Palestinians mourn slain Bethlehem fighters,
Israeli peace bloc condemns the killings as grave provocations
50,000 Palestinians mourn four slain fighters in Bethlehem
Date: 13 / 03 / 2008 Time: 14:21
Bethlehem – Ma'an –
About 50,000 Palestinians
converged on Manger Square in the center of the West Bank city of
Bethlehem on Thursday for the funeral of four Palestinian fighters who
were assassinated by an undercover Israeli occupation forces death
squad, on Wednesday night.
Mourners carried the bodies of the four men, Mohammad Shahada, Issa
Marzouq, Imad Al-Kamel, and Ahmad Balboul on their shoulders to the
homes families of the dead to the central square, and then into the
adjacent Omar Bin Al-Khattab mosque.
Their bodies were wrapped in Hizbullah flags, in an apparent show of
allegiance with the Lebanese resistance movement and political party.
Schools, shops, restaurants and other businesses shuttered their doors
in observance of a general strike across the city. Bethlehem's normally
bustling downtown streets were largely empty.
In a show of unity in the face of occupation, members of numerous
Palestinian political factions attended the ceremony.
In speeches to the assembled crowd, representatives of the the Higher
Committee of National and Islamic Forces, the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine, and Islamic Jihad denounced ongoing Israeli
aggression against Palestinians. The Palestinian People's Party, the
communists, were also present.
Kamil Hamid from the Fateh movement called for collaborators and spies
who aid the Israeli occupation forces to be apprehended.
Across the square from the mosque, the Nativity Church sounded funeral
The four Palestinian resistance activists were gunned down by an
undercover Israeli occupation forces death squad in their car on
Wednesday night. Mohammad Shahada was a local leader in Islamic Jihad.
Israeli peace camp: Bethlehem and Tulkarem killings were "grave
Date: 13 / 03 / 2008 Time: 11:37
Bethlehem – Ma'an –
The Israeli peace bloc, Gush Shalom, has
condemned Wendesday's assassinations of five Palestinian fighters in the
West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Tulkarem.
An official Gush Shalom statement said that the killings prove that the
Israeli government "does not want a ceasefire, but a new flareup."
"Those who sent the assassins to carry out 'liquidations' today, in
Tulkarem and Bethlehem, knew what they were doing – a grave act of
provocation which might blow up the serious chance which had opened up,
to reach ceasefire and calm."
Israeli peace activists said the attacks shattered hopes for a ceasefire
with the Palestinians: "This is a wanton, completely irresponsible act,
which might return the inhabitants of Sderot, Ashkelon and Gaza back
into the hell from which they momentarily escaped."
Gush Shalom said that the killings were the latest in a series of
provocations this week, including the announcement of more settlement
activity in the West Bank, the Israeli government boycott of Al-Jazeera,
and incitements to violence by Israeli politicians and religious
Al-Quds Brigades unleash barrage of
projectiles from Gaza in response to West Bank killings
Date: 13 / 03 / 2008 Time: 11:17
Gaza – Ma'an –
"There will be no calm in the light of the
continued Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip," said the spokesperson of Islamic Jihad's military
wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, Abu Ahmad, on Thursday.
"The Israeli occupation wants calm in Gaza and opened fire on the
resistance in the West Bank," he added.
Three Islamic Jihad fighters were among four Palestinians killed by
Israeli forces in a shooting attack in the West Bank city of Bethlehem
on Wednesday evening. Another Islamic Jihad activist was killed by
Israeli forces near Tulkarem.
The spokesperson, Abu Ahmad said that the Al-Quds Brigades will respond
to the "crimes of the occupation," in the near future.
Abu Ahmed called on the Palestinian leadership to withdraw from peace
negotiations with Israel, and 'stand by the Palestinian people.'
Since Wednesday night, the Al-Quds Brigades launched 18 homemade
projectiles at Israeli positions and towns bordering the Gaza Strip. "No
voice rises above the voice of rockets and resistance," Abu Ahmad said.
The Brigades launched an additional 25 projectiles and mortars at the
towns of Sderot, Zikim, and Nahal Oz.
The Brigades claimed to have fired three mortar shells at the Kerem
Shalom crossing point.
The Al-Quds Brigades also claimed responsibility on Thursday morning for
launching three projectiles at the city of Ashkelon.
The brigades said that all of these attacks were in response to the
assassination of five Palestinian fighters in the West Bank on
Egyptian-brokered backchannel negotiations appeared to be on the verge
of reaching a formal ceasefire on Wednesday afternoon, with Hamas leader
Ismail Haniyeh publicly offering Israel a "bilateral, simultaneous and
The attacks in Bethlehem and Tulkarem appeared to shatter hopes for an
end to hostilities.
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