Deadly Gunfire at Gaza Protest on Egypt Border

NYTimes… JERUSALEM — An anti-Egypt rally in southern Gaza turned deadly on Wednesday when demonstrators rushed the border fence and stoned Egyptian troops on the other side, leading to an exchange of gunfire and the death of an Egyptian soldier. Nine Egyptian soldiers and a dozen Palestinians were wounded from stones and gunfire, witnesses and medics said.

It was the most serious Palestinian-Egyptian violence along the closed Gaza border since Israel’s short-lived invasion more than a year ago, and reflected rising tensions between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and the Egyptian government, which, like Israel, appears determined to keep Gaza isolated. The demonstration, organized by Hamas, protested Egypt’s refusal to allow international aid and solidarity missions into Gaza as well as Egypt’s construction of an underground barrier to obstruct smuggler tunnels. Those tunnels supply both goods and arms to Hamas and Gaza.

As Hamas leaders gave speeches, young men climbed the border fence and threw rocks at the Egyptians, witnesses and police reported, and Palestinian police officers shot in the air to control the crowd, though to little avail. Egyptian troops then shot from their side. “Two Palestinians were instantly wounded from five bullets,” a witness said.

The Egyptian forces also tear-gassed demonstrators who waved Hamas and Turkish flags, witnesses said. A Palestinian aid convoy was stopped by Egypt in the northern Sinai city of El Arish and included Turkish activists. The group, called Viva Palestina, consisted of 500 people, including Americans, British and Jordanians. It had scuffled earlier with Egyptian security officials in El Arish. Dozens were hurt.

A compromise was reached and part of the convoy was en route into Gaza by nightfall.

“The area is calm now and the situation on the border is stable,” said Ihab al-Ghussein, spokesman for the Hamas Interior Ministry, at a news conference in Gaza City.

The Egyptian soldier who was killed was in an observation tower 100 yards from the demonstration’s stage, witnesses said.

Dr. Ahmed Shehada of Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah, said it had taken in 12 wounded Palestinians, “most of them hit by gunshots.”

24 Palestinians Killed as Rival Islamic Groups Clash in Gaza

Abdel-Latif MoussaVOA NEWS… At least 24 Palestinians have been killed and more than 120 wounded in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip during clashes between rival Islamic militant groups.

Hamas security forces launched a fierce assault on a mosque in Gaza, and the leader of a rival Islamic group inspired by al-Qaida was killed along with many of his armed followers. Hamas officials say more than a dozen gunmen from Jund Ansar Allah, or the Soldiers of the Followers of God, were killed, as well as several Hamas policemen and an 11-year-old girl.

Hamas accused the leader of the group, Abdel-Latif Moussa, of treason after he gave a fiery sermon at Friday prayers.

Moussa declared Gaza an Islamic emirate – challenging Hamas rule with a more radical form of Islam. Hamas says Moussa was killed when he blew up an explosives vest he was wearing during the shootout.Israel has charged that al-Qaida, the group responsible for the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States, has infiltrated Gaza from the outside. But Ihab Ghussein, a spokesman for the Hamas Interior Ministry, denied that.

Ghussein said Moussa’s group was Palestinian and had no external ties. He said the group has carried out bomb attacks on Internet cafés and wedding parties, in what he described as a misguided attempt to impose Islamic Law on Gaza.

Since many Palestinians are secular, especially in the West Bank, Hamas has been reluctant to impose strict Islamic Law on Gaza, saying it prefers to set a pious example for people to follow.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in the Palestinian civil war two years ago, routing the Fatah forces of President Mahmoud Abbas, who now heads a more moderate government in the West Bank. Since then Hamas has violently quelled any resistance by Fatah and other groups in Gaza.

Responding to the latest clashes, Hamas said it put down a coup by “outlaws.”

Mosque gun battle rages in Gaza

BBC NEWS… At least six people have been killed and dozens injured in a fierce gun battle in Gaza, emergency services say.

Eyewitnesses say hundreds of Hamas fighters and policemen surrounded then raided a mosque where followers of a radical Islamist cleric were holed up.

They had fired rocket-propelled grenades at the mosque in Rafah, near the Egyptian border, witnesses say.

It is thought that at least 100 supporters of the al-Qaeda-linked group Warriors of God are inside.

Hamas said a grenade fired from the mosque killed one of its fighters. The other fatalities were reported to be gunmen, and a child was also killed.

Fighting pledge

Earlier, during Friday prayers, hundreds of worshippers at Ibn-Taymiyah mosque declared Gaza an “Islamic emirate”.

The mosque’s imam – Abdel-Latif Moussa – and armed supporters swore to fight to the death rather than hand over authority of the mosque to Hamas.

The Salafi Warriors of God, or Jund Ansar Allah, gained some prominence two months ago when it staged a failed attack on a border crossing between Gaza and Israel.

The group is very critical of Hamas, which governs Gaza, accusing the Islamist group of not being Islamist enough.

Hamas has cracked down on al-Qaeda-inspired groups in the past.

It is concerned they may attract more extremist members, and has forbidden anyone except what it describes as Hamas security personnel to carry weapons in Gaza.

Carter honored by Palestinians


from the Associated Press    

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was honored by the Palestinian government Saturday and pledged to support the Palestinians’ campaign for independence to the end of his days.

In his acceptance speech, Carter urged the Palestinians to end their internal divisions and stop persecuting their rivals.

He was referring to the growing rift between the Islamic militant Hamas group, which controls Gaza, and Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in charge of the West Bank. Each side has been cracking down on the other’s supporters, particularly since Hamas violently overran Gaza two years ago.

Carter met with Hamas’ exiled leadership in Syria on Thursday and is to head to Gaza on Sunday, after meeting with Israeli officials. Carter has said peace between Israel and the Palestinians is impossible without involving Hamas, but reiterated in Syria that he was not representing the Obama administration.

Hamas is being shunned by most of the international community, including the U.S., for refusing to recognize Israel or renounce violence, though Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has said repeatedly in recent weeks that his group wants to be part of a Mideast solution.

In the West Bank, Carter was awarded the Palestine International Award for Excellence and Creativity. Previous recipients included two former international envoys, James Wolfensohn and Peter Hansen.

Carter brokered the Israeli-Egypt peace accord of 1979 and several years ago wrote a book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” that is sharply critical of Israeli policies in the occupied territories.

“I have been in love with the Palestinian people for many years,” he said Saturday, adding that this is a feeling shared by members of his family.

“I have two great-grandsons that are rapidly learning about the people here and the anguish and suffering and deprivation of human rights that you have experienced ever since 1948,” he said.

Referring to President Barack Obama’s call for an Israeli settlement freeze, Carter said that “in the future, I am sure, he will call for the dismantling of the settlements that exist.”

But he noted that Obama also called for an end to violence against Israelis and for Arab acceptance of Israelis’ right to their own nation. Carter said such acceptance is painful for displaced Palestinians, but that “there has to be an accommodation in the political world.”

Carter, 85, pledged his “assistance, as long as I live, to win your freedom, your independence, your sovereignty and a good life.”

Death penalty for those who sell land to Jews


The Palestinian authorities tell the world it wants peace with the Jews then turns around and tells Palestines they will be killed for selling land to the filthy Jew. Make no mistake. Palestine’s problem with Israel has never been about Zionism, it is the fact that it is a Jewish state. Religious teachings in The Qu’ran tell Mohammedans to find and kill the Jew where ever they are.

From the Jerusalem Post April 1-2009

The Palestinian Authority has issued yet another warning to Palestinians against selling their homes or properties to Jews, saying those who violate the order would be accused of “high treason” – a charge that carries the death penalty.

The latest warning was issued on Wednesday by the Chief [Islamic] Judge of the Palestinian Authority, Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, who reminded the Palestinians of an existing fatwa [religious decree] than bans them from selling property to Jews.

Sheikh Tamimi’s warning came in response to reports that Jewish businessmen from the US had purchased 20 dunams of land from Palestinians on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

Warning the Palestinians against engaging in “suspicious real estate deeds,” the religious leader said that according to Islamic teachings it was a “grave sin” to sell houses and lands to Jews.

He said that the ban also applies to real estate agents or middlemen who are involved in such transactions.

He warned that anyone who ignores the warning would be punished in accordance with Islamic teachings and would also be ostracized by his community and family. Continue Reading →

Hamas couldn’t fire smuggled Stingers against Israelis due to embedded ID system

If this story doesn’t put a smile on your face. Read it again.pissed-off

from the World Tribune

GAZA CITY — The Hamas regime acquired U.S.-origin air defense systems but was unable to use them in combat.

Hamas sources said the Islamic military has acquired the Stinger man-portable air defense system. The sources said the Stingers were acquired from smugglers in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in 2008 and deployed in the 22-day war against Israel in January 2009.

“We were disappointed by them, and they were found to have been useless,” a Hamas source said.

The source said Hamas smuggled four Stinger systems in 2008. The source said the Hamas military deployed the Stingers against Israel Air Force AH-64 Apache attack helicopters during strike missions in the northern Gaza Strip.

“Our gunners couldn’t fire the weapon,” the source recalled. “A notice came up on the display saying ‘friendly aircraft.'”

Industry sources said Raytheon, producer of Stinger, installed identification friend/foe capabilities more than a decade ago. The sources said this would prevent Stinger from being fired against any aircraft used by the U.S. military.

Another Hamas source said gunners deployed Stinger along with heavy machine guns in attacks on Israeli helicopters during the war in the Gaza Strip. The source said one Stinger surface-to-air missile was launched, but the projectile veered off course and struck a Hamas gunner squad.

“The Stinger was drawn by the heat of our guns rather than the engines of the Israeli helicopters,” the source said. “At that point, we stopped using this weapon.”

The sources said Hamas has abandoned plans to acquire additional Stingers. Instead, the Islamic army has been ordering the Russian-origin SA-16, or Igla-1, surface-to-air missile system, with a range of five kilometers.

‘Iran-Sudan-Hamas chain exposed’

The Jerusalem Post-March 26-2009

Hello Iran..I would like to place an orderThe latest reports  of an alleged IAF strike on a Hamas arms convoy in Sudan draw attention to an arms network running from Iran, via the Persian Gulf and Yemen to Sudan, Egypt, and Hamas-ruled Gaza. The existence of this network has been noted by analysts in the past. It forms part of a larger, overt, close relationship maintained by both Iran and Hamas with the regime of Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum.

Reva Bhalla, an analyst at the US-based private intelligence company Stratfor, was the first to publicly note the transfer of arms from Iran to Hamas via Sudan. Speaking to reporters in early January, Bhalla suggested the involvement of Hizbullah agents in an Iranian created network bringing arms from Sudan to the Gaza Strip. Bhalla depicted the network in the following terms:

“You’ll have a bunch of Hizbullah agents who will procure arms through Sudan. They’ll enter Egypt under forged documents, pay off disgruntled Bedouins in the Sinai with things like light arms, cash, Lebanese hashish – which they can sell in the black market – and pay off Egyptian security guards as well so that they can travel covertly into Gaza to pass off the weapons shipments through Hamas’ pretty extensive underground tunnel network.”

It is impossible to verify the precise accuracy of these details. However, the involvement of Sudan in the Iranian-Hamas war effort would fit with the larger pattern of Sudan’s regional alliances and activity. The close connections between Teheran, Khartoum and Hamas are a matter of public record. Continue Reading →