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Egyptians to march on Liberation Square

Press TV – February 24, 2011

Millions of Egyptians are planning to continue their protests by flooding Cairo’s Liberation square for a demonstration dubbed as ‘cleansing Friday.’

Protesters have planned the rally for this Friday, as they say their demands have not been met, The Associated Press reported.

They want the military council to hand over power to a civilian government, and Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq’s cabinet to resign.

“We will march in protest to demand the resignation of Shafiq’s government and abolishing emergency law and the trial of Mubarak and his family,” Mohamed Fahmy of the People’s National Movement for Change said.

They are also calling for the immediate release of all political prisoners.

Fear is spreading that Vice President Omar Suleiman — who was the right-hand-man of toppled President Hosni Mubarak — is making the post-revolution decisions for the government. Reports indicate that he is dictating decisions to the military council.

After holding talks last week, activists accused Suleiman of being divisive and have refused to hold further negotiations. The Muslim Brotherhood has also cut contacts.

Suleiman disappeared from the public eye after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted last month. He was Egypt’s intelligence chief for two decades before being appointed vice-president, maintaining a close relationship with the US and Israel all the while.

February 24, 2011 Posted by | Aletho News | 1 Comment

Pakistani and Indian Newspapers Say US CIA Contractor Raymond Davis is a Terrorist

By Dave Lindorff – This Can’t Be Happening – 02/24/2011

Pakistani and Indian newspapers are reporting that Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor in jail in Lahore facing murder charges for the execution-slayings of two young men believed to by Pakistani intelligence operatives, was actually involved in organizing terrorist activities in Pakistan.

As the Express Tribune, an English-language daily that is linked to the International Herald Tribune, reported on Feb. 22:

“The Lahore killings were a blessing in disguise for our security agencies who suspected that Davis was masterminding terrorist activities in Lahore and other parts of Punjab,” a senior official in the Punjab Police claimed.

“His close ties with the TTP [the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan] were revealed during the investigations,” he added. “Davis was instrumental in recruiting young people from Punjab for the Taliban to fuel the bloody insurgency.” Call records of the cellphones recovered from Davis have established his links with 33 Pakistanis, including 27 militants from the TTP and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi sectarian outfit, sources said.

The article goes on to explain a motive for why the US, which on the one hand has been openly pressing Pakistan to move militarily against Taliban forces in the border regions abutting Afghanistan, would have a contract agent actively encouraging terrorist acts within Pakistan, saying:

Davis was also said to be working on a plan to give credence to the American notion that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are not safe. For this purpose, he was setting up a group of the Taliban which would do his bidding.

According to a report in the Economic Times of India, a review by police investigators of calls placed by Davis on some of the cell phones found on his person and in his rented Honda Civic after the shooting showed calls to 33 Pakistanis, including 27 militants from the banned Pakistani Taliban, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an group identified as terrorist organization by both the US and Pakistan, which has been blamed for the assassination of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and to the brutal slaying of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Meanwhile, while the US continues to claim that Davis was “defending himself” against two armed robbers, the Associated Press is reporting that its sources in Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), are telling them that Davis “knew both men he killed.”

The AP report, which was run in Thursday’s Washington Post, claims the ISI says it “had no idea who Davis was or what he was doing when he was arrested,” that he had contacts in Pakistan’s tribal regions, and that his visa applications contained “bogus references and phone numbers.”

The article quotes a “senior Pakistani intelligence official” as saying the ISI “fears there are hundreds of CIA contractors presently operating in Pakistan without the knowledge of the Pakistan government or the intelligence agency.”

In an indication that Pakistan is hardening its stance against caving to US pressure to spring Davis from jail, the Express Tribune quotes sources in the Pakistani Foreign Office as saying that the US has been pressing them to forge backdated documents that would allow the US to claim that Davis worked for the US Embassy. President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top US officials have been trying to claim Davis was an Embassy employee, and not, as they originally stated, and as he himself told arresting police officers, just a contractor working out of the Lahore Consulate. The difference is critical, since most Embassy employees get blanket immunity for their activities, while consular employees, under the Vienna Conventions, are only given immunity for things done during and in the course of their official duties.

The US had submitted a list of its Embassy workers to the Foreign Office on Jan. 20, a week before the shooting. That list had 48 names on it, and Davis was not one of them. A day after the shooting, the Embassy submitted a “revised” list, claiming rather improbably that it had “overlooked” Davis. At the time of his arrest, Davis was carrying a regular passport, not a diplomatic one, though the Consulate in Lahore rushed over the following day and tried to get police to let them swap his well-worn regular passport for a shiny new diplomatic one (they were rebuffed). Davis was also carrying a Department of Defense contractor ID when he was arrested, further complicating the picture of who his real employer might be.

February 24, 2011 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | 3 Comments

The CIA’s Killing Spree in Lahore

By MIKE WHITNEY | CounterPunch | February 24, 2011

When CIA-agent Raymond Davis gunned down two Pakistani civilians in broad daylight on a crowded street in Lahore, he probably never imagined that the entire Washington establishment would spring to his defense. But that’s precisely what happened. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Mullen, John Kerry, Leon Panetta and a number of other US bigwigs have all made appeals on Davis’s behalf. None of these stalwart defenders of “the rule of law” have shown a speck of interest in justice for the victims or of even allowing the investigation to go forward so they could know what really happened. Oh, no. What Clinton and the rest want, is to see their man Davis packed onto the next plane to Langley so he can play shoot-’em-up someplace else in the world.

Does Clinton know that after Davis shot his victims 5 times in the back, he calmly strode back to his car, grabbed his camera, and photographed the dead bodies? Does she know that the two so-called “diplomats” who came to his rescue in a Land Rover (which killed a passerby) have been secretly spirited out of the country so they won’t have to appear in court? Does she know that the families of the victims are now being threatened and attacked to keep them from testifying against Davis? Here’s a clip from Thursday’s edition of The Nation:

“Three armed men forcibly gave poisonous pills to Muhammad Sarwar, the uncle of Shumaila Kanwal, the widow of Fahim shot dead by Raymond Davis, after barging into his house in Rasool Nagar, Chak Jhumra.

Sarwar was rushed to Allied Hospital in critical condition where doctors were trying to save his life till early Thursday morning. The brother of Muhammad Sarwar told The Nation that three armed men forced their entry into the house after breaking the windowpane of one of the rooms. When they broke the glass, Muhammad Sarwar came out. The outlaws started beating him up.

The other family members, including women and children, coming out for his rescue, were taken hostage and beaten up. The three outlaws then took everyone hostage at gunpoint and forced poisonous pills down Sarwar’s throat.” (“Shumaila’s uncle forced to take poisonous pills”, The Nation)

Good show, Hillary. We’re all about the rule of law in the good old USA.

But why all the intrigue and arm-twisting? Why has the State Department invoked the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to make its case that Davis is entitled to diplomatic immunity? If Davis is innocent, then he has nothing to worry about, right? Why not let the trial go forward and stop reinforcing the widely-held belief that Davis is a vital cog in the US’s clandestine operations in Pakistan?

The truth is that Davis had been photographing sensitive installations and madrassas for some time, the kind of intelligence gathering that spies do when scouting-out prospective targets. Also, he’d been in close contact with members of terrorist organizations, which suggests a link between the CIA and terrorist incidents in Pakistan. Here’s an excerpt from Wednesday’s The Express Tribune:

“His cell phone has revealed contacts with two ancillaries of al Qaeda in Pakistan, Tehreek-e-Taliban of Pakistan (TTP) and sectarian Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), which has led to the public conclusion that he was behind terrorism committed against Pakistan’s security personnel and its people ….This will strike people as America in cahoots with the Taliban and al Qaeda against the state of Pakistan targeting, as one official opined, Pakistan’s nuclear installations.” (“Raymond Davis: The plot thickens, The Express Tribune)

“Al Qaeda”? The CIA is working with “ancillaries of al Qaeda in Pakistan”? No wonder the US media has been keeping a wrap on this story for so long.

Naturally, most Pakistanis now believe that the US is colluding with terrorists to spread instability, weaken the state, and increase its power in the region. But isn’t that America’s M.O. everywhere?

Also, many people noticed that US drone attacks suddenly stopped as soon as Davis was arrested. Was that a coincidence? Not likely. Davis was probably getting coordinates from his new buddies in the tribal hinterland and then passing them along to the Pentagon. The drone bombings are extremely unpopular in Pakistan. More then 1400 people have been killed since August 2008, and most of them have been civilians.

And, there’s more. This is from (Pakistan’s) The Nation:

“A local lawyer has moved a petition in the court of Additional District and Sessions … contending that the accused (Davis)… was preparing a map of sensitive places in Pakistan through the GPS system installed in his car. He added that mobile phone sims, lethal weapons, and videos camera were recovered from the murder accused on January 27, 2011.” (“Davis mapped Pakistan targets court told”, The Nation)

So, Davis’s GPS chip was being used to identify targets for drone attacks in the tribal region. Most likely, he was being assisted on the other end by recruits or members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban.

A lot of extravagant claims have been made about what Davis was up to, much of which is probably just speculation. One report which appeared on ANI news service is particularly dire, but produces little evidence to support its claims. Here’s an excerpt:

“Double murder-accused US official Raymond Davis has been found in possession of top-secret CIA documents, which point to him or the feared American Task Force 373 (TF373) operating in the region, providing Al-Qaeda terrorists with “nuclear fissile material” and “biological agents,” according to a report.

Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) is warning that the situation on the sub-continent has turned “grave” as it appears that open warfare is about to break out between Pakistan and the United States, The European Union Times reports…..The most ominous point in this SVR report is “Pakistan’s ISI stating that top-secret CIA documents found in Davis’s possession point to his, and/or TF373, providing to al Qaeda terrorists “nuclear fissile material” and “biological agents”, which they claim are to be used against the United States itself in order to ignite an all-out war in order to re-establish the West’s hegemony over a Global economy that is warned is just months away from collapse,” the paper added. (“CIA Spy Davis was giving nuclear bomb material to Al Qaeda, says report”, ANI)

Although there’s no way to prove that this is false, it seems like a bit of a stretch. But that doesn’t mean that what Davis was up to shouldn’t be taken seriously. Quite the contrary. If Davis was working with Tehreek-e-Taliban, (as alleged in many reports) then we can assume that the war on terror is basically a ruse to advance a broader imperial agenda. According to Sify News, the president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, believes this to be the case. Here’s an excerpt:

“Zalmay Khalilzad, the former US envoy to Afghanistan, once brushed off Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s claim, that the US was “arranging” the (suicide) attacks by Pakistani Taliban inside his country, as ‘madness’, and was of the view that both Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who believed in this US conspiracy theory, were “dysfunctional” leaders.

The account of Zardari’s claim about the US’ hand in the attacks has been elaborately reproduced by US journalist Bob Woodward, on Page 116 of his famous book ‘Obama’s Wars,’ The News reported.

Woodward’s account goes like this: “One evening during the trilateral summit (in Washington, between Obama, Karzai and Zardari) Zardari had dinner with Zalmay Khalilzad, the 58-year-old former US ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the UN, during the Bush presidency.

“Zardari dropped his diplomatic guard. He suggested that one of the two countries was arranging the attacks by the Pakistani Taliban inside his country: India or the US. Zardari didn’t think India could be that clever, but the US could. Karzai had told him the US was behind the attacks, confirming the claims made by the Pakistani ISI.”

“Mr President,” Khalilzad said, “what would we gain from doing this? You explain the logic to me.”

“This was a plot to destabilize Pakistan, Zardari hypothesized, so that the US could invade and seize its nuclear weapons. He could not explain the rapid expansion in violence otherwise. And the CIA had not pursued the leaders of the Pakistani Taliban, a group known as Tehreek-e-Taliban or TTP that had attacked the government. TTP was also blamed for the assassination of Zardari’s wife, Benazir Bhutto.” (“Pakistan President says CIA Involved in Plot to Destabilize Country and Seize Nukes”, Sify News)

Zardari’s claim will sound familiar to those who followed events in Iraq. Many people are convinced that the only rational explanation for the wave of bombings directed at civilians, was that the violence was caused by those groups who stood to gain from a civil war.

And who might that be?

Despite the Obama administration’s efforts to derail the investigation, the case against Davis is going forward. Whether he is punished or not is irrelevant. This isn’t about Davis anyway. It’s a question of whether the US is working hand-in-hand with the very organizations that it publicly condemns in order to advance its global agenda. If that’s the case, then the war on terror is a fraud.

~

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state and  can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com

February 24, 2011 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | 2 Comments

Main Street Movement Erupts

Thousands Across US Protest War on the Middle Class

By Zaid Jilani   |  Think Progress | February 24, 2011

Last week, 14 Wisconsin Senate Democrats inspired the nation when they decided to flee the state rather than allow quorum for a vote on a bill that would have decimated the state’s public employee unions and dealt a crippling blow to the state’s hard-working teachers, sanitation employees, and other middle class union members. Since then, tens of thousands of Wisconsinites have taken to the streets in even greater number than before the walkout in support of the fleeing legislators and in opposition to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-middle class agenda.

Inspired by the events in Wisconsin, thousands of Americans all over the country are taking action to battle legislation that would attack their labor rights, defund their schools, threaten their health and safety, and decimate the American middle class. Here are just some of the places across the nation that are taking part in this new “Main Street Movement” to defend and rebuild the American middle class:

GEORGIA

Hundreds of workers demonstrated outside the Georgia capitol yesterday, declaring their solidarity with striking Wisconsin workers. Some demonstrators wore “cheesehead” hats, a clear reference to a cultural tradition in Wisconsin.

IDAHO

Hundreds of teachers marched against legislation that would layoff 770 teachers and leave schools severely understaffed.

INDIANA

In Indiana, House Democrats fled the state, preventing a vote on legislation that would enact “right-to-work” laws that would’ve crippled the right to organize. After the House Democrats took off, hundreds of workers and students marched into the capitol building and staged a massive sit-in, pledging not to leave until the radical legislation was withdrawn. Yesterday, Indiana’s Main Street Movement scored its first victory as Republican lawmakers withdrew the anti-union bill. Indiana Democrats are refusing to come back until right-wing legislators withdraw legislation to undermine the state’s public education system.MONTANA: More than a thousand “conservationists, sportsmen, firefighters, teachers, correctional officers and others” descended on the Montana capitol to protest against “unprecedented GOP attacks on public services and education and laws that protect land, air, water and wildlife.” Students carried signs that read “Keep Us In School,” protesting crippling cuts to the state’s education system.

OHIO

In Ohio, thousands of ordinary Americans who rely on the right to organize to earn good, middle class incomes are facing off with Wisconsin-style legislation backed by Gov. John Kasich (R). Nearly 10,000 protesters demonstrated in Columbus, Ohio, gaining the support of former Gov. Ted Strickland (D-OH) and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). So many demonstrators showed up that the Ohio Highway Patrol was ordered to lock the doors of the state capitol to stop more demonstrators from getting into the building.

TENNESSEE

Hundreds of Tennesseans gathered to protest a bill that would completely strip Tennesee teachers of collective bargaining rights. “What you have right now is 300 or so of us, standing and asking the state legislature to focus on what the priorities are right now, instead of attacking working people,” said Mary Mancini, executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action. “If they listen to us, well then that’s great. … If not, I can see this thing growing.”

WASHINGTON

2,000 demonstrators in Olympia, Washington, marched against the state’s proposed budget cuts that would harm students and middle class Washingtonians and in solidarity with workers in Wisconsin. “If Scott Walker succeeds in ending worker rights in Wisconsin, the birthplace of public servants’ liberty, it could happen here,” said Federation of State Employees President Carol Dotlich.

Even larger demonstrations are planned this Saturday, as thousands more Main Street Americans plan to take to the streets to protest the ongoing assault against the middle class. Moveon.org is organizing protests at every single state capitol in the country, aiming to “Save the American Dream.” Meanwhile, US Uncut, an activist group inspired by United Kingdom’s UK Uncut, plans to protest against American tax dodgers, asking why the rich in the country have been able to get off easy on their taxes while low- and middle-income Americans continue to be asked to sacrifice.

February 24, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics | 3 Comments

Knesset debates bill to abolish the status of Arabic as an official language in Israel

Al Quds Al Arabi | February 24, 2011

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, is looking at a draft bill which proposes the abolition of Arabic as an official language in the Zionist state. This would require the repeal of British Mandatory legislation in Palestine dating from 1922 which adopted Arabic, Hebrew and English as official languages. When the state of Israel was created through the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948, the Zionists ditched English as an official medium of communication.

The proposed law is one of a number of initiatives designed to undermine the status of Arabic, which is the mother-tongue of more than 1.25 million Palestinian citizens of the state, one-fifth of the population. A draft constitution, for example, supported by a number of Israeli institutions, also proposes the removal of Arabic’s official status.

Human rights specialist Dr. Yousef Jabareen, the head of the Arab Centre of Rights Studies in Nazareth, said that this bill is racist in nature and intent. It is, he claims, part of a series of racist and extremist laws which have indicated Israel’s parliamentary and government obsession in recent years. He cited the law of allegiance to the Jewish and Zionist state and the law to prevent the commemoration of the Nakba as just two which strike at the heart of the status and identity of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel.

Dr. Jabareen said that the country’s official language is derived from the authenticity of the Palestinians’ claim that they are the original owners of the land, the implications of which gives them collective national rights under international laws and conventions. At the core of these is their right to preserve their language and their national identity and develop it freely.

“In fact, not only has the ruling establishment not respected the official Arabic language, but it has also sought to cover it up and distort it, like other elements of the national and collective identity of Palestinians,” said Dr. Jabareen. “Our national memory and narrative of events has also been attacked.” Nevertheless, he added, the establishment has not yet dared to abolish it formally, in order to avoid international criticism. Dr. Jabareen stressed, “The Palestinian public preservation of their language, in Israel, Arabic, is due to a long and stubborn process of struggle, despite the policies of the state.”

Jabareen, who teaches law at the University of Haifa, pointed out that voting on this bill in the Knesset will be done after the International Mother Language Day. “Organisations such as UNESCO and the European Union should take a clear position against this racist bill and other Israeli measures affecting the collective and historical rights of Palestinian citizens with regards to their identity, language and culture, monuments and holy sites,” he insisted.

Source: MEMO

February 24, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | Comments Off on Knesset debates bill to abolish the status of Arabic as an official language in Israel

Murder of Palestinian highlights Israeli judicial discrimination

According to the Israeli law system, if you’re an Arab and you beat a Jew to death, you’re a murderer. But if you’re Jewish and you stab an Arab, that’s manslaughter

February 23 2011 | Yossi Gurvitz

Some 18 months ago, the country was outraged when Leonid Arik Carp, a resident of Ramat Aviv, was attacked by a gang of youth, while he was trying to protest his daughter from their molestation. Carp was savagely beaten, and later dies of his wounds. Three of his assailants were charged with murder (Hebrew); in a highly unusual move, four others were charged with failing to provide Carp with aid. The whole affair had a clear racist tinge, with the media – and the poisonous replies – focusing on the fact that the attackers were a group of Israeli Arabs, accompanied by two Jewish girls, one of whom was an IDF soldier; the story quickly became that of violation of Jewish blood. Many people claimed Carp’s murder was a nationalistic lynch. Carp, it should be remembered, was attacked by blows, slaps and kicks (Hebrew).

About two weeks ago, a gang of four Orthodox Jews, two of them settlers, attacked (Hebrew) Hussam Rwidi, and one of them slashed him to death with a razor. That, at least, is what the police suspects them of; we should keep in mind that the Carp murder suspects have yet to be convicted, and should be suspicious when the police claims it has a confession, in a country where interrogators are prosecuted for torture and where cops caught lying on the witness stand routinely return to duty, unpunished. According to the police, the murder of Rwidi was, at least in part, nationalistically-motivated: Rwidi was chosen as victim since he spoke Arabic, hence identifying himself as a member of the lower race. Palestinians claim – those claims should also be viewed with caution – that the assault began with the cries of “death to Arabs”. Later, says the police, two of the attackers were arrested while trying to dispose of the murder weapon, at the request of the murderer.

And yet, the prosecution will charge the stabber only with manslaughter, not murder (Hebrew). The fact that he began the fight because of his victims’ ethnicity somehow become irrelevant. The fact that unlike the killers of of Arik Carp, he was in possession of a sharp instrument is also considered irrelevant. It is noteworthy that even though the stabber’s friends aided him, and that two of them were involved in an attempt to dispose of the weapon, this does not cause them to be charged with assisting murder, or even in failing to prevent a crime or failing to provide Rwidi with aid.

The police claim the assault began as pre-mediated assault, which devolved into a fight, which ended in a stabbing. This argument would surely apply to Carp’s attackers as well – but in Carp’s case the prosecution made a case for murder, and indicted people who were not involved in the attack itself. I am not a jurist, but common sense indicates that if you pull out a blade during a fight, you should know there’s a chance it’ll end in death – a significantly more reasonable assumption than when you attack someone with fists and kicks. Even so, that’s the decision taken by the prosecution. Selective enforcement? A wink to the right-wing? Evil be to him who evil thinks.

The behavior of the Israeli media is also noteworthy. Carp’s murder was described as a lynching and as a nationalistic attack, even though there’s no good reason to think it was. Rwidi’s murder, on the other hand, was described as a “drunken brawl”, even though it was evidently a terror attack. It disappeared from the media in record time – admittedly, under a gag order and while important international events happened in the background. And yet, no one tried to find out who the girlfriends of the four pogromchiks are, and we’ll probably won’t hear any shocked muttering about them dating such human trash. Ah, the benefits of being a member of the Chosen People.

Yossi Gurvitz is providing an invaluable service in providing translation from the Hebrew press for wider dissemination. –  Aletho News

February 24, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 1 Comment

Jewish settlers set two cars on fire in West Bank

International Solidarity Movement | February 24, 2011

Settlers came down from the illegal Israeli settlements of Bracha and Yitzar Tuesday night and harassed families in the village of Burin.

Around 7 o’clock in the evening settlers attacked a family that live near the Yitzar settlement, throwing red paint on their house. At about the same time settlers entered the village throwing stones and harassing the villagers. The settlers then got an escort back to their homes by the Israeli Army.

At midnight settlers came back, throwing molotov cocktails at two cars, setting them on fire. Both of the cars were parked on in front of the houses of their owners.

One of the cars belongs to Abdeel Aleem Shuhade. He purchased his car just two days earlier, because the previous car was also burned and destroyed by the settlers. In 2002 his brother was shot and killed by settlers in his home and his wife that was pregnant at the time was injured.

Waleed Najar, the owner of the second car, reported the incident to the Israeli police, who then accused him of setting his own car on fire.

Attacks like this are common in Burin, to date 13 cars have been burned by settlers.

Burin is a small farming community located 7km southwest of Nablus. Former incidents in the village include settlers destroying olive trees, stealing and shooting animals, setting crops and houses on fire, destroying homes, shooting at people with live ammunition and firing rockets at the village.

On 27th January, 20-year old Oday Maher Hamza Qadous was killed by settlers from the same settlement whilst farming between the villages of Burin and Iraq Burin.

February 24, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Jewish settlers set two cars on fire in West Bank

Israeli strikes hit Gaza overnight

Ma’an – 24/02/2011

GAZA CITY — Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes on multiple locations in the Gaza Strip overnight, injuring two in the first round of bombings near Gaza City shortly after 11 p.m.

Injuries were reported in the first strike, which hit the Az-Zaytoun neighborhood east of Gaza City, while the Abu Jarad neighborhood to the south was pummeled with four strikes.

Local officials called the series of strikes an “escalation,” saying that Israeli forces have operated with increased aggression since an attack on a patrol which entered Gaza Wednesday morning, in the same area the second strike hit.

The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, said fighters had attacked a group of Israeli tanks and bulldozers apparently preparing to tear-up lands in the border area Wednesday, and were met with artillery fire which killed one brigadesman and injured ten others, including three children.

Also overnight Wednesday, the Abu Ali Mustafa brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said fighters launched three mortar shells toward the Nahal Oz military base military, and another two toward Israeli infrastructure east of Az-Zaytoun.

In a statement, the Israeli military said the strikes were in “response to rocket fire … several hubs of terror [were bombed] during an extensive operation in the Gaza Strip. Hits were confirmed.”

According to the statement, “These terror sites were targeted in response to yesterday’s firing of rockets at the city of Be’er Sheva and other Western Negev communities.”

February 24, 2011 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Israeli strikes hit Gaza overnight