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  • » 01/02/2009, 00.00


    Palestinians, "day of anger" as Israeli attack enters seventh day

    Joshua Lapide

    Hamas leader Nizar Rayan has been killed, together with his four wives and 10 of his children. The army is on alert in Jerusalem for possible violence by Palestinians at the Temple Mount. Foreigners are being told to leave Gaza, as troops and tanks are amassed at the border.

    Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) - A "day of anger" has been called by the Palestinians for today, Friday, the Muslim holy day, against Israel, which has begun its seventh day of air and naval attacks against Gaza. Yesterday, Hamas leader Nizar Rayan was killed.

    Israeli forces are in a state of alert to address any disorder after Friday prayers. Supervision of the border with the West Bank has been stepped up, as well as in the old city of Jerusalem, and especially at the Temple Mount. There, Israeli police are limiting access only to Palestinians over the age of 50 who live in Jerusalem. The young and Palestinians from other areas are excluded.

    The call from Hamas for a "day of anger" follows the news of the death, yesterday, of one of the most radical leaders of the Islamic movement. Nizar Rayan, 51, was killed together with his four wives and 10 of his 12 children. He had promised to use suicide attacks against Israel, and said that rockets from Gaza would strike "even deeper."

    Since yesterday, Arab television stations including that of Hamas have continued to show footage of the charred bodies of the children recovered from the rubble.

    Today, four rockets were launched from Gaza against Ashkalon, while Israeli airplanes and ships continue their bombings. Troops and tanks from Israel are amassed in front of the Eretz crossing, in preparation for a possible invasion of the Strip. Israel has sent messages to the foreigners present in Gaza, advising them to leave the area.

    According to Mouawiya Hassanein, head of emergency services in Gaza, at least 422 Palestinians have been killed since December 27, and 2,200 wounded. The UN says that 25% of the victims are civilians.

    Both Israel and Hamas have ignored all international requests for a ceasefire. Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni has said that no ceasefire is needed because there is no "humanitarian crisis." Speaking in Paris after a meeting with President Sarkozy, Livni said that Hamas used the six-month ceasefire, which ended last December 19, to reinforce itself and rearm with more powerful missiles, brought in illegally from Egypt.

    According to Israeli sources, in recent days 360 missiles and mortar rounds have been launched, killing four and wounding about a dozen. The operation against Gaza has many supporters among the Jewish population. According to the newspaper Maariv, 95% of Israelis are in favor.

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    See also

    13/01/2009 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    Fighting on periphery of Gaza; Ban Ki-moon going to Middle East
    Urban warfare begins. Dozens of homes destroyed. 930 dead among the Palestinians; 4,200 injured. Olmert and Haniye are threatening each other. Ban Ki-moon continues calling for a ceasefire. Tomorrow, he will be in Egypt and Jordan, then in Israel and the West Bank.

    10/01/2009 ISRAEL - PALESTINE - UN
    UN resumes distribution of aid in Gaza. Third week of war begins
    The humanitarian situation in the Strip is becoming increasingly "worrying": 80% of the Palestinian population face critical conditions, while the death toll has risen to 800. Israel and Hamas reject a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire, and continue to fight.

    27/12/2008 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    At least 70 dead, initial tally of Israeli retaliation against Hamas
    Aircraft bearing the Star of David this morning began attacking fundamentalist targets. President Peres denies that his country wants to reoccupy Gaza. Egypt is trying to stop the violence.

    08/01/2009 ISRAEL – LEBANON
    Will rockets from Lebanon against northern Israel open a new front?
    Five Israelis in the Galilee are slightly wounded. Israel’s army fires back. No one claims responsibility but the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is thought to be behind the attack. Hizbollah issues threats as Iranian leader Larijani is in Damascus to meet Khaled Meshaal and other pro-Tehran Palestinian groups. In Gaza toll tops 700 dead and more than 3,000 wounded.

    19/01/2009 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    Gaza: truce for a week. Israel begins gradual withdrawal of troops
    In the wake of Israel’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad groups announce a truce. From the European Leaders summit in Egypt promises of funds for reconstruction and security forces.

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