GAZA (Reuters) – Officials of Gaza’s Islamist Hamas government turned up at a news conference by Human Rights Watch in Gaza on Wednesday to dispute an HRW report accusing Hamas of torture and other abuses of justice in the Palestinian enclave.
The surprise appearance by government representatives turned the news conference into an open debate, an uncommon display in the Gaza Strip where Hamas in the past would probably have remained aloof or prevented such a press event on its turf.
GAZA (Reuters) – Israel killed two Palestinian security officials in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Wednesday, accusing both of involvement in attacks on Israel and weapons smuggling from Egypt.
Officials with the Hamas Islamist group said the air strike on a vehicle after dark in the town of Rafah on Gaza’s border with Egypt killed two officials in control of tunnels leading into Egyptian territory.
GAZA (Reuters) – Hamas sharply criticized the arrest of dozens of its members by Palestinian Authority police in the West Bank on Wednesday, underscoring dire relations between the Islamist group and its Fatah-dominated rival after a failed bid for reconciliation.
President Mahmoud Abbas’ Western-backed Palestinian Authority denied any political motives behind the round-up, which saw as many as 71 people detained, and said it had targeted criminals and that many were freed after questioning.
GAZA, Sept 18 (Reuters) – Egypt’s crackdown on smuggling
tunnels along its border with the Gaza Strip is making shortages
ever tighter and has forced the enclave’s Islamist Hamas rulers
to consider urgent alternatives.
Hamas officials asked Egypt late on Monday to consider
alternative trade routes, such as a free trade zone, a direct
deal that could boost Hamas tax revenues and circumvent rival
Fatah’s and Israel’s control of official imports to Gaza.
GAZA (Reuters) – A Gaza military court convicted four Palestinians on Monday for kidnapping and murdering an Italian man in 2011, a case that shocked Palestinian sympathizers around the world.
Vittorio Arrigoni, a pro-Palestinian activist, was abducted by a Jihadist Salafi faction, which shares the radical ideology of al Qaeda and is a rival of the Hamas Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip.
CAIRO/GAZA (Reuters) – Gaza Islamist leader Ismail Haniyeh met Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi on Thursday in an official visit that signaled a big shift in Cairo’s stance toward the Hamas movement after the election of a Muslim Brotherhood head of state in Egypt.
A Palestinian official said the head of Egyptian intelligence had promised measures to increase the flow of fuel supplied by Qatar to Gaza via Egypt and needed to ease the small Palestinian territory’s power shortages.
GAZA (Reuters) – Two conversions that a Christian family says were forced have strained relations between a tiny Palestinian Christian community in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and the Muslim majority.
Hundreds of Christians have staged protests in Gaza’s main church in the past week, demanding the return of members of their community of 2,500, whom they said were kidnapped by Islamist proselytizers and forced to convert to Islam.
GAZA (Reuters) – Israel allowed 40 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to visit relatives held in Israeli jails on Monday, the first such visits in five years, implementing a deal reached in May that ended a prisoners’ hunger strike, families and officials said.
“Forty people – families of 24 prisoners – arrived a short while ago at the Ramon prison,” a Prisons Service spokeswoman said, adding that visits from prisoners’ relatives in Gaza would now be held on a weekly basis.
GAZA (Reuters) – The head of the Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip said on Friday he was confident Egypt’s new president would shield the Palestinian enclave from Israeli attack and fully open its borders to end a trade blockade.
Mohamed Mursi, who won power in last month’s presidential election in Egypt, is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and ideologically close to Hamas.
GAZA (Reuters) – Israel released a member of the Palestinian national soccer team on Tuesday after holding him in jail without trial for three years, during which he staged an intermittent four-month hunger strike in protest, Palestinian officials said.
Mahmoud al-Sarsak, 25, alleged by Israel to have been active in the Islamic Jihad militant group, received a hero’s welcome on his return home to Islamist-ruled Gaza.