Israel Kills 10 Palestinians in Besieged Gaza

GAZA CITY — Israeli occupation forces killed at least ten Palestinians and pushed into the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, June 27, while President Mahmoud Abbas banned the carrying of weapons in a public in a move linked to Israeli demands for disbanding armed factions.

Three Palestinians, including an Islamic Jihad leader, were killed in an Israeli strike in eastern Gaza, reported Israel’s Haaretz daily. The Al-Quds Brigades, Jihad’s armed wing, named the slain as Raid Faanuna, a local leader.

Three civilians, including a 12-year-old boy, and three resistance activists were also killed in Gaza City, said medics and residents. More than 45 Palestinians were injured.

An Israeli army spokesman confirmed that two simultaneous incursions had been launched in northern and southern Gaza.

Wednesday’s deaths bring to 5,762 the number of people, mostly Palestinians, killed since the outbreak of Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000, according to an AFP tally.

Weapons Banned

Meanwhile, Abbas banned the carrying of weapons in public, a move seen as meeting Israeli and Western demands to disarm Palestinian groups.

"From now on it will be illegal to carry arms or explosives without an official permit," he wrote in a presidential decree. "This measure aims to suppress all unofficial armed groups in the Palestinian territories."

The PLO’s parliament called last week for disbanding all armed groups including al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah.

Israel’s Yedioth Aharanoth recently revealed that Abbas had apprised Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert of a four-point plan, including a proposal to disarm resistance groups.

Israeli officials confirmed Abbas has asked Israel for permission to bring the Jordan-based Badr Brigade to the West Bank to help him.

"The Palestinians put in a request yesterday to transfer the Badr Brigade from Jordan to the West Bank," a senior Israeli government official told Reuters. "It is being evaluated and a decision will be made soon."

Olmert’s spokeswoman, Miri Eisin, said no more. "It’s being evaluated but nothing more … It’s being checked," she said.

Abbas’s prime minister, Salam Fayyad, declined comment. "I cannot really comment on that for the time being."

The Badr Brigade is made up of well-trained pro-Fatah fighters, their number is estimated between 1,000-2,000. It was formed in the 1960s as part of the PLO’s Palestinian Liberation Army in exile.

Badr Brigade has strong ties to the Jordanian King Abdullah II, who stands firmly with Abbas in his power struggle with Hamas.


Egypt confirmed Wednesday it will send its security delegation back to Gaza "when things calm down" to resume mediation between Palestinian factions.

"The security delegation left Gaza and so mediation could not continue," President Hosni Mubarak told Yediot Ahronot. "But when things calm down the delegation will go back and we will continue to talk with them."

Egypt withdrew the delegation on June 15, the day after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip.

During a four-way summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh with Abbas, Olmert and Abdullah, Mubarak said dialogue between Hamas and Fatah is the only way out of the current crisis.

His spokesman Suleiman Awad said Tuesday that Egypt and Saudi Arabia were ready to resume mediation between rival Palestinians.

"Yes, this is very much on the table," he told reporters following summit talks between Mubarak and Saudi King Abdullah. "We need some time for the spirits to calm down, for the verbal clashes to subside.

"We need time to create the climate conducive to mediating between the Hamas people and the Palestinian authority in order to sort out their differences."

Sacked Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas said Tuesday they were ready to immediately take part in inter-Palestinian talks.

( + News Agencies – June 27, 2007)

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