Monday, July 03, 2006

Say Goodbye to Gaza

Palestinian militants issue ultimatum to Israel
By Nidal al-Mughrabi

BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip (Reuters) - Palestinian militants (Terrorists) who abducted an Israeli soldier gave Israel less than 24 hours on Monday to meet their demands to release Palestinian prisoners, (more terrorists) threatening unspecified consequences if it refused.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rejected the ultimatum.

"If the enemy does not agree to our humanitarian demands ... we will regard this case as closed," said "Military Communique 3," issued by the armed wing of the governing Hamas movement and two other factions. (once again you have got to give them credit for having brass ones, I love the wording "our humanitarian demands")

"We give the Zionist enemy until 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) tomorrow, Tuesday, the fourth of July," the statement said. (thats 10pm EST)

In previous communiques, the groups called on Israel, as a first stage, to release some 400 Palestinian women and youths in its prisons in return for information about Corporal Gilad Shalit, abducted in a June 25 raid launched from Gaza.

The groups -- Hamas' Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, the Popular Resistance Committees and the previously unknown Islamic Army -- subsequently demanded Israel free 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

Unless the demands were met, the factions said, "the enemy will bear full responsibility for future consequences." (no the terrorists and all the people of Gaza will pay)

The statement accused Israel, mounting a military offensive in Gaza, of bad faith in an Egyptian mediation effort to end a crisis that has pushed Israeli-Palestinian ties to new lows and put more world pressure on the Hamas-led Palestinian government. (ah the evil Jews aren't playing nice with the good little terrorists)

"The government of Israel will not yield to the extortion of the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government, which are led by murderous terrorist organizations," Olmert's office said in a statement.

"We will not conduct any negotiations on a prisoner release," it said. "The Palestinian Authority bears full responsibility for the well-being of Gilad Shalit and his return, safe and sound, to Israel." (and for the death and destruction that will follow his death)

In an interview in Hebrew on Israel Radio, Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas-led government, said: "If you are willing to release prisoners, we are willing to see (Shalit) return home an hour later."

Hamas political leaders have said they have no control over the group's armed wing. (thats not what the Hamas Government Spokesman just said, on the contrary he just admited that they are the ones controlling the terrorists)


Hours before the latest communique, Israeli tanks and armored bulldozers pushed into the northern Gaza Strip in what an Israeli military source described as a "pinpoint operation" to locate tunnels and explosives near the border fence.

"This is not a massive ground entrance," the source said. (no that will come tomorrow)

A Palestinian gunman in the area was killed by an Israeli aircraft, witnesses said. The Israeli military said it opened fire on two armed men, hitting one of them.

A Reuters reporter in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun said the bulldozers appeared to be preparing the ground for a possible wider incursion into the area, used by militants as a launch site for daily rocket attacks against southern Israel.

Israel, which pulled out of Gaza last year, sent troops and tanks into the southern Gaza Strip last Wednesday after gunmen seized Shalit, a 19-year-old tank gunner in a raid in which two other soldiers and two of the attackers were killed.

Israeli aircraft have been mounting nightly attacks in the Gaza Strip, including one on Sunday that wrecked the office of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

In the latest air strikes, a helicopter fired a missile into a building in Gaza City that the army said was used by militants. No one was hurt. Two missiles also hit areas in northern Gaza, slightly wounding one person. (once agasin Israel is trying to run its operation to keep casualties down)

Ground forces have largely avoided clashes while Egypt pursues a diplomatic solution.

Osama al-Muzaini, a Hamas political leader, said Israel had proposed releasing some prisoners at an unspecified date in return for the soldier's release. He said the three factions had rejected the offer. (I ain't buying that unless the Prisoners that Israel was talking about were the members of the Hamas government that they just arrested)

Olmert has warned leaders of the Hamas-led government that any of them could be attacked if harm came to Shalit. Hamas' armed wing and other militants have responded by threatening to strike inside Israel. (you can't threaten someone with something that you've already been doing)

A Palestinian official has quoted mediators as saying Shalit was alive after being treated for wounds.

(Additional reporting by Yannis Behrakis in Nizmit Hill, Dean Yates and Dan Williams in Jerusalem and Wafa Amr in Ramallah)

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