Israel Confirms Video Showing Soldier Shoot Palestinian

File Photo

 

Israel’s military on Tuesday confirmed the authenticity of a video that has spread widely showing a soldier shoot a Palestinian along the Gaza Strip border, but alleged it followed riots and warnings from troops.

It said in a statement that the Palestinian in the video was hit in the leg and wounded. The video was recorded on December 22 in the area of Kissufim near the Gaza Strip, it said.

Israeli right-wing ministers have defended the actions of the soldiers in the video in which rejoicing can also be heard after the shooting.

“Wow. What a video! Yes! That son of a bitch,” one of the voices behind the camera says in Hebrew.

Palestinians have said the video shows Gazans are being shot along the border while posing no threat to soldiers.

“The video depicts a short part of the response to a violent riot, which included rock hurling and attempts to sabotage the security fence, and lasted about two hours,” the army said.

“During the riot, means were taken in order to disperse it, including verbal warnings and calls to halt, using riot dispersal means and firing warning shots into the air.”

It alleged the warnings were ignored and “a single bullet was fired towards one of the Palestinians who is suspected of organising and leading this incident while he was a few meters from the fence.”

According to the army, the video was recorded by a soldier not part of the unit that fired the shot.

“As for the unauthorised filming of an operational event, the distribution of the filmed material and the statements made there, it should be noted that these do not suit the degree of restraint expected of (Israeli) soldiers and will be dealt by commanders accordingly,” it said.

AFP

Israel Army Deploys Reinforcements After Trump Jerusalem Move

ABBAS MOMANI / AFP
 The Israeli military said on Thursday it was deploying hundreds more troops to the occupied West Bank after US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“Upon the conclusion of the general staff’s situation assessment, it was decided that a number of battalions will reinforce in the area of (the West Bank), as well as combat intelligence and territorial defence,” the military said in a statement.

“In addition, more standby forces were defined, as part of the (military’s) readiness to possible developments.”

Large numbers of Israeli troops were preparing at the Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and the northern West Bank on Thursday, an AFP correspondent reported.

The deployments come amid uncertainty over the fallout from Trump’s speech on Wednesday recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement which runs the Gaza Strip, called for a new intifada over the announcement, while protests were planned for the West Bank.

Palestinians also held a general strike on Thursday in protest of Trump’s move, with schools and shops closed.

AFP

Tel Aviv Shooting: Four Killed, Palestinians’ Permits To Israel Revoked

Tel-Aviv-ShootingFour people have been identified dead after Palestinian gunmen opened fire at a popular open-air shopping mall and restaurant in central Tel Aviv.

The Israel Police have confirmed the details of the deceased which include, two women namely Ilana Nave, 39, and Mila Mishayev, 32 – and two men – Ido Ben Aryeh, 42, and Michael Feige, 58.

Authorities said that the attacks took place in two locations in Sarona market, close to Israel’s Defence Ministry and main Army Headquarters.

The attackers came from near Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, dressed in suits and ties and posed as customers at an upmarket restaurant before pulling out automatic weapons and opening fire, sending diners fleeing in panic.

Police say the gunmen who have both been apprehended, were from Yatta, a Palestinian village near the west bank town of Hebron. One of them is undergoing surgery in hospital.

Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited the scene of the attack called the attack “a savage crime of murder and terrorism”.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the assault by the two Palestinian gunmen, but Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups were quick to praise it.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Military on Thursday cancelled permits for more than 80,000 Palestinians to visit Israel during the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan after the attack.

The attack, as families were enjoying a pleasant evening out at the open-air Sarona complex, was the deadliest in the country’s business and entertainment capital since a wave of Palestinian violence erupted in October last year.

Israeli Jets Hit Targets In Gaza

Israeli Jets Hit TargetsThe Israeli Military says its jets have hit two targets in the Gaza strip described as Hamas weapon manufacturing facilities.

The strikes were said to be in response to two rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel on Sunday.

Palestinian Officials claimed a pregnant woman and her young daughter were killed in a nearby house.

Israeli Police in the West Bank also said that a Palestinian female suicide bomber blew up her car at a checkpoint.

She was stopped by police while driving on Sunday morning near the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim.

According to a police spokeswoman, the woman escaped death, but is in critical condition, while a policeman was slightly wounded.

“She shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great) and detonated an explosive device”, the police spokeswoman said.

There have been weeks of tension over access to a site in East Jerusalem sacred to both Jews and Muslims.

Palestinian Officials Say ‘Agreement Has Been Reached’

Palestinian boy cries as he stands in a debris-strewn street near his family's house in Rafah in the southern Gaza StripPalestinian officials said on Tuesday a Gaza ceasefire deal with Israel has been reached under Egyptian mediation and a formal announcement of an agreement was imminent.

There was no immediate confirmation from Israel, where a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment.

“An agreement has been reached between the two sides and we are awaiting the announcement from Cairo to determine the zero hour for implementation,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in Gaza.

A spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, one of the Gaza militant groups that has been firing rockets into Israel, said the announcement could be made within two hours.

Cairo’s initiative, Palestinians officials said, called for an indefinite halt to seven weeks of hostilities, the immediate opening of Gaza’s blockaded crossings with Israel and Egypt and a widening of the enclave’s fishing zone in the Mediterranean.

Under a second stage that would begin a month later, Israel and the Palestinians would discuss the construction of a Gaza sea port and an Israeli release of Hamas prisoners in the occupied West Bank, the officials said.

Both Israel and Egypt view Hamas as a security threat and are demanding guarantees that weapons will not enter the economically crippled territory.

Increasing pressure on Palestinian militants to end their rocket strikes, Israel bombed more of Gaza’s tallest structures on Tuesday, bringing down a 13-storey apartment and office tower and destroying most of a 16-floor residential building.

The strikes flattened the Basha Tower and wrecked the Italian Complex, after occupants were warned to get out, and no deaths were reported.

Declining to comment specifically on the attacks, the Israeli military said it had hit 15 “terror sites”, including some in buildings that housed Hamas command and control centers.

Israeli Air-Strike Kills Three Senior Hamas Commanders

Palestinians gather as rescue workers search for victims under the rubble of a house in RafahAn Israeli air strike killed three senior Hamas commanders in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, a clear sign of its intention to hit the group’s armed leadership days after a ceasefire failed.

Hamas, which dominates Gaza, named the men as Mohammed Abu Shammala, Raed al-Attar and Mohammed Barhoum, the three highest-ranking casualties it has announced since Israel started its offensive six weeks ago.

All three, killed in the bombing of a house in the southern town of Rafah, had led operations against Israel over the past 20 years, the Islamist movement said.

 The Israeli military and Shin Bet, the internal security service, confirmed it had targeted two of the men.

Following the collapse on Tuesday of a 10-day ceasefire, the Israeli military appears to have ramped up its efforts to hit the leadership of Hamas’s armed wing.

Late on Tuesday, the Israeli air force bombed a house in northern Gaza, an attempt, Hamas said, to assassinate Mohammed Deif, its top military commander. Deif’s wife, daughter and seven-month-old son were killed but Deif escaped, Hamas said.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, declined to say whether Israel had tried to kill Deif, but said that militant leaders were legitimate targets and that “none are immune” from attack.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians marched at the funeral of the three Hamas commanders on Thursday, firing weapons into the air in anger and calling for revenge.

“The assassinations of the three Qassam leaders is a grave crime,” Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, told Reuters. “But it will not break our people and Israel will pay the price for it.”

Former chief of Israel’s military intelligence and head of Tel Aviv University’s INSS think-tank, Amos Yadlin, said that Israel, which was engaged in indirect ceasefire talks with Hamas in Cairo until Tuesday, had now changed its game plan.

“The prime minister has adopted a strategy which says ‘You shoot at us, we’ll hit you seven times harder, you want attrition? We have intelligence and an airforce that will crush you with greater force,” he told Israel Radio.

However, Israel’s ultimate goal could still be a diplomatic deal to end hostilities, Yadlin said.

“Even the crazy extremists in Hamas understand time is not on their side and this is what we need to do – military activity aimed at an eventual diplomatic outcome,” Yadlin said.

Shin Bet said Abu Shammala was head of Hamas’s southern command and described al-Attar as a brigade commander. It said both had been leading fighting against Israel in the south of Gaza, where some of the most intense combat has occurred.

Netanyahu praised the “outstanding intelligence” and said in a statement the Hamas leaders killed had “planned deadly attacks against Israeli civilians”.

Israel Still Striking Gaza Despite Peace Efforts

Israeli soldiers carry their gear past an armoured personel carrier as they head home near the border with GazaAll the truce to end the raging battle between Israel  and  Palestine has not yielded any result as Israel continues  pounding target areas  across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, putting away any hopes of  resolving the crisis soon.

The Israeli Military, however, said one of its soldiers was missing, believed to have been killed during the clash with Hamas Islamists.

However, the  efforts of international community to end the 15-day conflict received a boost, with US Secretary of State, John Kerry, holding talks in Egypt and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon due to arrive in Israel later in the day.

Hamas and its allies fired a barrage of rockets into Southern and Central Israel, triggering sirens in Tel Aviv, with one missile striking a nearby town, lightly injuring two people, officials said.

Israel launched its offensive on July 8 to halt missile fired out of Gaza by Hamas, which was angered by a crackdown on its supporters in the occupied West Bank and suffering economic hardship because of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

The Israeli military said it had identified the remains of six soldiers killed in an attack on their armoured vehicle inside Gaza on Sunday. It had already announced that seven died in the strike.

Palestinian militants in Gaza said they had agreed to a five-hour ceasefire on Tuesday to allow Gaza residents to leave their homes and seek vital supplies, and accused Israel of rejecting the proposal.

With the conflict entering its third week, the Palestinian death toll rose to almost 550, including nearly 100 children and many other civilians, Gaza health officials said .

 

23 Palestinians, 1 Israeli Die As Israel Widens Ground Offensive

Israeli rocket is fired into the northern Gaza StripThe Israeli has stepped up its ground offensive in Gaza early on Friday, pounding targets with artillery fire and using tanks and infantry to battle Hamas fighters.

Orange flashes illuminated the eastern Gaza Strip as Israeli gunboats off the Mediterranean coast fired shells and tracer bullets, and helicopters fired across the border. Hamas fired rockets back into Israel towards the southern towns of Ashdod and Ashkelon.

Palestinian health officials said 23 Palestinians had been killed since Israel launched its ground offensive against the densely-populated strip of 1.8 Million Palestinians on Thursday. Israel said one of its soldiers had been killed in fighting.

A video clip released by the military showed six tanks rolling in through the sand dunes of Gaza, after a soldier opened a border fence, and two long rows of foot soldiers.

“We are using a very high level of fire power and artillery,” Israeli military spokesman, Brigadier General Motti Almoz said. “A great number of soldiers are in action in the Gaza Strip, soldiers are overtaking their targets, tunnels, Hamas targets,” Almoz said, and several “points of friction” with gunmen.

Israel signalled the invasion would be limited in scope – targeting tunnels dug by gunmen – and said it was not intended to topple Hamas, the Gaza Strip’s dominant Islamist group.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri responded with defiance, saying, “We warn (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu of the dreadful consequences of such a foolish act”.

Live television showed interceptions of rockets by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system and no casualties were reported.

Almoz said one soldier had been killed and several wounded in fighting, Israeli media said was concentrated in several areas in the north and south of the territory.

The soldier was Israel’s second fatality in eleven days of fighting which spilled over into a land offensive late on Thursday. A rocket attack killed a civilian two days ago. In all, 251 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed since the fighting began on July 8.

Israeli military Spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, said on Twitter that Israel had killed 14 Palestinian gunmen in “exchanges of fire throughout Gaza” and destroyed 20 rocket launchers.

Hamas’s armed wing said in a statement they had detonated three explosives in northern Gaza and “clashes are ongoing”. It also said its fighters had repelled Israeli forces trying to enter another Gaza town, Beit Hanoun, wounding seven soldiers.

Israel began the air and sea offensive in what it called a response to mounting rocket salvos, more than 100 a day, fired by Gaza militants into its cities, sending hundreds of thousands of Israelis dashing to shelters as far north as the Tel Aviv business hub.

At least 20 more rockets were fired at Israel on Friday, a military spokeswoman said.

Hamas leaders have talked up their “tunnel campaign” against the Israeli enemy. One publicity video showed Palestinian fighters hauling rockets through a narrow passage to load onto a launcher that appears buried in an orchard. It is then fired remotely after its mechanized cover slides open.

French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, will visit the Middle East on Friday to try to defuse the crisis, and for discussions about putting a European mission on the Gaza-Israel border, a diplomatic source said on Thursday.

Israel last mounted a large-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip during a three-week war in late 2008 and early 2009 that claimed 1,400 Palestinian and 13 Israeli lives.

 

Israel Resumes Air Strike In Gaza Strip, Kills 7 Palestinians

A car, which police said was damaged in an Israeli air strike that targeted the house of top Hamas political leader Mahmoud Zahar, is seen in Gaza CityIsrael resumed air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, a day after holding fire in deference to an Egyptian-proposed cease-fire deal that failed to get Hamas militants to halt rocket attacks.

Attacks in the Gaza Strip killed at least seven Palestinians in the early hours of Wednesday, Gaza health officials said, and destroyed the house of Mahmoud Zahar – who is believed to be in hiding elsewhere – in the first apparent targeting of a top Hamas political leader.

The week-old conflict seemed to be at a turning point on Tuesday, with Hamas defying Arab and Western calls to cease fire and Israel threatening to step up an offensive that could include an invasion of the densely populated enclave.

The Israeli military said on Wednesday it had sent out warning messages to residents in the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes by 0800 (1 a.m. EDT) ahead of renewed attacks. Palestinian officials said residents in two Gaza City neighborhoods had received the warnings but Gaza Interior Ministry told people not to heed the Israeli messages and dismissed them as psychological warfare.

Gaza militants kept up rocket salvoes into Israel, firing more than 150 rockets at Israel since Tuesday, when the truce was to begin.

Under the blueprint announced by Egypt – Gaza’s neighbor and whose military-backed government has been at odds with Islamist Hamas – a mutual “de-escalation” was to have begun at 9 a.m. (2 a.m. EDT), with hostilities ceasing within 12 hours.

Hamas’ armed wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, rejected the ceasefire deal, a proposal that addressed in only general terms some of its key demands, and said its battle with Israel would “increase in ferocity and intensity”.

But Moussa Abu Marzouk, a Hamas political official who was in Cairo, said the movement, which is seeking a deal that would ease the Egyptian and Israeli border restrictions throttling Gaza’s economy, had made no final decision on Cairo’s proposal.

Israel, citing the persistent salvoes, resumed attacks in Gaza six hours after implementation of the truce was to have begun. The military said it targeted at least 20 of Hamas’ hidden rocket launchers, tunnels and weapons storage facilities. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in broadcast remarks late on Tuesday that Israel had no choice but to “expand and intensify” its campaign on Hamas, though he did not specifically mention the possibility of a ground incursion.

The Israeli security cabinet which met into the early hours of Wednesday had discussed a limited ground operation, an Israeli official said.