Israeli jets pound Gaza
- Israeli jets pound targets across Gaza
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel's air force bombed at least two sites in the Gaza Strip shortly after midnight on Saturday, an official said.
The eyewitnesses said Israeli F16 fighter jets targeted an open area east of the Shujayya neighborhood of Gaza City while military tanks launched several artillery shells at the Shujayya and Tuffah neighborhoods simultaneously.
Israeli warplanes also fired three missiles at an open area in Jabal Ar-Ra'is east of Gaza City and targeted another open area east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
Other airstrikes targeted the town of Izbat Abed Rabbo in the northern Gaza Strip as well as the village of Al-Qarara east of Khan Younis. No causalities were reported, though material damages were sustained.
An Israeli military spokesman told Ma'an the strikes targeted "two terrorist tunnels" near the the Gaza-Israel border, which he said were intended for attacks on targets inside Israel. He added that the airstrikes came in retaliation for a mortar shell that was fired on the Israeli city of Netivot on Thursday, which caused no injuries.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's armed wing claimed to have launched that attack. In a statement, the leftist group termed the launch "a confirmation that resistance will continue in the new year and that the occupier's massacres will not prevent our people from continuing our struggle until the recovery of our rights."
Friday night explosions in Jabaliya
A day earlier, residents of the Jabaliya Refugee Camp said Friday night explosions in the camp were caused by at least one Israeli shell that landed in an area believed to be used by guerillas to fire homemade projectiles into Israel.
The Israeli spokesman, however, denied army involvement.
Locals believed the explosions were Israeli fire in retaliation for mortar fire aimed at Israel earlier in the day. Palestinian armed group in Gaza told Ma'an it fired five mortar shells at Israeli forces east of Rafah in southern Gaza. The An-Nasser Salah Ad-Din Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), claimed to have conducted the attack in a statement.
Israel's army confirmed that one shell fired by Gaza groups landed in an open area inside Gaza. No damage was reported.
Hours earlier, the PRC blamed Israel for an attempt to assassinate its secretary-general, Abu Al-Qasem Dughmush, in Gaza. The group said a man carrying a package of explosives appeared at Dughmush's home, but the bomb failed to detonate.
On Thursday, PRC militants engaged in an exchange of gunfire with Israeli soldiers along the coast in the northern Gaza Strip, according to both the group and the Israeli military.
Abbas to visit Egypt to discuss peace talks
Published today (updated) 02/01/2010 18:37
Bethlehem Ma'an President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to visit the Egyptian resort town of Sharm Ash-Shiekh Sunday, for a meeting with his counterpart Hosni Mubarak. The two will discuss Egyptian communications with Israel.
On Thursday, Israeli officials announced Egypt as the host of a new round of peace talks following a meeting between Mubarak and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The first meeting between Abbas, Netanyahu and Mubarak was set to take place at the end of January.
Following the announcement, however, presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said the Palestinian Authority had not received "anything about such a thing. So far what we heard was from the media."
An Egyptian source said Abbas and Mubarak would discuss the latest suggestions around solving the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as progress on the prisoner-swap deal Hamas is currently negotiating with Israel via Egyptian and German mediators.
Ambassador of Palestine to Egypt Barakat Al-Farra noted that Abbas' visit to Egypt follows the official's trip to Saudi Arabia, where he discussed similar issues with Saudi king Abdullah Ben Abdul-Aziz.
Israel to issue gas masks to population
by Tina Redlup
December 28, 2009
Israel will begin distributing its entire population with gas masks in two months, though no reason has officially been given by the Israeli government.
No indication or threat has been made against Israel from any country that an attack is planned. No country in the Middle East is believed to be likely to engage in chemical or biological warfare with Israel, either.
The gas mask distribution has, however, raised questions as to Israel's potential plans to launch an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. Such an attack could cause an unconventional response from Iran. Iran's chemical and biological weapons capabilities are currently not known.
Rumors in the Middle East abound that Israel is preparing to rein in Hezbollah through another war on Lebanon. Hezbollah, however, is also not believed to hold any chemical or biological weapons.
The only country in Israel's region currently believed to have access to a major chemical or biological weapons program is Israel itself, though the country unlikely to utilize them in an attack.
Despite the lack of a viable threat, Israel will begin issuing the gas masks to each of its residents in February. The Israel Defense Forces will manage the distribution. The IDF have engaged the Israel Postal Company to aid in the distribution, a departure from the use of Home Front Command for previous distributions.
In addition to the gas masks, children eight years and younger will receive, for the first time, the Mamtek gas mask.
"We are the only country in the world that produces gas masks for children, and the children's gas mask we produce is the only one in the world that supplies prime defense for this age group," Col. Yosi Sagiv,head of the Gas Mask Administration of the Home Front Command, told bacelonanews.net. "All that is left is to hope that it will not be necessary to experience first hand how well these gas masks work," he said.
Viva Palestina - 72 Hour Critical Period Begins Now
BREAKING~VIVA PALESTINA~ 72 HOUR CRITICAL PERIOD BEGINS NOW
Please pass this information on to everyone, we need to be ready to support the Convoy should the worst happen:NEXT 72 HOURS ARE CRITICAL
Received personal message from our boys on the Convoy, followed by a press statement they just released.
Tomorrow our 200 vehicles will travel on a 20 hour ferry aided by 60 volunteers into Al-Arish. The remaining 450 people who can't enter the ferry will fly to Egypt and arrive before the boats to ensure a secure entry. Next 72hrs are critical as to the success of our whole mission. We don't know what the Egyptian response will be as we pull into their shores, but we expect the worse and have absolute faith that in time we ill enter the gates of Gaza. JJ Crockett Derry to Gaza Viva Palestina convoy
Here is the press release JUST out from the Viva Palestina Derry to Gaza Five:
FROM DERRY TO GAZA IN AN AMBULANCE (UPDATE)
HEADLINE: NEXT 72 HOURS ARE CRITICAL
Message received 1st January 2010
Last night we received further info about the next critical 72 hours. Kevin Ovenden, leader of Viva Palestina and right hand man of [George] Galloway, came out and reported that:
We have got a cargo ship which, weather pending, will set sail tomorrow afternoon (1st January) on a 20-hour crossing to Al-Arish. At the moment, the ferry cargo ship only allows 12 people on board but Viva Palestina is trying to extend that to 60 people. These people are crucial to minding the vehicles and ensuring a safe entry into Egypt. The remaining 450 people will fly on chartered airplanes to Al-Arish and arrive Sunday afternoon before the boats, and hopefully we will get out to the port without trouble before the boats arrive.
All these arrangements are dependant on the weather but these are the plans. Overall and inshallah, we expect to be in Al-Arish (25 kms from Gaza) by Sunday afternoon. The last time the convoy was there, they got stones thrown at their vehicles, and physical abuse from the Egyptian police. We expect the same and will draw up strategies to deal with these possiblities. It's hard to beat down a man that has driven 5000 miles through all lands and seas, fuelled by a tidal wave of great support. The Egyptians will need more than fists to block our entry, though we will not provoke them. Let's hope for the best and expect the worst.
So, once we enter Al-Arish, the shite will hit the fan.....There will be an inevitable 2-3 day delay and possibly more...Rumours suggest the Rafah crossing into Gaza is open from the 3rd to the 5th. Hopefully and ideally, we will enter on the 3rd, spend a couple of days in Gaza building up contacts of support and be able to fly home from Sharm el Sheik on the 6th January. Though this is doubtful. As I said we are prepared for the worst, but live in hope. The next 72 hours are the most critical of the whole campaign and we need your support more than ever, to cover the media side and put pressure on Egyptians to let us through. We are on their doorstep and they must let us in.
Signed, The Gaza Five
About the Gaza Five:
The Gaza Five are: Jonathon Crockett, Eanna O'Donaghaile, Danny Doyle, Eddie Mc Bride and Derek Mc Chrystal. On December 5th this year, five Derry men set out on a long journey from Derry to the Gaza strip in an ambulance full of medical aid and educational resources in order to provide humanitarian relief to the people of that region. These are people who are suffering since the latest conflict, which caused devastation resulting in much of Gaza being destroyed and 1,400 men, women and children being killed. The Israelis have now placed a blockade on Gaza preventing any aid into Gaza's impoverished people and preventing them from leaving. These 5 Derry men took on the task of driving this ambulance all the way to Gaza meeting up with a convoy of 220 other vehicles from all over Europe to deliver humanitarian aid through the organisation 'Viva Palestina'.
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