Posts Tagged ‘firebombs’

Clashes in West Bank as Israelis visit Joseph’s Tomb holy site

September 27, 2018

Clashes broke out overnight as hundreds of Israelis visited a religious site in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli army and Palestinian sources said Thursday.

A Palestinian protester hurls a rock at Israeli soldiers during clashes following a weekly demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian lands in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near Nablus in the occupied West Bank, on September 21, 2018. (AFP)

Around 1,500 Jewish Israelis visited the Joseph’s Tomb site near Nablus in the northern West Bank late Wednesday, protected by Israeli soldiers, the army said.

“At the entrance of the city of Nablus a violent riot was instigated during which Palestinians hurled rocks and firebombs,” a spokeswoman told AFP.

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

Joseph’s tomb in Nablus

She said the army had used “riot dispersal means” to break up the protest.

More than 20 Palestinians were injured, including two journalists, a Palestinian medical source said.

An Israeli army bulldozer caught fire after Palestinians apparently threw Molotov cocktails at it, videos published by local media showed.

The army said no soldiers were injured.

The tomb is holy to Jews but is deep inside the West Bank, territory that is supposed to form a key part of a future Palestinian state.

It has been the scene of repeated clashes and was torched in October 2015 before being repaired later.

The Israeli army regularly carries out raids inside Nablus and other Palestinian cities.



Israel Closes Gaza Crossing Following Clashes at Border Protests

August 19, 2018
The Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
The Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip. MAHMUD HAMS/AFP

Israel announced Sunday that it has closed the Erez crossing for movement, with the exception of pressing humanitarian cases, due to the ongoing clashes at the border with Gaza that carried on over the weekend.

The Erez crossing, situated along the northern part of the Strip, is used for the movement of people between the Strip and Israel.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated that he made the decision to close the crossing after a situation assessment he made on Saturday due to ‘violent events at the border last Friday.’

On Friday afternoon, Gaza’s Health Ministry said that two Palestinians died and hundreds more were injured in clashes with the Israeli military amid a protest. The Israeli military stated that several Palestinians attempted to breach the border fence and that thousands disrupted order in the area, prompting forces on the ground to use riot dispersal means as well as live fire to disperse the demonstrators.

Last week, Israel reopened the Kerem Shalom crossing, the commercial crossing through which fuel, gas and other provisions are passed into the coastal enclave.

The crossing had been closed due to the hostilities that erupted between Israel and the Palestinians after several weeks throughout which Israel’s south was targeted by incessant rocket fire.

Also last week, Israel and Hamas reached a cease-fire agreement that went into effect on Wednesday.

Israeli ministers discussed Wednesday the details of the agreement, brokered by the United Nations and Egypt, in a special meeting on the situation in Gaza.

The understandings are based on the principles that were agreed upon by the parties at the end of the 2014 Operation Protective Edge. These include, in the first stage, lifting restrictions at the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing and on the fishing area in Gaza, in addition to rehabilitation of Gaza infrastructure, in return for a cessation of attacks from both sides.

The agreement was approved in principle by the security cabinet minister on Sunday during a cabinet discussion, though not by vote. The only ones who objected, as publicly announced, were  Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

Lieberman did not object but supported the position of the defense establishment in favor of the agreement. On Wednesday, the agreement entered into force, the details were again presented and the security cabinet received an update on the progress.



Israel closes people crossing with Gaza — After firebombs and IEDs hurled at the border fence, Israel says

August 19, 2018


Israel closed its only crossing for people with the Gaza Strip on Sunday except for humanitarian cases over border incidents that saw protests and clashes at the weekend, an Israeli official said.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli defence ministry unit that oversees the passage confirmed that the Erez crossing had been closed.

Border protests and clashes on Friday left two Palestinians dead by Israeli gunfire.

Israel’s army said firebombs and IEDs were also hurled at the border fence, while a number of Palestinians briefly crossed into Israeli territory.

Image result for Erez crossing, photos

The closure and border incidents occurred despite attempts by Egypt and UN officials to reach a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The spokeswoman for the defence ministry unit, known as COGAT, did not say how long the crossing would be closed.

The Palestinian Authority civilian affairs office in Gaza also confirmed the closure except for medical cases and Palestinians seeking to cross back into the enclave.

Israel has enforced an air, land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip for more than a decade, but grants permission to a limited number of people to cross for various reasons.

Israel had just last week reopened its only goods crossing with Gaza after closing it to most deliveries for more than a month over border tensions.

Protests and clashes began on the Gaza border on March 30 and have continued at varying levels since then.

At least 171 Gazans have been killed by Israeli fire during that time. One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper in July.

There have also been several severe military flare-ups, including three since July.

UN officials and Egypt have been seeking to secure a long-term truce between Hamas and Israel to allow for humanitarian issues in the impoverished enclave of two million people to be addressed.

Israel is demanding calm and a return of the remains of two soldiers Hamas is believed to be holding.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.



Israel further tightens Gaza blockade over arson kites

July 17, 2018


Israel further tightened its blockade of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, preventing fuel deliveries through its only goods crossing with the Palestinian enclave after scores of kites carried firebombs across the border to burn Israeli farmland.

The defence ministry announced the move late Monday after saying last week it was closing the crossing to most deliveries, citing the kites and balloons that have for months carried firebombs into Israel from Gaza.

© AFP | Palestinian security forces stand at the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main conduit for goods entering the Gaza Strip, on July 9, 2018

Fuel deliveries will be suspended until Sunday, the ministry said in a statement. The fishing zone enforced by Israel off the Gaza Strip will also be reduced from six nautical miles to three.

The goods crossing, known as Kerem Shalom, will remain open for food and medicine on a case-by-case basis.

“In light of the continued terror efforts of Hamas, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has decided, after consulting with the chief of (military) staff, to close Kerem Shalom for the passage of fuel and gas until Sunday,” a statement said.

Islamist movement Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip and has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, denounced the move.

It had called the initial closing last week a “crime against humanity”.

Palestinians in Gaza view the balloons and kites as legitimate resistance against Israel’s more than decade-long blockade.

© AFP | Palestinian protestors in the Gaza Strip prepare to fly a kite carrying a firebomb during a demonstration along the border with Israel on June 8, 2018

The closed crossing is the only one between Gaza and Israel for goods transport. A separate crossing, known as Erez, is for people.

Gaza’s only other border crossing is with Egypt. That crossing has been largely closed in recent years, but Egypt has opened it since mid-May.

There were reports in the Israeli media of Egypt moving to close its crossing, but no confirmation.

Israeli authorities say the hundreds of arson kites and balloons sent over the border fence from Gaza have caused major damage to farms in the area.

A spokesman for Israel’s fire service says around 750 fires have burned some 2,600 hectares, estimating the damage at millions of shekels (hundreds of thousands of dollars or euros).

The tightening of the blockade comes after the heaviest exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war on Saturday.

Israel carried out air strikes partially in response to the months of fires started by the kite firebombs, but also over continuing protests and clashes along the Gaza border.

Israel hit dozens of sites it said belonged to militants in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing two Palestinian teenagers.

The same day, around 200 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from the Hamas-run enclave and four Israelis were wounded when a rocket hit a house in the nearby Israeli city of Sderot.



Israel hits Hamas posts in response to arson kites

July 16, 2018

An Israeli aircraft hit two Hamas posts in the Gaza Strip on Monday in response to balloons carrying firebombs over the border fence to burn Israeli farmland, the army said.

The strikes signalled a tougher Israeli response to the hundreds of balloons and kites carrying firebombs that have been launched from the Gaza Strip since April.

Gazan security sources and residents said the strikes occurred in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip and caused no injuries.

© AFP | Palestinian protestors in the Gaza Strip prepare to fly a kite carrying a firebomb during a demonstration along the border with Israel on June 8, 2018

Israel’s army said the strikes targeted an area near where arson balloons were launched.

A spokesman for Israel’s fire service said four fires had been started inside Israel on Monday due to the firebombs.

That was significantly less than the average of around 24 per day that had been occurring recently, said fire service spokesman Eli Cohen.

The strikes came after the heaviest exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war on Saturday.

Those Israeli air strikes were partially in response to the months of fires started by the kite firebombs, but also over continuing protests and clashes along the Gaza border.

Israel hit dozens of sites it said belonged to militants in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing two Palestinian teenagers, while around 200 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from the Hamas-run enclave.

Hamas announced a ceasefire late Saturday, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the kite fires must stop.

“I have directed the (military) to defeat and stop the terror of incendiary kites and balloons, and we are in the midst of the process,” Netanyahu said Monday while visiting the city of Sderot, where four people were wounded when a rocket hit a house on Saturday.

“There is an exchange of blows here. It is not over in one go.”


Israeli aircraft strike Hamas targets in Gaza Strip

June 18, 2018

Israeli jets struck nine targets belonging to the Islamist Hamas group in the northern Gaza Strip early on Monday in response to incendiary kites and balloons Palestinians sent from the territory that have damaged Israeli property, the military said.

Sirens also sounded in Israeli areas near the Gaza Strip at daybreak and the army said three rockets had been launched towards Israeli territory but one fell short in the Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported from the rockets or air strikes.

In recent weeks, Palestinians have sent kites dangling coal embers or burning rags across the Gaza border to set fire to arid farmland and forests, others have carried small explosive devices in a new tactic that has caused extensive damage.

The Israeli military has fired warning shots from the air and destroyed property belonging to the kite launchers but has refrained from targeting them. Some Israeli ministers have called for those launchers to be targeted directly.

Palestinians prepare kites before trying to fly them with incendiaries over the border fence with Israel, in

Israel has drafted in civilian drone enthusiasts as army reservists, instructing them to fly their remote-controlled aircraft into the kites, an Israeli general said, but an effective means to stop the kites has yet to be found.

“These are terrorist acts that endanger Israeli residents living in southern Israel and damage extensive areas in Israeli territory,” the military statement said of the kites and balloons.

At least 125 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops during mass demonstrations along the Gaza border since March 30 and the men sending the kites over the fence believe they have found an effective new weapon.

© AFP | An explosion is seen in Gaza City after an airstrike by Israeli forces

Israel’s deadly tactics in confronting the weekly Friday protests have drawn international condemnation.

Palestinians say they are a popular outpouring of rage against Israel by people demanding the right to return to homes their families fled or were driven from on Israel’s founding 70 years ago.

Israel says the demonstrations are organized by the Islamist group Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip and denies Israel’s right to exist. Israel says Hamas has intentionally provoked the violence, a charge Hamas denies.

Around two million people live in Gaza, most of them the stateless descendants of refugees from what is now Israel. The territory has been controlled by Hamas for more than a decade, during which it has fought three wars against Israel.

Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade of the strip, citing security reasons, which has caused an economic crisis and collapse in living standards there over the past decade.

Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Writing by Ori Lewis, Editing by Darren Schuettler



Palestinian in ‘suicide vest’ attacks Israeli police, shot

December 15, 2017


© AFP | A Palestinian man, wearing a suspected suicide vest, is carried into an ambulance after he was shot by Israeli forces for stabbing a soldier in the Israeli occupied West Bank

RAMALLAH (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) – A Palestinian wearing what appeared to be a suicide vest attacked Israeli border police in the occupied West Bank on Friday before being shot, AFP photos showed.The man attacked the police during clashes near a military checkpoint on the outskirts of the town of Ramallah.

View image on Twitter

He was wearing what looked like a suicide vest, though it was unclear whether it was operational.

A video posted online showed the border police officers shooting him three times.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement the assailant stabbed an officer twice before being shot.

They said they had launched an investigation “looking into reports that the suspect had an explosive device on him or a fake explosive device”.

It said they were also investigating “if the suspect was dressed as a journalist”, enabling him to get close to the officers.

The pictures did not show him wearing a press vest.

The assailant, identified by a medical source as a 24-year-old from Hebron in the southern West Bank, was taken to hospital by Palestinian medics.

He was in a critical condition, the source said.



Hamas-Ordered Palestinian Protests Resume in Jerusalem After Friday Prayers in Another “Day Of Rage” — Terrorist stabs a Border Police officer in Ramallah

December 15, 2017

Palestinian protesters throw stones during clashes with Israeli security forces near the Huwara checkpoint, south of Nablus, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. (AFP)
The Jerusalem Post
DECEMBER 15, 2017 15:18

This comes after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech at an emergency session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul Wednesday.

Violence erupts after prayers conclude in new Palestinian 'Day of Rage'

A Palestinian demonstrator stands near burning tires during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, near the West Bank city of Nablus December 15, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)

A terrorist stabbed a Border Police officer in Ramallah Friday, moderately wounding him, according to a police spokesman, in the latest round of violence that erupted between Arabs and Israeli police during a new Palestinian “day of rage” throughout the country.

The terrorist was neutralized shortly after and taken from the scene by a Red Crescent ambulance. The Israeli army said it was investigating reports the assailant, 19-year-old Mahmoud Iman was carrying an explosive vest.

Knife used by Palestinian assailant in stabbing of Israel Border Police officer in Ramallah. (photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Knife used by Palestinian assailant in stabbing of Israel Border Police officer in Ramallah. (photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)

Israel Police also said that they were investigating whether the assailant was dressed as a journalist and if that was the reason he was able to get close to and attack the officer.

: Attempted stabbing attack against  soldier near Ramallah. Attacker neutralized

Picture allegedly showing  who lightly injured (i) border police officer in stabbing attack near . Authorities checking if he was wearing a suicide vest or if it’s fake

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The above video, which appeared on Palestinian television and shared on social media, shows the aftermath of the stabbing in Ramallah.

Clashes have also broken out in east Jerusalem, Qalandiya, Hebron and Bethlehem. Thousands of Gazans have also gathered at the border fence between the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and Israel.

Two people were arrested in Jerusalem after Friday prayer services turned into violent riots of Palestinians chanting “with blood and spirit, we will liberate al-Aksa” and “Jerusalem is an Arab city.”

Police heightened security measures throughout the Old City and its gates, after having clashed with protesters in east Jerusalem throughout the week as the city’s Arab residents have been “raging” against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Police have arrested about 80 residents of east Jerusalem as of Thursday.

In Bethlehem, Several were lightly wounded, three were evacuated by ambulance after dozens of masked Palestinian youth clashed with police. At noon, forty men and youth with signs denouncing US president Donald Trump and calling Jerusalem the capital of Palestine marched toward the security fence near Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, a popular spot for Friday protests.

Israeli soldiers used tear gas to disperse the protesters.

Protests in Bethlehem during Day of Rage on December 15, 2017 (Seth J. Frantzman)

Protests in Bethlehem during ‘Day of Rage’ on December 15, 2017 (Seth J. Frantzman)

More youth arrived with Molotov cocktails, slingshots and stones and started a fire that blackened the sky using tires near the Jacir Palace Hotel. It is the second Friday “day of rage” since the US recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

This comes after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a passionate speech at an emergency session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul Wednesday, organized by Turkish President Rajab Tayyip Erdogan.

Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.


Israeli troops wound more than 40 Palestinians in protests over U.S. Jerusalem move

December 15, 2017


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Israeli soldiers are seen at the Israeli side of the Israel Gaza border as Palestinians protest on Gaza side, December 15, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen Reuters


RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Israeli troops shot and wounded more than 40 Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank on Friday, medical officials said, as protests over U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital entered a second week.

Near the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West Bank, Israeli police troopers said they shot a man after he stabbed and hurt one of their unit. Reuters photographers who saw the wounded Palestinian fall said he was holding a small knife and wore what looked like a bomb belt.

Medical officials said three more Palestinians were shot and wounded in the West Bank. A further 38 were wounded on the border of the Gaza Strip, whose dominant Hamas Islamists have called for a revolt against Israel in protest against Trump’s Dec. 6 decision.

The Israeli military said that about 2,500 Palestinian took part in riots in the West Bank, rolling flaming tires and throwing firebombs and rocks at soldiers and border police. Troops took action to break up the riots, it said in a statement.

Similar scenes occurred along the border with Gaza Strip, where about 3,500 Palestinians demonstrated.

“During the violent riots IDF soldiers fired selectively towards main instigators,” the military said.

Gaza has also seen almost nightly rocket launches into Israel by Palestinian militants, which have not caused casualties. An Israeli counter-strike on Gaza killed two Hamas gunmen.

Trump’s announcement, reversing decades of U.S. policy which treated Jerusalem’s status as a matter for Israeli-Palestinian negotiation, stirred anger across the Arab and Muslim world and concern among Washington’s European allies.

Jerusalem is holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians.

Israel captured East Jerusalem from Arab forces in the 1967 Middle East War and later annexed it in a move not recognized internationaly. Palestinians hope that part of the city will be the capital of a future independent state and Palestinian leaders say Trump’s move is a serious blow to an already moribund peace process.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to visit Israel, as well as Egypt, next week.

Thailand Encourages Tourists and Promises Security — After explosions and firebombs killed four people and wounded dozens more

August 13, 2016

People walk along the beach in Hua Hin, Thailand, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. Thais and tourists headed warily into the main part of a big holiday weekend Saturday as police looked for suspects and a motive behind a series of blasts that shook resort towns across Thailand, killing four people and wounding dozens more. (AP Photo/ Penny Yi Wang)

People walk along the beach in Hua Hin, Thailand, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. Thais and tourists headed warily into the main part of a big holiday weekend Saturday as police looked for suspects and a motive behind a series of blasts that shook resort towns across Thailand, killing four people and wounding dozens more. (AP Photo/ Penny Yi Wang) (The Associated Press)

Thais and tourists headed warily into the main part of a big holiday weekend Saturday as police looked for suspects and a motive behind a series of blasts that shook resort towns across Thailand, killing four people and wounding dozens more.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attacks Thursday and Friday, which followed a successful referendum last weekend on a new constitution that critics say will bolster the military’s power for years to come.

The violence appeared aimed at dealing a blow to the country’s tourism industry, which brings in crucial income to the government. One small bomb exploded on a beach in Patong on the island of Phuket and four others rattled the seaside resort city of Hua Hin, prompting businesses to shut their doors, streets to empty and anxious tourists to huddle inside their hotels.

Eleven foreigners were wounded in the blasts, including nationals of Austria, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

“We hope we may have some suspects today or tomorrow,” Police Gen. Pongsapat Pongcharoen, a deputy national police chief, told reporters Saturday. He did not elaborate, but said police were gathering evidence and that international militant groups were not believed to be behind the attacks.

He said the perpetrators are believed to belong to the same networks and still inside the country. Police said firebombs also triggered blazes at markets and shops in six places, including Phuket, Trang, Surat Thani, Phang Nga and a souvenir shop in the tourist town of Ao Nang, Krabi, a seaside province known for its stunning limestone cliffs.

Speaking late Friday, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the attacks “struck at the hearts of all Thai people.”

Royal Thai Police Col. Krisana Patanacharoen also said Friday it was “too early to conclude” who was behind the attacks. But he said the bombings followed “a similar pattern used in the southern parts of the country” — a reference to a low-level insurgency in the country’s Islamic south that has ground on for more than a decade and killed more than 5,000 people.

Southern militants fighting for greater autonomy have carried out sophisticated, coordinated attacks before, but most have hit three provinces in the far south that were not among those targeted this week.

The violence occurred just ahead of the first anniversary of the Aug. 17 bombing of Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine, which left 20 dead and injured more than 120 others. Thai authorities said that bombing was revenge by a people-smuggling gang whose activities were disrupted by a crackdown, but analysts suspect it might have been the work of Uighur separatists angry that Thailand forcibly repatriated more than 100 Uighurs to China.

Foreign governments, including the United States, issued warnings urging travelers to use caution and avoid affected areas. Many of the tourists interviewed Saturday were resuming their holidays while keeping an eye for any sign of trouble.

“We feel pretty safe. At first we had a lot of mixed feelings, because we didn’t know the area well enough,” said Lexus Chlorad, 21, from New York, after arriving in Hua Hin on Friday afternoon.

Carl Suensson, 68, from Sweden, said Saturday that “today it’s pretty OK, but yesterday was scary.”

“We follow the news 24 hours. Wherever there’s a lot of people, like the market, bars behind Hilton, the train station, we try to avoid it,” he added.

The first bomb exploded in the southern province of Trang — an area full of beautiful beaches and tourist islands — killing one person and injuring six, according to police. Then on Thursday night, attackers in Hua Hin hid bombs on a busy street filled with bars and restaurants, planting them inside two potted plants and were detonated by remote control about half an hour apart.

One Thai woman was killed and about 20 people were wounded, 11 of them foreigners.

On Sunday, Thai voters approved a referendum on a new constitution that is supposed to lead to an election next year. Critics say it is undemocratic and is fashioned to keep the military in control for at least five more years even if a free election is held.

Friday’s blast took place on the birthday of Thailand’s Queen Sirikit. The junta has repeatedly said that defending the monarchy is a top priority, and the army and its allies are keen to ensure a smooth succession for Bhumibol, who is the world’s longest reigning monarch.

Many foreigners living in Thailand got used to bouts of violence.

“I’ve seen it go up and down going through all the coups and everything. I’m just a little wary, but life goes on,” said Gabrielle Boccer, a Swiss-Australian who’s been living in Thailand for 25 years.


Pitman reported from Bangkok. Associated Press journalists Jerry Harmer in Hua Hin, Papitchaya Boonngok, Natnicha Chuwiruch and Kiko Rosario in Bangkok contributed to this report.