Israeli-Palestinian violence in Gaza mounts, Hamas calls for restrain

10:22, January 12, 2010      

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Violence between Israel and Gaza militant groups on Monday mounted as Gaza Strip-ruling Islamic Hamas movement called for new measures to preserve the highest interests of the Palestinian people, which was considered as a hint to halt daily rocket attacks on Israel.

Medics and witnesses said that two Palestinian militants were killed and two civilians injured on Monday night during an Israeli tank shelling on northern Gaza Strip town of Biet Hanoun. The shelling came shortly after a homemade rocket was fired from Gaza at southern Israel.

An Israeli army spokesman told Israel Radio that militants from the Gaza Strip on Monday night fired a homemade rocket from the Hamas-controlled enclave that landed at an empty zone in the western Negev area in southern Israel.

The radio quoted the army spokesman as saying that the homemade rocket landed near Sha'ar Hanegev council in southern Israel, causing no injuries or damages.

No one in Gaza claimed responsibility for the rocket attack, which was launched shortly after the Hamas government in Gaza announced that it would carry out measure to preserve the highest interests of the Palestinian people, an implication of halting rocket attacks from Gaza at Israel.

Witnesses said that Israeli tanks stationed near the borders at northern Gaza Strip and Israel shelled a group of Palestinians in the town of Biet Hanoun, adding that the shelling killed two people and wounded two others.

Gaza emergency and ambulance services chief Mu'aweya Hassanein told reporters that two Palestinians were killed and two others injured in an Israeli shelling on the town of Biet Hanoun, adding that they were brought to Kamal Odwan Hospital in northern Gaza Strip.

Local sources said that one of the two dead is a member of Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades, an Islamic Hamas movement armed wing in the Gaza Strip, adding that the militants were apparently trying to fire rockets from the area at Israel.

There has been no immediate Israeli army response on the raid. However, an Israeli army spokesman said that the army is checking out the report.

The Israeli army and Gaza militant groups escalated mutual attacks over the past ten days, where Gaza militants fired homemade rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel, where the Israeli retaliated and killed around 12 people.

The latest escalation came shortly after the deposed government of Islamic Hamas movement in Gaza hinted in an official statement sent to reporters earlier on Monday to carry out measures in the field aims at halting homemade rocket attacks on Israel.

Spokesman of Hamas government, Taher al-Nounu said in a written statement sent to reporters that the government would take measures "to preserve the highest interests of our people and the national consensus."

Al-Nounu referred in his statement to the mounting Israeli military actions carried out recently against the Gaza Strip. At least ten Palestinians were killed in Israeli air and ground strikes on the enclave within the last ten days.

He called on the Palestinian factions and Gaza militant groups "to agree on a national accordance that draws up a certain mechanism in dealing with the changes on the ground with Israel."

Although al-Nounu statements were an implication to halt firing homemade rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israel, he said "it is the right of the Palestinian people to defend themselves."

Al-Nounu declined to give any details related to what kind of measures Hamas government would take "in order to preserve the highest national Palestinian interests."

However, well-informed Palestinian sources in Hamas government told Xinhua in condition of anonymity that police forces will soon deploy and carry out field campaigns to prevent firing rockets from Gaza Strip at Israel.

"The sources said that such measures would be agreed upon the nearest future with all Palestinian factions and armed groups in the Gaza Strip "in order not to give Israel an excuse to carry out more attacks against Gaza."

The sources revealed that Hamas officials had held in the last few days intensive meetings and talks with leaders and representatives of different factions and armed groups to study halting rockets attacks on Israel.

Hamas minister of interior Fathi Hammad had earlier revealed that there has been an agreement reached between Hamas and other Palestinian factions to halt arbitrary rockets at Israel.

A fragile ceasefire between Hamas and Israel is still valid since the end of the 22-day Israeli Cast Lead military offensive on the enclave on Jan. 18, where more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed.

Source: Xinhua
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