Al Jazeerah & BBC & UPI & Washington Post – 2012-03-09 21:15:34
Death Toll Climbs in Israel’s Strikes on Gaza
Medics say at least 11 Palestinians are killed and a dozen more injured after Israel hits Gaza Strip
GAZA STRIP (March 10, 2012) – — At least 11 Palestinians have been killed and a dozen others wounded, including children, in a series of Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, medical sources have said. The latest airstrike late on Friday struck down three Palestinians after an Apache [helicopter] fired rockets that hit a house and a car, medics told Al Jazeera. An earlier strike targeted the leader of Popular Resistance Committees, Zuhair Al-Qaissi, and his military escort Mahmoud Al-Hannani, a Palestinian prisoner released from Israeli jails five years ago.
Witnesses said Israeli drones were seen hovering above just moments before al-Qaissi’s vehicle burst into flames. The intensity of the blast was so fierce that al-Qaissi’s head detached as a result, they said. Islamic Jihad said that the three of those killed belonged to its military wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, looking to end Israelâ€™s occupation of annexed Palestinian lands.
The Al Quds Brigades, part of Islamic Jihad group, said that strikes on the east side of the city had killed its members Obeid al-Gharabli, Mohammed Harara, Hazem Qoureqa and Shadi Seqali. It said that another two of its members, Fayeq Saad and Moatasem Hajaj, were also killed in other strikes.
In addition to the high profile strike, Israeli war jets carried out series of attacks at empty military training camps all over Gaza Strip. The Israeli attacks came after Palestinians fired dozens of rockets and mortar rounds into southern Israel, wounding four people, one seriously, Israeli military sources claimed.
Circle of Violence
The Palestinian Authority condemned the strikes, saying it had created a “negative environment” that would “escalate the circle of violence in the region,” according to a statement released by the official Palestinian WAFA news agency.
The Israeli military said in a statement that Qaisi “was among the leaders who planned, funded and directed” a deadly cross-border attack into southern Israel from Egypt’s Sinai last August. The statement added that both the dead men were “responsible for planning a combined terror attack that was to take place via Sinai in the coming days.” It said that other strikes were aimed at men about to fire rockets into Israel.
Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, has maintained a tacit truce with Israel, but other armed Palestinian groups regularly fire rockets and mortars across the border, which can spark air strikes in response.
“The recent Zionist escalation is an unjustified crime, it comes as a part of the destabilisation of a stable security situation in the Gaza Strip” the Hamas-run Gaza government’s interior ministry said in a statement. “We hold the international community fully responsible for the attacks.” Before Friday’s air strikes, Israeli army radio quoted what it called “senior military sources” as saying the army “does not intend to allow the firing to continue.”
Israeli Air Raid Kills Palestinian in Gaza
(February 12, 2012) – — A Palestinian in Gaza has died after being wounded during a series of Israeli airstrikes, Gaza medical sources have said.
The fatality was identified as Abdel Karim Zatuniya, an elderly man serving as a guard at the barracks in the Zeitun area, southeast of Gaza city. He died when a farm near Gaza City was hit by a missile strike late on Saturday night, in which four other people were wounded. No armed group in Gaza announced Zatuniya as a member.
Three other Saturday night airstrikes — near the Karni crossing east of Gaza City, east of Khan Younis and at an empty house in Rafah — resulted in no further casualties.
The Israeli military confirmed launching the strikes, and in a statement early on Sunday said its aircraft “targeted a terror tunnel and a weapon manufacturing facility in the northern Gaza Strip, a terror tunnel in the central Gaza Strip and an additional terror tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip,” noting direct hits. “These sites were targeted in response to the rocket fire on communities in southern Israel,” the statement read.
It said that a Friday night rocket from Gaza that struck between two houses in the Hof Ashkelon area had lightly injured an Israeli woman. Earlier on Saturday night, a rocket fired by Palestinian fighters from the Gaza Strip hit southern Israel causing no casualties or damage, an Israeli police spokesman said.
“A rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip at the Eshkol region. It landed in an open area without causing any damage or injuries,” Micky Rosenfeld told the AFP news agency.
Speaking in Tehran on Saturday, Ismail Haniya, Hamas prime minister of Gaza, reiterated his movement’s long-held stance that it “will never recognise Israel,” as Palestinian efforts to form a temporary unity government headed by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas continue. Israel rejects efforts by Hamas to link up with Fatah, and views Hamas as a terrorist organisation and Iran as its sponsor and weapon supplier.
“The resistance will continue until all Palestinian land, including Al-Quds [Jerusalem], has been liberated and all the refugees have returned,” Haniya said.
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