GAZA (Reuters) – For years, lack of cash has hobbled Hamas’s Gaza government yet the military capabilities of the Islamist group’s armed wing have expanded and it may rake in donations now that it is meeting Israel on the battlefield.
For seven years, Hamas has struggled to run the impoverished and blockaded Gaza Strip. But funding for the Izz El-Deen al-Qassam Brigades has appeared to remain steady as its arsenal of improvised rockets and other weaponry improved.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli leaders on Thursday played down prospects of a permanent Gaza ceasefire and fighting returned to a familiar pattern of Palestinian rocket salvoes and Israeli bombing after a five-hour humanitarian truce.
An Israeli official said earlier that senior Israeli negotiators in Cairo had approved a full truce, but a final decision lay with the security cabinet.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel launched a Gaza ground campaign after 10 days of bombardments from the air and sea failed to stop militants’ rocket attacks, stepping up an offensive that already has taken a heavy toll in civilian lives.
Israel signalled the invasion would be limited in scope – targeting tunnels dug by gunmen – and said it was not intended to topple Hamas, the Gaza Strip’s dominant Islamist group.
JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday instructed the military to begin a ground offensive in Gaza, an official statement from his office said.
Reuters witnesses and Gaza residents reported heavy artillery and naval shelling and helicopter fire along the Gaza border.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel and Hamas said they would cease fighting for five hours on Thursday for a humanitarian truce requested by the United Nations, though Israel remained poised to expand its offensive in the Gaza Strip if rocket fire persisted.
Just a few hours before the temporary truce was due to take effect at 10 a.m. (0700 GMT), Israel’s military said it repelled an attack by at least a dozen Palestinian gunmen who tunnelled in from Gaza near an Israeli community.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli shelling killed four Palestinian boys on a Gaza beach on Wednesday, an incident the military called tragic, and Israel and Hamas said they would cease attacks for five hours on Thursday for a humanitarian truce requested by the United Nations.
Palestinian militants fired more than 130 rockets into Israel on the ninth day of a war in which Israeli attacks have killed 216 Palestinians, including six in two air strikes on Wednesday. Most of the casualties were civilians, health officials in Gaza said.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli shelling killed four boys on a Gaza beach on Wednesday, a local health official said, and Palestinian militants fired a further 70 rockets into Israel after a failed Egyptian attempt to halt more than a week of warfare.
Israel urged the evacuation of several districts in the Gaza Strip where more than 100,000 people live, threatening ground operations to try to stem the rocket attacks.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel resumed its air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday a day after holding its fire in deference to an Egyptian-proposed cease-fire deal that failed to get Hamas militants to halt rocket attacks.
Attacks in the Gaza Strip killed at least seven Palestinians in the early hours of Wednesday, Gaza health officials said, and destroyed the house of Mahmoud Zahar – who is believed to be in hiding elsewhere – in the first apparent targeting of a top Hamas political leader.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel resumed its air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday a day after holding its fire in deference to an Egyptian-proposed ceasefire deal that failed to get Hamas militants to halt rocket attacks.
Attacks in the Gaza Strip killed at least three Palestinians in the early hours of Wednesday and destroyed the house of Mahmoud Zahar – who is believed to be in hiding elsewhere – in the first apparent targeting of a top Hamas political leader.
GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian Hamas fighters once tried in vain to copy Israel’s iconic submachine gun, the Uzi. Twenty years on, their homemade rockets streak more than 100 km (60 miles) from Gaza toward the northern Israeli city of Haifa.
At least 180 Palestinians have died in eight days of cross-border fighting between the guerrillas and the vastly stronger Israeli military. Israel has so far suffered one fatality, but this contrast in casualties has not detracted from Hamas’s pride in its technical progress.