Posts Tagged ‘Khan Yunis’

Israel: One Palestinian Killed, 16 Wounded in Seventh Week of Gaza Protests

May 11, 2018

Another 30 were wounded by gas inhalation during clashes with the Israel Defense Forces, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society reports

Palestinian demonstrators at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip, May 11, 2018
Palestinian demonstrators at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip, May 11, 2018\ IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/ REUTERS

A Palestinian was killed and 16 were wounded in protests on Friday along the Gaza border from live gunfire, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, as thousands of Gazans protest along the border in the seventh consecutive week of the “March of Return.”

A sixteen-year-old Palestinian suffered a serious headshot wound from live gunfire. Another one of the wounded reported includes a journalist who sustained light injuries to his leg, near the fence in the southern town of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip. 7 of those wounded are in serious condition.

According to the reports, four Palestinians sustained wounds from live gunfire. Others were wounded by rubber-tipped bullets and gas inhalation. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported of 30 wounded by gas inhalation.

skip – Your guide to the Gaza protests

Your guide to the Gaza protests – דלג

The committee organizing the demonstration dubbed this week’s protest “preparation and warning of what’s to come,” marking this as the last Friday before the so-called “March of Return” peaks on 14-15 of May, focusing on the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem and commemorating Nakba day.

Earlier Friday, three right-wing activists were arrested after attempting to send an incendiary kite into the Gaza Strip. The kite was believed to have fallen inside Israeli territory, where it started a small brush fire.


Hamas head gives support for protesters to breach Gaza fence

May 10, 2018


A senior Hamas official signalled support Thursday for thousands of Palestinians to breach the border fence from Gaza into Israel at protests to coincide with next week’s US embassy move to Jerusalem.

© AFP/File | Palestinian protesters use slings to hurl stones towards Israeli forces during clashes along the border with the Gaza Strip east of Khan Yunis on May 4, 2018


In his first major briefing to international media since becoming Gaza head of the Islamist group in 2017, Yahya Sinwar implied he would like to see thousands of Palestinians crossing into Israel as part of more than a month of protests.

Asked what he wanted to see from protests on Monday and Tuesday, Sinwar pointed out Israel has never specifically defined its borders.

“What’s the problem with hundreds of thousands breaking through a fence that is not a border?”

Sinwar said he hoped Israel would not shoot at what he called “peaceful” protests.

Image may contain: 16 people, people smiling, crowd

 Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, center, chant slogans at a demonstration of Palestinians

Fifty-two Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since protests and clashes began on March 30 calling for Palestinian refugees to be able to return to their former homes in what is now Israel.

The majority of those killed were shot during protests and clashes near the border.

Israel says it only opens fire when necessary to stop infiltrations, attacks and damage to the border fence, while accusing Hamas of seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence.

Palestinians say protesters are being shot while posing no threat to soldiers and there have been international calls for an independent investigation.

Thousands are expected to gather along the border on Monday, which coincides with the controversial opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

There are fears protesters could try and breach the fence, leading to more bloodshed.

Palestinians, who also consider Jerusalem their capital, reacted furiously to President Donald Trump’s December 6 announcement that he would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the divided holy city, with widespread street protests.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since forcing out the internationally recognised Palestinian government in 2007.

Hamas, which has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, is considered a terrorist organisation by the Jewish state, the United States and the European Union.

Palestinians Set Fires at Israel-Gaza Crossing; 42 Wounded by Israeli Fire in Border Protests

May 4, 2018

Gaza Health Ministry: Three wounded protesters in critical condition ■ IDF says protesters tried to breach border ■ 45 killed since protests started six weeks ago

Palestinian protesters flee from incoming teargas canisters during clashes with Israeli forces along the border with the Gaza strip east of Gaza City, May 4, 2018.
Palestinian protesters flee from incoming teargas canisters during clashes with Israeli forces along the border with the Gaza strip east of Gaza City, May 4, 2018.MAHMUD HAMS/AFP

Some 10,000 Palestinians protested along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip for the sixth consecutive Friday, with demonstrators attempting to breach the fence met by Israeli attempts to disperse them.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, violent riots broke out at five locations along the fence, with protesters burning tires, throwing stones and flying kites with flammable material with the aim of starting fires on the Israeli side of the border. Gaza’s Health Ministry said 350 protesters were wounded in clashes with Israeli forces, 42 of whom by live fire.

A wounded demonstrator is evacuated during clashes with Israeli forces on the Israel-Gaza border, May 4, 2018.
A wounded demonstrator is evacuated during clashes with Israeli forces on the Israel-Gaza border, May 4, 2018.\ IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/ REUTERS
A Palestinian woman protester hurls stones towards Israeli forces during clashes along the border with the Gaza strip east of Gaza City, May 4, 2018.
A Palestinian woman protester hurls stones towards Israeli forces during clashes along the border with the Gaza strip east of Gaza City, May 4, 2018.MAHMUD HAMS/AFP

The IDF said a few dozen protesters set fires at several locations on the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom border crossing with the aim of damaging pielines that transfer gas and fuel from Israel into the Strip. In addition, two attempts were made by a group of protesters to cross into Israeli territory from central Gaza, the military said. The IDF added that two drones used for observation fell on the Gazan side, but that there is no suspicion information has been leaked.

Of those Palestinians wounded in the clashes, 148 were evacuated to hospitals, Gaza’s Health Ministry said. Twenty of the wounded protesters were hit by Israeli rubber bullets. Three of those wounded are in critical condition, while 42 others sustained light to moderate wounds. Since the confrontations began on March 30, 45 Palestinians have been killed. The last death came on Thursday.

The committee in Gaza organizing the protests said the theme this week is “The Friday of the workers” to mark May 1, and in honor of the Palestinian worker. The organizing committee expressed disappointment that the protests have not spilled over into the West Bank.

Ahead of Friday’s protest, the army warned Palestinians against attempting to send kits with firebombs attacked to them into Israel, as has already happened this week, saying soldiers would respond with force.

Palestinians prepare an incendiary device attached to a kite before trying to fly it over the border fence with Israel, on the eastern outskirts of Jabalia, Gaza, May 4, 2018.
Palestinians prepare an incendiary device attached to a kite before trying to fly it over the border fence with Israel, on the eastern outskirts of Jabalia, Gaza, May 4, 2018.MOHAMMED ABED/AFP
Palestinian protesters use slings to hurl stones towards Israeli forces during clashes along the border with the Gaza strip east of Khan Yunis, May 4, 2018.
Palestinian protesters use slings to hurl stones towards Israeli forces during clashes along the border with the Gaza strip east of Khan Yunis, May 4, 2018.SAID KHATIB/AFP

Even before the present wave of weekly protests began, the IDF warned that it would use live ammunition against anyone trying to damage the fence and enter Israel. The use of live fire against the protesters has been criticized both inside Israel and abroad. The authorities in the Gaza Strip claim almost 2,000 Palestinians have been injured during the protests.

The UN special representative to the Middle East, Nikolay Mladenov, harshly criticized the death of a 15-year-old in Gaza, saying the killing of a child was outrageous and demanded Israel and the IDF “stop shooting at children.” The EU also called to investigate the incident.

Human rights organizations recently petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice to cancel the rules of engagement that allow soldiers to fire on protestors along the border is they are not a concrete and immediate threat to human life. In addition, the groups have asked the High Court to rule that these rules of engagement during protests are illegal.

In its response, the government said the protests by Palestinians along the Gaza border fall into the category of a state of war and thus human rights law does not apply to the rules of engagement. According to the state, the Israeli rules of engagement comply with both Israeli and international law.

Thousands march on Gaza-Israel border in 5th Friday of protests

April 27, 2018

Thousands of Palestinian protesters returned to points along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel for a fifth consecutive Friday of demonstrations dubbed the Great March of Return.

© AFP | Palestinian demonstrators run for cover on April 27, 2018 during protests near the Gaza Strip’s southern city of Khan Yunis

Demonstrators again gathered at five sites near the border fence, though numbers were down on previous weeks.

Dozens of young men burned tyres and threw stones a few hundreds metres from the border, with Israeli soldiers occasionally firing at them.

Fifty people were injured by gunfire or teargas inhalation, Gaza’s health ministry said.

A 22-year-old freelance photographer was among those shot, the ministry said.

Forty-one Palestinians have been killed since the demonstrations began on March 30, with hundreds more injured.

Marchers are demanding the right to return to their homes seized by Israel in 1948.

Israel says that allowing the refugees in would mean the end of the Jewish state, and accuses Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas of using the protests as a pretext for violence.

Demonstrations are expected to spike again in the lead up to May 14, when the United States is expected to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The decision has infuriated Palestinians, who see the annexed eastern half of the holy city as the capital of their future state.

Israel has rejected calls for an independent inquiry into the deaths along Gaza’s border, with the army saying its troops only use live ammunition as a last resort.


Gaza Protests: ’25 Wounded’ as Palestinians March on Border for Fifth Week — Protests are Both ‘Routine’ and Deadly

April 27, 2018

Organizers of this week’s protest – themed ‘rebellious youth’ in honor of those killed during past demonstration – promise to keep the march nonviolent

Palestinian demonstrators carry a fellow protestor suffering from tear gas exposure near the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis during the fifth straight Friday of mass demonstrations and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border on April 27, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB
Palestinian demonstrators carry a fellow protestor suffering from tear gas exposure near the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis during the fifth straight Friday of mass demonstrations and clashes SAID KHATIB/AFP

At least 50 Palestinians were wounded Friday as thousands particiapted in the “March of Return” along the Israel-Gaza border for the fifth week in a row, said the Palestinian Health Ministry. Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces also clashed in Hebron, leaving one lightly wounded.

Of the wounded, at least ten by live Israeli fire, four were medical staff and six were journalists, reported the ministry. According to the Palestinian news agency Maan two of the wounded were shot east of Gaza City and one east of Khan Yunis.

The committee organizing the protests said this week’s march is dedicated to “rebellious youth” to honor the thousands of young people who have come to protest every week at the area along the border fence.

The organizers said that this week, too, the marches are supposed to remain a nonviolent mass protest. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, youths scattered sand bags in several locations along the border earlier this week for protection against sniper fire.

>> Stop shooting: Israel cannot allow more young Gazans to die today | Editorial ■ Analysis: Gaza’s March of Return Reflects a Desire for New Palestinian Politics ■ Israeli Rights Group Urges UN: Make Israel Stop Shooting at Gaza Protesters

The protests will continue even after May 15, the day the Palestinians mark the Nakba (Catastrophe) – the founding of Israel – said Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas political bureau, on Wednesday. “The Palestinian people will demonstrate throughout the month of Ramadan to deal with the many challenges facing us, and first of all the peace plan promoted by U.S. President Donald Trump, called the ‘Deal of the Century,’” said Haniyeh.

Palestinian casualties in border demonstrations

“We will turn this deal into a resounding slap in the face for the administration in Washington and anyone who weaves conspiracies against the Palestinian people,” added Haniyeh.

Forty-two Palestinians have been killed and 5,511 were wounded in the mass protests since March 30, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported on Tuesday.

On Friday, the UN Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that Israel must address the use of excessive force in Gaza, and that the loss of life is “deplorable,” and that “the number of injuries is staggering.”

UN Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein

Of the injured, 2,596 people were hospitalized in government hospitals, 773 in nongovernment hospitals and the rest were treated in the field. Of those in government hospitals, 1,499 were hit by live ammunition, 107 by sponge-tipped bullets, 408 suffered gas inhalation and 582 suffered other injuries; 2,142 were adults and 454 were minors.

The Palestinian National Council, the highest body of the Palestine Liberation Organization, will hold a controversial meeting this week in Ramallah, which has also cast a shadow over this week’s protests.

Thousands are expected to turn out for the protests this week due to growing anger, particularly after the funeral of Fadi al-Batsh in the Jabalya refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on Thursday. Thousands attended the funeral of al-Batsh, a Palestinian engineer working for Hamas on weapons projects who was killed in Malaysia and whose death was attributed by foreign media outlets to the Mossad.

The deputy head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, Khalil al-Hiya, threatened Israel once again and accused it killing of al-Batsh. Speaking on the arrival of al-Batsh’s coffin in Gaza, al-Hiya said Israel bears responsibility for the death: “We say to the Zionist entity that without a doubt the day of punishment will come.”

Israel army given shoot orders ahead of Gaza border protest — “An explosive, sensitive situation is developing in the entire Middle East, but especially among the Palestinians”

March 28, 2018


© AFP | Gazans carry away a protester wounded during a clash with Israeli troops by the border fence near the city of Khan Yunis on March 23, 2018

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli chief of staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot has warned the army has been given authorisation to open fire ahead of mass protests on the Gaza border planned for Friday.

Eisenkot said reinforcements, including special forces snipers, had been deployed to the border to counter what he said was the most serious risk of conflict since he took up his post in 2015.

A series of incidents in recent days, including two infiltrations, one by three armed Palestinians who penetrated some 20 kilometres (12 miles) inside Israel, has already sent tensions soaring on the volatile frontier.

Friday’s mass rallies near the border fence mark the start of more than six weeks of planned protests leading up to the inauguration of the new US embassy in Jerusalem around May 14.

US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the disputed city as Israel’s capital in December has infuriated Palestinians who claim its annexed eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

Gazans are being urged to set up a string of protest camps along the Israeli border, each some 100 metres (yards) from the security fence, and the army is braced for attempts to break through.

“We won’t allow mass infiltration into Israel and to damage the fence, and certainly not to reach the communities,” Eisenkot told the mass-circulation Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

“The instructions are to use a lot of force,” he said.

“We’ve deployed more than 100 snipers who have been drafted from all the army’s units, mainly from the special units. In the event of mortal danger, there is authorisation to open fire.”

Hamas, the Islamist group which controls Gaza, has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, the most recent of which in 2014 ended with a fragile truce.

Asked whether he feared a new conflict, Eisenkot said: “The chance of that happening is greater this year than it was in the first three years of my term.

“There are a lot of negative vectors in the region that are pushing towards a conflict.”

Eisenkot gave a similar warning in a separate interview with left-leaning newspaper Haaretz.

“An explosive, sensitive situation is developing in the entire Middle East, but especially among the Palestinians,” he said.

Israel: IDF stresses no basis for claim paraplegic Gaza protester was targeted by troops

December 23, 2017

A week after Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh’s death, Yoav Mordechai asks Red Cross to share details of injuries the double amputee sustained, urges end to ‘conspiracy of lies’

Time of Israel
December 22, 2017
This  photo taken on May 19, 2017 shows handicapped Palestinian demonstrator Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh waving a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli soldiers following a protest against the blockade on Gaza, near the border fence east of Gaza City. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

This photo taken on May 19, 2017 shows handicapped Palestinian demonstrator Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh waving a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli soldiers following a protest against the blockade on Gaza, near the border fence east of Gaza City. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

A top Israeli general on Saturday said there was no basis for reports that the wheelchair-bound Palestinian amputee who was killed during riots along the Gaza border on December 15 was deliberately targeted by an Israeli army sniper or by Israeli troops in general.

An IDF investigation did not establish that Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh died as a result of IDF fire, Maj. Gen Yoav Mordechai, the IDF liaison to the Palestinians, wrote on his Facebook page in Arabic. And there was “no basis for the false reports that a sniper deliberately targeted” him, Mordechai said.

Mordechai said he had called on the International Red Cross to share its records of the injuries Abu Thurayeh sustained at the border protest in order to “determine the truth and end the conspiracy of lies that incites violence.”

The Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of the Government’s Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai. (Screenshot)

Palestinian reports, wrote Mordechai, have asserted that Abu Thurayeh, a double amputee who reportedly lost both his legs in a 2008 Israeli airstrike, died after he was shot by an Israeli sniper during the border protest.

His death sparked angry denunciations by Palestinians and others, who said he could not have represented a serious threat during the ongoing protests against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

A picture taken on December 10, 2017 shows a tear gas cannister falling amdist Palestinian protesters during clashes with Israeli forces near the Israel-Gaza border east of the southern Gaza strip city of Khan Yunis. (AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS)

In the wake of the incident, the IDF launched an internal probe of Abu Thurayeh’s death, and determined that soldiers did not intentionally shootthe wheelchair-bound protester.

The results of the internal probe presented to Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir on Monday identified no “no moral or professional failures” by the part of the Israeli soldiers, but slammed Palestinian officials for hindering its investigation by not sharing details of his injuries sustained at the protest.

In its statement, the military said last Friday’s demonstration “was extremely violent and included thousands of rioters, and soldiers fired selectively on chief instigators.”

According to AFP, Abu Thurayeh was a regular feature at protests along the border. The unmarried 29-year-old lived at home with his parents and had been without regular work since the incident in which he lost his legs, the agency said.

“He was injured in 2008 by an Israeli helicopter that targeted him after he brought down the Israeli flag and raised the Palestinian flag along the border,” his brother Samir told AFP after his death was confirmed last week. “It did not stop him from demonstrating for Jerusalem. He went alone every day to the border.”

In video footage recorded early on the day of the incident, Abu Thurayeh could be seen carrying the Palestinian flag and waving the victory sign at Israeli soldiers across the border.

“I want to go there,” he said, referring to the other side of the border, as a number of young men surrounding him waved Palestinian flags and others threw stones towards the troops. “This land is our land, we will not give up. America has to withdraw its decision,” he said in another video posted on social media.

Wheelchair-bound Palestinian demonstrator Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh waving a Palestinian flag during a protest along the Gaza-Israel border on December 15, 2017, as clashes with Israeli security forces against Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital intensified. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

A few hours before his death, and despite having no legs, Abu Thurayeh climbed an electricity pole to raise the Palestinian flag, eyewitnesses and journalists present said.

The Guardian quoted eyewitnesses who said Abu Thurayeh’s wheelchair was later pushed up to the fence, whereupon he climbed out of it and tried to crawl forward towards it, before being hit.

Hamas, the terror group which rules Gaza and seeks to destroy Israel, has called for a new intifada to liberate Jerusalem and urged Palestinians to confront soldiers and settlers.

At Abu Thurayeh’s funeral last week, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh termed him a hero and a martyr, and vowed never to relinquish Jerusalem. “And I don’t mean East Jerusalem, but unified Jerusalem,” he said, in footage screened by Israel’s Channel 10. “Not East Jerusalem and not West Jerusalem. Muslim. Muslim.”

On Friday, the Gaza health Ministry said two protesters were killed in ongoing clashes along the border, bringing the total number of Palestinians killed since Trump’s December 6th announcement to 11.

During clashes east of Gaza city, another wheelchair-bound demonstrator was documented by Daily Mail taking part in violent riots.

More Rockets From Gaza, More Israeli Air Strike in Retaliation — Israel, Militants Trade Fire for Eighth Straight Day

December 14, 2017


© AFP | A Palestinian child rescues belongings from his home which was damaged in an Israeli air strike on a nearby Hamas base in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on December 13, 2017

GAZA CITY (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) – Israel carried out a series of air strikes against Islamist group Hamas in Gaza early on Thursday, the army said, hours after rockets were fired from the Palestinian enclave.In a statement, the Israeli army said it had targeted three Hamas military facilities in different parts of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

“The military facilities were used as training and weapons storage compounds,” the army said.

 Image may contain: night, sky and outdoor
Rocket fired from the Gaza Strip — FILE Photo

“This was in response to the projectiles fired at Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip.”

A Palestinian security source said there were more than 10 strikes on the targets, which included a Hamas naval facility and a military base near the Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza.

The source said there had been significant damage to the targets, as well as lesser damage to nearby houses, where some residents suffered minor injuries.

There was no immediate confirmation of the injuries from the health ministry in Gaza.

The strikes came hours after Israel’s air defence system intercepted two rockets fired from Gaza.

Such rockets are generally fired by fringe Islamist groups but Israel holds Gaza’s Hamas rulers responsible for any fire from the territory.

The army also announced it would close the border crossings between Gaza and Israel — Kerem Shalom for goods and Erez for people — from Thursday “due to the security events and in accordance with security assessments”.

A military spokeswoman could not say whether the closure would be for one day or more.

There has been an uptick in violence from Gaza since US President Donald Trump announced he would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week.

Four Gazans have been killed, two in clashes along the border and two Hamas militants in an Israeli air strike in retaliation for rocket fire.


Gaza Tensions Rise as Israel, Militants Trade Fire for Eighth Straight Day

Israel strikes Hamas targets after three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel earlier on Wednesday

By Yaniv Kubovich Dec 14, 2017 10:11 AM

FILE PHOTO: An area reportedly hit by an Israeli strike in Beit Lahia, Gaza, Dec 12, 2017

FILE PHOTO: An area reportedly hit by an Israeli strike in Beit Lahia, Gaza, Dec 12, 2017 Mahmud Hams / AFP

The Israeli military struck three Hamas targets late Wednesday night in response to three rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel earlier in the day, the IDF confirmed.

A statement from the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit noted that the targets struck were Hamas weapon storage facilities and training sites, and that Israel will not allow for its citizens to be harmed or targeted by “the Hamas terror organization that leads Gazan residents to a life of poverty, devastation, and despair.”

Three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel earlier Wednesday. Two were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system and one fell into an open area as alarm sirens sounded in southern Israeli districts and cities including Sderot.

Magen David Adom emergency responders said that a 30-year-old man wounded his leg while running for cover, and two others were being treated for shock.

The rocket fire on Israel from the Gaza Strip Wednesday evening is returning the residents of the Gaza border region back to a state of tension they haven’t experienced since Operation Protective Edge over three years ago. No less than 15 rockets have been fired into Israeli territory since U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem, and although the Israel Defense Forces  has been showing restraint, it will have a hard time holding back for much longer.

Israel struck a Hamas military compound in the southern Gaza Strip early Wednesday morning after a rocket was fired from the Strip toward southern Israel Tuesday. The exchange was the latest incident in a week of escalated tensions along the border, marked by rocket fire at Israel by terror groups and responses in turn from the army.

The Health Ministry in Gaza on Wednesday said that three people in Gaza were lightly wounded in the Israeli strike.

The Israeli military said late Monday it struck Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for two rockets fired at southern Israel. One of the rockets was shot down by Israel’s missile defense system.

Yaniv Kubovich
read more:

Two Hamas militants die in Gaza tunnel collapse

September 15, 2017


© AFP/File | Palestinians walk inside a tunnel used for military exercises during a Hamas-run youth camp in Gaza City on July 21, 2016

GAZA (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) – Two Hamas militants died in separate tunnel collapses in the Gaza Strip overnight, the Palestinian Islamist group, which controls the territory, said on Friday.

Khalil al-Dimyati, 32, and Yusef Abu Abed, 22, were killed after two “resistance tunnels” collapsed, Hamas said, referring to tunnels used for military purposes.

It did not give details of the locations or causes of the collapses, but confirmed the two men were members of Hamas’s armed wing.

A security source said one collapse was in Gaza City, while the other was near the city of Khan Yunis.

Hamas has run Gaza for a decade and fought three wars with Israel, which maintains a crippling blockade of the territory.

Hamas has built a network of tunnels inside Gaza, as well as some under the Israeli border.

During the last round of conflict in 2014 attack tunnels were one of Hamas’s most effective weapons.

Other tunnels are used for smuggling from Egypt, although many have been destroyed by the Egyptian authorities in recent years.

Several dozen Hamas members have died in tunnel collapses in the past year.

Hamas-Israel Conflict: After failed Cease Fire, Israel Goes After Hamas Leadership — Leaflets tell residents to evacuate — High volume of rocket fire at Israel

July 16, 2014

Israeli military drops leaflets on neighbourhoods of Zeitoun, Shejaiyi’a and Beit Lahiya urging residents to evacuate, as houses of senior Hamas leaders bombed

Palestinians flee their homes in the Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City

Palestinians flee their homes in the Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City, after Israel had airdropped leaflets warning people to leave the area Photo: AP

The Israeli army has warned some 100,000 Palestinians in the eastern Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes, military sources said on Wednesday.

Flyers were dropped over the Zeitun neighbourhood southeast of Gaza City, and residents there and elsewhere also reported receiving recorded phone and text messages urging them to evacuate by 0500 GMT.

The flyers explained that the army would be carrying out “aerial strikes against terror sites and operatives” in Zeitun and Shejaiyi’a, since “a high volume of rocket fire at Israel” was from there.

A similar message was sent to residents of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza.

“The evacuation is for your own safety,” the leaflet read, warning residents to not return to their homes until further notice.

Similar messages had been sent to Beit Lahiya with a Sunday deadline, causing the exodus of 17,000 people who took shelter in United Nations schools.

The warnings came on the ninth day of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, which aims to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza militants.

Since July 8, militants have fired nearly 1,000 rockets and mortars into the Jewish state, and Israel has carried out around 1,500 strikes against targets inside the Gaza Strip, the army says.

Palestinian medical sources said 205 people were killed in the Israeli strikes.

A strike on a house in the southern city of Rafah killed two men, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP, and a separate raid killed a young man who witnesses said was an Islamic Jihad militant.

Further Rafah strikes left two men dead, Qudra said, while a raid on the home of Mohammed al-Arjani in the southern city of Khan Yunis killed his son Abdullah, 19.

About an hour later, tank fire from inside Israel hit the eastern part of Khan Yunis, killing one person, Qudra said, later adding that another man was slain there, 33-year-old Mahmud Abu Dakka.

Some of the first raids on Wednesday morning targeted homes of senior Hamas officials, including Mahmud al-Zahar, but there were no reports of casualties.

On Tuesday, the first Israeli was killed by a rocket fired from Gaza at the Erez border crossing.

Edited by Andrew Marszal


Palestinian rescue men inspect the wreckage of a vehicle following an Israeli air strike, at the main road in Rafah, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. The Israeli military says it has resumed air strikes on Gaza after Hamas militants violated a de-escalation brokered by Egypt. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

Associated Press

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel on Wednesday intensified air attacks on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip following a failed Egyptian cease-fire effort, targeting the homes of four senior leaders of the Islamic militant movement and ordering tens of thousands of residents to evacuate border areas.

The Palestinian death toll in nine days of fighting rose to 204, with some 1,450 wounded, Palestinian health officials said. On the Israeli side, one man was killed and several people were wounded since the fighting erupted on July 8.

The renewed bombings came a day after Israel initially accepted an Egyptian truce proposal that called for a halt of hostilities. That was to be followed by talks on the terms of a longer-term cease-fire, including easing Gaza’s seven-year-old border blockade by Israel and Egypt.

Hamas rejected the plan and instead launched more rockets at Israel. The militant group views a significant easing of the blockade as key to its survival, but does not believe Egypt’s current rulers — who deposed a Hamas-friendly government in Cairo last year — can be fair brokers.

As Cairo’s effort collapsed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Hamas will pay a high price for rejecting the truce offer.

The website of the Gaza Interior Ministry said Israel warplanes carried out dozens of air strikes before dawn Wednesday, targeting 30 houses, including those of senior Hamas leaders Mahmoud Zahar, Jamila Shanti, Fathi Hamas and Ismail Ashkar.

Zahar was a key figure in Hamas’ violent takeover of Gaza in 2007, while the other three were members of the Palestinian parliament elected in 2006. Many Hamas leaders have gone into hiding since the beginning of the Israeli offensive.

Alongside the air strikes, Israel also ordered tens of thousands of residents of the northern town of Beit Lahiya and the Zeitoun and Shijaiyah neighborhoods of Gaza City, all near the border with Israel, to evacuate their homes by 8 a.m. Wednesday. The warnings were delivered in automated phone calls, text messages and leaflets dropped from planes.

The Israeli military said in its message that large numbers of rockets were launched from these areas and that Israel plans to bomb these locations. “Whoever disregards these instructions and fails to evacuate immediately, endangers their own lives, as well as those of their families,” the message said.

On Wednesday morning, hundreds of residents of Zeitoun and Shijaiyah were seen walking in the streets, carrying small bags with belongings.

Older children carried smaller ones, in their arms or on their backs. Some of the women and children cried, looking terrified.

The Wafa Rehabilitation Center in Shijaiyah, which cares for 15 disabled and elderly patients, received several calls demanding the patients evacuate, said its director, Basman Ashi.

He said an Israel shell hit near the building, causing damage to the second floor, but no injuries. Ashi said he won’t evacuate his elderly patients because they have nowhere to go.

Four foreign volunteers — from England, the U.S., France and Sweden — have set up camp at the rehabilitation center to deter the military from targeting it.

English volunteer Rina Andolini, 32, said the patients range in age from 12 to over 70 and none can walk or move without assistance. She said there are also 17 Palestinian staff members.

Andolini said the patients are living in a constant state of fear, intensified by the Israeli tank shelling from across the border.

The Israeli military had no comment when asked about the situation at the rehabilitation center.


Enav reported from Jerusalem.