Saturday, December 26, 2009
Al-Aqsa Brigades: Israel opening gates of hell
Just hours after IDF forces kill gunmen behind Thursday's shooting death of settler, Fatah's armed wing threatens swift retaliation. In Gaza, PRC calls on armed groups to avenge killing of three Palestinians near border fence Ali Waked
Latest Update: 12.26.09, 16:37 / YNET News
Thousands of people on Saturday attended the funerals of three al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades members who were responsible for the shooting death of Jewish settler Meir Avshalom Hai.
Raghsan Abu Sharah (40), Anan Sabah (36), and Raed a-Sarkaji (40) were killed by IDF forces operating in the West Bank town of Nablus early Saturday.
Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades
IDF kills gunmen behind Israeli's shooting death; 3 more killed in Gaza / Ali Waked and agencies
Troops kill three Fatah gunmen responsible for Thursday's fatal shooting of Meir Avshalom Hai in roadside ambush in West Bank. In another incident, three Palestinians killed in air strike near Gaza border while apparently trying to infiltrate Israel
Armed groups in the West Bank and Gaza threatened swift retaliation to the killings in Nablus and to the death of three other Palestinians by IDF fire near Gaza.
"The occupation (Israel) is opening the gates to hell," said Abu Mahmoud, a senior al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades commander.
Fatah's armed wind vowed to respond "in the language of blood and fire."
Speaking to reporters in the West Bank, Abu Mahmoud threatened that its suicide bombers would "turn Israel's night to day" and would avenge the "crime" committed by IDF forces in Nablus.
Later Saturday, the Palestinian minister of interior and all of the commanders of the Palestinian Authority's security services arrived in Nablus to discuss IDF's operation.
The security heads were instructed to maintain the relative calm in the West Bank, while al-Aqsa Brigades members were told to refrain from committing any acts of violence so as not to embarrass the Authority.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad condemned the IDF's activity in Nablus, and said the purpose of the targeted killings was to harm destabilize the security achieved by the PA.
He called the incident "a serious escalation" and expressed hopes that the Palestinian people "are not dragged into violence following the Israeli provocation."
Meanwhile in Gaza, the Popular Resistance Committees, which has been responsible for some of the Qassam fire on Israel's Negev region, called on all armed groups in the Hamas-ruled territory to respond to the killing of three Palestinians who were apparently trying to infiltrate Israel early Saturday.
An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the Gaza strike, saying the men appeared to be trying to carry out an attack.
"Soldiers spotted the silhouettes of several men who were crawling towards the security fence and fired warning shots which were ignored," she said.
"An air force unit opened fire on them and then discovered evidence on the ground that proved they wanted to carry out a terrorist attack," she added.
Anan Sabah's body removed from Nablus building (Photo: AFP)
According to some sources, the Palestinians who were killed were trying to infiltrate Israel to seek work, but according to another report, they were scavenging for scrap metal at the site of a building that was destroyed during Operation Cast Lead.
An aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Israel's killing of six Palestinians on Saturday, accusing the Jewish state of escalating the violence.
Nabil Abu Rdainah said, "This grave Israeli escalation shows Israel is not interested in peace and is trying to explode the situation."
"Israel is torpedoing international and American efforts to restart peace talks," which stalled a year ago, Rdainah said. Israel has insisted it was ready to resume negotiations immediately.