11/08/2014, 00.00
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Gaza: Hamas creates a "people's army" to respond to Israeli attacks

The first section will count 2,500 recruits. All young people aged 20 years and older can register. After the announcement, new clashes between police and Palestinians in the Chouafat refugee camp. Meanwhile, Fatah accuses Hamas of bomb attacks on the homes of its leaders. Heads of Churches in Jerusalem: "No to amendments to the Statute of the Holy Places."

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Hamas will create a "people's army" to respond to the actions of Israel. The spokesman of Ezzedine al-Qassam brigade - the armed wing of the movement - made the announcement yesterday during a "recruitment" ceremony in the Jabaliya refugee camp. About 2,500 new recruits, he said, will form "the first section of the people's army for the liberation of al-Aqsa and Palestine".

Mohammed Abu Askar, a Hamas official, said that young people aged 20 years and older can register "to be prepared for any confrontation" with Israel.

The decision taken by the Islamist movement follows the clashes in recent days in the mosque of al-Aqsa Mosque and the Temple Mount. It could be a further source of division with Fatah, which has a position of dialogue with Israel, which Hamas sees as a "subjection". Yesterday, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Hamas of being responsible for a series of bomb attacks against Fatah in Gaza.

At least 10 explosions yesterday hit the homes and cars owned by members of Fatah, but without casualties. "The Central Commission - the official said Nasser al-Qidwa - condemns the crimes committed against their leaders and holds Hamas responsible".

Meanwhile, tension continues unabated. After the announcement of the creation of the People's Army, new riots took place last night in Chouafat refugee camp, north of Temple Mount. At the end of Friday prayers, hundreds of Palestinians threw stones and Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas.

On 6 November, after what happened to the esplanade, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem have expressed "concern" and condemned "the threats to amend the statutes of the Holy Places, whatever their origins." The reference is to the attempt of various groups of Zionist settlers, to demand the open space be used for the prayer of the Jews. According to the statutes, the esplanade belongs to Muslims and Jews are not allowed to pray there. "The agreement of the Status Quo that regulates these sites - said the Patriarchs - must be fully respected in the interest of the whole community."

On 5 November the Israeli peace group Gush Shalom organized a demonstration to demand an end to repression in the Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem. Gathered in front of the house of the mayor of the city, demonstrators said: "The residents of East Jerusalem are undergoing a cruel treatment by the police and the administration" in order to "make life unbearable for them in this city".


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