Israeli soldiers, Gaza militants violate ceasefire 2009-01-19 18:32:14   Print

Special report: Palestine-Israel Conflicts          

    GAZA, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Israeli soldiers and Gaza militants violated on Monday the fragile ceasefire that the two sides had just unilaterally declared.

    Palestinian residents living at the western coast of northern Gaza City said Israeli naval gunship vessels opened fire at their houses in western Gaza Strip on Monday morning. No injuries were reported.

    Witnesses said that several missiles were fired by naval gunship vessels at open area in western Gaza Strip, where several explosions were heard in the area. No damages were reported.

    Meanwhile, on Monday morning, Israeli ground forces continued their gradual pullout from positions they seized since Jan. 3.

    Thousands of Palestinians are still getting back to their neighborhoods and towns to check their houses they had fled when the Israeli army ground forces carried out large-incursion into Gaza City and northern Gaza Strip.

    Witnesses said that several areas look like an earthquake had hit it, where thousands of houses, farms, mosques and properties were completely destroyed and turned just into rubbles.

    Residents in northern Gaza Strip said Israeli warplanes dropped flyers at their area, warning them not to approach the no-go zone areas closed to the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

    Meanwhile, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah movement's armed wing, announced in a statement on Monday that it is committed to the ceasefire until the Israeli army completes withdrawal from all the Gaza Strip.

    On Monday, no rockets were fired from Gaza at southern Israeli towns and communities in the vicinity of Gaza. However, several gunshots were heard and some gun battles took place further far into Gaza Strip northern area.

    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Saturday evening declared a unilateral ceasefire in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, beginning from2:00 a.m. (0000 GMT) Sunday.

    Exiled Deputy chief of Hamas' politburo Mussa Abu Marzouk announced here on Sunday a one-week ceasefire in the Gaza Strip to allow Israeli soldiers to withdraw.    


IDF spokesman: No concrete timetable for Israeli troops withdrawal from Gaza

    JERUSALEM, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman said on Monday that the army has not yet made a concrete timetable for the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

    The spokesman told Xinhua that the report of pulling out the troops before Obama's inauguration is a "rumor," but he said he hopes the withdrawal will happen soon. Full story

Hamas re-controls Gaza after 22 days of Israeli offensive

    GAZA, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- The police forces that belongs to the deposed government of Islamic Hamas movement re-controlled the Gaza Strip on Monday following an end of 22-day Israeli military offensive on the enclave.

    Palestinian witnesses in Gaza City said that they saw dozens of Hamas interior ministry traffic policemen standing at main streets crossroads in the city to organize the traffic. Full story

UN chief demands restoration of peace process as Israel, Hamas hold fire in Gaza

    CAIRO, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday stressed the importance of reviving the Middle East peace process as he is nearing the end of his one-week tour of the region in a bid to silence gunfire in Gaza.

    "We need to put this Middle East peace process back on track," said Ban at an Egypt-hosted summit held in the Red Sea resort of Sharm Al-sheikh, which was aimed at shoring up the shaky ceasefire in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.  Full story

Editor: Chris
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