Israeli army raid on Hebron outrages Hamas in Gaza

23:37, January 07, 2011      

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An earlier Israeli army raid on the southern West Bank city of Hebron, where a 65-year-old man was killed and five Islamic Hamas movement activists were detained, on Friday outraged the Islamic movement that rules the Gaza Strip.

On Friday afternoon, the movement called on its supporters in the coastal enclave to take to the streets and demonstrate against the arrest of five Hamas activists by the Israeli army. The five activists had been released from prison by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Thursday upon the instructions of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

After Friday's prayers ended, thousands of Hamas activists took to the streets of Gaza waving green Hamas flags and chanted slogans against Israel and the PNA. They rallied at al-Wahda Street and slammed the PNA for having security cooperation with Israel.

Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas movement's spokesman in Gaza, told a news conference earlier Friday that the PNA in the West Bank "is fully responsible for killing the 65-year-old man and the arrest of five Hamas activists in the city of Hebron."

"Abbas authority must stop political detention of Hamas members in the West Bank and release all prisoners of this category," said Abu Zuhri, adding that the PNA gets information from the detainees and passes them to Israel, "and Israel builds its policies according to that information."

Medical Palestinian sources and witnesses said that an Israeli army force stormed the city of Hebron after dawn and raided several houses in the city. They arrested five Hamas activists who had been just released from a Palestinian prison. During the raid, a 65-year-old Palestinian man was killed.

On Thursday, President Mahmoud Abbas instructed to release five Hamas activists arrested several months ago by his security forces. The five were going on a hunger strike demanding their immediate release. Israel said that the Hamas activists were involved in killing Israelis. The PNA had earlier said that it prefers to keep the five in the prison to protect them from being arrested by the Israeli army. The release of the five Hamas activists came following Qatar's mediation to help Hamas and Abbas to resume their talks over achieving an internal reconciliation.

An Israel Radio report confirmed that an Israeli army spokesman told it that an Israeli army force arrested five Hamas activists during a military operation in the city, adding that some of the activists were involved in carrying out an armed attack last August that killed four Israelis in the outskirts of the city.

The spokesman said when the soldiers went to arrest one of the activists, the 65-year-old Omer al-Qawasmeh blocked the soldiers and tried to prevent them from arresting the activist. The spokesman said that when the soldiers felt they are in danger, they opened fire at the man.

In Gaza, Israeli warplanes had overnight struck three separate targets in southern, central and northern Gaza Strip with missiles, Palestinian witnesses and security sources said. They added that F16 warplanes had intensively flown over the coastal enclave before hitting the three targets.

The witnesses said that warplanes struck a training post for Hamas armed wing al-Qassam Brigade, with no injuries reported, but severe damages were caused to some surrounding houses in Zeitoon neighborhood in Gaza city. The other two air strikes targeted empty agricultural areas.

Meanwhile, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas leader told a rally in northern Gaza on Thursday evening that the "Zionist Holocaust was a lie that has been crumbled with so many Holocausts committed by the Zionist enemy against our people in Beit Hanoun, Jabalia and many other places."

Al-Zahar's remarks were made in Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza Strip to mark two years for an Israeli strike on a United Nations' run school that killed 43 Palestinians, most of them women and children. The Israeli attack on al-Fakhoura school was during the Israeli operation Cast Lead.

Israel launched a three-week military operation in late Dec. 2008 on the Gaza Strip that killed 1,440 Palestinians and 12 Israelis and wounded around 5,000 People. Israel said the aim of the operation was to rein on militants and prevent daily homemade rocket attacks on southern Israel.

"We are still close to victory more than before. We will keep sacrificing for Palestine and the weakness of the Palestinian people won't last for too long," said al-Zahar, adding that "The Palestinian blood won't go in vain. Their (Jewish) Holocaust is a lie and crumbled with their horrible Holocausts."

Source: Xinhua
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