Posted tagged ‘Gaza Strip’

Iran Pressuring Palestinian Jihadists to Resume Anti-Israel Terrorism

November 17, 2016

EXCLUSIVE – Source: Iran Pressuring Palestinian Jihadists to Resume Terrorism Against Israel

by Aaron Klein and Ali Waked

17 Nov 2016

Source: Iran Pressuring Palestinian Jihadists to Resume Anti-Israel Terrorism

Warrick Page/Getty

TEL AVIV – Iran has been prodding Palestinian jihadists to resume hostilities against Israel, a Palestinian security official told Breitbart Jerusalem.

He said that Palestinian security services have noticed increased efforts on the part of the Iran-financed Islamic Jihad terrorist organization in Gaza to recruit West Bank operatives, especially in and around the cities of Hebron and Jenin.

Palestinian Authority officials have been prevented from operating in Gaza since the 2007 coup in which Hamas seized control of the territory, but according to intelligence collected by the PA, Iranian Revolutionary Guard officials have pressured Islamic Jihad to set up a terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank.

The official states that Iran, encouraged by Hamas’ success in restoring its infrastructure in the West Bank, charged Hezbollah with recruiting militants formerly associated with Fatah’s military wing, and has more recently turned to Islamic Jihad in hopes that the terror group would rebuild its own West Bank infrastructure, which was left in ruins at the end of the second intifada.

Last week, the Israeli media reported that members of an Islamic Jihad cell were arrested after they planned to carry out an attack on a wedding in the south of Israel and kidnap soldiers.

Among the detainees were an Islamic Jihad operative who was arrested upon attempting to enter Israel as an international businessman, two Palestinians who resided in Israel illegally, and an Arab Israeli man.

The Palestinian official said that the Islamic Jihad operative’s cover was blown when he insisted on entering Israel despite having lost contact with his collaborators, who had been arrested.

“It’s unclear why he didn’t suspect that the reason they disappeared was that they had been arrested,” he said. “For two weeks they were in detention, and he all the same insisted on reaching the Erez Crossing, between Gaza and Israel.”

He said that Iran’s attempts to rekindle Islamic Jihad’s terrorist activity are likely to continue.

He also said that an Islamic Jihad activist who was recently arrested near Jenin said that he had been recruited by Gaza operatives and told interrogators that some of the group’s funds originated in Iran.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

Palestinian court orders local elections only in West Bank

October 3, 2016

Palestinian court orders local elections only in West Bank Hamas and Fatah to take part in first polls since 2006, but not in Gaza Strip; date has yet to be set

By AFP

October 3, 2016, 1:44 pm

Source: Palestinian court orders local elections only in West Bank | The Times of Israel

A Palestinian man casts his vote in the municipal elections in the West Bank town of Al-Bireh on October 20, 2012. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

The Palestinian high court on Monday ordered municipal elections to be held only in the West Bank and not in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, though a new date for the suspended polls was not set.

The ruling could bring to an end hopes that the municipal elections would be the first since 2006 in which both Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah, which runs the West Bank, would participate.

Palestinian municipal polls scheduled for October 8 were postponed last month after a court delayed a ruling on whether to hold the first vote since 2006 to include both Fatah and Hamas.

The Palestinian high court in the Fatah-led West Bank put off its ruling until October 3, only five days before the scheduled date for the elections.

In response, the electoral commission confirmed that the October 8 date “is no longer applicable.” It set no new date.

On September 8, the court suspended the elections following disputes between the rival Fatah and Hamas movements over candidate lists.

It had left open the possibility that they could be re-scheduled for the same date if the dispute was resolved, but Wednesday’s announcement by the electoral commission was widely anticipated.

Gaza-ruling Hamas, considered a terror group by Israel and other Western countries, boycotted the last Palestinian municipal elections in 2012, but it was due to participate this year.

The October vote was to choose municipal councils in some 416 cities and towns in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

It is seen by some analysts as a test of whether Hamas and Fatah can take a significant step towards reconciliation.Their divisions are viewed as among the key obstacles in efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, at a standstill for more than two years.

The Palestinian parliament has not met since 2007, the year Hamas, buoyed by its 2006 election victory, seized the Gaza Strip by force, driving out Fatah in a week of deadly clashes.

Hamas caused a shock by winning the majority of seats in the 2006 polls, which were seen by some as the most transparent to be held in the Palestinian territories.

But the international community refused to accept a Hamas government, demanding the Islamist group first renounce violence, recognize Israel, and respect agreements signed between Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

Palestinians: “The Mafia of Destruction”

September 21, 2016

Palestinians: “The Mafia of Destruction”

by Khaled Abu Toameh

September 21, 2016 at 5:00 am

Source: Palestinians: “The Mafia of Destruction”

 

  • Hamas and Palestinian Authority (PA) officials have turned medical care into a business that earns them hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. This corruption has enabled top officials in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to embezzle millions of shekels from the PA budget.
  • In 2013, the PA spent more than half a billion shekels covering medical bills of Palestinians who were referred to hospitals outside the Palestinian territories. However, no one seems to know exactly how the money was spent and whether all those who received the referrals were indeed in need of medical treatment. In one case, it appeared that 113 Palestinian patients had been admitted to Israeli hospitals at the cost of 3 million shekels, while there is no documentation of any of these cases. Even the identities of the patients remain unknown.
  • Hajer Harb, a courageous Palestinian journalist from the Gaza Strip, says she is now facing charges of “slander” for exposing the corruption. She has been repeatedly interrogated by Hamas. The PA regime, for its part, is not too happy with exposure about the scandal.
  • Gaza’s hospitals would be rather better equipped if Hamas used its money to build medical centers instead of tunnels for smuggling weapons from Egypt to attack Israel.

Question: How do Palestinian patients obtain permits to receive medical treatment in Israeli and other hospitals around the world? Answer: By paying bribes to senior Palestinian officials in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Those who cannot afford to pay the bribes are left to die in under-equipped and understaffed hospitals, especially in the Gaza Strip.

Yet, apparently some Palestinians are more equal than others: Palestinians whose lives are not in danger, but who pretend that they are. These include businessmen, merchants, university students and relatives of senior Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas officials, who receive permits to travel to Israel and other countries under the pretext of medical emergency.

Many Palestinians point a finger at the PA’s Ministry of Health in the West Bank. They argue that senior ministry officials have been abusing their powers, in order to collect bribes both from genuine patients and from other Palestinians who only want medical permits in order to leave the Gaza Strip or the West Bank. Thanks to the corruption, many real patients have been denied the opportunity to receive proper medical care in Israel and other countries.

A Palestinian man is transferred to an Israeli ambulance at the Erez crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, on his way to an Israeli hospital, July 29, 2014. (Image source: Israeli Foreign Ministry)

This, of course, does not apply to senior Palestinian officials and their family members, who continue to make ample use of Israeli hospitals and other medical centers in Jordan, Egypt, the Gulf and Europe.

Even top Hamas officials enjoy access to Israeli hospitals. In 2013, Amal Haniyeh, the granddaughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, was transferred to an Israeli hospital for urgent medical treatment. A year earlier, Haniyeh’s sister, Suheilah, was also brought to an Israeli hospital for urgent heart surgery.

Haniyeh, however, did not need to offer cash to get his daughter and sister medical treatment in Israel. Indeed, some Palestinians are evidently very much more equal than others.

The corruption in the Palestinian health system, both in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, has long been a well-known secret. Palestinians without the right connections and without money to hand over to a senior official or physician are fully aware that they would never be allowed to receive what is called “medical referrals abroad.” The signature of a physician or a senior health official is the most precious merchandise in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This signature allows patients to receive free medical treatment in Israel and various countries.

The absence of clear regulations to define who is entitled to this privilege have facilitated widespread corruption in the Palestinian health system. Nepotism plays a major role in this form of corruption. The relative of a senior Palestinian official can easily be transferred for treatment in an Israeli, Jordanian or Egyptian hospital, while poor patients from the Gaza Strip can wait months and years before obtaining such permits.

Hamas and PA officials are trading with the lives of Palestinian patients. They have turned medical care into a business that earns them hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. This corruption, in the absence of transparency and accountability, has also enabled top officials in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to embezzle millions of shekels from the PA budget.

Although both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have vowed to combat this exploitation of Palestinian patients, the Palestinians themselves report no improvement. They say that more than 70% of the cases of medical referrals to Israeli hospitals and abroad have never been documented, and it remains unclear how and where the money was spent.

In 2013, for instance, the PA spent more than half a billion shekels covering medical bills of Palestinians who were referred to hospitals outside the Palestinian territories. However, no one seems to know exactly how the money was spent and whether all those who received the referrals were indeed in need of medical treatment.

The PA maintains that in 2014, more than 54,000 Palestinians from Gaza received medical referrals for treatment outside the Strip. Health officials in the Gaza Strip, however, say they are aware of only 16,382 documented cases of real patients who received such permits.

Between 1994 and 2013, the Palestinian Authority did not ask Israeli hospitals for detailed bills of the medical treatment provided to Palestinian patients. The money is deducted on a monthly basis from tax revenues collected by Israel and later paid to the PA.

The Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN), a Palestinian group working in the fields of democracy, human rights and good government, to combat corruption and enhance integrity, principles of transparency and systems of accountability in Palestinian society, is one of the few bodies sounding an alarm bell about this abuse.

Last year, AMAN released a report in which it warned against corruption in the Department of Medical Referrals Abroad, which belongs to the PA Ministry of Health. The report pointed out discrepancies in the costs of medical treatment in Israeli and other hospitals, and the actual bills. For example, in one case it appeared that 113 Palestinian patients had been admitted to Israeli hospitals at the cost of 3 million shekels, while there is no documentation of any of these cases. Even the identities of the patients remain unknown.

The AMAN report stated that measures taken by Palestinian health officials to limit nepotism and bribes, and prevent the squandering of public funds, have been insufficient. Physicians, it said, faced pressure from Palestinian Authority officials to issue medical referrals to Israeli hospitals and other hospitals around the world, even to those not in need of them. Some of the cases, the report notes, could have been treated in Palestinian hospitals, and there was no need to transfer them to other hospitals at very high costs.

The PA says that it has asked its Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the scandal. To date, it remains unclear whether substantive measures have been taken against those responsible for the corruption.

Hamas, for its part, continues to hold the PA responsible for the misery of patients in the Gaza Strip. The Islamist movement claims that the PA government is withholding the issuance of medical permits as a means to punish Palestinians for their support of Hamas.

The truth, however, is somewhat different: health officials in the Gaza Strip who are linked to Hamas have also been exploiting the plight of patients. Hamas is uninterested in this coming to light.

Hajer Harb, a courageous Palestinian journalist from the Gaza Strip, recently prepared an investigative report about the corruption of health officials in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. She has been repeatedly interrogated by Hamas.

Harb says she is now facing charges of “slander” for exposing the corruption. She was told by her interrogators that the decision to summon her for investigation came after a physician in the Gaza Strip filed a complaint against her for “defamation.”

Hamas interrogators demanded that Harb reveal her sources and the identity of those involved in the corruption scandal. “I told them that I am a journalist and I cannot provide them with the identities of my sources without a court order,” she said.

“The prosecution told me that I was facing the following charges: impersonation of another person (they claim I did not reveal my real identity during the investigative report); slandering the Ministry of Health, publishing inaccurate and incorrect information and working with ‘foreign parties’ (by preparing a report for a London-based television station under the pretext that the media organization is not registered with the Press Office in the Gaza Strip).”

In her report, Harb wrote about the middlemen who obtain medical referrals to Israeli and foreign hospitals in return for bribes. She approached one of the middlemen and claimed she wanted to travel from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank to marry a man living there. She wrote that she received a permit to leave the Gaza Strip and receive medical treatment in East Jerusalem’s Al-Makassed Hospital after she paid a bribe to a local physician. She also found several forged medical referrals in the name of the son of a senior Palestinian official in the Gaza Strip, who obtained them in order to complete his studies in the West Bank. Harb further located a man who claimed that he works for the PA’s Preventative Security Service and who boasted that he could get a permit for medical treatment outside the Gaza Strip in return for $200. Another Palestinian bought a medical permit to leave the Gaza Strip and work in a restaurant in Ramallah.

Hamas claims to be combating the corruption of officials who are tampering with the lives of Palestinian patients. In reality, it is busy harassing journalists who speak the truth. The Palestinian Authority regime, for its part, is not too happy with exposure about the scandal.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), based in the West Bank, condemned Hamas for harassing Harb. But this critique should be seen more in the context of the power struggle between the PA and Hamas, rather than as stemming from a concern for public freedoms.

In a statement, the PJS criticized Hamas for interrogating Harb as a “grave breach of media work and freedom of expression” in the Palestinian territories. The syndicate emphasized the right of journalists not to reveal the identity of their sources, adding that Harb had abided by all moral, legal and professional standards.

Najat Abu Baker, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council who belongs to PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, was one of the few politicians in the West Bank who dared to come out against the corruption scandal.

In her words, the corruption in the PA’s Department of Medical Referrals has transformed it into a “real mafia headed by influential figures.” Abu Baker accused the ministry of exploiting the impoverished residents of the Gaza Strip and wasting public funds:

“The issue of medical permits has become a business and the only ones who are paying the price are the patients from the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of these patients who have died are the victims of the ministry’s measures.”

She called for a commission of inquiry into the corruption scandal. She noted that many patients from the Gaza Strip have died while waiting for medical referrals while others, who were not ill, were given the permits thanks to nepotism and bribery.

“The merchants of death are tampering with the fate of our patients. It is time to tell the truth so that we can get rid of the mafia of destruction and end their trade in the lives of our patients.”

The medical permit scandal is yet further proof that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority shamelessly exploit their people for political and financial purposes. The PA leverages its power to issue medical permits in order to pressure Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to turn against Hamas. Its officials sell the permits for cold hard cash. Hamas, which continues to hold the entire Gaza Strip hostage, has its own ideas about how money is well spent. Gaza’s hospitals would be rather better equipped if Hamas used the money it has to build medical centers instead of tunnels for smuggling weapons from Egypt to attack Israel. While medical permits are sold to the highest Palestinian bidder, we ask: What is the going rate for a permit for clarity concerning the behavior of Palestinian leaders?

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based in Jerusalem.

U.S. Urges Americans: Leave Gaza ‘As Soon As Possible’

August 24, 2016

U.S. Urges Americans: Leave Hamas-Controlled Gaza ‘As Soon As Possible’

by Breitbart Jerusalem

24 Aug 2016

Source: U.S. Urges Americans: Leave Gaza ‘As Soon As Possible’

David Silverman/Getty

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States reiterated its recommendation that Americans in Gaza leave the territory controlled by Hamas, which Washington calls a terrorist group, “as soon as possible.”

The warning came after the Israeli army said it bombed dozens of targets in Gaza from Sunday to Monday, in response to rocket fire from the strip. Palestinian medical officials said four people were wounded.

Washington regularly updates warning notices to Americans traveling to and living in countries around the world.

In the case of Gaza, the State Department warned against “all travel” to the territory and “urges those present to depart as soon as possible when border crossings are open.”

It had issued a similar warning in December 2015.

Since January, 14 rockets fired from Gaza have hit Israeli territory, the military said.

The border area has remained tense since the July-August 2014 war between Israel and Gaza militants that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians and 73 people on the Israeli side.

“Gaza is under the control of Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization. The security environment within Gaza and on its borders is dangerous and volatile,” the State Department said in its warning Tuesday.

As for Israel and the West Bank, a wave of violence there since October 2015 has left Americans dead and wounded, the department said.

However, “there is no indication that US citizens were specifically targeted based on nationality.”

The violence has eased in recent weeks, but an AFP count shows 220 Palestinians and 34 Israelis killed since October 1, 2015 in the Palestinian territories, Jerusalem and Israel.

Most of the Palestinians killed were attackers or suspected attackers. A number were killed in clashes with the Israeli army.

 

EXCLUSIVE – Top Gazan Terrorist: Only A Matter of Time Before ‘Big Operation’ in Eilat

March 28, 2016

Top Gazan Terrorist: Only a Matter of Time Before ‘Big Operation’ in Southern Israel

By Breitbart Jerusalem

27 Mar 2016

Source: EXCLUSIVE – Top Gazan Terrorist: Only A Matter of Time Before ‘Big Operation’ in Eilat

David Silverman/Newsmakers/Getty

TEL AVIV – It is only a matter of time before the Islamic State’s branch in the Egyptian Sinai carries out a “big operation” in the Israeli resort town of Eilat and other parts of southern Israel, a leading Islamic State-allied militant claimed in an exclusive interview.

Abu al-Ayna al-Ansari, a Salafist movement senior official in the Gaza Strip, made the claim in a pre-recorded, hour-long interview to air in full on Sunday on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” the popular weekend talk radio program broadcast on New York’s AM 970 The Answer and NewsTalk 990 AM in Philadelphia. Klein doubles as Breitbart’s senior investigative reporter and Jerusalem bureau chief.

Ansari is a well-known Gaza Salafist jihadist allied with Islamic State ideology. During the interview with Klein, Ansari seemed to be speaking as an actual IS member, repeatedly using the pronoun “we” when referring to IS and even making declarations on behalf of IS.

IS has been reluctant to officially declare its presence in Gaza for fear of a Hamas crackdown, but the group is known to be active in the coastal enclave and Ansari is a suspected IS leader. IS-aligned militants have taken responsibility for recent rocket fire from Gaza aimed at Israel.

Klein asked Ansari about IS’s capabilities inside Israel.

Ansari replied:

Israel and the United States are at the top of the list of the targets of the Islamic State. The Islamic State educates its people that Israel and the United States are the leaders of the infidels and we believe that Israel should be disappeared.

As for the question about the cells, I cannot give you any details but there is no doubt that the Islamic State keeps working on creating its infrastructure and cells all around the world. And I can confirm that the Wilayat Sinai, the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State that is operating in the Sinai, will be the pioneers in this confrontation with Israel or what is called Israel.

And I can confirm that it is only a question of time when there will be a big operation in Eilat and in the south of Israel. The Wilayat Sinai will be the ones responsible for the confrontation with Israel.

The Jerusalem Post, which also reported on Klein’s interview, noted Col. Yehuda Cohen, the commander of the Israel Defense Forces’ Sagi Brigade operating on the border with Egypt, warned in September that the Islamic State in Egypt will likely eventually attempt terrorist attacks against Israel.

“In the end it must be remembered this organization was formed by terrorists that dream of a terror attack against Israel, and it will come. It’s clear that there will be a terror attack against Israel, I believe that it will happen during my tenure,” Cohen told Israel’s Army Radio at the time.

“I teach my people to expect it to come tomorrow, to always be ready for it. When it happens, my doctrine is that we must strike a very strong blow at the same point and ensure that there are zero successful actions for the enemy,” he said, referring to the IDF.

ISIS Followers Plan to Take over Gaza Strip

January 13, 2016

ISIS Followers Plan to Take over Gaza Strip

by Khaled Abu Toameh

January 12, 2016 at 5:00 am

Source: ISIS Followers Plan to Take over Gaza Strip

  • In the video produced by the pro-ISIS Palestinian Islamic Army (PIA), Hamas leaders are denounced for aligning themselves with moderate Arab leaders in the Gulf, who are described as “criminals and enemies of Islam.”
  • Apparently, Hamas has been too kind to Christians living in the Gaza Strip. The narrator blasts Hamas leaders for offering greetings to Christians on their holidays.
  • It seems that there may be valid reasons for Egypt’s reluctance to reopen the Rafah border crossing with Gaza, as well as to Israel’s opposition to lifting the naval blockade on Gaza — initiated to prevent weapons from being imported to Hamas and other extremists in Gaza. The PIA video provides proof that the Gaza Strip has become a hub for jihadi groups posing a murderous threat not only to Israel and “the West,” but also to Muslims who are deemed by the terrorists as lacking in religious standards.

A new group calling itself the Palestinian Islamic Army (PIA) has popped up in the Gaza Strip, signaling incontrovertibly the growing influence of the Islamic State (ISIS) among Palestinians.

A thirty-minute video put out by the PIA shows its followers pledging allegiance to ISIS “Caliph” Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, and paints Hamas leaders as “apostates” and “infidels” for failing to implement Islamic sharia law in the Gaza Strip. The video constitutes proof positive that the ISIS ideology has infiltrated Gaza — a truth that Hamas has unsuccessfully been trying to conceal for the past year.

A frame from the recent video produced in Gaza by the Palestinian Islamic Army (PIA), in which the PIA followers pledge allegiance to ISIS “Caliph” Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

In the video, Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashaal are denounced for aligning themselves with moderate Arab leaders in the Gulf, who are described as “criminals and enemies of Islam.” Apparently, Hamas has been too kind to Christians living in the Gaza Strip. The narrator blasts Hamas leaders for offering greetings to Christians on their holidays and condolences on the death of some of the community’s members. Hamas leaders are featured making visits to Christian “polytheists” in the Strip.

Yet Christians are not the only bedfellows prohibited to Hamas by the PIA. The video also damns Hamas leaders for their alliance with the Shiite Muslims of Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah. For the PIA, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is a “Satan” waging war on Sunni Muslims. And this “Satan” is in good company: “The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip is a sect of apostasy and blasphemy,” the PIA video declares. Muslims are urged vigorously to distance themselves from the heretical Hamas.

The PIA holds Hamas responsible for the deaths of 11 of its members in the Gaza Strip. “The Hamas members executed them in front of their mothers, and left the wounded to die after preventing ambulances from reaching them,” the video charges. “One of those killed in this massacre was brother Saeb Abu Obaida, who was executed by Hamas in cold blood.” According to the video, Abu Obaida was the “emir” of the PIA in the Gaza Strip.

One of the leaders and founders of the ISIS-affiliated PIA, Mu’taz Daghmash (known by his nickname Abu Al-Majd), was killed in an Israeli airstrike two years ago — much to the satisfaction of Hamas. The video reveals that arch-terrorist Daghmash was involved in the 2006 abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and the assassination of two Palestinian security commanders in the Gaza Strip — Musa Arafat and Jad Tayeh.

A second jihadi mentioned in the video, Sultan Al-Harbi, is described as a senior member of ISIS who received military training in Yemen, Sudan and Libya before returning to the Gaza Strip. He too was killed last year in an Israeli airstrike.

Nidal Al-Ashi (aka Abu Huraira) was another PIA member in good standing, before becoming the first Palestinian to be killed in Syria while fighting for ISIS. Al-Ashi participated in multiple rocket attacks on “the enemies of Allah, the Jews,” and attacks on churches and other Christian targets in Gaza, as well attacks as on Western journalists and diplomats.

Egyptian security officials have attested repeatedly that the Gaza Strip has become a major exporter of jihadis to Sinai. Events have proven those officials correct. It seems that there may be valid reasons for Egypt’s reluctance to reopen the Rafah border crossing with Gaza, as well as to Israel’s opposition to lifting the naval blockade on Gaza — initiated to prevent weapons from being imported to Hamas and other extremists in the Gaza Strip. The PIA video provides definitive proof that the Gaza Strip has become a hub for jihadi groups posing a murderous threat not only to Israel and “the West,” but also to Muslims who are deemed by the terrorists as lacking in religious standards.

Hamas has brought nothing but havoc to its people in the Gaza Strip. As for the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, all that is left for them is to be grateful for the presence of Israel in the West Bank. Without the Israeli military, Hamas and ISIS would eat Abbas and his Palestinian Authority for breakfast. One wonders: Is this the sort of state that Palestinians are seeking to establish?

Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.

Israel News – IAF strikes Gaza targets over rocket fire

June 4, 2015

IAF strikes Gaza targets over rocket fire

Overnight, the IDF retaliated after two rockets had been fired from the Gaza Strip at Southern Israel.

Jun 04, 2015, 09:57AM | Yael Klein

via Israel News – IAF strikes Gaza targets over rocket fire – JerusalemOnline.

Thit for that.

Several hours after rockets fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in Israel, the Israel Air Force attacked three Hamas targets. In addition, two Islamic Jihad targets were attacked. “IDF views the rocket fire seriously. The Hamas Terror Organization is behind the attack,” IDF Spokesperson said in a statement.

Overnight, two rockets exploded in unpopulated areas in Sdot Negev Regional Council, causing no injuries or damage to property. Alarm sirens sounded in Ashkelon, Netivot and additional communities in vicinity of the Gaza Strip.

The rockets were fired from the Deir al-Balah area in Gaza.  An organization of extreme Islamic Salafi that has ties with the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the shooting. The rocket fire was a response to the execution of an IS terrorist by Hamas in Gaza on Tuesday. Nonetheless, IDF held Hamas responsible for the fire.

The terror group, which calls itself the Omar Brigades, issued a statement, “We are continuing with our jihad against the Jews, the enemies of Allah, and no one will be able to deter us.”  Eyewitnesses in Gaza reported that the airstrike targets were two camps belonging to Hamas.

According to reports in Palestinian websites, Gaza residents said they heard loud explosions and Israeli battle jets hovering above the Gaza Strip. Sources in Gaza told Reuters that damage has been caused but that there were no casualties.

In recent days, battles are taking place between Hamas and groups sympathetic with the Islamic State in Gaza. Arab media reported that IS supporters were killed in heavy clashes in the neighborhood of Sheikh Radwan. It has also been reported that high-ranking Salafi member Saber Siam was eliminated by a bomb attached to his car.

Despite the resumed fire, the Home Front Command has not issued any special security instructions for the residents of Southern Israel.