Gaza militants vow wave of attacks against Israel

Militant groups in the Gaza Strip said on Thursday they had joined forces to step up attacks against Israel, possibly including suicide bombings.

The statement was made as Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed in Washington to a series of direct talks, seeking to forge the framework for a US-backed peace deal within a year and end a conflict that has boiled for six decades.

A spokesperson for the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, said 13 militant groups would work together to launch “more effective attacks” against Israel.

Asked if this included suicide bombings, he said: “All options are open.”

Hamas has claimed responsibility for two separate shooting attacks in the West Bank this week that killed four Israeli settlers and wounded two.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held the first round of face-to-face Israeli-Palestinian talks in 20 months with the goal of reaching a final peace deal envisaging a Palestinian state within a year.

Several armed gunmen held an open-air news conference in Gaza where Abu Ubaida, a spokesperson for Hamas’s military wing, vowed that militants would “respond to the negotiations that aim at selling out [Palestinian] land”.

The 13 armed groups also include the Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and a splinter armed group from Abbas’s Fatah movement.

“We declare that the actions of resistance have gone into a new and advanced stage of cooperation in the field at the highest levels in preparation for more effective attacks against the enemy,” Abu Ubaida said.

Hamas was responsible for dozens of suicide attacks against Israelis during a Palestinian uprising that broke out in 2000 and eased five years later.

Hamas is a rival of Abbas’s Fatah group, which governs the Israeli occupied West Bank. A rift between the two rivals deepened in 2007 after Hamas took Gaza by force from Fatah.

The rift with Hamas makes it more difficult for Abbas to sign a final peace deal with Israel.

Hamas said Abbas’s security forces rounded up hundreds of its activists in the West Bank since the Islamist group claimed responsibility for killing the four Israeli settlers near the city of Hebron on Tuesday. – Reuters

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertisting

Test backlog skews SA’s corona stats

With thousands of samples still waiting to be processed, labs are racing to ramp up testing to help the government gain a better idea of how prevalent Covid-19 really is

M&G’s latest Covid-19 projections

Covid-19 numbers are prompting disaster declarations and dramatic action across South Africa this week. All steps should be directed by numbers

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories