Category Archives: Gaza

Hamas gives 25,000 Gazans combat training

Armed Palestinian masked militants from the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, a military wing of Hamas, parade in their vehicle before holding a press conference, at the fishermen port in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, June 12, 2015. (AP)

The military wing of Hamas opened its Gaza summer camp on Saturday, aimed at providing basic combat training for 25,000 Palestinians in the embattled strip.

Hamas, the de facto power in Gaza, is currently engaged in indirect contacts with Israel to try to reach a long-term truce, but a year after last summer’s devastating 50-day war the militant movement has kept up the fighting talk.

“The goal of these military training camps is to train the vanguard for liberation — spiritually, intellectually and physically — to be ready and able to play its role in liberation,” said a statement by the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing.

It said that participants, aged 15-60, would spend two weeks being “trained in military techniques and in firing live ammunition” as well as “first aid and rescue techniques.”

As with all the brigades’ activities the camps will be conducted out of public and media sight.

Rescue squads dealt with thousands of local victims during the war of July-Agust 2014, the third in Gaza in six years.

Hamas has long run summer camps devoted to sport and study of the Koran in Gaza but over the winter the al-Qassam brigades launched a new kind of camp, giving military training to 15 to 20-year-olds.

Human rights activists condemned it as a forced militarisation of Gazan society and a violation of children’s rights.

Brushing off the criticism, the brigades are repeating the excercise with the summer camp, while raising the upper age limit to 60.

Israeli kidnapped, being held captive in Gaza by Hamas Savages

Ethiopian-Israeli Avraham Mangitsu, 28, being held captive by Hamas (Facebook)

Ethiopian-Israeli Avraham Mangitsu, 28, being held captive by Hamas (Facebook)

Hamas has been holding an Ethiopian-Israeli captive since October after he sneaked into the Gaza Strip for unknown reasons, it was cleared for publication Thursday.

The man was named as Avraham Mengistu, 28, of Kiryat Gat. The gag order on his case was lifted Thursday morning following a lawsuit from Haaretz and Yedioth Ahronoth.

On Wednesday, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal alluding to Mengistu when speaking about Israelis held by his organization, including the bodies of two soldiers killed in last summer’s war.

According to Israeli sources cited in Hebrew media, Mengistu was last seen jumping over the border fence next to Zikim beach in southern Israel.

Israeli troops in the area who spotted him believed him to be a Palestinian returning the territory and, seeing he was unarmed, did not shoot at him.

After entering the Strip, Mengistu walked south where he met with Gazan fisherman.

It was not clear why he entered the Strip. His brother Yalo told Haaretz he left a bag on the beach containing a Bible.

Some reports after his capture indicated he may have suffered from a mental illness.

Negotiations have been ongoing in secret to secure his release. It was unclear why the gag order was initially put in place, or why it was lifted Thursday.

Despite its proximity to Gaza, Zikim is a public beach open to all swimmers. It was the scene of an attempted Hamas infiltration during last summer’s conflict, in which four frogmen attacked a military base from the beach.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on Wednesday alluded that his organization was holding at least one live Israeli captive, in addition to the bodies of two IDF soldiers killed during last summer’s 50-day war.

Israeli officials have confirmed that the group holds the remains of deceased IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul and have been negotiating for their release, along with Mengistu.

Speaking with the Arabic language al-Araby al-Jadeed newspaper, Mashaal claimed Israel had requested of European officials to mediate in negotiations with Hamas over the release of the captured individuals.

In October last year, Mohammed Nazzal, a senior figure in Hamas’s political wing, stressed that his group would demand that Israel “pay a price” for every bit of information regarding the whereabouts of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul’s remains. Nazzal did not indicate what the group would demand in exchange for such information.

IDF soldiers Oron Shaul (left) and Hadar Goldin (right) (Flash90)

Goldin and Shaul were killed in separate incidents during fighting in Gaza during the summer’s 50-day military campaign. They were both declared dead based on evidence the army acquired, but their bodies were never recovered by Israel.

Adiv Sterman contributed to this report

Islamic State threatens to uproot Israel, topple Hamas

In this undated file photo released by a jihadist website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, fighters of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave its flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa city in Syria. (jihadist website via AP, file)

In a new video published Tuesday, IS accused the Islamist Hamas of being soft in enforcing religious law in the Palestinian enclave it controls.“We will uproot the state of the Jews [Israel] and you [Hamas] and Fatah [in the West Bank], and all of the secularists are nothing and you will be overrun by our creeping multitudes,” a masked Islamic State member said in the recorded message addressed to the “tyrants of Hamas.”

The rule of Sharia [Islamic law] will be implemented in Gaza, in spite of you. We swear that what is happening in the Levant today, and in particular the Yarmouk camp [in Syria], will happen in Gaza,” he said, in reference to the besieged Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus.

Hamas has been battling Gaza-based Salafist groups identified with the Islamic State. Some groups has claimed recent rocket fire on Israel, in defiance of Hamas rule.

Israeli Intelligence minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) told a security conference Tuesay that despite the tensions between the two, Hamas and IS were cooperating in the Sinai Peninsula, which has seen an uptick in violence since the overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

“There is cooperation between them in the realm of weapons smuggling and terrorist attacks. The Egyptians know this, and the Saudis,” Katz said.

“At the same time, within Gaza, ISIS (Islamic State) has been flouting Hamas. But they have common cause against the Jews, in Israel or abroad,’ he was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The Islamic State was also planning attacks across the world to mark the month of Ramadan and the anniversary of the so-called “caliphate,” according to a report by the Institute of the Study of War, cited in the UK’s Daily Mail.

The report claimed that IS would move to consolidate its power in territories it already control in Iraq and Syria and move on taking additional regions. In Egypt and Yemen, IS was likely to take advantage of unrest to recruit “amongst the local population while launching large explosive attacks on security forces.”

“ISIS’s affiliates may attempt to administer governance or claim territorial control within the Sinai and Afghanistan, both as a means of proclaiming caliphate expansion and as a way to prepare for future military operations.” the report said.

The report, released earlier this month, before the deadly attack Friday in Tunisia in which 38 people were killed, correctly predicted that a massive attack would take place in the north African country.

“ISIS’s affiliates and networks in West Africa will likely continue efforts to plan explosive or mass casualty attacks, either within Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria or southern Europe. ISIS-linked actors may take advantage of refugee flows from Libya into Italy as a means for launching such an attack,” it said.

The group was likely to “send emissaries” to active jihadist groups in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, launch a propaganda campaign aimed at China, Turkey and Southeast Asian countries and encourage “lone wolf” attacks the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Australia.

The report also noted the group’s strategy in sparking a sectarian war by hitting Shiite targets and mosques, as it did in Friday’s attack on a Shiite mosque in Kuwait which killed at least 25.

The Supreme Council of Cyberspace

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