Hamas: Ashkelon bombing a ‘warning’ message

By Nour Abu Aisha

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – The Hamas resistance group's military wing, Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, warned Israel it would bomb more places in Israel if attacks on Gaza continued.

"The bombing of Ashkelon was a warning message that the next would be greater in case the aggression continued," the official spokesman of al-Qassam Abu Obaida tweeted late Monday.

Hamas announced earlier its rockets fired from Gaza reached the Israeli southern city of Ashkelon.

The Israeli Yediot Aharonot newspaper said an Israeli was seriously injured by the rockets that hit Ashkelon.

Ashkelon is a coastal city on the Mediterranean coast, located 50 kilometers south of Tel Aviv.

Israel launched airstrikes against Gaza late Monday after rockets were fired against Jewish settlements.

Three Palestinians were martyred in the attacks and nine others injured bringing the number of Palestinian martyrs to 10 within two days.

The Israeli army said 200 rockets were fired from Gaza since Monday but the country’s air defense system, Iron Dome, intercepted 60 with most of the rest falling on empty land.

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Israeli jets destroy HQ of Hamas-run TV station

By Yaser Albanna and Safiye Karabacak

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – In airstrikes late Monday, Israeli fighter jets tried to wipe the Hamas-run TV station in Gaza off the map.

Firing 10 missiles at the Al-Aqsa TV station, Israeli jets destroyed its headquarters, witnesses said.

Amid the airstrikes, the station went off the air.

Many buildings around the station were also damaged.

On Monday evening Israel launched airstrikes against Gaza after rockets were fired from Gaza against Jewish settlements.

Three Palestinians were martyred in the attacks and nine others injured.

The Israeli army said that roughly 200 rockets had been fired from Gaza since Monday evening but Israel's air defense system — Iron Dome — intercepted 60 of them.

The army added that most of the rest fell on empty land.

Rockets fired from Gaza injured 21 Israelis, including one heavily injured, said to be an Israeli soldier.

Filistinli direniş grupları İsrail'e saldırıyı üstlendi

GAZZE (AA) – Filistinli direniş grupları, abluka altındaki Gazze Şeridi sınırı yakınlarında İsrailli askerleri taşıyan otobüsün hedef alındığı saldırıyı üstlendi.

Hamas ve İslami Cihad Hareketi gibi grupların silahlı kanatlarının yer aldığı Filistinli Direniş Grupları Ortak Odası'ndan yapılan yazılı açıklamada, "Mücahitlerimiz, Cibaliya'nın doğusunda Ahraş Meflasim bölgesinde 16.32'de (yerel saatle) kornet füzesiyle İsrailli askerleri taşıyan otobüsü hedef aldı." denildi.

Açıklamada, bu operasyonun bir grup İsrail askerinin Gazze'nin güneyindeki Han Yunus kentinde düzenlediği ve 7 Filistinlinin şehit olmasına neden olan saldırıya karşılık gerçekleştirildiği aktarıldı.

Öte yandan İsrail savaş uçakları, Gazze Şeridi'nin güneyinde bir eve hava saldırısı düzenledi. Ölen ya da yaralanan olmayan saldırıda ev tamamen yıkıldı.

Gazze'den civardaki Yahudi yerleşim yerlerine roket atılmasının ardından İsrail ordusu, akşam saatlerinde Gazze'ye hava saldırısı başlatmıştı.

İsrail saldırılarında 3 Filistinli şehit olmuş, 9 kişi de yaralanmıştı.

Ordudan yapılan açıklamada, akşam saatlerinden bu yana Gazze'den 200'e yakın roket atıldığı, bu roketlerin 60'ının Demir Kubbe isimli hava savunma sistemi tarafından etkisiz hale getirildiği aktarılmış, atılan diğer roketlerin büyük bir bölümünün boş arazilere düştüğü ifade edilmişti.

İsrail tarafında ise 1'i ağır 21 İsrailli Gazze'den atılan roketler nedeniyle yaralanmış, ağır yaralı İsraillinin asker olduğu açıklanmıştı.

– Dün de 7 Filistinli şehit oldu

Kassam Tugayları, dün yaptığı yazılı açıklamada, bir grup İsrail askerinin sivil bir araçla Gazze'nin güneyindeki Han Yunus'un 3 kilometre kadar içlerine girdiğini ve Tugay komutanlarından Nur Bereke'ye suikast düzenlediğini duyurmuştu.

İsrail ordusu ise açıklamasında, "Kuvvetlerimiz, Gazze Şeridi'nde bir güvenlik operasyonu gerçekleştirdi. Operasyonun ardından çatışmalar yaşandı." ifadesine yer vermişti.

Yaşanan çatışmada aralarında bir Kassam komutanın da bulunduğu 7 Filistinli şehit olurken, 7 Filistinli yaralanmıştı. İsrail ordusu ise çatışmada 1 askerinin öldürüldüğünü, 1 askerinin ise yaralandığını duyurmuştu.

Israel’s Gaza op failed to achieve objectives: Analysts

By Nour Abu Aisha

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – Gaza-based political experts say Israel’s brazen incursion into Gaza on Sunday was meant to "disrupt and confuse" Palestinian resistance groups, especially Hamas, which has governed the strip since 2007.

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, at least seven Palestinians, including a Hamas military commander, were martyred late Sunday — and seven others injured — in an Israeli raid carried out in the southern Gaza Strip.

One Israeli officer was killed and another slightly injured, meanwhile, in an exchange of fire that accompanied the operation, the Israeli army said in a statement.

Notably, the operation was carried out amid ongoing Egypt-led efforts to hammer out a truce between Israel and Gaza-based resistance groups, including Hamas.

– Objectives

Hamza Abu Shanab, a Palestinian writer and political analyst, says the Israeli force that executed the operation may have been trying to kidnap a leader of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing.

"Information released by the Israeli media appears to suggest that the operation was to a large extent military and not intelligence-related," Abu Shanab told Anadolu Agency.

A second possible explanation, according to Abu Shanab, is that the incursion was an intelligence-gathering operation “aimed at collecting information on resistance groups by planting spying devices inside Gaza”.

In this scenario, Abu Shanab believes that the firefight that erupted between the Israeli force and Hamas fighters “had not been anticipated by the Israelis”.

With regard to a possible third explanation, Abu Shanab said Sunday’s incursion may have been an assassination bid targeting a Qassam Brigades leader, although he described this scenario as “unlikely”.

Political analyst Husam al-Dajani, for his part, agreed with Abu Shanab on this point, describing the assassination scenario as “improbable”.

"Perhaps the Israeli force entered Gaza to test the readiness of resistance factions," he said.

"The lack of information makes it difficult to determine Israel’s objective," he added. “But they certainly didn’t anticipate such fierce resistance.”

On Monday, Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth quoted an army official who described the operation as "very complex”.

In any event, al-Dajani said, Israel had hoped to carry out a stealth operation with a view to “disrupting and confusing” resistance fighters and Gaza’s civilian population.

"If it had succeeded, the operation would have led to mutual recriminations between resistance factions and the people as to who was responsible,” he said.

Israel, al-Dajani added, also wanted to demoralize Palestinians who have been taking part in mass anti-occupation rallies along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone since March.

The analyst went on to assert that conflicting information from the Israeli side appeared to suggest a “rift” between the Israeli military and intelligence establishments.

The fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a planned visit to Paris in the wake of the incursion, al-Dajani noted, strongly suggested that the operation had failed.

– Ramifications

Both analysts believe the operation will have negative repercussions inside Israel due to its apparent failure to achieve its objectives and in light of the fact that it coincided with ongoing efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the UN to hammer out a Hamas-Israel truce.

"The operation’s apparent failure will not end the prospects for a truce,” al-Dajani said. “Rather, it will serve to bolster Hamas’s position."

In recent weeks, Egyptian officials have engaged in a flurry of shuttle diplomacy between Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, during which they have held numerous meetings with Hamas, Fatah and Israeli officials.

The talks are aimed at hammering out a truce between Israel and Hamas and achieving a degree of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah following years of acrimony.

UPDATE 2 – 7 Palestinians martyred in Israeli raid in Gaza

UPDATE WITH NEW DEATH TOLL

By Mohammed Majid, Said Ammouri

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – At least seven Palestinians, including a Hamas military commander, were martyred and another seven injured late Sunday in an Israeli raid in southern Gaza Strip, said officials.

Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, said in a statement that the Palestinians were killed after Israeli forces targeted a group of people east of the city of Khan Younis.

Al-Qidra identified the victims as Nour al-Din Muhammad Salama Baraka, 37, Mohammed Majid Mousa al-Qara, 23, Alaeddin Mohammed Qweider, 22, Mustafa Hassan Abu Odeh, 21, Mahmoud Atallah Musbeh, 25, Alaa Nasrallah Abdullah Fseifes, 24, and Omar Naji Abu Khater, 21.

Al-Qidra announced that the ministry has declared a state of alert for all of its crews.

In a statement, Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas movement, confirmed the attack and said Baraka, one of their commanders, was among the killed.

"Our fighters pursued the Israeli force and the security incident [clashes] is ongoing," read the statement.

The Israeli army said its forces carried out a "security operation" in the Gaza Strip, followed by violent clashes.

One Israeli soldier was killed and another slightly injured an exchange of fire during the operation, said the army.

The Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee said "at least 10 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

"Two of them were intercepted by the iron dome," he said of Israeli air-defense system.

No one claimed responsibility for the rocket fire.

Also, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut off his visit in French capital Paris and returned to Israel Sunday night due to the deadly incidents, said his office.

Netanyahu was attending an event there to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

UPDATE – 6 Palestinians martyred in Israeli raid in Gaza

UPDATE WITH HAMAS REMARKS, NETANYAHU'S VISIT CUT, CHANGES HEADLINE

By Mohammed Majid, Said Ammouri

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – At least six Palestinians, including a Hamas military commander, were martyred late Sunday in an Israeli raid in southern Gaza Strip, said officials.

Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, said in a statement the Palestinians were killed after Israeli forces targeted a group of people east of the city of Khan Younis.

Al-Qidra identified the victims as Nour al-Din Muhammad Salama Baraka, 37, Mohammed Majid Mousa al-Qara, 23, Alaeddin Mohammed Qweider, 22, Mustafa Hassan Abu Odeh, 21, Mahmoud Atallah Musbeh, 25, and Alaa Nasrallah Abdullah Fseifes, 24.

Al-Qidra announced that the ministry has declared a state of alert for all its crews.

In a statement, Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas movement, confirmed the attack and said Baraka, one of their commanders, was among the killed.

"Our fighters pursued the Israeli force and the security incident [clashes] is ongoing," read the statement.

The Israeli army said its forces carried out a "security operation" in the Gaza Strip, followed by violent clashes.

No further details have been given.

Also, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut off his visit in French capital Paris and returned to Israel Sunday night due to the deadly incidents, said his office.

Netanyahu was attending an event there to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

“Büyük Dönüş Yürüyüşü eylemleri bazı hedeflerine ulaştı”

GAZZE (AA) – Hamas yöneticilerinden Halil el-Hayye, Büyük Dönüş Yürüyüşü eylemlerinin Gazze'ye uygulanan ablukanın hafifletilmesiyle bazı hedeflerine ulaştığını ancak İsrail'in Gazze Şeridi'ne uyguladığı abluka tamamen kaldırılana kadar süreceğini söyledi.

Gazze'nin güneyinde Büyük Dönüş Yürüyüşü gösterilerine katılan Hayye burada AA muhabirine konuştu.

Hayye, "Büyük Dönüş Yürüyüşü eylemleri, Gazze'ye uygulanan ablukanın hafiflemesiyle bazı hedeflerine ulaştı." diyerek, eylemlerin İsrail'in Gazze Şeridi'ne uyguladığı abluka tamamen kaldırılana kadar süreceğini belirtti.

Hamas yöneticisi geçen 2 hafta içinde, elektrik verilen sürenin uzatılması, Katar'ın memur, gazi, şehit ailesi ve yoksullar için gereken ödemelerin yapılması adına yaptığı yardımın ulaştırılması gibi bazı kazanımlar elde edildiğine dikkati çekti.

Hayye, Hamas'ın Büyük Dönüş Yürüyüşü eylemleri, Mısır, Katar ve Birleşmiş Milletler (BM) ara buluculuğu gibi vasıtalarla İsrail'e baskıyı sürdürdüğünü ifade etti.

– İsrail'le yeni anlaşma yok

Mısır, Katar ve BM'den "ablukayı tamamen kaldırması, 2014'te Filistinli gruplar ile imzalanan anlaşmanın tekrar hayata geçirilmesine dair son yapılan anlaşmalara uyması konusunda İsrail'e baskıyı sürdürmesini" isteyen Hayye, İsrail'le yeni bir ateşkes anlaşması olduğuna dair iddiaların gerçeği yansıtmadığını söyledi.

Hayye, Katar, Mısır ve BM temsilcileriyle yapılan son anlaşmaların "2014'te Mısır ara buluculuğunda İsrail'le imzalanan anlaşmanın sürdürülmesi ve ablukanın kaldırılması"nı içerdiğini vurguladı.

Mısır, Katar ve BM bir süredir Gazze'deki Filistinli gruplar ve İsrail arasında ateşkes sağlanması için çalışıyor, bunun yanı sıra Mısırlı bir heyet de Gazze Şeridi, Batı Şeria ve İsrail arasında "Filistin uzlaşısı ve ateşkes" için mekik diplomasisi yürütüyor.

Filistinliler, 30 Mart'tan bu yana abluka altındaki Gazze Şeridi'nin İsrail sınırında "Büyük Dönüş Yürüyüşü" adı altında barışçıl eylemler düzenliyor

“Bizimle işgalciler arasında bir anlaşma yok”

GAZZE (AA) – Hamas'ın Gazze sorumlusu Yahya Sinvar, İsrail'in Gazze Şeridi'ne uyguladığı ablukanın hafifletilmesi ve ateşkes konusundaki mutabakatın İsrail ile değil Hamas, Mısır, Katar ve Birleşmiş Milletler (BM) arasında gerçekleştiğini söyledi.

"Büyük Dönüş Yürüyüşü"ne katılan Sinvar düzenlediği basın toplantısında, "Bizimle işgalciler arasında bir anlaşma yok. Mısır, Katar ve BM ile aramızda Gazze'deki ablukanın hafifletilmesi ve kaldırılması konusunda mutabakat var." dedi.

Sinvar, İsrail ablukası kırılana, dönüşler gerçekleşene ve Filistin kurtulana kadar Büyük Dönüş Yürüyüşlerinin devam edeceğini vurguladı.

Filistin uzlaşısı hakkında ise "Halkımızın yükünü azalttıkça birlik ve ortaklık temeline dayanan daha gerçek uzlaşı için daha iyi fırsatlar olacaktır." değerlendirmesinde bulunan Sinvar şöyle devam etti:

"Esas derdimiz ablukayı kırmak, halkımıza özgür ve onurlu bir yaşam sağlamaktır. Sonra özgürlük ve geri dönüş projesini tamamlamak için harekete geçmek. Ancak bunun ilk adımı Filistin bölünmüşlüğünün bitmesidir."

Mısır, Katar ve BM bir süredir Filistinli gruplar ile İsrail arasında "Gazze'deki gösterilerin durdurulması karşılığında bölgeye uygulanan ablukanın hafifletilmesine dayanan bir ateşkes sağlanması" için görüşmeler yürütüyor.

Mısır güvenlik heyeti, Hamas ve Fetih yetkilileriyle ulusal uzlaşı, Filistinli gruplar ve İsrail hükümetiyle ise ateşkes konularında yürütülen görüşmeleri tamamlamak için Gazze Şeridi, Batı Şeria ve İsrail arasında mekik dokuyor.

Filistinli kaynaklar, ara buluculuk faaliyetleri yürüten Mısır istihbaratının, ateşkes görüşmelerinde somut bir ilerleme kaydettiğini aktarmıştı.

İsrail ile Gazze sınırı yakınındaki eylemlerin durdurulması karşılığında Gazze ablukasının hafifletilmesinin, muhtemel anlaşma kapsamında olması öngörülüyor.

Hamas-appointed civil servants get salaries from Qatar

By Mohamed Majid

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – Civil servants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip have begun receiving financial aid provided by Qatar.

Since the early hours of Friday, hundreds of public-sector employees have gathered outside post offices throughout the strip to receive the long-awaited financial allocations.

In a Friday statement, Gaza's Finance Ministry said civil servants would receive roughly 60 percent of their monthly salaries — the most they have received in more than two years.

Hamas usually disburses 40 percent of Gaza civil servants’ salaries every two months.

After Hamas wrested control of the Gaza Strip from rival Palestinian faction Fatah in 2007, it appointed roughly 40,000 new government employees to manage the coastal enclave.

The public-sector salary file is one of several issues that served to derail a recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal after the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority refused to pay the salaries of Gaza’s Hamas-appointed civil servants.

In October of last year, the two factions signed a landmark reconciliation agreement in Cairo aimed at ending years of animosity.

The agreement, however, failed to bear fruit due to ongoing differences — both political and ideological — between the two movements.

Israeli army detains Palestinian lawmaker

HEBRON, Palestine (AA) – Israeli forces on Wednesday arrested a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) from his home in the West Bank city of Hebron, according to local residents.

MP Mohammad Abu Jhesheh of Palestinian group Hamas was arrested in an Israeli raid on his home in the town of Ezna in Hebron, the residents said.

There was no comment from Hamas on the detention.

The Israeli army frequently carries out sweeping arrest campaigns across the occupied West Bank on the pretext of searching for "wanted" Palestinians.

According to Palestinian figures, some 6,500 Palestinians continue to languish in Israeli detention facilities, including scores of women and hundreds of minors.