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News, September 2007


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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.


Gaza mourns after Israeli attacks leave 11 dead, 30 injured 

Date: 26 / 09 / 2007 Time: 16:57

Gaza Ma'an  

The death toll in twin Israeli occupation forces attacks on the Gaza Strip has risen to 11. More than 30 others were injured during the air and ground incursions on Wednesday.

Thousands attended funeral processions in Jabalia refugee camp, Gaza City, and Beit Hanoun, from which Israeli tanks had just withdrawn.

Armed fighters took part in the processions amidst shouts condemning the Israeli aggression and calling for revenge. According to the Associated Press, the funeral in Gaza City was the first public demonstration organized by the Army of Islam, the small but radical organization responsible for the kidnapping of BBC reporter Alan Johnston earlier this year.

A woman whose house had been hit by a rocket said, "My husband told me to take the Iftar food to a distant room to avoid Israeli shells which might fall near the kitchen. I did as he wished, yet the shell landed near us. My pregnant daughter in law lost her fetus. I heard that my son fell martyr, but later I saw him alive after he lost his best friend."

Gaza City airstrike

Four people died instantly and another was seriously injured when the Israeli occupation airforce bombed a car in Gaza City on Wednesday.

Ma'an's correspondent said that an Israeli airplane launched at least two rockets at the car, carrying the four armed men, thought to be members of the Army of Islam. Three other bystanders were also injured. All the dead and injured were taken to Al-Shifaa Hospital in Gaza City.

The army of Islam denied that their leader Khattab Al-Maqdisi was among the dead, but confirmed that four members of the group were killed.

Mu'awiyah Hassanain, the director of ambulance and emergency department in the Palestinian Ministry of Health named the victims as Fawzi Al-Ashram, Hussein Ahil, Ayman Dalool, Usama Reifi and Sami Za'im.

Assault on Beit Hanoun

Seven people were killed and a number of others were injured when an Israeli occupation forces artillery shell landed on a house in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.

The dead have been identified as Khayri Hamdan, 26, Muhammad Udwan, 20, and Muhammad Basyouni, 24.

Hamas' armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, said two of their fighters were killed by an Israeli airstrike. Raji Hamdan, of Beit Hanoun, and Muhammad Abu Rukba from Jabalia were both killed by shrapnel from a missile fired from an Israeli fighter jet. Hamas said both men were fighting the invading Israeli force.

Palestinian medical sources also confirmed the death of Thaer Basyuni, who succumbed to wounds sustained during Israeli shelling in Beit Hanoun.

Eyewitnesses told Ma'an that dozens of Israeli tanks and military vehicles invaded Beit Hanoun from four directions, seizing control of the city.

According to local residents, Israeli occupation forces reached the entrance of the town, under the cover of Israeli fighter jets and Apache helicopters firing on agricultural lands.

Mu'awiyah Hassanain said he feared there would be many casualties. He announced that all medical preparations for the incursion had been made, and several additional ambulances had been sent to the north of the Gaza Strip.

"Thaer asked me what food I prepared for Iftar [the meal breaking the Ramadan fast], and I said Mulukhiyya and Rice, but before that rice was ready, I heard that Thaer has fallen martyr, and I saw his corpse with my very eyes unable to believe," said Basyuni's mother.

Gaza braces for more attacks

Earlier on Wednesday Israeli occupation government defence minister, Ehud Barak, said in an interview on Israeli radio that an "extensive operation" in the Gaza Strip was imminent.

"We will use all our diplomatic means to weaken the Hamas leadership and its effectiveness, but the truth must be told, we are nearing an extensive operation in Gaza, he told Israeli army radio.

However, Barak admitted that the planned incursion into Gaza would not be easy.

According to Ma'an's reporter, there has been an escalation recently in the launching of homemade projectiles by Palestinian factions from the Gaza Strip toward nearby Israeli towns and military sites.

***Last Updated 14:59 Jerusalem Time***

PM Haniyah condemns Israeli attacks on Gaza, calls for boycott of US peace conference 

Date: 27 / 09 / 2007 Time: 10:53

Gaza Ma'an  

Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah condemned the Israeli invasion of the Gaza strip Wednesday. The attacks left 11 Palestinians dead.

During an event commemorating Palestinian Journalists' Day, Haniyah called on the Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, to oppose Israel's aggression. The Hamas-affiliated leader underscored that the attacks came after Israeli occupation government defense minister Ehud Barak called for a large-scale attack on Gaza.

Haniyah also called for Arab governments to boycott the US-sponsored peace summit slated for November. He said, "The conference was meant to guarantee Arab approval on US president's plans and goals intended to be achieved in the offing."

Haniyah, who was dismissed by President Mahmoud Abbas in June but still holds power in the Gaza Strip, asserted that European countries are aware that no peace settlement could be implemented without the approval of the whole of Palestinian society. He said Palestinians want human rights, including their own state and the return of Palestinian refugees.


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