Clashes in Gaza after deadly airstrike


Palestinians carry the bodies of militants Issam al-Batsh and Subhi al-Batsh during their funeral in Gaza City on Dec. 8, 2011. The armed wing of Fatah said it fired a missile toward the Negev after the airstrike, claiming Issam as one of its operatives.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The armed wing of Fatah said it fired a missile toward the Negev amid Israeli shelling in central Gaza, after an Israeli airstrike killed a member of the group and one other person in Gaza earlier on Thursday.The Al-Aqsa Brigades said it fired a missile toward the Mishmar HaNegev kibbutz in response to “the assassination that took place today.” It was only the group’s initial response, a statement said.

Residents told Ma’an that Israeli tanks and warplanes fired on the Zeitoun area of Gaza City on Thursday evening. There were no immediate reports of injury or damage caused by either attack in Gaza or the Negev.

The escalation came after an Israeli airstrike killed two people in the central Gaza Strip. Two more were injured in the explosion, which witnesses said hit a parked car near Omar al-Mukhtar street.

A Ma’an reporter named those killed as Issam Subhi al-Batsh and Subhi Alaa al-Batsh.

Hamas armed wing Al-Qassam Bridges said in a statement it was mourning its operative Subhi Alaa al-Batsh, and the Ayman Juda Brigades, an Aqsa sub-division, said Issam Subhi al-Batsh was one of its members.

The Israeli army said it targeted al-Batsh and another person, who were “both affiliated with a terrorist squad that intended to execute a terrorist attack against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers via the western border.”

Hamas, meanwhile, demanded that Israel cease the attacks and added that Israel’s leader should be tried for war crimes, a spokesman for the group, Fawzi Barhoum, said in a statement.

Barhoum said “the enemy wants to export its internal and external crises to Gaza, and it wants to impose a new formula on the resistance after it won in the prisoner’s deal.”

He said Israel holds “full responsibility for today’s crime,” and demanded that the Arab League and the international community intervene to stop attacks on the Palestinian people in Gaza.

A spokesman for the Gaza government, Taher al-Nunu, also condemned the bombing and expressed concern about a series of threats made by Israel in the lead up to the strike.

Al-Nunu called on Egypt and the UN to intervene as soon as possible.

( / 08.12.2011)

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