zaterdag 8 maart 2008

Hamas eist yeshiva aanval Jeruzalem op

Nadat Gazanen donderdag en masse de straat op gingen om de 'succesvolle' aanslag in Jeruzalem te vieren, heeft Hamas de aanslag gisteren officieel verwelkomd, en noemde deze een legitieme vorm van verzet. Wat betreft Hamas volgen er nog vele aanslagen, en de internationale gemeenschap kan daar een handje bij helpen door Israël te dwingen de grenzen met Gaza te openen.


Last update - 21:40 07/03/2008

Hamas claims yeshiva attack, says 'normal response' to IDF Gaza op

By News Agencies

Hamas on Friday announced it was responsible for Thursday's shooting at the Mercaz Harav religious school in Jerusalem that killed eight people, then denied it was involved shortly afterwards. However, a spokesman on Sky television news then hailed the killing as a "normal response to the occupation", apparently reclaiming responsibility for the attack.

At the same time on Friday, Lebanese officials reported that two Israel Air Force planes had violated Beirut's airspace. Israel Defense Forces said it knew of no such activity.

The gunman, Ala Abu Dahim, 25, from the village of Jabal Mukhbar near East Jerusalem was shot and killed during the massacre. Several residents of Jabal Mukhbar said he had been a driver at the yeshiva he attacked. His family set up a mourning tent Friday and hung green Hamas flags outside their home.

"The Hamas movement announces its full responsibility for the Jerusalem operation. The movement will release the details at a later stage," the official said. Less than two hours later The Associated Press reported that Hamas had retracted this claim.

Ibrahim Daher, head of Hamas' al-Aqsa radio, said his station put out an earlier claim of responsibility prematurely, based on confused information.

However, in an interview on Sky television news following its denial, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum referred to the massacre as "a normal response to the occupation." Barhoum added that the killing was a response to IDF killings in Gaza. "Our resistance is a legitimate right," he said.

Barhoum said that Hamas' military wing, the Izz a Din al Qassam Brigades, would make a formal statement soon.

"All the ones who identify themselves with that murderer know that Israel never starts an attack, never shoot any rockets against anybody," President Shimon Peres told Sky. "And they should know, and they know, would they stop firing the Katyushas and the Qassams against civilian life in Israel, there wouldn't be any bloodshed."

Eight boys - seven of whom were aged 15 to 19 and one of whom was aged 26 - were killed Thursday and nine more wounded when the gunman entered the yeshiva in Jerusalem's Kiryat Moshe neighborhood and opened fire in the library. Three of the wounded were in a critical condition.

Initially, an organization calling itself Galilee Freedom Battalions-the Martyrs of Imad Mughniyeh claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Hezbollah's Al-Manar television station, while Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the gunman had acted alone.

Rosenfeld added the gunman came from a neighborhood where Palestinian residents hold Israeli ID cards that give them freedom of movement in Israel.

The man worked as a driver, Rosenfeld confirmed, but would not provide further details.

Abu Dahim was arrested by Israeli authorities four months ago and then released two months later, they said. The residents would not give their names because the family had not authorized them to release the information.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who condemned the seminary attack, suspended negotiations this week because of the spike in violence in the Gaza Strip, but later backed down under pressure from the U.S.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said that the shooting had almost certainly been organized in the West Bank. He would not confirm that Israel had reached a decision to continue peace talks, but did not deny the other official's statement that negotiations would go on.

Lebanon: Israeli warplanes fly over Beirut

Israel Air Force planes flew over the Lebanese capital Beirut on Friday, Lebanese security sources said. Officials said the two IAF aircraft violated Lebanese airspace and flew over Beirut at a medium altitude briefly before leaving the area.

A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said the IDF knew of no activity in Beirut.

The IAF frequently flies reconnaissance missions over south Lebanon and has drawn ground fire from Lebanese troops on at least two occasions since the cease-fire in August 2006 which ended the month-long Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah.

They have occasionally flown over Beirut as well. Three IAF reconnaissance planes violated Lebanese airspace in southern Lebanon Thursday, the Lebanese army said in a statement Friday.

The latest Israeli overflights come amid tensions over Thursday's attack in Jerusalem at the rabbinical seminary. Hezbollah's Al-Manar satellite TV station said a previously unknown group called the Martyrs of Imad Mughniyeh and Gaza was responsible for the attack - a claim that could not immediately be verified.

Mughniyeh, a senior Hezbollah commander, was killed in a car bomb in Syria last month. Hezbollah has blamed Israel for the assassination and vowed retaliation.

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