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Tag Archives: egypt
RAMALLAH – The Palestinian Authority on Sunday said that Egypt has opened the Rafah crossing with Gaza Strip in both directions for three days. The Palestinian Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs said in a statement that the Egyptian authorities agreed to open the Hamas-controlled crossing to allow the fourth group of Umrah pilgrims and stranded people, including patients who are transferred …
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JERUSALEM — Israeli naval forces on Wednesday seized a ship laden with rockets allegedly bound for militants in the Gaza Strip, and officials accused Iran of orchestrating the delivery in an elaborate 5,000-mile journey that included covert stops across the region.
The Syrian-made M-302 rockets would have put Israel’s biggest cities well within range of Gaza, where militants already possess thousands of less powerful rockets. During eight days of fighting in 2012, armed groups fired 1,500 rockets into Israel, including several that reached the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
The naval raid, which took place in the Red Sea hundreds of miles from Israel, came as Iran showed off powerful new ballistic missiles equipped with multiple warheads. The arms bust drew renewed Israeli calls for world powers to toughen their stand in negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program.
“Iran has been exposed for what it is. It smiles in the Geneva talks about its own nuclear ambitions, gives soothing words, and as they’re doing that, they’re shipping these deadly weapons to the world’s worst terrorists,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in California during a U.S. visit. “Such a regime must not be able to have the capacity to make nuclear weapons.”
Israel believes that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, a charge Iran denies. Israel says a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a threat to the existence of the Jewish state, citing Iranian calls for Israel’s destruction, its development of long-range missiles and its support for hostile militant groups.
Netanyahu has been an outspoken critic of the efforts by six world powers to negotiate a deal with Iran that would substantially scale back its nuclear program in exchange for ending international sanctions. He says a current, interim deal gives Iran too much relief while getting little in return, and fears a final agreement would leave Iran with the capability to make a bomb.
Since the global powers reached their interim deal with Iran last November, Netanyahu’s warnings about Iran have been largely ignored by world leaders.
Iran’s announcement Wednesday that it now has missiles with multiple warheads, greatly boosting their destructive power, only heightened Israeli concerns. The semiofficial Fars news agency said the new Qiam missile was specifically built to target U.S. bases in the region. Iran already possesses missiles capable of striking Israel and parts of Europe.
Israeli officials said that Wednesday’s naval raid took place in international waters about 100 miles off the coast of Sudan, and came after months of painstaking intelligence work.
They said the rockets had been flown from Syria to Iran months ago, then shipped from Iran’s Bandar Abbas port to Umm Qasr, Iraq, before being loaded onto the KLOS C civilian ship destined for Sudan. From there, Israeli officials said they were to be smuggled overland through Egypt to Gaza – a route that has been used in the past.
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JERUSALEM The Israeli army said Wednesday that naval commandos intercepted a civilian vessel carrying a concealed Iranian shipment of arms to Palestinian militant groups based in the Gaza Strip.
The ship, the KLOS-C, was making its way up the Red Sea to Port Sudan when it was intercepted, Israeli officials said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the captured ship was stocked with weapons destined for terrorist groups and that the entire operation … was organized by Iran.
Sepah News, the official news agency of Irans Revolutionary Guard Corps, cited an informed but anonymous source within Irans military who denied the Israeli allegations, calling them a baseless lie.
In a dossier released to the news media, the Israeli army said that the shipment, which included Syrian-made M-302 surface-to-surface rockets, had been flown to Tehran from a weapons factory in Damascus and then transported overland to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf. After a stop in Iraq, the shipment had been making its way to Sudans main port, the army said. From there, it said, the shipment was likely destined to be moved by land through Sudan into Egypt and then to the Gaza Strip.
Although the army could not say how the rockets would have reached the blockaded territory, it released video footage and images of weapons in the ship. All of Gazas land crossings are blocked by Egypt in the south and Israel in the east.
We dont have the full plan yet, but we do know they were headed to Gaza, said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli army spokesman.
He said that Israeli military intelligence had tracked the shipment for several months after it left Damascus and that the KLOS-C, a Panamanian-flagged vessel, was transporting rockets with a longer range than those Gaza currently possesses. Such rockets could strike targets almost anywhere in Israel.
The ship, with its cargo and 17 crew members of various nationalities, is en route to the Israeli port of Eilat and is expected to arrive in three days.
During a daily briefing, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said she could confirm Israels assertion of having intercepted a shipment of illicit Iranian arms.
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03/05/2014 17:41 EGYPT – ISLAM Samir Khalil Samir: Hamas ban also good for Palestinians by Samir Khalil Samir The Islamist movement accuses the Egyptian government of helping “the Israeli occupation”. However, by choosing the path of violence, Hamas has created the current unsustainable situation in Gaza. Egypt shows that the diplomatic path is more fruitful
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Gaza public workers: Hamas not paying salaries – Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports
By IBRAHIM BARZAK Associated Press
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Palestinian civil servants called on the Gaza Strip’s Hamas government Monday to pay them full salaries, the clearest sign yet that Egypt’s blockade of the territory is making it increasingly difficult for the Islamic militants to govern.
The civil servants are considered Hamas sympathizers and their public complaints about not getting paid in full over the past four months reflect growing discontent in Gaza.
Still, there were no signs of open revolt against Hamas, which has kept a tight grip on Gaza and its 1.7 million people since the group overran the territory in 2007.
Both Israel and Egypt sharply restricted access to Gaza after the Hamas takeover, though Egypt for years looked the other way as cement, fuel and other goods, including weapons, were smuggled into Gaza through hundreds of tunnels running under the border with Egypt.
That changed last summer when Egypt destroyed or sealed virtually all of the tunnels. The crackdown came as part of the Egyptian military’s overthrow of then-ruler President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hamas is the Gaza offshoot of the regional Brotherhood, and Egypt’s military alleged Islamic militants infiltrating into Egypt from Gaza were destabilizing the country, particularly Egypt’s lawless Sinai Peninsula, which abuts Gaza.
The closure of the tunnel has meant losses of millions of dollars in tax income for the Hamas government.
At the same time, Brotherhood sympathizers in the Arab world who used to send donations to Gaza have largely rerouted their money to other flashpoints, mainly the civil war in Syria.
In a third financial setback, Hamas fell out with longtime patron and financial supporter Iran in late 2011, after the Palestinian group refused to back Syrian President Bashar Assad, an Iran ally, in his battle against rebels, many of them with ties to the Brotherhood.
Monday, March 03, 2014
GAZA CITY Palestinian resistance movement Hamas plans to step up its demands for an end to the ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip by Israel, a senior Hamas official said.
“Escalation in this regard aims to put pressure on those that contribute to the blockade to lift it,” Hamas spokesman in Khan Younis Hamad al-Regeb said.
He added that Hamas had a list of protest activities in which Gaza residents most affected by the blockade planned to participate.
Al-Regeb said activities would be held outside embassies and consulates so that the Gaza people’s message might clearly reach the outside world.
“Our patience has run out with this blockade,” al-Regeb told Anadolu Agency.
Israel imposed its stifling blockade on the coastal strip in 2006 following Palestinian legislative elections in which Hamas won a majority of seats.
The blockade has deeply impacted the lives of Gaza’s almost two million inhabitants, with essential goods including fuel, medical supplies and building materials becoming increasing scarce.
The ordeal faced by the people of Gaza was made even worse some eight months ago when the Egyptian government began destroying the network of smuggling tunnels linking Gaza to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
A Palestinian official on Sunday said that around 40 percent of Gaza’s needs used to come through the tunnels, which are now being actively destroyed by the Egyptian army.
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Friday, February 28, 2014
By Hani Shaer
RAFAH, Gaza Strip Hundreds of supporters of Palestinian resistance movement Hamas performed the weekly Friday prayers outside the gates of the Rafah crossing linking the Gaza Strip to Egypt.
“[The Rafa] terminal is the only gateway for the Gaza people,” preacher Sheikh Mohamed Saqr said.
“The crossing must be opened in order not to leave the Palestinian people suffering under the blockade,” he added.
The preacher went on to call on Egyptian authorities to end of he described as “injustice and oppression of the Palestinian people”.
Hamas leader Mohamed al-Raqeb, for his part, called on Egyptian authorities to reopen the Rafah crossing in both directions, vowing to escalate what he called a “peaceful struggle” to bring “the unjust siege” to an end.
“The unjust blockade has affected all livelihood in the Palestinian territory,” he said.
Egyptian authorities have tightened their control over the border with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip since last July’s ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian army.
In recent weeks, Egypt has repeatedly closed the Rafah crossing, which due to an ongoing, eight-year Israeli siege represents Gaza’s only window to the outside world.
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