Friday, July 15, 2005

Horror Again in Gaza

Gaza City civilians gather around the wreckage left after the Israeli Army resumed "extrajudicial assassinations" this afternoon. The charred mass in the foreground is all that was left of a Volkswagen carrying four Hamas members that was destroyed by at least two rockets fired by Israeli Army Apache gunships. Six pedestrians were also injured in the attack.

Mohammed just sent this update:

Horror Again in Gaza

After a few months of cautious hope, blood, fire, and fear has become the norm again in Gaza. Back to counting the dead, counting the injured, phoning the medics to try to learn the names of the casualties. For the Palestinian civilians, it is back to sleepless nights trying to judge how close the shooting and bombing is, or trying to sleep at closed Israeli checkpoints.

Where did it start this time? Should we go back to the suicide bombing this week in Netanya? The Israeli Army has been routinely arresting members of militant factions and staging incursions into areas under Palestinian control despite the supposed cease-fire. The young militant who carried out the Netanya bombing said he was "responding" to the Israeli crimes in the West Bank. Of course, IOF activity only increased after the Netanya attack on the 12th, while in Gaza, the militant factions increased their Qassam launches in—yes, that word again—"response."

Thursday night, an Israeli woman, Dana Glakowitz, 22 who lived in a town near the Gaza border, was killed by a Qassam strike as she sat on the porch of her home. The Palestinian Interior Minister declared a state of emergency and ordered the PA police to stop the militants from firing on Israeli settlements and towns hear the border. The IOF immediately closed the checkpoints, dividing Gaza into three sealed sections and shortly after midnight launched four rocket strikes on Gaza within an hour. Three were in northern Gaza, one on a cemetery in Khan Younis that the Israeli military claims is being used as a launch site by the militants. In Gaza City the headquarters of an Islamic charity was destroyed—the IOF claimed it was "pro-Hamas."

There were heavy clashes all night between PA police and masked militants, with cars carrying Hamas members attacked and, in retaliation, militant attacks on police stations and police cars. Tragically, in the Zeytoun neighborhood of Gaza City, two bystanders, a teenager and a child, were killed during a firefight between militants and the PA police.

With the dawn, the police-militant conflict largely ceased, but civilians were burning tires in an effort to blind the Israeli unmanned surveillance drones. In mid-afternoon, the Israeli helicopters resumed extrajudicial assassinations by rocket attacks an hour apart on two cars carrying Hamas members—one near Nablus, and one in Gaza City. In the Gaza City airstrike around 4pm, four Hamas members were killed, their white Volkswagen reduced to barely-recognizable rubble, and six pedestrians were also injured. Eyewitnesses said body parts and shredded flesh of the four passengers were scattered over a wide area.

Witnesses report Israeli troops and tanks are massing at the sealed borders.


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