gaza, the blackout was caused by rivalry between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Hamas refuses to pay exorbitant fuel taxes to the PA on fuel coming through Israel.
 
After Gazan terrorists rained nearly 100 rockets on Israel starting last Wednesday, the Kerem Shalom Crossing was closed last Thursday, leading Hamas to quickly blame Israel for the power outage.
 
However, Israel noted the crossing is normally closed on Friday and Saturday, meaning it was only closed for one day in response to the unprecedented upsurge in attacks. The crossing reopened on Sunday to alleviate the terror-enclave's energy crisis.
 
The protest highlights Egypt's role behind Gaza's situation, despite the consistent blaming of Israel. Just two weeks ago an Egyptian court banned Hamas for its alleged role in terror attacks in the chaotic Sinai Peninsula.

Days After Rocket Barrage Gaza Left Powerless

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 16 March 2014 21:55
Gaza Left PowerlessGaza's lone power plant shut down on Saturday due to a lack of fuel. An Israeli official stated the fuel shortage was caused by infighting between Hamas, ruling Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Judea and Samaria, likely over fuel taxes.
 
The Hamas-run enclave has been dealing with rolling power outages since last November. An Egyptian siege cutting smuggling tunnels transporting fuel from Sinai, coupled with high PA taxes that Hamas refuses to pay on fuel coming through Israel, has led Gaza to shut down the plant frequently.
 
Gaza's terrorist rulers were quick to blame Israel for the power outage, reports AFP. They pointed the finger at Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's order to close the Kerem Shalom crossing and Erez pedestrian crossing Thursday, "until further security assessments."
 
The closure followed a barrage of roughly 100 rockets since last Wednesday. The deluge of rockets was the largest-scale attack since the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense.
 
However, an Israeli official cut through the accusation, noting "Kerem Shalom is always closed on Fridays and Saturdays, so it was only closed for an entire day on Thursday."
 
The official argued that the shortage in fact occurred as "the result of an internal conflict between the Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah."
 
While Israel's one day of closure may not have cut power to Gaza, MK Shuli Muallem (Jewish Home) last Wednesday called on Israel to do just that, and leave Gaza in darkness in response to the unprecedented attacks.
 
"I call on the Israeli government to adopt a resolution - for every rocket fired towards southern Israel, Gaza will receive an hour of darkness," declared Muallem.
 
Aside from the animosity with the PA, Hamas has run afoul of the Egyptian government as well, being banned by the Nile state two weeks ago.
 
The tension was illustrated last week when Hamas was left fuming after Egypt contacted the terror group Islamic Jihad directly to try and broker a ceasefire with Israel, while intentionally ignoring Hamas.
 
The "ceasefire" was quickly broken at least six times by the Gaza terrorists between last Thursday and Friday.

'There Are Thousands of Al-Qaeda Terrorists in Gaza'

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 13 March 2014 12:37
al Qaeda flagThe head of a Gaza-based jihadist group warned on Sunday that there are several thousand Al-Qaeda-inspired terrorists in Gaza.
 
Speaking to The Associated Press (AP), the terror leader, Abu Bakir al-Ansari, said that these terrorists pose a formidable threat to both Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
 
Al-Ansari described a movement that is larger and better organized than is generally believed, with dozens of fighters now in Syria, and claimed his group killed an Italian activist three years ago. He added that Gaza's Salafis have agreed with Hamas to observe a truce with Israel for the time being, but that they are ready to fight at any time.
 
"We have a deal with Hamas to abide by the truce as long as Israel abides," Abu Bakir told AP. "But once it violates the truce, we fire our rockets without any consultation with Hamas."
 
Abu Bakir, who refused to be identified by his real name, claimed he has survived three Israeli assassination attempts. He told AP he was a former member of Hamas, but broke away after the group agreed to participate in parliamentary elections in 2006. He was later arrested by Hamas for allegedly forming "terrorist groups" and "harming national interests" for firing rockets into Israel during a time of truce, and for attacking hair salons and other shops.
 
Abu Bakir told the news agency he spent three years behind bars and was beat and kept in solitary confinement by Hamas.
 
He also revealed that since late 2012, Salafi groups have formed a loose alliance.
 
"We are six groups and we have thousands of fighters, maybe 4,000," he told AP.
 
Under the truce agreement, he revealed, the Salafis have halted attacks on shops, hair salons and coffee shops after Hamas provided assurances there would be no drinking of alcohol, racy movies or mixing of the sexes in these places.
 
"If Hamas stops preventing the bad things in these places, we will return," he declared.
 
Abu Bakir said the group has halted attacks on Christians, as long as they "abide by the rules." That means no public displays of crosses, and consumption of pork and alcohol  must take place in private. He further claimed that 100 Gazans have gone to Syria to battle the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad, and 10 have been killed so far.
 
Although Hamas, like its parent group the Muslim Brotherhood, is more observant of Islam than the secular Fatah faction, Salafi groups hold the ruling faction in contempt and hope to instead wrest control of Gaza from Hamas and install a Sharia-bound regime instead.
 
Hamas has cracked down on the Salafists, who have claimed responsibility for some of the rocket attacks on Israel, and has been arresting them for several years.
 
In December, an Al-Qaeda-inspired group said it had infiltrated Judea and Samaria as part of its war against “the Jews,” Christians, infidels and the Palestinian Authority.
 
That claim came after Israeli security forces killed three Salafi terrorists in Hevron, foiling a huge terror attack.
 
Salafists have also been a problem for Egypt, carrying out terrorist attacks in the Sinai Peninsula and firing rockets from there at the southern Israeli city of Eilat.

Egypt Deports Women Activists who Tried to Enter Gaza

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 13 March 2014 11:26
An Egyptian army check point is seen in El-Arish city in North Sinai ReutersEgypt on Friday deported dozens of women activists who had flown in to Cairo but been barred from entering the country in their bid to reach neighboring Gaza, an airport official told AFP.
 
About 100 women, most of them from Europe and the United States, had hoped to enter the Palestinian enclave through Egypt's Rafiah border crossing to celebrate International Women's Day on Saturday.
 
Eleven women were sent back to Istanbul, another 22 to Paris and six to Frankfurt, the official said, according to AFP.
 
They were among 65 activists deported over the past 24 hours, some from the United States, France, Belgium and Switzerland, the official added.
 
Two members of the delegation, Northern Irish Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire and American anti-war activist Medea Benjamin, were deported earlier this week.
 
Egypt controls the Rafiah border crossing into Gaza, the only one that bypasses Israel, and is accused of colluding with the Jewish state in blockading the territory, ruled by the Hamas terrorist organization.
 
Authorities have urged the delegation to abandon the trip over safety concerns, foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said in a statement Thursday.
 
"Given the current extraordinary security conditions in northern Sinai and the difficulty of ensuring the security" of the activists until they reach Rafah, the timing is "not appropriate," the statement, quoted by AFP, said.
 
Ann Wright, an American organizer of the delegation, told AFP that eight American women were in Cairo and that some of them will wait to see if they can go ahead with the trip.
 
"Some of the delegates will probably go home in the next couple of days," Wright told the news agency.
 
"But some others will stay to see if the government will allow us to go (to Rafiah) at the last minute", she added.
 
Another organizer, from France, told AFP that "requests to pass through the Rafiah crossing for a dozen French women will be sent to Egyptian authorities by the French embassy."
 
While the government of former Islamist president Mohammed Morsi was friendly with Hamas, the military-led government that ousted him has cracked down on the group, which it accuses of a December attack on Egyptian police headquarters, and of planning church bombings in Sinai last Christmas.
 
Hamas has denied the Egyptian government’s allegations, claiming they were an “attempt to demonize Hamas”.
 
On Tuesday, in the latest step in Egypt’s crackdown on Hamas, a court outlawed the terror group and ordered all of its assets seized.

Egypt Blocks 100 Female Activists On Way to Gaza

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 23:31
Egyptian militaryA group of 100 European and American activist women were stopped by Egypt on Thursday, as they attempted to cross Sinai to spend International Women's Day on Saturday in Gaza.
 
Egyptian authorities stopped the women at the Cairo airport. Among the group, Northern Irish Nobel Laureate and anti-Israel activist Mairead Maguire was already deported on Wednesday; the same happened to American activist Medea Benjamin on Tuesday.
 
Another wave of 45 women, most hailing from France, were prevented from entering the country on Thursday, reports AFP. Authorities proposed that 27 of the activists be deported, a proposal which was refused as the women apparently wished to stick together. Thirty of the women have been let into Egypt, where they are still negotiating passage to Gaza with authorities.
 
Apparently the women have begun a sit-in protest at the airport, and are demanding a refund on the cost of their tickets and visas from Egypt, reports Ahram Online.
 
Before they departed for Egypt, the Nile state attempted to dissuade the women from their plans to enter Gaza through the Egyptian Rafah crossing, according to Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Badr Abdelatty.
 
The group was told "the timing was not appropriate... given the current extraordinary security conditions in northern Sinai and the difficulty of ensuring the security of the activist group until they reached the Rafah crossing," remarked Abdelatty.
 
The steps taken to isolate Gaza are seen as an extenuation of Egypt's ruling Tuesday to ban Hamas, the terror group governing Gaza. All Egyptian assets of the group were ordered seized.
 
Following the ruling, a decision was announced to strip 13,757 Palestinians of their Egyptian citizenship. The citizenship had been granted under President Mohammed Morsi's rule, given the close ties between Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. However, Morsi was ousted last July by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has hinted he will run for president.
 
Clashes between Muslim Brotherhood and the military have left Sinai in a state of instability, with numerous terror attacks rocking the region.
 
Egypt has been cracking down on Gaza; last November the area suffered intense power shortages after an Egyptian siege destroyed the illegal fuel smuggling through tunnels from Egypt.

Egypt Kills 16 Terrorists Near Gaza

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 09 February 2014 13:44
Egyptian helicopter over the SinaiEgypt's army reported on Saturday that it killed 16 Islamist terrorists in Sinai near the border with Gaza the day before. The liquidation of the 16 terrorists was conducted by an Egyptian airstrike in an area south of Sheikh Zuweid on Friday evening, according to the army's statement.
 
The region has seen heightened violence; Hamas has been accused of a December attack on Egyptian police headquarters, and planning church bombings in Sinai last Christmas.
 
Egyptian reports have indicated Hamas will become an increasing danger in 2014, and analysts comment that the Nile state will have to take out Hamas if it hopes to secure itself.
 
The country has been in an incredibly violent and unstable period since the 'Arab spring' led to the toppling of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The anniversary of Mubarak's ousting on January 25 this year sparked clashes that left over 29 dead.
 
Former President Mohammed Morsi replaced Mubarak, and was similarly ousted by the military last July. His Muslim Brotherhood has been outlawed and has repeatedly clashed with the army since then.
 
Egypt's military leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has indicated that he will run for president, an election bid which is widely expected to be a sure success.
 
Last November, Egypt signed a $4 billion arms deal with Russia that is designed to specifically enable Egypt to at least achieve parity with the IDF.

Hamas to Egypt: Stop the Lies

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 18:25
Explosion Rocks Egyptian Police CampThe Hamas terrorist group, which controls Gaza, on Monday condemned Egyptian statements linking the group to the ongoing crisis in Egypt, the Ma’an news agency reported.
 
Hamas denied any connection to a Sinai-based terrorist group and called upon authorities in Cairo to stop the "lies," the report said.
 
Hamas spokesman Abu Zuhri said in a statement quoted by Ma’an that Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the Sinai-based group that has claimed a string of terrorist attacks targeting civilians and Egyptian officers, has no connections “to Gaza nor to Palestine”.
 
Abu Zuhri added that alleging that the movement is from Gaza is an attempt by authorities to export the Egyptian crisis to Gaza, and called for a end to all the "lies, which only serve the Israeli occupation."
 
Since the July 3 ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, who hails from Hamas’s parent movement the Muslim Brotherhood, army-led government has been cracking down on Hamas, shutting down its tunnels which lead from the Sinai into Gaza. Hamas uses these tunnels to transfer goods, weapons and even terrorists.
 
The crackdown on Hamas is part of an Egyptian operation against the many terrorist cells in the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt has blamed Hamas of being involved in teaching Islamists in Egypt how to carry out attacks. Hamas has denied the allegations.
 
Recently, sources in Egypt indicated that now that the Egyptian military has taken care of the Brotherhood by declaring it a terrorist organization, Hamas was next.
 
Abu Zuhri also denied claims made by former Egyptian general Sameh Seif el-Yazal that Sam-7 rockets are being smuggled from Gaza to Sinai. Abu Zuhri highlighted that the weapon is not made in Gaza but in Russia, and is readily available on the black market.
 
An Egyptian journalist recently said that his country should “learn from Israel” and teach Hamas a lesson so that its members “learn what Egypt is worth.”
 
The comments by journalist Muhammad Hassan Al-Alfi were made in an interview on Faraeen TV and were translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Hamas PM: No One Can Call Us a Terror Organization

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 02 January 2014 08:41
Hamas Haniyeh l Islamic Jihads Al-HindiHamas’s Gaza Prime Minister condemned on Tuesday Egypt's designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group last week.
 
Ismail Haniyeh also said that no one could label Hamas as a terrorist organization and snubbed calls by some rival factions for Hamas to sever connections with the Brotherhood.
 
"We reject such a classification for the Muslim Brotherhood group. No one, regardless of its influence, can push Hamas or any of the Palestinian resistance factions to abandon their ideology, abandon their history," Haniyeh was quoted by Reuters as having told reporters.
 
Hamas, founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been seen as a major loser from the July 3 ouster Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who belonged to the Brotherhood.
 
Since Morsi’s ouster, Egypt has been clamping down on the smuggling tunnels which are used to smuggle goods but also arms and terrorists between Gaza and the Sinai.
 
Egypt has also accused Hamas of being involved in terror attacks in the Sinai Peninsula and of teaching Islamists in Egypt how to carry out attacks. Hamas has denied the allegations, and Haniyeh repeated that denial on Tuesday.
 
"We seek to reaffirm that we do not intervene in Egyptian internal affairs. Egypt cannot do without us and we cannot do with Egypt. These historical, geographic and security links can never be severed," Haniyeh said, according to Reuters.
 
“Hamas rejects any attempt by Egypt or any other Arab country to declare Hamas a terrorist organization," he was quoted by NRG/Maariv as saying.

Israel to Allow Diesel into Gaza

Category: News
Created on Monday, 16 December 2013 08:41
Crossing at Kerem ShalomIsrael will allow the import of 450,000 liters of industrial diesel to Gaza on Sunday morning in order to allow the region’s sole power plant to begin working again, an official told the Ma'an news agency on Saturday evening.
 
The president of the committee for the import of goods, Raed Fattouh, confirmed the planned entry of approximately 450,000 liters of industrial diesel on Sunday intended for use at the power station, which has been shut down for lack of fuel since November.
 
Fattouh told Ma'an that the import comes amidst a major deal that would facilitate the extension of working hours at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza for the next week.
 
Fattouh said that the step is "the first of its kind" and will extend working hours at the Kerem Shalom crossing for up to 12 hours a day for the next week, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
 
The decision was made to allow the import of aid and fuel for the residents of Gaza after the devastation caused by this week’s storm to property and agricultural land.
 
Gaza has suffered from power outages for months, and the storm only made things worse. The Hamas government shut down Gaza’s lone power plant on November 1, causing a pump station to flood and sewage to seep into the Mediterranean Sea. Gaza residents have been facing daily power failures of 12 or even 18 hours.
 
Hamas has refused to import Israeli diesel because of taxes imposed by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, which is led by its rival Fatah.
 
Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers constantly claim that the region is under an “Israeli siege”, ignoring the fact that Israel continuously allows humanitarian aid and other materials into Gaza and has approved hundreds of internationally funded and monitored projects in Gaza.
 
Recently, however, it appeared as though Gaza really was under siege, but an Egyptian one and not an Israeli one.
 
Since the Hamas-friendly Egyptian government of Mohammed Morsi was toppled in July, Egypt's military has destroyed hundreds of the tunnels leading into Gaza, sending Gaza's economy on a steep downward spiral.
 
An UNRWA spokesperson quoted by Ma’an on Saturday called large swathes of Gaza a "disaster area," and called for the end of the “crippling blockade” on the coastal enclave.
 
"A community that has been subjected to one of the longest blockades in human history, whose public health system has been destroyed and where the risk of disease was already rife, must be freed from these manmade constraints to deal with the impact of a natural calamity such as this," UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness said.

Hamas Announces Renewed Ties with Iran

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 12:09
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei illustration - ReutersHamas has "resumed" relations with Iran after a temporary falling out over the Syrian conflict, according to AFP.
 
"Relations between Hamas and Iran have resumed," senior official Mahmud al-Zahar told reporters at a Monday news conference in Gaza. 
 
Ties had been "affected by the Syria situation, and Hamas has withdrawn from Syria so that it can't be identified with this or that side," he said. "We've confirmed we are not interfering in the Syrian case, or in any other Arab country."
 
Shia Iran had long supported the Sunni Hamas against Israel, which is viewed as a common enemy. But exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal left his base in Damascus after the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, criticizing President Bashar al-Assad, a key ally of Iran, and moving to the Sunni Gulf state of Qatar.
 
But the Hamas leader made remarks in October of this year supporting the Assad regime and calling for an end in sectarian fighting at a Jerusalem conference. The move was subsequently slammed by powerful rebel group Army of Islam, who denounced Hamas's ties with the Assad ally and claimed that they were trying to restore funding to Gaza by exploiting their position on the conflict. 
 
Media reports indicate that the constant switching of sides has led to a huge decrease in Hamas's funding - especially from Iran. 
 
But Zahar denied there had been a complete severing of ties. "Our relations with Iran were not cut, and we don't wish to cut ties with any Arab countries either, even those that are fighting against us," he said. The latter reference was to Egypt, which has taken a hard line against the Islamist group since the military overthrow of president Mohammed Morsi in July.
 
Hamas is an affiliate of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which has been the target of a massive crackdown in Egypt in recent months that has seen hundreds of Morsi supporters killed and more than 2,000 arrested.
 
Zahar said there was still cooperation with Egypt on getting supplies, including fuel, into the Gaza Strip, but "there is no political contact, because the current (Egyptian) regime is against it."
 
Since July, Egypt's military has destroyed hundreds of tunnels used to bring crucial supplies, including fuel, into the blockaded Strip. It has also launched efforts to stop terror tunnels into Egypt and Israel and battled terror factions in the Sinai desert, angering Gaza officials. 
 
Having initially spoken out against Egypt's new military regime, Hamas has sought to avoid a further deterioration in relations with Cairo.

Gaza Division Commander: Hamas, IDF Cooperate

Category: News
Created on Monday, 02 December 2013 17:19
Gen. Mickey Edelstein FileBrigadier General Mickey Edelstein, head of the IDF's Gaza Division, admitted to Channel 10 to a certain degree of cooperation between the IDF and Hamas.
 
"Hamas is in trouble and now it finds itself isolated," said Edelstein, in conversation with the Gaza residents released Monday on the television network.
 
He stressed that "Leaders of Hamas, both the political and military branches, do everything to maintain restraint." He also claimed that "Hamas soldiers have been prevented from shooting at or mounting charges at the IDF." 
 
"Hamas neutralizes any terrorist attacks against Israel", said the commander of the Gaza Division, "Hamas has become Gaza's cop, but this does not guarantee it will continue to work over time."
 
Edelstein also stated that there is a section of about 100 yards of "no man's land" where the IDF launches its operations, and that the IDF routinely tells Hamas where it is hitting next and requests them to keep the area quiet. Edelstein reports that Hamas complies with those requests. 
 
Edelstein still emphasized, however, that Hamas is a terror organization. "Under the surface, Hamas is still preparing for the next conflict with Israel," he concluded. 
 
Hamas has been facing severe economic shortages since Egypt's pro-Hamas Muslim Brotherhood government toppled earlier this year.
 
The result may have temporarily led to practical cooperation with Israel on some levels - including buying electricity from Israel via the Palestinian Authority and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh sending his granddaughter to Israel for medical care.
 
Despite this, Hamas continues to launch threats against Israel in public, including recent calls for genocide against Israel.  

Gaza in Deep Sewage, under Egyptian Siege

Category: News
Created on Friday, 22 November 2013 09:40
Raw sewage plant in GazaRaw sewage has flooded streets in a southern neighborhood of Gaza City in recent days, threatening a health disaster, writes the New York Times. The reason: cheap diesel fuel can no longer be smuggled in from Egypt, because Egypt's army has shut down the smuggling tunnels that connected Gaza with Sinai.
 
The Hamas government shut down Gaza’s lone power plant on November 1, causing a pump station to flood. Three more sewage stations in Gaza City and 10 others elsewhere in Gaza are close to overflowing, sanitation officials said, and 3.5 million cubic feet of raw sewage is seeping into the Mediterranean Sea daily. "The sanitation department may soon no longer be able to pump drinking water to Gaza homes," writes the Times.
 
Hamas has refused to import Israeli diesel because of taxes imposed by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, which is led by rival terror organization Fatah.
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Gaza's residents now face daily power failures of 12 or even 18 hours. "Businesses have cut back production, hospitals are rationing electricity to keep dialysis and cardiac support systems running…" all because of Egypt's cutting off smuggling, and Hamas' refusal to pay Ramallah taxes.
 
The number of trucks bringing goods, including fuel, into Gaza from Israel has actually increased 18 percent since the ouster in July of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, while the number of Gazans allowed to leave through Israel’s Erez crossing is up nearly 30 percent since July. Exits through Egypt’s Rafah crossing in October, however, were a third of what they had been in January.
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And yet, in reporting on the situation in Gaza, Iran's PressTV succeeded in blaming Israel anyway (see video below).
 
During Morsi's yearlong presidency, Gaza received 30 megawatts directly from Egypt and enough diesel via the tunnels to provide 85 megawatts through its power plant. Gaza is run by Hamas, which is connected to Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood. Besides cracking down on the smuggling tunnels, Egypt has been fighting Islamist terrorists in the Sinai, some of whom came from Gaza.  

Gaza: Terrorist Killed, 4 Injured in 'Work Accident'

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 21 November 2013 07:22
Gaza terrorists manufacturing rockets IllustrationOne Gaza terrorist has been killed, and 4 others wounded, in an accidental blast in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City, according to Ma'an news agency. 
 
Gaza medical sources confirmed to Ma'an that 35-year old Muhammad al-Bahloul died shortly after he was evacuated to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Medics added that four other terrorists sustained minor to moderate injuries.
 
Ma'an also noted hat the explosion was accidental - not the result of an Israeli strike - according to Gaza security forces. 
 
While Ma'an does not provide details about the nature of the explosion, Hamas's website claims that the incident was the result of Jihadist preparations for more terror attacks. 
 
The site stated that al-Bahloul “was martyred after a long bright path of Jihad, hard work, struggle and sacrifice." Hamas also reportedly “reaffirms its commitment and determination to continue the resistance against the belligerent occupation forces.”
 
Hamas recently made public statements vowing to continue building terror tunnels, and claiming that the relative calm is the "best time" to continue preparing to launch a terror war against Israel. 

Hamas Orders: Shoot Protesters 'In the Head'

Category: News
Created on Monday, 28 October 2013 07:18
Hamas officers in GazaHamas has reportedly issued orders to shoot any opposition protesters in the head.
 
Sources in the Palestinian Authority told the Palestine Press news agency on Saturday that the Interior Minister in Hamas’s government in Gaza, Fathi Hamad, has instructed security forces to be tough on any anti-Hamas demonstrator who will take part in a campaign by the opposition scheduled to begin on November 11.
 
According to the report, these instructions to the security forces were given out during a meeting between Hamad and the security forces. The meeting was attended by senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar, and dealt with ways of dealing with the planned mass protests against the Hamas government.
 
During the meeting, Hamad reportedly said, "I want you to shoot in the head any person who comes out against our government. I do not want anyone injured.”
 
According to the sources, it was Al-Zahar, usually known for his extremist views, who explained that Hamad did not mean for security forces to shoot protesters in the head, but rather to act to prevent chaos on the streets of Gaza.
 
The "Tamarod" youth movement in Gaza has called for mass-demonstrations against Hamas on November 11th, on the anniversary of the death of PLO leader Yasser Arafat.
 
"Tamarod" (or "Rebel") is the name of the popular anti-Islamist youth movement which led popular protests against Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in the run up to his removal by the military.
 
Tamarod  calls Hamas a “gang,” slamming it as morally and financially corrupt, and blames the Islamist movement for the imposition of Islamic law on many aspects of Gazan life, corruption, killing innocent people, demolishing mosques, and oppressing the population of Gaza in the name of religion. 
 
In recent months, Hamas security agencies have detained dozens of Fatah-affiliated political activists, accusing them of belonging to Tamarod.

Hamas: Israel Trying to 'Justify the Blockade'

Category: News
Created on Monday, 14 October 2013 11:35
Gaza smuggling tunnel Hamas accused Israel on Sunday of "exaggerating things", after it was made public that IDF soldiers recently discovered a tunnel, built by Gaza terrorists, that led from Gaza to a nearby Israeli community. The 20-meter deep tunnel was lined with the concrete slabs that Israel, giving in to international pressure, had allowed  into Gaza to enable the building of schools and other civilian structures.
 
By talking about the discovery of a tunnel, Israel was "trying to justify the blockade and the continuous aggression on the Gaza Strip," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, according to the BBC.
 
A spokesman for the military wing of Hamas, al-Qassam Brigades, was quoted by the BBC as having said on Twitter that "the minds which manage to dig the tunnel can dig dozens more."
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu commended security forces for discovering the tunnel.
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"I want to commend the IDF for uncovering this tunnel. This is our policy - an aggressive policy against acts of terror, as well as to thwart (attempts), using intelligence operations, pro-active and reactive measures, and of course, Operation Pillar of Defense," he said during Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting.
 
Abu Zuhri also responded to Israel’s decision to temporarily suspend shipments of construction supplies to Gaza through Israeli territory, saying the decision was further proof that the actions taken by the Egyptian military to shut down the smuggling tunnels to Gaza were wrong.
 
Egypt is currently conducting a large-scale campaign to retake control of the Sinai region which has become a hotbed for terrorism. As part of the campaign, the army has taken several steps that have put pressure on Hamas, including destroying many of the smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt and shutting down the border.
 
Egypt is accusing Hamas of being involved in teaching Islamists in Egypt how to carry out attacks. Hamas has denied the allegations.

Hamas: We're Avoiding Confrontation With Israel, But...

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 05 October 2013 13:22
Hamas terroristAbu Ubaida, the spokesman for Hamas’s military wing the Al-Qassam Brigades, said on Thursday that the terror organization is trying to avoid going to battle with Israel in order to avoid the consequences for Gaza residents.
 
At the same time, he said in a recorded message that the 'Hamas resistance' to Israel was in a better condition than ever before in Gaza, and that the group was ready for a confrontation if one is needed.
 
He added that the Al-Qassam Brigades were working in full cooperation with other Palestinian Authority Arab organizations, and that they were being guided by the principle of the "struggle", since one can change history only by using force.
 
Abu Ubaida said that the eyes of the people were on the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and on various spots where prisoners from the Palestinian Authority are held by Israel. He expressed the confidence of Hamas forces to deal with the Egyptian army's destruction of the smuggling tunnels in the Rafiah area.
 
The Egyptian army, in addition to cracking down on terrorists in the restive Sinai Peninsula, has also been applying pressure on Hamas, which is blamed by Egypt for being involved in teaching Islamists in Egypt how to carry out attacks. Hamas has denied the allegations.
 
Abu Ubaida’s message, coupled with a show of force, were not only intended for Israel but for rebels who are trying to bring the Hamas government down.

Egyptian Government Issues Stern Warning to Hamas

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 26 September 2013 10:53
Nabil Fahmy
 
Egypt's foreign minister yesterday issued a warning to Hamas,  in yet another sign of hostility towards the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamist movement which rules Gaza.
 
In an interview with the pan-Arab Al Hayat newspaper Nabil Fahmy said that his government would react harshly "if we feel that elements within Hamas or other parties are trying to attack Egyptian national security." 
 
He insisted, however that such a response would include "military and security choices and not options that would cause Palestinian citizens to suffer."
 
His comments were made as he attended the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.
 
Tensions between Egypt and Hamas seriously deteriorated since the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi. Hamas - an offshoot of the brotherhood - is viewed with suspicion at best and outright hostility at worse by the Brotherhood's opponents, including the current interim government.
 
Officials have openly accused Hamas of contributing to the unrest in their country, claiming that the group has colluded with local Islamist terrorist cells to carry out attacks on Egyptian security forces, a claim Hamas strongly denies. Despite that denial, Egyptian forces claim to have killed a number of "Hamas fighters" in the restive Sinai Peninsula, and have been cracking down hard on the smuggling tunnel industry between Sinai and the Gaza Strip which fuels much of Hamas' economy.
 
Also during the interview, Fahmi said that US-Egyptian relations were "troubled," and that he had made it clear to US Secretary of State John Kerry that threats of suspending US aid to Egypt will have no "influence" on the new army-installed authorities.
 
During his prolonged UNGA address last night, US President Barack Obama said that his administration had "purposely avoided choosing sides" after Morsi was overthrown, but warned that "our support will depend upon Egypt's progress in pursuing a democratic path."
 
That noncommittal approach to Morsi's ouster - refusing to label it a "coup" and cut off aid to the army on the one hand, but criticizing the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood on the other - has earned the Obama administration enemies on both sides of the conflict there.

Flotilla Group IHH Slams Egypt for Gaza Suffering

Category: News
Created on Monday, 23 September 2013 10:24
Flotilla TerroristsAn international anti-Israel group that has sponsored several flotillas to Gaza is now taking aim at Egypt, accusing the new government there of imposing a blockade on the area.
 
Since the deposing of President Mohammed Morsi by the Egyptian army, Egyptian soldiers have cracked down hard on the Muslim Brotherhood - arresting scores, including most of the movement's leadership, routing Islamists in Egypt's large cities and pursuing them into the Sinai Peninsula. At the same time, they have taken steps to prevent entry of Gazan Arabs – who are largely supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood – into the Sinai region.
 
As a result, the Turkish IHH (Humanitarian Relief Foundation) group that organized the Gaza flotillas, including the infamous 2010 flotilla in which Hamas supporters and terrorists attempt to murder IDF soldiers, has turned its focus onto Egypt. In a report on the situation in Gaza, the group - which is itself an Islamist organization - said that Egypt has embarked on a campaign of “collective punishment” against Gaza residents. With Israel preventing the approach of flotilla ships to Gaza as part of the IDF's military blockade of the Strip, Egypt has an obligation to “open the Rafiah passage for free transit of individuals and merchandise, and especially for fuel.”
 
Egypt has in recent weeks not only closed that passage, but also destroyed dozens of smuggling tunnels used by Gazan Arabs to bring merchandise and weapons into the Hamas-run territory. On Sunday, an Egyptian Army spokesperson said that the army had destroyed between 80% and 90% of the smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Sinai. The spokesperson said that the U.S. had supplied Egypt with special equipment to detect the tunnels, and that Egypt and Israel had cooperated on the matter to a certain extent.
 
“The matter was arranged in the security councils that discuss cooperation between the two sides,” the spokesperson said.
 
IHH spokesperson Zahir Birawi said that Egypt's actions were “worrying. Anyone who identifies with the Palestinian cause must immediately contact Egyptian government offices around the world and demand that they relieve the blockade of Gaza and halt this collective punishment.”

Egypt Finds Evidence of Hamas Involvement in Sinai Terror

Category: News
Created on Monday, 16 September 2013 12:34
Hamas terrorists in GazaEgypt's armed forces have seized a stockpile of anti-aircraft missiles in the Sinai, military spokesman Ahmed Ali said in a press conference on Sunday.
 
The spokesman also said the army will continue operations in Sinai until “terrorism” is defeated, according to a report in Al Arabiya.
 
“Egypt’s national security has been under a threat because of the situation in Sinai,” Ali declared, adding that security will be restored under a development plan in the region.
 
The Egyptian armed forces have launched large scale military operations against terrorists in Sinai in an attempt to suppress the insurgency which erupted in the peninsula after the army overthrew Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi on July 3.
 
The military spokesman said the armed forces seized a stock of weapons in Sinai and arrested 309 people involved in recent violence. Two explosive devices under a control tower on the border with Gaza were also found, he said, according to Al Arabiya.
 
“We also seized military uniforms which were used by Hamas,” Ali said, adding that the army recently destroyed more than 154 tunnels on the border with Gaza.
 
He added that the military confiscated a number of munitions, including hand grenades bearing the stamp of the Ezzeddin Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military arm.
 
He noted there was “cooperation between armed and terrorist organizations and their counterpart in the Gaza Strip.”
 
In addition to cracking down on Sinai terrorism, the interim Egyptian government has also been applying pressure on Gaza’s Hamas rulers. The Egyptian army has bombed smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza, has created a buffer zone, and has battled terrorist “fishermen” who try to leave Gaza waters.
 
Egypt accuses Hamas, which enjoyed close relations with Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood of which it is an offshoot, of being involved in teaching Islamists in Egypt how to carry out attacks. Hamas has denied the allegations.
 
Hamas also denied Sunday’s accusations made by the Egyptian army's spokesman.
 
In a statement published on the information office website of the movement, the group described the claims as “lies and fabrications.”

Hamas: We Didn't Train Egyptian Islamists

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 15 September 2013 08:46
Hamas militantsHamas rejected on Thursday a report that aired on Egyptian state television and which said that the Gaza-based terror group has been involved in teaching Islamists in Egypt how to plant bombs in cars and that it had given them landmines.
 
“This is completely incorrect,” Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for Hamas which controls Gaza, said, according to Reuters.
 
Barhoum claimed that the report was an “attempt to demonize Hamas”.
 
Hamas is an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. It enjoyed close ties to Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and has been “feeling the heat” from Egypt's new army-backed leadership, which deposed Morsi in July.
 
The Sinai has become increasingly lawless since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, and the terror attacks have only increased since Morsi’s removal.
 
Egypt’s army has been engaging in a military offensive against Sinai terrorists and, last weekend at least 10 Islamist terrorists were killed as the army launched an air and ground assault in the Sinai.
 
Twin car bomb blasts on Wednesday targeting Egypt's army killed at least six soldiers in Rafah on the border with Gaza.
 
Egypt has been clamping down on the smuggling tunnels which are used to smuggle goods but also arms and terrorists between Gaza and the Sinai.
 
On Thursday, as it continues to crack down on terrorists, it was reported that two Egyptian army tanks have crossed an initial border fence leading to Gaza for the first time on.
 
The Hamas administration in Gaza neither confirmed nor denied the incursion, only commenting that no Egyptian tanks had actually entered the Gaza Strip itself.

Hamas to Egypt: Reopen the Border Crossing

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 22 August 2013 19:02
Rafiah border closed
Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers urged Egypt on Wednesday to reopen the border crossing with Gaza that was closed after Islamist terrorists killed 25 Egyptian security personnel in northern Sinai earlier this week.
 
The officers were killed as they were travelling in two buses which came under attack from armed men close to the town of Rafiah, on the Gaza border. As a result of the attack, Egypt closed down the Rafiah crossing between the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza.
 
Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, enjoyed close ties to Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and has been “feeling the heat” from Egypt's new army-backed leadership, which deposed Morsi last month.
 
Cairo accused Hamas of interfering in Egyptian affairs and encouraging the terrorist activity in the lawless Sinai.
 
The Egyptian army has also clamped down on the smuggling tunnels which are used to transfer goods, weapons and even terrorists between the Sinai and Gaza.
 
"The Palestinian people, the people of Gaza, must not pay the price for any problems or differences inside Egypt," Ghazi Hamad, deputy foreign minister of the Hamas-run government said, according to Reuters.
 
"Gaza people have enough problems. This crossing should be named the crossing of humiliation and not Rafiah," Mai Jarada, a business student in Tunisia who attended a wedding in Gaza and now cannot leave the territory, told Reuters.
 
At a news conference on Wednesday, Hamad rejected accusations by some Egyptian officials that Hamas had intervened on Morsi's behalf during violence in Egypt.
 
If the tension with the Egyptian army has not been enough, the new Gaza branch of the group Tamarod has continued broadcasting messages against the Hamas leadership. “Tamarod” (“Rebel”) is the name of the popular anti-Islamist youth movement which led popular protests against Morsi in the run up to his removal by the military; its Gaza branch has focused on ousting the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Hamas.
 
The group has released a statement accusing Hamas of murder, torture, bribes and smuggling. “Those who carry resistance fighters’ rifles must stop also pointing those rifles at their own people,” the group accused.

Egypt Captures Over 100 Terrorists in Sinai

Category: News
Created on Friday, 09 August 2013 08:02
Egyptian soldiersEgyptian military forces have captured over 100 Islamist terrorists in recent days – one third of them from Gaza. All were carrying phony Egyptian identity cards. They were arrested in northern Sinai, near Gaza, with some arrested south of Eilat.
 
The false identity cards were probably produced in Gaza, Egyptian officials said, using machinery that had been smuggled into Gaza through underground smuggling tunnels, with the tacit approval of Egyptian authorities. Now, the machinery is being used to manufacture ID cards for use in Sinai and Egypt.
 
The Islamists, many of whom belong to Al Qaeda and affiliated groups, and have been charged with rioting and fomenting violence during thr recent upheavals in Egypt. Several also are said to have participated in attacks on Egyptian security agents.
 
Last month, Egypt requested permission to send thousands of soldiers to Sinai, in order to battle Islamist groups that have ensconced themselves there after fleeing Egypt's major cities. According to the Camp David Accords, in which Israel surrendered Sinai, liberated in the Six Day War, to Egypt, only police and other peace officers are allowed in Sinai without the permission of Israel and the U.S., also a signatory of the agreement. That tenet of the Accords essentially demilitarized Sinai, although Egypt has several times in the past sent in army troops to deal with specific security situations.
 
Currently there are more Egyptian troops in Sinai than since the Yom Kippur War, and their mission is to clamp down on Islamists, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups, who have fled Cairo and Alexandria since the deposing of former president Mohammed Morsi.

First Time Since 6-Day War: Egypt Helicopter Over Gaza

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 17 July 2013 08:20
Apache helicopterarmy officer died and five soldiers were wounded Wednesday in ongoing battles with Arab terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula.
 
With the agreement of Israel, Egypt has increased its military presence in Sinai in order to fight the rising terrorist presence in the region, including an AH-64-D Apache helicopter to be deployed in the eastern Sinai Peninsula.
 
Egyptian helicopter over Gaza
 
An Egyptian military helicopter that flew over Gaza on July 12  for the first time since the 1967 Six Day War. That same day, an Egyptian military officer was killed and another was wounded in an attack by terrorists firing heavy weapons on a security checkpoint in El Arish, Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported.
 
According to Palestinian Authority sources quoted by the World Tribune, the Egyptian Air Force sent the attack helicopter into Gaza to fly low over Khan Younis, Rafiah and other areas, scanning the tunnels and border area. The 2:30 a.m. flight, which lasted nearly an hour, was confirmed by both Israeli and Egyptian security sources, but attributed to a navigational error, according to the report.  
 
Terrorists attacked Egyptian military personnel on Wednesday using mobile anti-aircraft rockets and machine guns in assaults on three army camps near the border with Gaza, according to the pan-Arab Al Arabiya television network.
 
Loud explosions and the sounds of gunfire was heard near the border town of Rafiah, sources told reporters, as Islamist extremists have advanced their efforts to seize control of the region since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak in January 2011.
 
Since the June 30 coup d’etat that recently also unseated former Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohamed Morsi, the attacks have spiraled further against military and security positions. At least 13 people have died in the violence, Al Arabiya reported.
 
Islamist terrorists have also upped their attacks against Egypt's Coptic Christian community, which makes up around 10% of the Egyptian population. Attacks on Egyptian Christians have included the assassination of a priest and beheading of a Christian hostage last week, as well as arson attacks against churches and Christian-owned homes.

Israel Keeping a Close Eye on Egypt Govt. Troubles

Category: News
Created on Friday, 28 June 2013 13:49
Protesters wear masks of Morsi and other Egyptian leaders -AFPAs gas and electricity shortages mount in Egypt, millions are expected to take to the streets this weekend to demand the resignation of the administration of Mohammed Morsi. In response, Islamist supporters of Morsi are preparing for battle, forming “vigilante justice groups” to deal with lawbreakers who “threaten state facilities” and “incite violence,” Egyptian media reports said.
 
June 30, the scheduled date for the largest protest, to take place in Cairo's Tahrir Square, is the one year anniversary of Morsi's inauguration. Since then, protesters say, the Egyptian economy has gone from bad to worse. The increasing influence of Islamic fundamentalism inspired by Morsi, the leader of a party associated with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, has done an excellent job of keeping tourists away from Egypt, denying the country one of its most important sources of hard currency.
 
Meanwhile, the lack of income has prevented the country from buying enough of a wide range of commodities, from oil to flour. As a result, shortages of nearly every basic item have become endemic in the nation of more than 80 million inhabitants.
 
Morsi and his ministers have given reasons for all the shortages, mostly blaming them on bureaucratic snafus. In a speech Wednesday night, Morsi appealed for calm, saying that if parties felt that he was not the right man for the job, they should form a new coalition that will oust him. Morsi said, however, that no violence will be tolerated, and that he had instructed security forces to “take all steps to defend the country” from the violence of protesters.
 
Israeli officials were watching the situation in Egypt closely, out of concern that the tensions between Islamists and their opposition groups could break out in violent clashes in Palestinian Authority-controlled cities.
 
In many PA cities, especially in Samaria, Hamas, closely associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, is far more popular than Fatah, although the institutions are controlled by Fatah member bureaucrats. Given the ongoing tension between the two PA terror groups, “it's possible that the feud, which is always boiling under the surface, could come to the fore, with violence breaking out between the groups. That's exactly what happened in Gaza,” said one Israeli defense official.

Islamic Jihad Cuts Off Ties with Hamas

Category: News
Created on Monday, 24 June 2013 07:04
Hamas terrorists in GazaThe Islamic Jihad terrorist group in Gaza announced on Sunday that it was temporarily suspending ties with Hamas, which rules the region, accusing Gaza authorities of being responsible for the death of one of the group's members.
 
According to the Ma’an news agency, Raed Qassim Jundeyeih, a member of Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Brigades, died on Sunday after being shot a day earlier by Hamas police officers.
 
Police had gone to an address in Gaza City on Saturday to deliver summons orders to a member of the Jundeyeih family, reported Ma’an. Upon approaching the home, members of the family opened fire at the officers and Jundeyeih was wounded in the ensuing gunfight.
 
He died from his injuries on Sunday.
 
Islamic Jihad told Ma'an that members affiliated with Hamas were responsible for the death, describing Jundeyeih's death as a "favor" for Israel, whether intentional or not.
 
Tensions further increased after a member of Islamic Jihad was hit by a jeep driven by a Hamas member during the funeral procession of Jundeyeih, reported the news agency.
 
Islamic Jihad said that Jundeyeih was wanted by Israeli authorities for being the head of a rocket-firing unit.
 
"Despite losing this great martyr, our only option remains to resist our common enemy which is the Zionist enemy and the powers of injustice that support it," the group added, according to Ma’an.
 
Hamas rules Gaza with an iron fist but often gets into rows with some of the other groups in the region, most notably the radical Salafists, who have challenged the movement both over confrontations with Israel and the practice of Islamic rule, prompting it to crack down on them.

Hamas and Hizbullah Helped Egypt's Morsi Escape from Prison

Category: News
Created on Monday, 24 June 2013 06:53
Mohamed Mursi, is he going back to jial? - Reuters
An Egyptian court said on Sunday that the Hamas rulers of Gaza and Lebanon’s Hizbullah terrorist group helped prisoners, including current President Mohammed Morsi, escape during the 2011 uprising.
 
AFP reported that the head of the court in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya asked the state prosecutor to investigate the circumstances of the January 2011 breakout from the Wadi Natrun prison, northwest of the capital.
 
He said that the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group from which Morsi hails, had organized the escape with members of Hamas and Hizbullah, according to AFP.
 
The court also called on the state prosecutor to ask Interpol to circulate an arrest warrant for Sami Shihab, a Hizbullah official who had been convicted of plotting attacks in Egypt and who was serving a prison sentence at Wadi Natrun before escaping, along with members of Hamas.
 
Morsi said at the time that there had been no need for he and 33 other members of the Brotherhood to escape as the people "opened the doors" for them, noted the report.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood is Hamas’s parent movement. According to some reports, the Brotherhood-led Egyptian government mediated secret talks between Israel and Hamas after the end of the counterterrorism Operation Pillar of Defense.
 
There have been some recent tensions between Hamas the government in Cairo, as Egypt began a crackdown on Gaza's underground tunnel system, which is used to smuggle goods – but also weapons and terrorists – into Gaza.
 
Hamas demanded that if Egypt was going to shut down the tunnels, it should open a commercial border crossing to Gaza on a permanent basis instead.
 
As for Hizbullah, Morsi last week called on the group to leave Syria, where it has been fighting alongside troops loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad.
 
Morsi made the comments as he announced that Egypt has cut diplomatic ties with Damascus and has ordered the Syria's embassy in Cairo to be closed.

Hamas Bans Co-Ed Schools, Christians Concerned

Category: Islam
Created on Saturday, 22 June 2013 17:00
StudentsA new law passed by the Hamas government in Gaza banning co-ed schools has left many Christians fearful that their schools are in danger of closure, according to the Beirut-based Al-Akhbar daily.
 
The new law, which mandates gender segregation in all schools, also bans men from teaching at girls’ schools. The law will likely force Christian educational institutions to close their doors to Muslim and Christian students alike, reported the newspaper.
 
Samer Badra, financial director of the Patriarchate Schools in Gaza, told Al-Akhbar, “Implementing the new education law will force Gaza’s Christian institutions to build new facilities and hire new employees to comply with the articles. That is something that the modest budget of our church-affiliated non-profit educational institutions cannot afford.”
 
Badra stressed that the idea of gender segregation goes against the Patriarchate’s mission to teach students to co-exist and respect the opposite sex.
 
Badra goes on to mention that the law will have dire consequences for freedom of belief, “straining the relationship between Muslims and Christians, which was not tarnished in any way after the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip.”
 
Senior Christian clergy are set to meet with Hamas’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to reach a solution satisfactory to both parties, reported Al-Akhbar.
 
Mutassim Minawi, director of public relations at Gaza’s education ministry, told the newspaper that the ministry “did not intend to harm” Christian citizens of Gaza.
 
“We are only an administrative arm that has to abide by the law passed by the Legislative Council,” he said.
 
He pointed out that education minister Osama al-Muzaini “is not going to implement the law in one swoop and it will not be imposed by force.”
 
Minawi argued that “the Gaza Strip’s culture is conservative and does not favor gender mixing. The majority of Palestinians in Gaza praised the law and only leftist parties criticized it.”
 
Several months ago, Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers took another step towards the implementation of strict Islamic sharia law in the region by introducing a strict dress code for female students at the Al-Aqsa University.
 
A letter distributed to students in November stated that all students should wear “modest clothing” on campus.
 
Since violently taking over Gaza in 2007, Hamas has enforced a stringent interpretation of Islamic law in Gaza. The terror group has banned women and teenagers from smoking hookahs in public, ordered that women's clothing stores are not allowed to have dressing rooms, men cannot have hairdressing salons for women and that mannequins shaped like women must be dressed in modest clothing.
 
Last year the Hamas government banned residents of Gaza from participating in the national reality singing show “New Star”, which follows the same format as popular U.S. shows “American Idol” and “The X-Factor.”
 
Hamas claimed the program was “indecent,” adding it contradicts the customs and traditions of the Gaza community.

Gaza Terror 'Summer Camps' Back for Another 'Successful' Season

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 13 June 2013 08:35
Terror Summer Camps Once again, terror groups in Gaza will be holding “summer camps” for children and youth ages 6 through 16, further indoctrinating them with hatred of Israel and Jews. The camps, sponsored and paid for by Islamic Jihad, will run throughout the summer, and are free for all campers.
 
Most summer camps teach kids skills like camping and swimming, but the Islamic Jihad summer camps specialize in teaching terror tactics, including how to throw rocks and firebombs for maximum effect, how to properly choose victims, how to assemble a firebomb, and how to survive in desert conditions while hiding from the IDF.
 
The curriculum also stresses religious belief, and the need for Muslims to conduct a Jihad against Israel and the West. It's expected that the best “campers” will eventually be recruited to the ranks of Islamic Jihad or other terror organizations.
 
A spokesperson for the group, Daoud Shibab, said that Islamic Jihad “is training the next generation of Palestinians to defend themselves and their people from Israeli attacks.” Training, he said, includes “teaching first aid, civil defense, personal defense skills, leadership skills, and avoiding depression.” In addition, he said, the camps will conduct “military-style training maneuvers.”

Hamas, Egypt Maintaining Gaza Quiet

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 04 May 2013 11:15
Hamas terrorists in GazaDespite occasional rocket attacks in recent weeks, signs point to Hamas seeking quiet in Gaza for the foreseeable future, according to Arutz Sheva analyst Kobi Finkler.
 
The latest evidence is the quiet that followed Israel’s assassination of a senior Gaza terrorist. The IAF killed terrorist weapons expert Haitham Ziyad al-Mishal in a rocket strike.
 
While previous such operations have been met with Hamas threats and instant rocket attacks, Mishal’s death passed in relative silence.
 
Another sign of Hamas’ plans is its transfer of many members of its armed forces from the front lines of anti-Israel terrorism to internal enforcement of Hamas rule. Hamas members are increasingly sent to shut down demonstrations in Gaza and enforce civil law.
 
Hamas has also taken an active role in preventing Gaza residents from entering the no-man’s zone near the Gaza security barrier, as per the understandings reached at the end of Operation Pillar of Defense.
 
Egypt has been investing in maintaining the peace as well. Egyptian soldiers have taken pains to prevent weapons and other unauthorized items from reaching Gaza, and even arrested a senior weapons dealer recently. The weapons dealer was released after Gaza terrorist leaders gave guarantees that he would abide by Egyptian regulations.
 
Egypt has also been cooperating with Israel, and two senior Egyptian military commanders recently visited southern Israel to speak to their IDF counterparts about the situation in the region.
 
Egypt has a strong interest in controlling terrorism in Gaza due to its desire to maintain quiet in the nearby Sinai. Gaza terrorists have previously launched attacks against Israel from Sinai, and some groups have launched attacks targeting Egyptian soldiers.

Gaza Terrorists Fire Two Rockets at Israel

Category: News
Created on Friday, 19 April 2013 07:52
Katyusha rocketTerrorists from Hamas-controlled Gaza fired two rockets at southern Israel on Thursday evening.
 
The rockets exploded in an open area of the Eshkol Regional Council, causing no physical injuries or damages.
 
On Wednesday morning, the Color Red rocket alert siren blared throughout the city of Eilat shortly after 9 a.m. It is believed that terrorists fired three rockets at the city. No casualties were reported.
 
A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said the rocket fire had been traced to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, a region which has become a hotbed of terrorist activity since the fall in 2011 of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.    
 
A Salafi jihadist group, the Mujahedeen Shura Council, later claimed responsibility for the attack.

UN Warns Libyan Weapons Spreading to Gaza, Syria

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 11 April 2013 07:50
Rebels Control Chemical FactoryA United Nations panel says weaponry from Libya is spreading across North Africa to Gaza and Syria “at an alarming rate.”
 
The five-expert committee said in a 94-page report sent Tuesday to the U.N. Security Council that illegal transfers of arms from Libya to armed groups and terrorists have been proven. 
 
The arms trafficking violations involved more than 12 countries and included light and heavy ordnance, such as portable air defense systems, mines, explosive materials, ammunition and small arms.
 
The panel made 28 visits to 15 nations in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Ten of those visits were within Libya alone, The Washington Post reported.
 
“Libya has over the past two years become a significant and attractive source of weaponry in the region,” since the fall of 41-year Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011," the report said. “The lack of an effective security system remains one of the primary obstacles to securing military materiel and controlling the borders.”
 
Last November, Cairo blocked two arms shipments to Gaza from Libya, with security forces arresting smugglers as they intercepted a large weapons shipment headed for Sinai from Libya. The move followed the ceasefire agreement that ended Operation Pillar of Defense against Gaza terrorist rocket fire on southern Israel.
 
The areas into which Libyan arms have flowed included West Africa, the Levant “and potentially even the Horn of Africa,” the report noted. “Illicit flows from the country are fueling existing conflicts in Africa and the Levant and enriching the arsenals of a range of non-state actors, including terrorist groups.” 
 
The panel also warned that armed terrorist groups in Libya, who it said are the best financed, are strengthening their position.
 
“The lack of political and security stability, the continuing absence of control over stockpiles by the national authorities and delays in disarmament and weapons collections encourage illicit trading and have generated considerable money-making opportunities for traffickers,” the report said.
 
On September 11, 2012, Al Qaeda terrorists attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, torching the compound and murdering four American diplomats, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. For more than six months prior to the attack, Stevens and other diplomats on the team repeatedly had urged the State Department to beef up defenses at the Consulate, warning the security situation in Libya had deteriorated. Their pleas were ignored.
 
British officials warned UK citizens in January of this year to leave the area immediately due to a concrete terrorist threat as well. An advisory by the British Foreign Office has already been in effect against trips to Benghazi and most of the rest of the country since last September following the Al Qaeda attack on the U.S. Consulate.
 
Likewise, Italy closed its consulate in eastern Libya in January for similar reasons. 
 
"The Italian government has temporarily suspended activity at the consulate in Benghazi for security reasons. The staff will return to Italy in the next few hours," the ministry said in a statement. Consul Guido De Sanctis's bullet-proof car came under fire in the latest of a series of attacks targeting foreign missions and security officials. The consul escaped unharmed.

Israel Launches First Air Strike Against Gaza Since Truce

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 09:24
FileIsrael launched its first airstrike on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday since the Egyptian-mediated truce ended November’s eight-day bout of fighting.
 
“Occupation planes bombarded an open area in northern Gaza, there were no wounded,” the Hamas Interior Ministry said in a statement.
 
An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed there had been a strike in Gaza, but gave no further details.
 
The airstrike came in response to the firing of a projectile from Gaza, which exploded on Tuesday in an open area of southern Israel’s Eshkol region. The explosion did not cause any injuries.
 
The IDF said it did not immediately know if the projectile was a mortar shell or a rocket.
 
Earlier on Tuesday, a mortar fired from Gaza and aimed at Israel failed to cross the border and reach its intended destination.
 
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the projectiles.
 
Israel launched the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense in November in an effort to root out the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza and bring about the end of the unremitting rocket attacks that had been launched against the Jewish state.
 
Israel carried out a series of targeted and highly surgical operations in order target the terrorists responsible for the attacks, all the while avoiding civilian casualties at all costs.

Haniyeh in Cairo to Bemoan 'Israeli Truce Violations'

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 31 March 2013 20:44
Haniyeh celebrates Morsis victoryHamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya traveled to Cairo on Saturday to discuss complaints of the terrorist movement regarding Israel's compliance with the truce brokered by Egypt following November’s Operation Pillar of Defense.
 
Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu said Haniya would be discussing "Israeli violations of the truce," the AFP news agency reported.
 
Last week, Hamas complained to Egypt that Israel was not keeping its end of the bargain after a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip led to Israel suspending part of the truce agreement by cutting access to fishing waters of the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing.
 
Nunu also said that the Gaza premier would be discussing "the problem of (Palestinian) prisoners (held by Israel) and Hamas-Egypt relations,” according to AFP.
 
Ties between Hamas and Cairo have been tense after Egyptian forces closed down dozens of smuggling tunnels on the Gaza border.
 
Haniya will also seek to "clear the air" after Egyptian allegations of Hamas involvement in a deadly attack on Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula last year, Hamas sources said.
 
Reconciliation efforts between Hamas and the Fatah faction of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas are also expected to be on the agenda.
 
Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense in an effort to root out the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza and bring about an end to the unremitting rocket attacks that have been launched against the Jewish state.
 
Israel carried out a series of targeted and highly surgical operations in order target the terrorists responsible for the attacks, all the while avoiding civilian casualties at all costs.

After Israeli Apology, Erdogan Plans Gaza Visit

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 24 March 2013 19:28
ErdoganA day after Israel apologized to Turkey over the Mavi Marmara incident, its Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Saturday that he will visit Gaza.
 
 “I may eventually visit Gaza and the West Bank in April. This visit would take place in the context of a general effort to contribute to the resolution process,” Erdogan told reporters, according to a report in the Turkish daily Hurriyet.
 
Hamas’s Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, had already announced on Friday that Erdogan would visit Gaza in the near future, the report said.
 
Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu had confirmed that "Recep Tayyip Erdogan will soon visit the Gaza Strip where he will meet with Prime Minister (Haniyeh)," according to the Hurriyet.
 
Nunu reportedly said that Erdogan had called Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal "to tell him Israel had accepted Turkey's conditions: apologies for the murder of the Turkish militants, recognition of (Israel's) responsibility and the lifting of the embargo.”
 
Erdogan also said that the reconciliation with Israel and the prospect of a resolution of the conflict between Hamas and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s rival Fatah party could accelerate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s fall.
 
According to the Hurriyet, Erdogan emphasized the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Binymain Netanyahu had used the word “apology” and not “regret” in the formal document, adding that the statement was issued in accordance with Turkey’s expectations.
 
He explained that after Netanyahu’s phone call, they had agreed that the first statement would come from Israel.
 
“In the end the United States made it public, then Israel confirmed and we announced that we accepted the apology,” he said, adding that Israel had shown willingness to issue an apology and compensation in the past but that Turkey had insisted on the abolishment of the Gaza blockade.
 
At the same the Turkish leader was cautious regarding the restoration of diplomatic ties by the appointment of ambassadors. 
 
“We will see what will be put into practice during the process. If they move forward in a promising way, we will make our contribution. Then, there would be an exchange of ambassadors,” he said, adding that the amount of the compensation would be determined by the competent bodies.
 
"We took a stand but we managed to resolve the process without being [overly] intractable," he concluded. "We are at the beginning of a process of elevating Turkey to a position so that it will again have a say, initiative and power, as it did in the past."
 
On Friday, Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan for the 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, during which nine Turks were killed after they attacked IDF soldiers who boarded the Mavi Marmara which attempted to break the naval blockade on Gaza.
 
Netanyahu, in addition to the apology, has reportedly agreed to compensate the families of the nine Turks who were killed and to ease some of the restrictions on Gaza.
 
Erdogan, for his part, has promised to cancel the legal proceedings his country launched against IDF officials, including former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, and stop his constant verbal attacks against Israel.
 
On Saturday night, Netanyahu explained in his Facebook page why he chose to apologize to Erdogan, saying that the deteriorating situation in Syria was the main reason.
 
"After three years of a disconnect in Israeli-Turkish relations," he wrote, "I decided that this is the time to rebuild them."
 
The reparation of relations between Israel and Turkey was hailed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as a vital factor in developing peace and stability in the Middle East.

Hamas Gives 'Zionist Collaborators' Month to Repent

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 17:00
Hamas militantsHamas rulers in Gaza launched a month-long campaign on Tuesday urging alleged Arab "collaborators" with Israel to turn themselves in as a means of being granted leniency.
 
"We announce the opening of the door to repentance for remaining collaborators and for all those who have fallen into the traps set by the enemy's intelligence services," interior ministry spokesman Islam Shahwan told reporters, according to the AFP news agency.
 
"We urge them to return to the bosom of their people and their families," he said, noting that the offer of clemency was open until April 11.
 
Under Palestinian law, collaboration with Israel is punishable by death.
 
All execution orders must be approved by the Palestinian Authority before they can be carried out, but Hamas no longer recognizes the legitimacy of incumbent PA Chairman Mahmud Abbas, whose four-year term ended in 2009.
 
Following the recent November conflict, Hamas announced the creation of a committee to examine the "unlawful executions" of Arabs accused of spying for Israel.
 
Seven people were gunned down after being accused of being collaborators.
 
The bodies of six of them were dragged behind vehicles through the streets of Gaza City.
 
The killings were claimed by Hamas terrorists from the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades and notes were pinned to the bodies reading: "Al-Qassam Brigades announces the execution of the traitors," according to AFP. 

Gaza Terrorists Open Fire at Southern Israel

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 02 March 2013 12:06
Guardium unmanned ground vehicle patrols Gaza borderFor the first since the end of the IDF’s Pillar of Defense counterterrorism operation, Gaza-based terrorists opened fire on Friday afternoon towards the Shaar Hanegev region in southern Israel.
 
No one was hurt but a military vehicle belonging to a commander of the IDF’s Gaza Division sustained damage.
 
While Friday’s incident was the first time since November that shots were fired from Gaza towards Israel, it marks the second time in less than a week that Gaza terrorists have violated the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement with Israel that was reached at the end of Operation Pillar of Defense.
 
On Tuesday morning, Gaza terrorists fired rockets towards southern Israel. One rocket hit the city of Ashkelon, but did not cause injury. A second rocket apparently hit an open field near the city.
 
Residents said they had no warning of the impending strike.
 
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is affiliated with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the attack.
 
The rocket fired was an upgraded M-75.
 
Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, sent an urgent letter to the UN Security Council and to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday night, hours after the rockets were fired, asking that they condemn the incident.
 
"Israel considers Hamas as being responsible for all attacks coming from Gaza,” Prosor wrote. "No country would allow to play Russian roulette with the lives of its citizens. You must condemn this blatant violation of the ceasefire, which could lead to escalation.”

Gaza University to Implement 'Modest' Dress Code for Females

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 05 February 2013 17:32
Hijabs for saleGaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers have taken another step towards the implementation of strict Islamic sharia law in the region.
 
The latest step is introducing a strict dress code for female students at the Al-Aqsa University, Arab affairs expert Dalit Halevi reports.
 
A letter distributed to students in November stated that all students should wear “modest clothing” on campus.
 
Al-Aqsa University president Salam al-Agha told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency last week that the code, which is set to be implemented when the new semester begins, does not require the jilbab (full-length coat) or niqab (face-veil), but rather what he described as dress befitting of the university.
 
He told Ma’an students would not be expelled for violations of the dress code.
 
Al-Agha said the code would be implemented by persuasion, and staff would give lectures on appropriate dress, including loose clothes, long jackets, and wide trousers.
 
He said that 97 percent of female students already dress appropriately, but the dress code was implemented to ensure all students dress properly to avoid attracting male desire.
 
Nevertheless, the decision has caused outrage among Palestinian Authority officials. Ali Jarbawi, PA Minister of Higher Education, issued an official response to the university's announcement, labeling the decision "illegal, and therefore null and unenforceable," according to Ma’an.
 
There is no system in place to define what constitutes "modest dress", Jarbawi said, adding that Article 11 of the Palestinian Basic Law specifically guarantees personal and public freedoms, which would overrule the decision by the Board of Al-Aqsa University.
 
Although the university enjoys financial, academic and administrative independence, it cannot implement policies which contradict the Basic Law, Jarbawi added.
 
One third-year student at the university told Ma'an, "If I had known before that the university would impose Islamic dress, I would not have registered here in the beginning."
 
The Cultural and Information Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization, headed by Hanan Ashrawi, slammed the university’s decision as being Taliban-like.
 
A statement from the department quoted by Al-Monitor said that the decision violates both human rights and Islamic teachings.
 
Since violently taking over Gaza in 2007, Hamas has enforced a stringent interpretation of Islamic law in Gaza. The terror group has banned women and teenagers from smoking hookahs in public, ordered that women's clothing stores are not allowed to have dressing rooms, men cannot have hairdressing salons for women and that mannequins shaped like women must be dressed in modest clothing.
 
Last year the Hamas government banned residents of Gaza from participating in the national reality singing show “New Star”, which follows the same format as popular U.S. shows “American Idol” and “The X-Factor.”
 
Hamas claimed the program was “indecent,” adding it contradicts the customs and traditions of the Gaza community.

Israel at UN: Mali Threatens France? Gaza's in our Living Room

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 24 January 2013 20:11
French military vehicle in MaliAs the world begins to lend international support to a French-led military intervention against Islamic terrorists in Mali, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations on Wednesday brought the issue home, comparing the situation in northern Africa to Israel’s fight against terrorism in Gaza. 
 
“France’s foreign minister said this month that his country was fighting to prevent the creation of an Islamist terrorist enclave ‘at the doorstep of France and Europe.’ If Mali is on France’s doorstep, Gaza is in Israel’s living room,” Ron Prosor said. 
 
Speaking at the UN Security Council’s monthly open debate on the Middle East, the Israeli Ambassador to the UN added, “Make no mistakes: France’s principled stand should be commended. We only ask that France and all the countries who are supporting its principled stand today, support Israel tomorrow when we fight Islamic terrorism on our borders.”
 
France launched a military operation in Mali on January 11th to oust Islamist terrorists who were threatening to capture the capital and take over the country. The international community quickly lent support to France, who has vowed that the operation will last "as long as necessary."
 
Prosor also condemned the Security Council for quickly attacking Israel for building in Judea and Samaria while doing little to stop the real pressing threats to the stability of the region.
 
"In Syria, more than 60 thousand people have been killed, Assad bombed Palestinian refugee camps and hundreds of thousands are seeking refuge, citizens in Lebanon are living under the brutal oppression of Hizbullah, which has transformed the southern part of the country into an Iranian terror base, Assad's chemical weapons might fall into the hands of Hizbullah or al-Qaeda. Iran is striving to obtain nuclear weapons," said Prosor.
 
"Yet despite the many threats, the Security Council chooses to focus every month specifically on Israel. The presence of Jewish homes in Jerusalem has never been a threat to regional security. Why do you think the situation in the Middle East is still unstable, undemocratic and violent? I'll give you a hint: It has nothing to do with Israel," he stated.
 
"Israel is not that which is broken in the Middle East, Israel is everything that is good and true in the Middle East. The Council's silence in the face of terrorism, corruption, lies and half-truths does not contribute to those seeking a brighter future," Prosor added.
 
In his address, Prosor also expressed the Israeli government’s view that the upgraded status attained by the Palestinian Authority in a November vote at the UN has no tangible meaning.
 
“The only Palestinian state in these halls is the Palestinian state of denial,” Prosor said. “Last month’s resolution did not confer Palestinian statehood. It did not constitute recognition of a Palestinian state.”
 
The US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice agreed with Prosor, telling those assembled that the US “does not consider UNGA resolution 67/19 as bestowing Palestinian ‘statehood’ or recognition.” 
 
”Only direct negotiations to settle final status issues will lead to this outcome. Therefore, in our view, any reference to the ‘State of Palestine’ in the United Nations, including the use of the term ‘State of Palestine’ on the placard in the Security Council or the use of the term ‘State of Palestine’ in the invitation to this meeting or other arrangements for participation in this meeting, do not reflect acquiescence that ‘Palestine’ is a state,” she added. 

IDF Discovers Tunnel Shaft into Gaza

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 17 January 2013 07:24
Tunnel into Gaza discovered by the IDFA shaft to a smuggling tunnel into Gaza was discovered Monday afternoon by IDF forces who were engaged in combat near the security fence in southern Gaza.
 
The IDF has launched an investigation in an effort to figure out when the tunnel was built.
 
IDF airstrikes during Operation Pillar of Defense destroyed dozens of smuggling tunnels leading into Gaza and the army continues to make the discovery and closure of such smuggling tunnels a top priority.
 
It also seems that the stormy weather Israel experienced this past week was a huge blessing in more ways than one.
 
The heavy rains caused many of the tunnels in Gaza to collapse and managed to paralyzed the activities of smugglers and block illegal trade routes.
 
The Palestinian border directorate in Gaza announced that the Rafah smuggling tunnels would be closed due to the weather after heavy rains destroyed dozens of tunnels.  
 
During the storm, dozens of people were injured and went missing and one man was killed as tunnels collapsed and flooded.

Gaza Commits War Crimes

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 27 December 2012 20:21
Scene of bus attack in Tel AvivThe Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a rare condemnation of Gaza terrorists on Monday for war crimes - without the usual “balancing act” of blaming Israel.
 
HRW did not go so far as to describe “Palestinian armed groups” as terrorists, but the categorical censure of rocket launchers marks a drastic change in the attitude towards Israel and Hamas.
 
The condemnation also comes at a critical time for Hamas, which claims it “won” the missile war by gaining implicit diplomatic recognition to a certain extent.
 
“Palestinian armed groups made clear in their statements that harming civilians was their aim last month,” wrote HRW’s Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson. “There is simply no legal justification for launching rockets at populated areas.”
 
Between November 14 and 21, Gaza terrorists fired approximately 1,500 missiles at Israel, and more than half of them exploded in Israel, including 60 in populated areas. More than 40 people were either killed or wounded, not including two Gaza Arabs who were killed by their own misfired rockets, Human Rights Watch said.
 
Human Rights Watch interviewed witnesses, victims, and relatives of people killed and injured by rocket attacks in Israel, as well as Israeli officials from two communities struck by rockets, and a spokesperson for the Israeli emergency medical services.
 
It “found that armed groups repeatedly fired rockets from densely populated areas, near homes, businesses, and a hotel, unnecessarily placing civilians in the vicinity at grave risk from Israeli counter-fire.” 
 
HRW names the “armed groups" as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Resistance Committees’ terrorist branches.
 
The terrorist organizations publicly stated they targeted Israeli civilians as acts of “revenge.”
 
“The laws of war prohibit reprisal attacks against civilians, regardless of unlawful attacks by the other side,” Human Rights Watch said. “Statements by armed groups that they deliberately targeted an Israeli city or Israeli civilians are demonstrating their intent to commit war crimes.”
 
It called on Hamas, which took over authority in Gaza in a bloody terrorist militia war with the rival Fatah group five years ago, “to uphold the laws of war" and "...appropriately punish those responsible for serious violations.”
 
HRW also blamed Iran, based on an Iranian military official's statement Iran provided technical information to Gaza terrorists for building their own medium-range Fajr 5 missiles that were fired on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Iran denied having supplied the missiles to Gaza.
 
“Supplying weaponry to a party to a conflict knowing that it is likely to be used to commit war crimes constitutes the aiding and abetting of war crimes,“ Human Rights Watch said.
 
Magen David Adom told the rights group that their medics treated 38 civilians wounded by missiles, three of them severely.
 
A 50-year-old man in Ashkelon lost a foot that was “traumatically amputated by a rocket blast,” and a man in Ofakim was severely wounded when a rocket hit the car in which he was riding.
 
Human Rights Watch also blamed Gaza terrorists for firing rockets and missiles from densely populated areas.
 
After interviewing witnesses in Gaza, it confirmed Israeli military reports that terrorists fired rockets 300 feet from international media offices. “I saw it [the rocket] go up and heard it, and then smoke was in the office,” a witness said.
 
During the Pillar of Defense counterterrorist campaign, the IDF bombed the roof of the media center to knock out Hamas communications systems. Foreign media blamed Israel for attacking the media
 
“One man said he saw a rocket launched from the yard of a house near the Deira Hotel in central Gaza City,” HRW added.
 
“Under the laws of war, parties to an armed conflict are required to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians under their control from the effects of attacks and not to place military targets in or near densely populated areas. Human Rights Watch has not been able to identify any instances in November in which a Palestinian armed group warned civilians to evacuate an area before a rocket launch.”
 
It also stated, “The absence of Israeli military forces in the areas where rockets hit, as well as statements by leaders of Palestinian armed groups that population centers were being targeted, indicate that the armed groups deliberately attacked Israeli civilians and civilian objects.”
 
Although the terrorist groups' targetting of civilians was intended to cause major casualties, Israeli casualty figures were low in comparison to the number of missiles launched, due only to the efficacy of the Iron Dome and the construction of shelters throughout the country

Italy Stops Weapons Shipment to Gaza

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 09 December 2012 07:38
Weapons illustrativeItalian police on Saturday seized a shipment of weapons intended for Egypt with a final destination of Gaza, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
 
The report said that the weapons were hidden in a cargo shipment and were found in the port of Naples. Local police confirmed the report.
 
The weapons, which included a rocket launcher among other things, were part of a shipment that was supposed to go on an Egyptian ship which has been detained by local authorities, reported ANSA. The container in which the weapons were found was part of a shipment of five containers, and the four remaining containers are currently being examined by the Italian customs authorities.
 
According to ANSA, the information about the weapons came from Israel. The suspicious containers have been taken to an area of the port which has been closed off by police and is being guarded by military forces. One Egyptian was arrested in the case, said the report, but no further details on his identity were provided.
 
Israel has accused Iran of being behind the smuggling of weapons into Gaza. Most recently the Jewish State was fingered for a mysterious bombing at a military factory in Khartoum, Sudan.
 
The October 23 strike on the Yarmouk compound led to speculation that Iranian weapons were stored or manufactured at the factory in Khartoum.
 
Khartoum has denied Iranian involvement in weapons manufacturing and has accused Israel of "spreading fabricated information".
 
Nevertheless, Iran has several times in the past few months sent warships to dock in Sudan. On Saturday, two Iranian warships docked in Port Sudan, marking the second port call by the Iranian navy in Sudan in five weeks.
 
Khartoum said it was a "normal" port call but Israeli officials have expressed concern about arms smuggling through Sudan.
 
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has called Israel "enemy number one" because of the attack on the factory.
 
There have also been attempts to smuggle weapons to Gaza from Libya via Egypt. Cairo blocked two arms shipments to Gaza in the week following the ceasefire that ended Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense against Hamas’s terror infrastructure.

Hamas Cease-Fire Video: Death to Israel

Category: Media
Created on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 11:34
Terrorists brandish RPG in GazaHamas has removed any doubts of its cease-fire intentions with a post-truce music video urging “Death to Israel” with “blood and fire."
 
The video, translated and reported by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), was aired on Al Aqsa TV the day after the cease-fire was announced, marking the end of Operation of Pillar of Defense.
 
The lyrics, as reported by PMW , follow: “Destroy the throne of Zion, the house of absolute evil
 
Raise the banner of victory
 
Be like the fire of a volcano
 
Repeat in the name of your Jihad: Death to Israel!
 
With blood and fire, resist until freedom
 
Defeat the soldiers of aggression the enemies of humanity."
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Polls have shown that a majority of Israelis, as well as Gaza residents, opposed the cease-fire, with each side predicting it only is matter of time before violence breaks out again.
 
The only question is if Hamas’s attacks will reach deeper into Israel and cause more damage, as they have in previous escalations.
 
The constant message in media and in schools to kill Jews, both under Hamas in Gaza and under Fatah in the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas, leaves little doubt that Hamas will not leave its weapons silent.
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Any hopes for  a change in philosophy are dispelled by other videos that Hamas aired on its TV network during Operation Pillar of Defense aimed at stopping a massive missile and rocket barrage that reached as far north as metropolitan Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
 
The day the cease-fire was announced, Hamas aired this video promoting the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. The lyrics, in part, state, “We are the [Al-Qassam] Brigades;
 
Brigades - we kidnap soldiers; Brigades - we kill Jews."
 
{youtube}i9jGsrQI5dw{/youtube}

Muslim Cleric in Gaza: Sin to Violate Truce with Israel

Category: Islam
Created on Sunday, 25 November 2012 22:27
extremists-faith-schoolsAn Islamic cleric in Gaza has issued a religious edict declaring it a sin to violate the truce arranged last week between Israel and Hamas. The fatwa – a religious edict – was ruled by Imam Suleiman al-Daya late Saturday.
 
"Honoring the hudna (temporary ceasefire) which was arranged and sponsored by our Egyptian brethren is the duty of each and every one of us,” ruled the cleric. “Violating the agreement shall constitute a sin.”
 
The decision lends religious legitimacy to the ceasefire agreement and under Islamic law, could justify any action by Gaza's ruling Hamas terror organization to enforce it.
 
The agreement is fragile at best, in part because much of the language is vague. On the Israeli side, the clearest point is that relating to rocket, mortar and missile fire.
 
“Any fire emanating from Gaza will be considered a violation of the agreement,” Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told Arutz Sheva on Sunday morning when asked whether the agreement applied to all terrorist groups in the region.
 
However, the import of weapons to the region has not stopped, nor has production, according to Hamas officials.
 
Speaking with reporters on Saturday, Hamas spokesman Mahmoud al-Zahar claimed, “We have no choice but to continue to bring in weapons by all possible means.” He added that Iran would “increase its military and financial support to Hamas,” and justified the relationship, saying, “We have a right to take money and weapons from Iran. They give to us for the sake of G-d, no conditions attached, and I am a witness to that.”
 
In fact, Iran indeed has loaded a ship with new missiles to replace those destroyed by Israel in its eight-day Pillar of Defense counter terror offensive, the London Sunday Times has reported. The ship was spotted by Israeli satellites.
 
There have already been numerous violations of the ceasefire declared last Wednesday, including at least 20 rocket attacks and a violent incident Friday night that ended with IDF soldiers firing into the air. Local Gaza sources later said that one local man was killed by the IDF fire and several others were wounded. The IDF Spokesperson noted the soldiers had been forced to fire in the air in response to the disturbance caused by Gazans along the security fence at the border with Israel.
 
Hamas has since temporarily deployed unarmed police along the Gaza side of the border to prevent further incidents that might imperil the truce, sources told AFP on Saturday.

Power is Also About Holding Back

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 25 November 2012 07:19
Avigdor LiebermanIsrael’s power is rooted not just in its ability to strike but also in its ability to hold back when necessary, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Thursday.
 
"I am proud that we have a leadership that can make decisions even when they are contrary to its electoral interests," Lieberman told Channel 2 News about the decision to call a ceasefire in Gaza rather than choosing to launch a ground assault.
 
"It is obvious that a majority of the population was in favor of continuing the operation," Lieberman added, “but power is not only about hitting but also about holding back."
 
At the same time he expressed skepticism as to whether the ceasefire would last. "I definitely think it is not over and done with. We will have to topple the Hamas regime over time. However, under the current circumstances, we made the best decision [when opting for a ceasefire]."
 
Lieberman added, “We had many misgivings and not all of them can be shared with the public. This was not a strategic operation. We explicitly said that there are three goals: stopping the rocket fire, restoring deterrence and destroying Hamas’s stockpiles of long-range Fajr missiles. We achieved all those goals.”
 
Asked why Israel did not utilize Operation Pillar of Defense to topple Hamas, something Lieberman himself has called to do in the past, he answered, “We placed the issue of Gaza in the coalition agreement because we knew it was a problem that needs to be dealt with. Our advantage is definitely in the Air Force. Our weak spot is our value for human life. Entering Gaza means fighting from house to house in Khan Yunis, Gaza and Rafiah.”
 
“Eradicating Hamas will not take two or three months, not even four months,” said Lieberman. “At this time it was not appropriate to make decisions like that, so there was no misleading of the public. We did our best.”
 
Referring to the potential impact the ceasefire may have on the elections, Lieberman said, “The public knows exactly what I represent. In this case the right decision was made, even if it is not popular and against my electoral interests.”
 
A poll taken after the ceasefire was declared between Israel and Hamas found that the joint Likud-Yisrael Beytenu list has been severely weakened by the operation.
 
According to a Panels Institute poll carried out for the Knesset Channel, if elections were held today, Likud Beytenu would receive 33 seats – five less than a Panels poll gave it before the 8-day operation.
 
The Jewish Home / National Union party grows from 11 to 13 projected seats, while Michael Ben-Ari's Power to Israel goes from 3 to 4 seats.
 
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in a separate Channel 2 interview on Thursday, was asked about the public's disappointment with the way the operation ended. He replied that it is the government and not the public that must make such decisions. "I remember situations in which 80% of the Israeli public supported a certain decision, and ten days later it turned out to be a very big failure," he added.
 
Defending the decision to stop the operation, he said: "The leadership has the appropriate tools.  It is still not time to enter Gaza in a very wide operation and conquer it."
 
Barak said no one expected Hamas to "go down on its knees," and no one expected it to disappear in an operation that did not include the IDF entering Gaza. "Whoever dreams at night about the beach of Gaza and the alleys of Beit Lahiya has the right to do so," he added. "I do not miss these places. Only bringing Israeli rule back to Gaza will topple Hamas rule, but I am not sure that this would be wise."
 
Former Chief Military Rabbi Brig. Gen. Rabbi Avichai Ronsky called the ceasefire with Hamas "a huge failure."
 
Speaking with Arutz Sheva, he said, "You had tens of thousands of soldiers here, from the standing army and mostly the reserves, who left everything – the family, work – and came immediately, out of a strong desire to stop the immense chutzpah of the terror groups, which have started to get us used to having missiles fired at Jerusalem, Rishon Letzion and Tel Aviv.
 
"The ceasefire, in my eyes, is a great mistake and a disappointment to many."

Hamas Declares Nov. 22 Gaza Public Holiday

Category: News
Created on Friday, 23 November 2012 05:45
Arab boy celebrates Gaza victory - ReutersThe Hamas terrorist organization has declared November 22, the day after its ceasefire was signed with Israel, as a public holiday in Gaza.
 
"The Palestinian government announces that Thursday 22nd November is a national holiday of victory and an official holiday,” read a statement issued by Hamas. Hamas invited “all citizens to celebrate this occasion and visit the families of the martyrs and the wounded and those affected by the violence and to affirm national solidarity.”
 
Gaza shops reopened Thursday, some for the first time in a week, since the assassination by Israel of Izz a-Din al-Qassam leader Ahmed Jabari, the head of the Hamas military wing.
 
The IAF air strike that killed the top Hamas commander launched the 'Pillar of Defense' counter terror offensive against the terrorist organizations that for months rained an endless barrage of rocket fire on southern Israel.
 
For hours after the ceasefire between Gaza and Israel went into effect, Wednesday at 9:00 p.m., terrorists continued to fire missiles at Israeli communities, including the city of Be'er Sheva as well as towns along the Gaza border.
 
But by morning the skies were quiet, with the exception of noise from the mosques of Gaza. The Palestine News Network (PNN) reported the  mosques in Gaza City blared through their loudspeakers: 'Allahu Akbar (G-d is great), dear people of Gaza, you won. You have broken the arrogance of the Jews.”

1,408 Missiles in 8 Days Fired by Gaza at Israel

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 22 November 2012 07:13
Examining Kassam rocket damageAs the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah approaches, Israel marks the eighth day of Operation Pillar of Defense by counting the missiles fired.
 
Hanukkah is a holiday especially precious to children, but this year as the festival approaches, Israeli families are focused more on the safety of their children than on shopping for their gifts.
 
Gaza's ruling Hamas terrorists and affiliated terrorist groups have fired 1,408 missiles and rockets at Israel since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, eight days ago.
 
Of those fired, 56 missiles have struck populated areas in Israel, and 412 have been intercepted and shot down by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.
 
They have varied in ranges from the short-range “homemade” Kassam rockets that reach close to 20-25 kilometers (12.5-15 miles), to medium-range Grad Katyusha missiles that reach up to 40 kilometers (25 miles), and now also include the Iranian Fajr-5 missiles, with a range of 75-80 kilometers (45-48 miles).
 
On Wednesday, Iranian radio station “al-Alam” broadcast in Arabic a confirmation that the Islamic Republic had supplied the Fajr-5 missiles to Hamas.
 
The IDF has attacked more than 1,500 terror targets in Gaza during the same eight day period. 
 
Targets struck by IDF fighter pilots have included Hamas commanders, weapons smuggling tunnels, and dozens of terrorist cells who were in the process of firing rockets as they were hit.
 
More than 100 confirmed terrorists have been killed thus far.

Terrorists Fire 20 Rockets Since Ceasefire Begins

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 20:00
cease-fireGaza’s terrorist rulers marked the ceasefire that went into effect on Wednesday evening by continuing to fire rockets at southern Israel.
 
According to Kol Yisrael radio’s midnight newscast, 20 rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel since the ceasefire went into effect at 9:00 p.m. Wednesday evening. There were no reports of physical injuries or damages.
 
Before the ceasefire went into effect, terrorists fired a barrage of 40 rockets at the area, targeting Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Be’er Sheva among other cities. In Be’er Sheva, a rocket directly hit a home, causing no physical injuries.
 
Four rockets fired at Ashdod on Wednesday evening were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system.
 
Since Wednesday morning, Gaza-based terrorists fired more than 116 rockets into Israel. Iron Dome intercepted 20 rockets during the day.
 
Five people who were hurt in the terrorist attack on a Tel Aviv bus on Wednesday are still in the Ichilov Hospital. One is suffering from moderate injuries and the rest have light injuries.
 
Earlier on Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman held a joint news conference announcing the ceasefire.
 
Netanyahu said, "Eight days ago, Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense, after attacks from Gaza that were carried out at a growing rate the last few months.
 
"The terror organizations assumed that we would abstain from an aggressive action, but they were wrong. We hit senior leaders, we destroyed thousands of rockets that were aimed at the South, and most of the rockets that were aimed at the center of Israel. We hit Hamas's control mechanisms.
 
Netanyahu said that Israel and the U.S. agreed to work together against smuggling of weapons that originate in Iran into Gaza.
 
Hamas celebrated the ceasefire and claimed “victory” over Israel. The terror group’s chief Khaled Mashaal announced in a press conference Wednesday evening that Israel "has failed in all its goals" in Operation Defensive Pillar, following the cease fire announcement.
 
"After eight days, God stayed their hand from the people of Gaza, and they were compelled to submit to the conditions of the resistance," Mashaal said. "Israel has failed in all its goals," he told reporters in a Cairo hotel.
 
Arabs in Gaza took to the streets to celebrate the start of the truce deal, firing into the air and chanting victory slogans.

IAF Hits Hamas Center in a Gaza Media Building

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 17:25
IAF Hits Hamas Center in a Gaza Media BuildingThe building housing AFP's Gaza City office was hit in an Israeli air strike on Tuesday night, an AFP photographer said.
 
The photographer, Mahmud Hams, who was in the fourth-floor office at the time and was unharmed, said no AFP staff were hurt in the attack. He said at least three rockets appeared to have hit the building.
 
"I was in the office with a fixer and suddenly we heard an explosion," Hams said, adding that it shook the building but he didn't initially realize it had been struck.
 
"About five minutes passed and then we heard two more loud explosions that also shook the building," he said. "I grabbed my cameras and left the office with the fixer and there was smoke in the hallways. We ran out of the building.”
 
Hams noted that smoke and a fire appeared to be coming from an office on one of the upper floors.
 
The IDF confirmed targeting the eight-storey building in Gaza City's Rimal neighborhood, explaining that the building was attacked because it housed a Hamas military intelligence operations room.
 
A spokesman for the IDF told AFP the strike was a "surgical" one.
 
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit official Twitter account also confirmed the incident.
 
"Minutes ago, we surgically targeted a Hamas intelligence operations center on 7th floor of a media building in Gaza. Direct hit confirmed," the account said.
 
"The Hamas terrorists weren't in the media building to be interviewed. They were there to communicate with field operatives and plan attacks," it added.
 
The message also included a warning to foreign reporters in Gaza. “Stay away from Hamas operatives and facilities. Hamas, a terrorist group, will use you as human shields," it said.
 
The latest incident clearly shows how Hamas uses innocent civilians as human shields and operates from civilian areas, knowing that the IDF won’t attack these areas because it does not hurt innocent people.
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Precision aerial bombings in the Pillar of Defense counterterrorist operation have proven themselves, sparing civilian deaths and a media backlash.
 
Earlier this week, the IDF released a video showing how Hamas fires rockets at Israel from an underground launcher site in the backyard of a mosque.
 
The IDF has also shown how it called off an airstrike when pilots spotted uninvolved civilians near the target.
 
On Sunday night, the IDF bombed a Gaza City soccer field that camouflaged a Hamas underground missile launching site it used to attack Tel Aviv last Friday.
 
Covering an underground missile site with a soccer field is part of Hamas's strategy to use civilian sites as shields for terrorist activities.

IAF Airstrikes Hit Islamic Bank, Senior Hamas Terrorist

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 08:53
Gaza terrorists car destroyed by IDF missileIAF aircraft struck the branch of the National Islamic Bank in Gaza on Monday night, the Al Jazeera network reported.
 
According to the report, four people were wounded in the airstrike, part of the IDF’s Operation Pillar of Defense.
 
Hamas reportedly uses the bank, which opened in the area in 2009, to pay its terrorists' salaries.
 
Palestinian Authority-based sources also said that the IAF also struck the Rafiah home of Hamas terrorist Raed Al-Attar overnight Monday. Al-Attar’s name was mentioned in recent days as the successor to Hamas arch-terrorist Ahmed Jaabari, whose targeted killing began the operation last Wednesday.
 
It was not reported whether Al-Attar was at home at the time of the attack or whether he was hit.
 
Gaza’s terrorists also continued their rocket fire on southern Israel late Monday night. Sirens sounded shortly before 2:00 a.m. in the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council, as well as in Ashkelon, Sderot, Kiryat Gat and the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council.
 
The rockets exploded in open areas, causing no physical injuries or damages.
 
Rockets also exploded shortly before midnight in the Merhavim and Bnei Shimon Regional Councils. They exploded in open spaces, causing no physical injuries or damages.
 
Operation Pillar of Defense entered its sixth day on Monday, as the IDF attacked dozens of targets in Gaza, including hidden launchers, terrorist training camps, weapons storage sites and police stations belonging to Hamas.
 
Also on Monday, IDF planes targeted and eliminated four senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists.
 
Unconfirmed reports on Monday night said that a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza could go into effect “within several hours”.
 
The report by the Al-Arabiya network said that the forum of nine senior Israeli ministers was expected to approve an initial outline for a ceasefire with Hamas.
 
According to the outline offered by Egypt and described in the report, Israel will stop the air strikes on Gaza and stop the targeted killings of senior members of Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza, in exchange for a complete cessation of the rocket fire into Israel.

IDF Has Hit 1,110 Targets in Gaza

Category: News
Created on Monday, 19 November 2012 07:44
Aftermath of IDF strike in Gaza -ReutersThe IDF attacked more than 130 targets in Gaza on Sunday, as Operation Pillar of Defense continued. According to statistics released by the IDF, since the operation began last Wednesday, the IDF has attacked 1,110 targets in Gaza.
 
The Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted more than 35 rockets on Sunday, and a total of 280 since the operation began.
 
Iron Dome intercepted two missiles fired from central Gaza at Tel Aviv at about 6:40 p.m. Sunday. One of the IDF’s targets in Gaza was a launching pad from which missiles had been fired at Tel Aviv.
 
The anti-missile system also intercepted two missiles headed for Tel Aviv shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday morning. Another missile landed into the Mediterranean Sea. One person was lightly injured from missile intercept debris that fell on his car.
 
The Negev town of Ofakim came under heavy missile fire Sunday afternoon as part of a day-long barrage launched by Gaza terrorists at southern Israel.
 
A rocket scored a direct hit on a car, injuring one person seriously. Three others suffered light to moderate wounds. They received treatment from MDA and were evacuated to hospital.
 
On Sunday morning, a Hamas missile blasted through the roof of an apartment building in Ashkelon, wounding one person.
 
IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said on Sunday evening that the IDF is continuing to deal heavy blows on the Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza.
 
"Hamas is using the population as human shields,” he said. “Today we released a video documenting how they fire rockets from a courtyard of a mosque, houses of worship, public places and homes.”
 
“No one is immune in Gaza,” added Mordechai. “This is a lesson that will be learned over time. The IDF can reach any place and anyone.”

West Supports Israel, Urges Egypt to Work Towards Ceasefire

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 17 November 2012 15:57
Israeli tanks Western nations on Friday pushed Egypt to persuade Hamas terrorists to end rocket attacks from Gaza and backed Israel's right to self-defense, AFP reported.
 
The West stressed the onus was on Hamas to halt rocket fire into southern Israel, said the report.
 
"Israel has the right to protect its population from these kinds of attacks. I urge Israel to ensure that its response is proportionate," European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said, according to AFP.
 
She echoed hopes that Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, who crossed into Gaza for a brief visit Friday, "will be able calm the situation."
 
Washington has reached out to Egypt's new leaders as well as to allies such as Turkey to use their sway with Gaza’s Hamas leaders.
 
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is traveling in Asia, has spoken twice with her Egyptian counterpart, Mohammed Amr, since the start of the operation, with the second conversation taking place after Qandil's Gaza visit.
 
"In all of the conversations that she has had... we all agree on the need to de-escalate this conflict," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
 
Clinton was also expected to be in contact with "countries with influence, to try to maximize the pressure we can bring to bear on Hamas to cease and desist," Nuland added.
 
She again stressed the U.S. position that "Israel has a right of self-defense" and refused to be drawn on reports that the Israeli army was preparing for a ground operation in Gaza.
 
Speaking at Gaza City's Shifa hospital during his visit, Qandil vowed to step up Cairo's efforts to secure a ceasefire.
 
"Egypt will not hesitate to intensify its efforts and make sacrifices to stop this aggression and achieve a lasting truce," he told reporters on Friday.
 
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi also branded Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense as a "blatant aggression against humanity," the official MENA news agency said.
 
Morsi vowed that "Cairo will not leave Gaza on its own."
 
Egypt, which in 1979 became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, often plays a mediator role between Israel and Hamas, and Morsi has been fielding calls from world leaders over the rising violence.
 
French President Francois Hollande expressed "deep concern" in a phone call with Morsi and "stressed the role Egypt could play to cut the tensions," the president's office said.
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin also told the Egyptian leader that Moscow supported Egypt's efforts to halt the violence, the Kremlin said.
 
Saudi King Abdullah, whose country is a heavyweight in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, told Morsi "that things must calm down and reason and wisdom must reign over passionate reactions," the state news agency SPA said.
 
Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again attacked Israel on Friday and accused Israeli officials of ordering the air strikes as an electoral move ahead of January's vote.
 
"Ahead of this (new) vote, the current leadership once again chose the route of striking these innocent people of Gaza for made-up reasons," Erdogan said, according to the Anatolia news agency.
 
Pakistan also condemned the Israeli air strikes on Gaza and vowed to stand by the people of Palestine against "Israeli aggression," branding it a violation of international law, AFP reported.
 
Jordan's King Abdullah II told Clinton in a phone call that he was "deeply worried" about Israel's air strikes, a palace statement quoted by AFP said.
 
"Clinton telephoned the king, who said he was deeply worried about the dangerous repercussions of Israel's aggression on Gaza and its impact on the region," the statement added.
 
The king, whose country has a 1994 peace agreement with the Jewish State, "warned against Israel's military escalation, stressing that more international efforts are needed to stop it," the palace said.
 
Hamas terrorists continued their rocket attacks on Israel on Friday. According to statistics published by the IDF, since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense more than 550 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel. The Iron Dome system intercepted more than 192 rockets, and recorded an 85% success rate.
 
On Friday afternoon, sirens were heard in Tel Aviv and the area for the second dayrunning. Hamas immediately took credit for the attack, claiming to have shot “an improved Qassam.”
 
Rockets were also fired towards Jerusalem, hitting Gush Etzion, just south of the city. There were no physical injuries or damages.

IAF Airstrike Kills Senior Hamas Terrorist

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 17 November 2012 14:46
Army of IslamAhmed Abu Jalal, a senior Hamas terrorist, was killed on Friday evening, along with three of his brothers, in an Israeli air strike in the Maghazi district in central Gaza.
 
According to some reports, Abu Jalal was killed while driving his car, while other reports said the attack was carried out on his home.
 
Israeli officials said that those killed were preparing to fire rockets at southern Israel.
 
As the IDF struck targets in Gaza, terrorists fired several Grad missiles at the city of Be'er Sheva, one of which was intercepted by the Iron Dome system.
 
Another rocket, which is believed to have been fired from the northern Sinai Peninsula, exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council area near the border with Egypt. There were no physical injuries.
 
According to statistics published by the IDF on Friday, since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, more than 550 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel. The Iron Dome system intercepted more than 192 rockets, and recorded an 85% success rate.
 
Israel will deploy a fifth Iron Dome battery in the south on Saturday, given its success rate in intercepting rockets fired at cities.
 
Meanwhile, the IDF is preparing to significantly expand its operation in Gaza. Defense Minister Ehud Barak authorized the IDF to expand the call-up of the reserves, and Cabinet minister were asked on Friday evening to approve the recruitment of another 75,000 reservists.

Lieberman to Hamas: Don't Test Us

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 17 November 2012 13:36
Avigdor LiebermanForeign Minister Avigdor Lieberman issued a direct threat to Hamas on Friday, warning the terror group which controls Gaza not to test Israel’s military capabilities.
 
“It is our duty to ensure peace and quiet to residents of the south,” Lieberman told Channel 2 News. “It cannot be that a million people won’t be allowed to lead a normal life, where children – instead of going to school – are in shelters and conduct their lives in accordance with the sirens. This cannot continue. Our goal is to restore calm.”
 
“The government of Israel is in favor of peace and security for southern Israel’s residents," added Lieberman, “and we’ll do everything it takes to ensure this.”
 
He said, “Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas deals with political terror and Hamas deals with traditional terror by firing on residents of Israel. It’s no coincidence that most of the rocket barrages are at eight in the morning, when kids are going to school and people are going to work.”
 
"We need to understand that Abbas is now running away from his own failings in the domestic arena,” said Lieberman. “He failed in everything pertaining to employment and financial management. His domestic failure brings an escalation in the political arena, that's exactly what he did.”
 
Abbas’s interview on Channel 2 News several weeks ago, said Lieberman, “was an attempt to provide ammunition for Arab parties and the Israeli left. Just two months earlier, Abbas spoke at the UN, where he accused Israel of ethnic cleansing, war crimes, theft of land, theft of natural resources. Suddenly, there he was, speaking about giving up the right of return, and of course the next day he denied it. Even Hamas was confident that because of the regime change in Egypt, because of the elections in Israel, we would not dare to respond the way we responded. I think both Hamas and Abbas are wrong, and we will certainly deal both with the political terror as well as the terrorism on the ground.”
 
He said that Operation Pillar of Defense will end “when we achieve the three goals: peace, deterrence and elimination of long term terrorist tools. Then we will definitely stop the operation. Every time Hamas fires rockets, our response will be more and more difficult. Hamas tested us again and again, broke all the rules again and again and tried to produce a new reality. This operation was undertaken because of a lack of choice. It is not an adventure.”
 
"I highly recommend that the Hamas leadership in Gaza not test us again,” warned the Foreign Minister. “Never think that Israel will not respond with greater force next time. If, G-d forbid, there is a next time, we will respond with much greater force. Nobody over there is safe, not Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh and not others.”

Gaza Operation a 'Blatant Aggression'

Category: News
Created on Friday, 16 November 2012 14:07
Terrorists brandish RPG in GazaEgyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Friday Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza in as a "blatant aggression against humanity," the official MENA news agency said.
 
"Egypt will not leave Gaza on its own, and what is happening is a blatant aggression against humanity," he said, as his prime minister, Hisham Qandil, visited Gaza vowing to boost efforts to secure a truce to end the bloodletting.
 
Earlier on Friday, Qandil told reporters in Gaza, "Egypt will not hesitate to intensify its efforts and make sacrifices to stop this aggression and achieve a lasting truce," according to AFP.
 
He spoke after visiting casualties in Gaza's Shifa Hospital from Israel's Pillar of Defense counter-terror campaign.
 
On Friday morning, there were reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had agreed to halt the military operation on terror sites in Gaza during Qandil’s visit.
 
An official said that Egypt requested the ceasefire and that the visit is supposed to last three hours.
 
However, while Israel stopped firing during Qandil’s visit, Hamas terrorists continued to fire rockets at Israel.
 
Friday’s rocket barrages continued to hit southern Israel but also were directed at Tel Aviv, for the second time in two days, and also at Jerusalem.
 
Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense, which began with the targeted killing of top Hamas terrorist Ahmed Jaabari on Wednesday, sparked a furious response from Morsi, who promptly recalled Cairo's envoy to the Jewish state.

Egypt's PM to Visit Gaza, Meet Haniyeh

Category: News
Created on Friday, 16 November 2012 09:04
Egypts Prime Minister Hisham Kandil - ReutersEgypt's prime minister will visit Gaza on Friday, to express his country's solidarity with the Hamas-ruled territory, a spokesman for President Mohammed Morsi said on Thursday.
 
Hisham Qandil "will travel to Gaza to express our support for the Palestinian people and to see what they need," Morsi's spokesman, Yasser Ali, was quoted by AFP as having told state television.
 
He will be accompanied by a number of Morsi's aides, as well as by Health Minister Mohamed Mustafa Hamed, Ali said.
 
Earlier, Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu announced the visit and said "we welcome this visit and appreciate this courageous stand."
 
The visit "confirms the support of the Egyptian leadership, government, and people for the Palestinian people in the shadow of the Israeli war against them in Gaza," he added, saying Qandil would meet Hamas’s Gaza prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh.
 
Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense, which began with the targeted killing of top Hamas terrorist Ahmed Jaabari on Wednesday, sparked a furious response from Morsi, who promptly recalled Cairo's envoy to the Jewish state.
 
On Thursday, Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood movement that gave birth to Hamas, warned that Egypt would not accept Israel's "aggression" in Gaza.
 
"The Israelis must understand that we do not accept this aggression, which could lead to instability in the region," Morsi was quoted as having said in televised remarks.
 
"Shortly before dawn, I called President Obama and we discussed the need to put an end to this aggression and to ensure it does not happen again," he said.
 
"We discussed ways to promote calm and to stop these acts... and to achieve peace and security."
 
"I explained Egypt's role, Egypt's position, that we have relations with the United States and the world, but at the same time we totally reject this aggression."
 
On Wednesday, Morsi also ordered the foreign ministry to summon Israeli ambassador Yaakov Amitai over the Israeli operation.
 
Amitai, however, had left Cairo even before the operation began and will likely not return in the coming days.

Iron Dome Stops 80 Rockets

Category: Media
Created on Thursday, 15 November 2012 20:05
Iron Dome in action fileAlthough over 250 rockets have been fired at Israel since the beginning of operation "Pillar of Defense," according to IDF spokespersons, things could have been worse still.
 
Since the start of Wednesday's military operation, the Iron Dome system has intercepted over 80 rockets, en route to cities in the south of the country.
 
The IDF spokesman also said that the IDF continued to use air force Thursday and carried out more than 150 air strikes aimed at known rocket launching sites in Gaza, noting that the air force succeeded in inflicting significant damage to the sites. Since the beginning of the operation, the Air Force has hit over 200 targets throughout Gaza. The purpose of the attacks is to disrupt launching capabilities, destroy the terrorists' weapons stockpiles and to prevent the terrorists from continuing their rocket assaults towards Israel.
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Military officials said that the targets hit were identified by accurate intelligence accumulated from months' worth of data.
 
Although the strikes were successful, terrorists within Gaza still succeeded Thursday in carrying out hundreds of rocket attacks, prompting warnings from government officials to the people of the south to stay off of the streets Thursday and to stay as close to bomb shelters as possible.
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Doing its best to avoid civilian casulaties, the IDF has called thousands of residents in Gaza by phone to warn them of possible strikes and dropped leaflets in Gaza warning civilians to "avoid being present in the vicinity of Hamas operatives," the IDF said.
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The IDF also said they often target a building "with a loud but non-lethal bomb that warns civilians that they are in the vicinity of a weapons cache or other target. This method is used to allow all residents to leave the area before the IDF targets the site with live ammunition."
 
And "whenever possible," the IDF said, it "singles out terrorists and targets them in a way that will endanger few or no bystanders."

IDF Has Struck More than 300 Targets in Gaza

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 15 November 2012 19:27
111512Since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF has struck more than 300 targets throughout Gaza, according to a statement released by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit on Thursday.
 
The statement said that during the day on Thursday, the IDF continued to launch attacks on dozens of rocket launching sites in Gaza, causing them significant damages.
 
On Thursday evening, the IAF launched a second assault wave on Gaza, targeting 70 underground missile sites.
 
The IDF statement added that IAF aircraft struck several terrorist groups that were involved in carrying out rocket attacks.
 
 In the afternoon, the IDF continued to attack terrorist targets in northern Gaza using its armored forces.
 
Navy ships fired at Hamas’ targets along the Gaza shoreline, said the statement.
 
“Gaza has become a frontal Iranian base and it places the citizens of Israel under unbearable rocket fire and terror. The IDF is determined and will continue to attack targets that are bases for terrorism against Israeli civilians,” concluded the IDF statement.
 
Since the start of the operation, some 250 rockets have been fired at Israel. The Iron Dome system has intercepted over 80 rockets, en route to cities in the south of the country.

IDF Warning to Hamas: Don't Show Your Faces Above Ground

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 19:36
The IDF is planning further operations into GazaIDF spokesman, Brigadier General Yoav (Poly) Mordechai held a press conference Wednesday night and addressed the military operation in Gaza. He said the operation was launched "After a long period of several years of unbearable fire aimed at residents of the south, which has intensified even more in recent weeks, including launches aimed at communities in the South and attacks against IDF forces."
 
Mordechai said that so far, the IDF has attacked dozens of targets, and noted that "the IDF operates with pinpoint accuracy to try to make as clean a hit as possible, but unfortunately some of the weapons are located near kindergartens and mosques. An orchard is intende for oranges, not weapons, and a school is intended for studies and not weapons. A mosque is intended for prayer and not weapons."
 
Mordechai said that he expects further operations in the coming days, saying, "We expect that in the coming days the challenge will be very difficult and there will be rockets shot at southern Israel. I encourage all members of Hamas not to walk around above ground.”
 
On its Facebook page, the IDF wrote, “We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead.”
 
Below the message was a picture of Jaabari with the word “eliminated” stamped across it.
 
Ahmed Jaabari, head of Hamas' military wing, was killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza Wednesday afternoon.

IAF Targets Three Gaza Terror Sites

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 07:12
Aftermath of IAF airstrike in GazaIAF aircraft conducted several airstrikes in Gaza on Monday night, hitting at least three targets.
 
According to a statement by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, the aircraft struck two rocket launching sites in northern Gaza and a weapons storage site in central Gaza. The attack, noted the statement, is a response to the continued rocket fire by Gaza-based terrorists into Israeli territory.
 
Direct hits were identified and all Israeli aircraft returned safely to their bases.
 
"The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers and will continue to operate against anyone who uses terror against the State of Israel,” said the IDF statement, laying the blame for any Gaza terrorist attacks on its Hamas rulers.
 
Southern Israel’s residents continued to be targeted by rockets and missiles on Monday, as thousands of children had to spend the day in shelters and protected spaces.
 
On Monday afternoon, a Grad missile fired by Gaza terrorists exploded next to a factory in the industrial zone of Netivot. Six people suffered from shock as a result of the attack. Witnesses said that there was a great deal of damage to the structure.
 
This was the second attack on the city Monday; earlier, a rocket fired at the city exploded in a residential neighborhood. That rocket caused a great deal of damage, gutting a shop near where the rocket exploded. 26 people were treated by medical personnel after going into shock, with some needing extensive treatment at a trauma center.
 
The Gaza-based terrorists agreed on Monday evening to accept an Egyptian initiative for a ceasefire. However, the terrorists, as they usually do, conditioned the ceasefire on Israel stopping what they termed its “continued aggression in Gaza”.
 
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Israel is to be blamed for the current round of escalation. Hamas has declared dozens of similar ceasefires over the years and they have never been upheld.
 
The Home Front Command, hoping that the ceasefire will hold this time, announced late on Monday night that schools in the Gaza belt will operate as usual on Tuesday.
 
This, however, is subject to change on Tuesday morning, should the rocket attacks by Gaza terrorists continue.
 
Meanwhile, a special assessment was held at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on Monday evening. It was attended by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and senior officers. During the meeting it was agreed that Israel would increase the intensity of its response to the ongoing rocket fire towards the south.
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will meet with his nine senior ministers on Tuesday morning to discuss other alternatives to deal with the situation in the south, the report said.

IDF Foils Terror Attack Along Gaza Border

Category: News
Created on Friday, 02 November 2012 20:08
Soldiers in GazaIDF forces were able to foil a terror attack on Friday morning when they opened fire towards a Palestinian Authority Arab terrorist, as he was trying to plant explosives near the security fence in central Gaza.
 
The terrorist was seriously wounded and evacuated to a hospital in Gaza.
 
The incident came ten days after IDF soldier Ziv Shilon was seriously wounded during an operation in the Gaza area. Soldiers were engaged in counter-terror activity near the security barrier dividing Gaza from southern Israel, when Shilon was hurt.
 
An IDF investigation revealed that he was hit by a roadside bomb.
 
Shilon was later visited by IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, and expressed his desire to return to command and lead his company. The Chief of Staff replied that the only thing Shilon should worry about is his recovery and that he will be able to continue his military service once he is fully rehabilitated.
 
In an inspiring interview he gave to Channel 2 News last week, Shilon said that he “feels great” and added that if he is able to rehabilitate himself he will return to the army.
 
"I love my soldiers," Shilon said. "They have nothing to worry about. The IDF is strong and it will be victorious."

Morsi Stands Up for 'Palestinians'

Category: News
Created on Thursday, 25 October 2012 08:16
Mohamed Mursi attends a meeting with Hamas leader Khaled MeshaalEgypt’s President Mohammed Morsi said on Wednesday that Egypt does not accept nor can turn a blind eye to any aggression against Palestinian Authority Arabs, the state-owned news agency MENA reported.
 
“We don’t accept that people of Palestine are besieged,” Morsi was quoted as having said during an Endowments Ministry celebration of Preachers’ Day.
 
He explained that Egypt after the revolution would never consent to any aggression over PA Arabs, alluding to former President Hosni Mubarak, who some accused of turning a blind eye to Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009.
 
Morsi stressed that Egypt supports PA Arabs with food and medications, adding that “the Palestinian case is pivotal for us.”
 
"We do not declare war on anyone. Palestinian rights will not be lost, we are in the same trench with our kin [Palestinians] against any aggression toward them," he said.
 
Morsi did not mention the fact that Gaza-based terrorists had fired more than 80 rockets at southern Israel between Wednesday morning and Wednesday afternoon.
 
Three people were wounded, two of them seriously, and three homes were hit in the morning rocket barrage. On Wednesday night there were conflicting reports regarding a supposed Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that was reached between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel.
 
Concerns have been raised over the Israel-Egypt peace treaty since Morsi took power.
 
Morsi, a long-time member of the Muslim Brotherhood, has repeatedly said he would respect international treaties signed by Cairo, but the Brotherhood has also said there is room to revise the accords.
 
Last week, an adviser to Morsi called to urgently change the peace treaty with Israel.
 
This week, the Simon Wiesenthal Center called on President Barack Obama to publicly condemn  Morsi, after he attended a sermon where the preacher called for the "destruction and dispersal of the Jews."
 
At the same time, Morsi recently sent a letter to his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, in which he referred to the Israeli president as a "great friend."

IAF Strikes in Gaza Three Times in One Night

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 08:32
Air Force strikes back at Gaza - FileIAF aircraft struck a terror squad in southern Gaza early Wednesday morning, as it was preparing to fire a rocket at southern Israel, the IDF announced in a statement.
 
The statement said that a direct hit at the terrorists was identified. It was the third time in one night that the IDF retaliated against the ongoing rocket attacks by Gaza terrorists at southern Israel.
 
Shortly after midnight, on Tuesday night, IAF aircraft targeted a terror squad in northern Gaza, as it was making final preparations to launch a rocket at southern Israel.
 
According to a statement by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, a direct hit was identified at the terrorists and the rocket attack was thwarted.
 
“The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers and will continue to operate against anyone who operates terror against Israel,” said the statement.
 
This air strike took place about an hour and a half after another terror squad was hit as it was preparing to launch rockets at Israel. In this attack, as well, direct hits were identified.
 
The air strikes came after terrorists from Gaza fired seven rockets at Israel earlier in the evening. The rockets came in three rounds – with one round landing in one town in the Eshkol Regional Council, a second round landing in another town, and the third round landing in an open area.
 
No one was injured and no damaged was reported in any of the attacks.
 
Tuesday night's attacks were a continuation of what appeared to be an escalating deterioration of the security situation in southern Israel.
 
An IDF officer was wounded Tuesday morning when an explosive device blew up during an IDF exercise in the Gaza border area. The officer was flown by helicopter to Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva, where he was declared by doctors to be in serious condition, with his life in danger. The officer's condition was little-changed Tuesday night.

Abbas Pens Letter to Gazans: Pre-67 Land Also 'Occupied'

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 23:04
Abbas penned a letter to Gazans - ReutersIn an open letter penned to the residents of Gaza, PA President Mahmoud Abbas spoke  about Israel's claim to land obtained before 1967 and touched on the PA's upcoming request from the General Assembly to grant it "super-observer" status, writing on his Facebook page, "Our land was conquered and it is not disputed territory and this is true of all of the land that Israel conquered before June 1967."
 
Abbas' statements were repeated in official PA media and translated by Palestinian Media Watch.
 
"The recognition of [the State of Palestine at the UN] will not free the ground the next day, but it will prove our just cause that our land is occupied and not disputed territory, and this is true in regards to all of  the territories Israel occupied before June 1967."
 
"I want you to know that this is a great political and diplomatic campaign, and I regret that some Palestinian voices do not understand or do not want to understand the importance of it," wrote Abbas. 
 
This letter comes only weeks after Abbas secretly met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Jordan, focusing on efforts to resume peace talks. 
 
Yet the PA's public opinion that all land prior to 1967 is now "occupied territory" is nothing new. Last Independence Day PA officials spoke on television, saying, "Today, 64 years ago, the Israeli Zionist gangs committed the broadest deportation actions against our people in the occupied lands in 48."
 
Educational programs for children on PA TV ask children, "You live in Jerusalem. Did you go to the cities occupied among cities in 1948", and when the child says "I visited Hebron", the host presses, "No, Hebron is a city [Palestinian Authority] we can all get into. Occupied cities - such as Lod, Ramle, Haifa, Jaffa, Acre - Have you visited them?"
 
Palestinian Authority newspapers commonly refer to certain officials as "leaders of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948."

PA Calls For Intl Protection For Finnish Flotilla

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 14 October 2012 21:31
Hamas police wait for flotillaOn Sunday, the Palestinian Authority (PA) called for international forces to protect a boat carrying pro-PA activists trying to break Israel's naval blockade on Gaza.
 
Hamas has urged the world to respond to the Finish-flagged boat, Estelle, by pressuring Israel to end its blockade on Gaza, Xinhua has reported.
 
PA spokesperson Nour Odea said “The international community must provide protection for the flotilla because it is a legitimate peaceful activity directed against the Israeli siege…”
 
The boat set sail from Naples, Italy, on October 7, carrying more than a dozen activists bearing “humanitarian aid”, most of them from Western countries.
 
Meanwhile, the Israel foreign ministry Saturday notified Finland that the boat will be stopped if it tried to enter Gaza's waters. 
 
The yacht, which was built in 1922, carries 16 people, mainly from Western countries but also one Israeli national, as well as humanitarian aid, AFP reported. Depending on weather conditions, it is expected to reach Gaza in around two weeks.
 
Canada's Gaza's Ark group, which supports the mission, said on its website the Finnish ministry had informed it of the Israeli warning.
 
Yousef Rizka, a Hamas official, warned that Israel might be willing to use "violence and terror to prevent the humanitarian aid from reaching Gaza". He said the international community must "stop the Israeli aggressive actions".
 
It has been proven conclusively that Gaza is not in need of humanitarian aid, but needs fair distribution of financial resources.There are abundant luxury hotels, shops and spas,teeming markets and thriving smuggling operations, but the rich ignore the plight of the poor.

Popular Resistance Committees Threatens Israel After Air Strike

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 14 October 2012 20:51
IAF air strike in GazaThe Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) terror group vowed to retaliate against Israel on Sunday after announcing that two men killed earlier in an IAF air strike were members of the group, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported.
 
The group confirmed that Izz Addin Abu Nuseira, 23, and Ahmad Abu Fatayir, 22, were affiliated with its Nasser Saladin Brigades. Both were killed when the IAF struck targets in the terrorist haven of Gaza for the fourth time in 24 hours Sunday afternoon.
 
The IAF said the targets were part of a terror squad that had fired a rocket at Israel a short time earlier, and was about to do so again.
 
"We hereby announce that it’s time to pay the toll and the occupation will have to bear the consequences of its crimes," the PRC said in a statement quoted by Ma’an.
 
The statement added that Abu Nuseira and Abu Fatayir fired five mortar shells at the Kissufim Israeli military site east of Khan Younis on Saturday.
 
IAF strikes Saturday killed a leader of a Salafist group, Hisham a-Saedini, as well as another Salafist terrorist.
 
All together, five people have been killed in IAF strikes on Gaza in the past 24 hours.
 
Hisham al-Saedini was one of the founders of the Mujahideen Shura Council, said the IDF, noting that this organization is affiliated with Global Jihad and was involved in extensive terrorist activity against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers over the years. 
 
The Mujahideen Shura Council had issued a statement earlier, saying it was behind a Grad missile attack on Netivot Friday night.
 
The rocket exploded in the yard of a residential building, causing one person to suffer from shock.
 
Gaza-based terrorists have fired dozens of rockets at southern Israel this past week, most of which have fallen in open areas. The escalation in rocket attacks began after an Israeli air strike on Sunday in Gaza hit two Global Jihad terrorists.
 
The terrorists responded by firing over 50 rockets at Israel during the holiday of Simchat Torah alone, with more being fired in the days that followed.

Israel Warns Finland Over Latest Flotilla Ship

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 14 October 2012 18:48
Estelle ship leaves from Naples to Gaza - AFPIsrael has warned Finland that it will stop a boat with activists on board by force if it tries to break the blockade on Gaza, a spokesman for Finland’s foreign ministry said Saturday.
 
"The foreign ministry has been informed by Israel that it would intervene if the ship Estelle which is flying the Finnish flag tries to break (Israel's) blockade against Gaza from the sea," spokesman Risto Piipponen said on state television, according to AFP.
 
"We told Israel that the Estelle is a civilian vessel and that its crew is made up of civilians," he said
 
The yacht, which was built in 1922, sailed from Naples, Italy on October 6 in the latest bid to break Israel's blockade.
 
It carries 16 people, mainly from Western countries but also one Israeli national, as well as humanitarian aid, AFP reported. Depending on weather conditions, it is expected to reach Gaza in around two weeks.
 
Canada's Gaza's Ark group, which supports the mission, said on its website the Finnish ministry had informed it of the Israeli warning.
 
"...in case SV Estelle seeks to break the blockade at sea on Gaza (20 nautical miles), Israel will intervene in the situation by using force. Should this take place, the safety of the people on board may be jeopardized”, the group quoted the Israeli message to the Finnish foreign ministry as saying.
 
The first Freedom Flotilla in May 2010 ended when nine Turkish nationals were killed after Israeli commandos had to board the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, when it refused orders to change course. Upon boarding the ship, the soldiers were attacked by the so-called activists aboard with clubs and knives, and had no choice but to use live fire.
 
It was later proven that there was no humanitarian aid on the Marmara, as its passengers had claimed.
 
A second attempt to break the blockade last summer with a coalition of ships setting sail from Athens failed after Greek authorities intercepted the boats, banning their departure and towing back into port those who tried to leave.

Grad Missile Hits Netivot Home

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 13 October 2012 11:16
Grad hits Netivot archiveThe calm of the Sabbath was disrupted on Friday evening as two Grad missiles fired by Gaza-based terrorists exploded in the city of Netivot, Channel 2 News reported.
 
At around 7:30 p.m., residents of the city, some of whom were in the midst of their Shabbat dinner, heard the “red alert” siren. Shortly afterwards the two missiles exploded, one of them exploding in the yard of a home.
 
There were no physical injuries or damages, but one woman suffered shock and was treated by paramedics.
 
Gaza-based terrorists have fired more than 60 rockets at southern Israel this past week, most of which have fallen in open areas. The escalation in rocket attacks began after an Israeli air strike on Sunday in Gaza hit two Global Jihad terrorists.
 
The terrorists responded by firing over 50 rockets at Israel during the holiday of Simchat Torah alone, with more being fired in the days that followed.
 
On Wednesday night, IAF aircraft struck a center of terrorist activity in northern Gaza. On Tuesday night, IAF aircraft hit a terror tunnel in northern Gaza, after terrorists fired three Kassam rockets at southern Israel.

Gaza Salafists Fire Rockets into Israel

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 20:14
Terrorists brandish RPG in GazaMilitants in Gaza fired two rockets into southern Israel on Wednesday evening in the midst of a recent cross-border fracas. Israeli police told AFP that nobody was injured.
 
Wednesday morning the IAF hit targets in the northern Gaza Strip.
 
Palestinian security sources told the AFP the air strike “hit a training camp in Beit Lahiya which was used by militants from the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the ruling Hamas movement.”
 
The Israeli military described the target as "a terror tunnel" and said that it was attacked "in response to over 40 rockets that were fired at Israel this week."
 
A small group of Salafists claimed responsibility early on Wednesday for the rocket fire. Salafists, such as the Islamic extremists in Egypt have been gaining strength throughout the Middle East, and especially in Hamas controlled Gaza.
 
Earlier in the week, Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired a round of rockets at southern Israel a day after the IAF raided the border town of Rafah.
 
The recent activity marks the end of a de facto cease-fire that began in June.

IAF Air Strike Targets Two Gaza Terrorists

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 07 October 2012 16:23
IAF air strike in GazaAn Israeli air strike in Gaza on Sunday evening targeted two terrorists, the IDF Spokesperson said in a statement.
 
The statement named the two as Talat Khalil Muhammad Jerbi, a Global Jihad member from Rafiah and Mohammed Abdullah Hassan Makawi, a member of the Shura Council, a terror organization based in Gaza.
 
The operation was carried out jointly with the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), said the statement. It was unclear if the terrorists had been killed or wounded in the air strike.
 
Medical sources in Gaza told AFP that one person was killed and five others were wounded in the air strike, which targeted a motorbike.
 
"One citizen was killed and five others, including two children, were wounded by an Israeli aircraft that fired on a motorbike in the Brazil neighborhood in Rafiah," a medical source told AFP.
 
Last month, the IDF and the Shin Bet foiled a planned terror attack in Israel by striking and killing two terrorists in southern Gaza.
 
The two terrorists had been planning to carry out a terror attack within Israel which was almost completed.
 
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas later called Hamas leader Ahmed Yousef and offered his condolences over the death of his brother, who was one of the terrorists killed in that air strike.

Morsi in Turkey, Calls for Support for Syria and 'Palestine'

Category: News
Created on Sunday, 30 September 2012 16:38
Morsi speaks in Turkey - ReutersEgyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Sunday discussed several pressing regional issues in an address delivered at an annual conference of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party.
 
"Our history, hopes and goals bind us together to achieve the freedom and justice that all nations are struggling for," Morsi said during a short visit to Ankara, according to the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram.
 
Morsi, on his first visit to Turkey as Egypt's president, urged members of the audience to support "the nations that are aspiring to freedom and independence."
 
“The Arab world and the Arab Spring need you and your support to achieve sought-for stability,” he said, according to Al-Ahram.
 
Egypt, he went on, "supports the demand of the people for freedom from oppression and occupation in both Syria and Palestine," stressing Turkey's role as an "important element" in issues of concern to the region.
 
Morsi also condemned the "misery" imposed on the Syrian people and the "bloodshed caused by the Syrian regime."
 
"The Syrian people have the right to choose their leaders," said the Egyptian president. "And this can only be achieved when they obtain their full freedom on their own soil and have our full support."
 
Morsi also expressed his hope for the eventual creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, urging his listeners to support “the Palestinian national cause.”
 
He also stressed that the border between Egypt and Hamas-run Gaza remained open "to meet our obligations to our brothers in Gaza."
 
Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal also attended the conference in Turkey, along with several members of the Gaza government, Al-Ahram reported.
 
"In Egypt, we aspire for stability, security and productivity," Morsi declared in his speech. "The Egyptian people are now on the path towards national revival and the establishment of a true civilization for the nation."
 
He went on to reject any outside interference in Egypt's domestic affairs.
 
The speech comes amid reports earlier on Sunday that Morsi has expressed willingness to meet top Israeli officials. According to the Yisrael Hayom newspaper which published the report, his preference would be to meet with President Shimon Peres.
 
The report said that if such a meeting takes place it would occur in Washington, shortly after the U.S. election. During the meeting, the two officials would attempt to set a new basis for the sour relations between Israel and Egypt, which nearly fell apart after an Egyptian mob stormed the Israeli embassy in Cairo last year.
 
Last week, in his address to the United Nations, Morsi hit out at Israel over its veiled threats to attack Iran's nuclear facilities and the deadlock in the Middle East peace process.
 
Morsi said the Middle East "no longer tolerates" any country's refusal to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty "especially if this is coupled with irresponsible policies or arbitrary threats."
 
"The acceptance by the international community of the principle of pre-emptiveness or the attempt to legitimize it is in itself a serious matter and must be firmly confronted to avoid the prevalence of the law of the jungle," he said.
 
Morsi also put the Israel-Arab conflict ahead of the Syria war in the list of priorities he laid out before the General Assembly.
 
"The first issue which the world must exert all its efforts in resolving, on the basis of justice and dignity, is the Palestinian cause," Morsi said.
 
He said that UN resolutions on the conflict had not been implemented and that Palestinian Authority Arabs "must also taste the fruits of freedom and dignity" that other countries in the Arab region have won in the past year.

Egypt Reopens Gaza Crossing

Category: News
Created on Monday, 27 August 2012 08:40
Egyptian soldiers guard Rafiah crossingEgypt reopened the Rafiah crossing with Gaza on Saturday several weeks after a terrorist attack left 16 Egyptian security officers dead.
Gaza's ruling Hamas terrorist organization has insisted that its operatives did not take part in the August 5 attack on the Sinai border with Israel.
The crossing, which straddles the border between Egypt and Gaza, generally is the conduit through which some 800 Palestinian Authority Arabs leave the region to do their shopping, access medical care and visit families.
Some also never come back; Rafiah is their ticket out to the world beyond.
It is also an easier way for Gaza terrorists to access the Sinai Peninsula than to make their way through the 1,200 underground tunnels that honeycomb the area beneath the border.
Gaza Interior Ministry spokesman Ehad al-Ghsain told reporters that Egypt “informed us the Rafiah crossing would open all days of the week, without more details.” 

Terrorists Begin School Year with Rocket Attack

Category: News
Created on Monday, 27 August 2012 08:15
Children in bomb shelter (File)Gaza terrorists fired a Kassam rocket on the Sderot area minutes after students arrived at their classes for the first day of school.
 
Sderot area students began their lessons by responding to the Color Red siren, which gives them 15 seconds to run for cover before the incoming missile explodes. Monday morning’s Kassam exploded in an open area, reducing injuries to shock and trauma.
 
Three rockets also were fired on the same area Sunday morning, damaging a factory in the Sderot industrial area and a structure at the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council.
 
An Islamic terrorist group identifying itself with Al Qaeda took “credit” for Sunday’s attacks.
 
They issued a statement that they fired to express rage over an IDF ceremony at the Patriarchs’ Cave in Hevron and because of “the silence of the Hamas government in the wake of Jewish assaults on Islamic holy places.”
 
The statement continued, “The Jihad is the path of Allah against Jewish criminals,” and “Jewish thieves must know that Muslims will dedicate their blood at every Muslim holy place.”

Hamas to Egypt: Open Rafiah and We'll Close the Tunnels

Category: News
Created on Monday, 13 August 2012 08:51
A smuggling tunnel on the Gaza-Egypt border.Senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil announced on Sunday that his movement would agree to close all the tunnels along the border between Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula, provided that Cairo officially and permanently opens the Rafiah border crossing for traffic.
 
Speaking during a press conference, Bardawil said that the tunnels are “a means the Palestinian people need to deal with the security fence around Gaza and to deal with the blockade.” He added that closure of the tunnels, which are often used by Gaza-based terrorists to smuggle weapons and terrorists to and from Sinai, can only be done if the Egyptian side agrees to permanently open the Rafiah crossing for transfer of goods and people.
 
Egypt has only agreed to open the crossing at Rafiah for limited time periods. The tension in the area has been on the rise, especially since last week when terrorists from Gaza carried out an attack in the Sinai, killing 16 Egyptian officers.
 
The terrorists likely entered Egypt through the smuggling tunnels. After the attack last week, Egypt began to seal off the smuggling tunnels.
 
Bardawil referred to the terror attack and said that Hamas is in regular contact with the leadership in Cairo, and has expressed its full readiness to cooperate with Egypt to find those responsible for the attack. He also claimed that “the only factor which has an interest in being involved in an attack like this is the Israeli occupation.” Hamas’ Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, made similar accusations against Israel after the attack.
 
Bardawil said that neither Hamas nor its leadership in Gaza have received a message from Egypt which blames says that terror elements in Gaza are for the attack. “We have not received any information that Palestinians were involved in this criminal act,” he said.
 
Bardawil also claimed that Hamas has “strong and solid evidence that Israel is trying to harm the security of Egypt and the Egyptian leadership, because it sees the new regime as a threat to the Zionist enterprise.” He accused Israel of “spreading rumors against Gaza and hurting Hamas’ image.”
 
Cairo last week ordered a huge military and police force into the Sinai to arrest the terrorists who were responsible for the attack on the Egyptian officers. The terrorists then attempted to infiltrate the border into Israel near the Kerem Shalom crossing but were foiled by the IDF.
 
Israel has warned that Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists have been migrating from Gaza to the Sinai Peninsula to set up terrorist training camps, and have begun launching operations from the region.
 
Haniyeh has asked Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to open up Egypt’s border with Gaza. Morsi, despite his warming up to Hamas, has yet to agree.

Gaza Terrorists Testing Rockets in Sinai

Category: News
Created on Friday, 10 August 2012 17:53
Katyusha missileIsraeli sources told Reuters on Friday there is evidence that Egypt's north Sinai region is becoming not only a rallying point for terrorists but a firing range for Gaza's rocket builders.
 
It was soon after the 2011 revolt in Egypt toppled President Hosni Mubarak that Israeli rocket radars began to spot unusual launches from the Gaza, the report noted.
 
While the rockets normally towards Israeli border towns, or north towards coastal cities, some are now aimed at the empty desert wastes of Sinai.
 
The purpose seemed clear, according to the sources: to test rockets made or smuggled in by Gaza terror groups who do not have space for a practice range.
 
“They have a Bedouin collaborator in Sinai who finds the crater and marks it by GPS,” an Israeli official told Reuters on condition of anonymity, describing a low-tech but effective method of tracking test-firings from Gaza.
 
A sheik from a Sinai village around 60 km from Gaza described how in June he heard several explosions and went to investigate. He found a spent rocket which had gouged a basketball-size hole in the ground.
 
“The remaining parts did not include any writings that could tell where the rocket came from,” the sheik was quoted by Reuters as having said.
 
The report added that while Gaza's Hamas government and its smaller Islamist factions deny conducting any military operations in Sinai, security officials from Egypt privately admit it has become a playground of bandits, smugglers and jihadis.
 
Tzvika Foghel, an Israeli brigadier-general in the reserves, recalled occasions when rockets were fired from the far western corner of Gaza at open areas of Israel, a diagonal span of more than 40 km.
 
“They could easily see where the rockets were landing by putting someone in an elevated position in Beit Hanoun,” Foghel told Reuters.
 
Israel's Gaza cordon includes advanced radars to detect and track rocket launches in real-time, the report said. The radars feed the Iron Dome anti-missile system, and rockets headed into the open Negev, deliberately or by mistake, are watched with interest by Israeli intelligence.
 
“There are those who see these practice launches as an opportunity to study what the enemy is planning and preparing for us,” a serving Israeli military officer said.
 
When Gaza-based terrorists fire a rocket in practice, the Israelis can study its trajectory and debris, but in Sinai the debris is beyond their reach.

Egyptian Group Warns: Hamas is Dangerous

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 09:08
Morsi shakes hands with Haniyeh  RutersThe Justice and Development Organization for Human Rights in Egypt has called to release Gaza from under the rule of Hamas, which violently seized power in a 2007 coup.
 
The organization released a statement on Monday in the city of Minya, in which it argued that Hamas is an illegal entity and is the main reason for the split in the leadership of the Palestinian Authority as well as for the failure to achieve Palestinian statehood.
 
The organization also said that the strategic purpose of planting Hamas in Gaza is to realize Iran’s goal for the region, which is to establish a Shiite state extending all the way to Lebanon and Syria. The organization said that it is for this reason that Iran provides Hamas with financial and logistical support.
 
Nadi Atef, who heads the organization, condemned the frequent visits by Hamas’ leaders, headed by Khaled Mashaal, to Cairo after the recent election victory of Mohammed Morsi. Atef noted that Hamas was one of the allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, along with Hizbullah.
 
Atef warned against the transfer of weapons and missiles from Libya by the Muslim Brotherhood to Hamas via the Sinai Peninsula and called to prevent a situation whereby the Sinai Peninsula would become Hamas's military base. According to Atef, vigilance is required against a scenario in which the Muslim Brotherhood will cooperate with the United States and with the consent of Hamas to settle PA Arabs in Sinai.
 
Ever since Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, won the presidential election in Egypt, he has been tightening relations with Hamas, which is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Morsi has met with Mashaal, his deputy Musa Abu Marzouq and other members of Hamas’s politburo. During the meeting, Morsi stressed the importance he places on Egypt's support “for the Palestinian nation’s struggle to achieve its legitimate rights”, unifying the lines between Hamas and its longtime rival Fatah, supplying Gaza with fuel and electricity and easing the restrictions on the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.
 
Last week Morsi met with Gaza’s de-facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Hamas has been asking Morsi to open up Egypt’s border with Gaza, but Morsi has yet to agree.
 
For the time being Egypt has eased the visa requirements for Gazans under 40 who want to travel to Egypt through the Rafiah border crossing into the Sinai.
 
Until now, residents of Gaza within that age bracket have been unable to travel without a visa due to security concerns.

Terrorists Fire 2 Rockets at Southern Israel

Category: News
Created on Saturday, 28 July 2012 10:29
Katyusha missileTerrorists from Hamas-controlled Gaza fired two rockets at southern Israel on Friday night, shattering the calm of the Sabbath.
 
Both rockets exploded in agricultural areas in the Eshkol Regional Council. There were no physical injuries or property damage.
 
On Wednesday, a rocket was fired into Israel from Gaza, striking an open area in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. The Color Red early warning siren sounded in the region. There were no reports of any physical injuries or property damage.
 
On Tuesday evening, after weeks of relative calm, Ashkelon was attacked by two Grad-style missiles that were fired by terrorists in northern Gaza.
 
One rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile shield, while the other exploded in an open field.
 
In June, Hamas terrorists fired more than 100 rockets at Israel within several days, eventually announcing it has agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire. However, the Gaza-based terrorist groups take advantage of the ‘ceasefires’ to periodically send a reminder to Israelis that they have the ability to fire rockets.
 
Between 2001 and January 2009, over 8,600 rockets were launched, leading to 28 deaths and several hundred injuries, as well as widespread psychological trauma and disruption of daily life.
 
Since Israel's Operation Cast Led in late 2008 and early 2009, an estimated 1,964 rocket and mortar attacks have been launched on Israeli communities from Gaza, with four fatalities and scores of injuries recorded.

Morsi Won't Allow Siege on Gaza

Category: News
Created on Friday, 13 July 2012 18:24
Haniyeh celebrates Morsis victoryHamas’ Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said on Friday that he is convinced the new Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi, will protect Gaza against Israeli aggression.
 
Haniyeh added that he is convinced that Morsi will open the borders between Gaza and Egypt and will remove the blockade.
 
Channel 10 News quoted Haniyeh, who spoke during Friday prayers in a mosque in Gaza, as saying he is certain that Egypt will not support aggressive actions in Gaza.
 
“We're confident that Egypt’s new leadership under Morsi will never support to any aggression or a war in Gaza,” Haniyeh said.
 
“We are confident that Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi will not take part in the siege being imposed on Gaza,” he added.
 
Channel 10 reported that Haniyeh is expected to visit Cairo within the next few weeks, whereh he will meet with Morsi and ask him to reopen the border between Egypt and Gaza, which has been closed for the past five years.
 
Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. The rise of the movement to power in Egypt has led to speculations and concerns that it will show greater support for Hamas, which seized Gaza from the Palestinian Authority under its rival faction, Fatah, in a bloody 2007 putsch.
 
Muhammad Badi, the supreme leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, recently called for jihad on Israel.
 
Badi “confirmed the necessity for every Muslim to strive to save al-Quds [Jerusalem] from the hands of the rapists [Israelis] and to cleanse Palestine from the clutches of the occupation, deeming this an individual duty for all Muslims.”
 
He also “called on all Muslims to wage jihad with their money and their selves to free al-Quds”—the same exact language one finds in al-Qaeda’s tracts.
 
Some have portrayed Badi as the true power behind Egypt’s presidency, with Morsi acting as his puppet.

UNESCO to Establish Chair at Islamic University of Gaza

Category: News
Created on Friday, 13 July 2012 07:05
Islamic University of GazaThe United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has decided to establish a chair at the Islamic University of Gaza.
 
The decision came as a shock to the State of Israel, which expressed “consternation” at the news.
 
“The Islamic University of Gaza is a known hothouse and breeding ground for Hamas terrorists,” Israel's Foreign Ministry pointed out in a statement issued Thursday.
 
“Only last month, the University's Dean of Koranic Studies only called for the Islamic conquest of the Vatican and of Spain.”
 
In its statement, the ministry accused the university of “poisoning the minds of men for the cause of terror” despite the fact that UNESCO's motto is that “It is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”
 
Scientists and academics at the university double as Hamas technocrats, warned the ministry. “The Islamic University serves as an employment program and intellectual retreat for Hamas leaders."
 
“The university conducts lectures on Hamas' radical ideology and concentrates on hostility to Israel; Hamas uses Gaza University laboratories to develop and produce explosives and rockets and has even run a course on explosive making. The university is a warehouse for weapons and a venue for secret meetings of military leaders.”
 
Hamas and the Islamic University believe in extremism, violence and terror, Israel pointed out, “not 'Education, Science and Culture.'” The chair established by UNESCO, emphasized the ministry, is linked to a terror organization – thus further damaging UNESCO's reputation.

Rocket Attacks Resume on Southern Israel

Category: News
Created on Monday, 25 June 2012 10:46
Qassam StrikePalestinian Authority terrorists resumed firing rocket attacks on southern Israel Sunday afternoon.
 
Three short-range Qassam rockets were launched at the Eshkol Regional Council district area by Gaza terrorists at about 4:30 p.m.
 
One of the missiles exploded in a residential area, according to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, but residents of the area had managed to reach their bomb shelters in time.
 
No one was physically injured, authorities said, although residents with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had symptoms triggered by the attack.
 
There were no reports on property damage.
 
The window of safety in which to reach shelter in that area is approximately 15 seconds from the time the Color Red incoming rocket alert system is activated, until the point of impact.

Egypt Blocks Pro-Hamas Group's Aid Convoy to Gaza

Category: News
Created on Wednesday, 06 June 2012 09:02
The British pro-Hamas Viva Palestina organization suffered a setback recently, when Egyptian authorities refused to allow the organization’s aid convoy to enter Gaza. According to a report by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC), it was the sixth time that Viva Palestina failed to deliver aid to Gaza via Egypt.Rafiah border closed
 
Viva Palestina is headed by former British MP George Galloway, who was thrown out of the British caucus in 2003 after vocally opposing Britain’s involvement in the war in Iraq.
 
Galloway, who openly supports the Hamas terrorist group, tried to lead a convoy of some 150 trucks with aid to Gaza through Egypt for the first time in 2010.
 
Egypt blocked the effort, insisting instead that aid to Gaza should be sent through recognized international channels. The group has tried several times since, the last time being in August of 2011.
 
ITIC said that Egypt’s decision to prevent Viva Palestina’s members from bringing the aid into Gaza is related to the bullying behavior of the convoy members during the first incident in January of 2010. During that attempt, Galloway and the others violently confronted the Egyptian security forces. He has since been declared persona non grata in Egypt.
 
According to ITIC, Galloway ultimately decided to move the aid through Syria. The report noted that Bashar Assad’s regime allowed the convoy to move through, hoping to use it as a means of proving that the Syrian regime is a humanitarian one.
 
ITIC noted that Viva Palestina “works closely with the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain and with Hamas activists who live in Britain, as part of what is termed ‘the red-green coalition’ by the media.”
 
Galloway was declared a security risk and was barred from entering Canada in 2009 for a speaking tour that was organized by the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War. He was later allowed entry to Canada and began a speaking tour across the country.

Shalit Deal Terrorists Increasing Terror Activity

Category: News
Created on Tuesday, 05 June 2012 07:36
Hamas officers in GazaA senior IDF official said on Monday that there has been an increase in attempts by terrorists who were released in the Shalit deal and sent to Gaza to promote terrorism in Judea and Samaria.
 
Speaking to Army Radio, the official said that the terrorists released in the deal and who are living in Judea and Samaria are under constant Israeli supervision, and that most of them did not return to terrorist activity.
 
“It is only the actions of our forces that ensure the security of Israeli citizens,” the official said, adding that the body which tries to encourage terrorism the most is Hamas.
 
“Along with the Palestinian Authority’s attempt at reconciliation with Hamas, we are detecting a loosening in the PA’s security forces actions against Hamas activists,” he said.
 
Several of the more than 1,000 terrorists Israel released last October in exchange for Gilad Shalit have been re-arrested after returning to terrorism.
 
One of the released terrorists, Omar Abu-Sneina, sent a memory card to relatives with detailed instructions on how to kidnap more soldiers. The memory card stated that a live kidnap victim should not be hidden in an isolated area.
 
Another Hamas terrorist, who participated in the bombing of Café Hillel in Jerusalem and was released in the Shalit deal, took part in an “apartheid week” propaganda tour in South Africa.
 
The terrorist, Abd al-Aziz Muhammad Moussa Amr, called during the tour for mass marches in Israel's borders in order to “liberate Jerusalem and Palestine.”
 
He also called for international pressure to aid in the release of his fellow terrorists from Israeli jails the release of terrorists in Israeli jails, whom he characterized as "political prisoners".
 
The Deputy head of the Binyamin Regional Council, Moti Yogev, recently said that terrorists have been encouraged to try to carry out attacks against Israelis because of the deal to free Gilad Shalit.

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