Israel strikes north Gaza after rocket fire
GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories - Agence France-Presse
This file photo shows Israeli soldiers stand next to an Iron Dome missile interceptor battery being positioned on the outskirts of Jerusalem, September 8, 2013. The Israeli air force raided the northern Gaza Strip Oct. 28 REUTERS PHOTOThe Israeli air force raided the northern Gaza Strip Oct. 28, just hours after militants there fired rockets at the Jewish state, witnesses and the army said.
It was the first air strike on Gaza in more than two months and took place as Israel pushed forward with plans to release a new batch of veteran Palestinian prisoners. Palestinian witnesses said the attack targeted a training ground used by militants from the armed wing of Gaza's ruling Hamas movement west of Beit Lahiya, but no-one was hurt. The military confirmed the air force had struck Gaza following rocket fire on southern Israel.
"In response to rocket fire at Israel, the IDF (military) targeted 2 rocket launchers in Gaza. Direct hits confirmed," the army said on its official Twitter feed. An earlier army statement said two rockets were fired towards the port city of Ashkelon, one of which was shot down by Israel's Iron Dome Missile Defense System. No damage or injuries were reported.
It was the first air strike since August 14 when the air force hit targets in the same area also in response to rocket fire, in a development which took place just hours after Israel released a first batch of Palestinian prisoners.
The skies above Gaza have been calm for months, although militants fired a mortar shell on Sunday.
During September, there were two instances of rocket fire, but Israel did not respond. Late on Sunday, Israel approved the release of 26 veteran prisoners who will be freed on Tuesday. It will be the second such release of Palestinian prisoners under terms of the US-backed direct peace talks which began in late July after a hiatus of nearly three years. All but one of them were arrested before the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords, with 21 from the West Bank and the rest from Gaza.
Israel arrests Hamas members in West Bank
HEBRON, Palestinian Territories - Agence France-Presse
Israel arrested 10 West Bank-based members of the Islamist movement Hamas overnight, the army said Monday, although Palestinian officials put the number at 15.
"Ten Hamas operatives were detained overnight across the West Bank," an army spokeswoman told AFP, without giving any further details or reasons for the arrests.
Hamas has ruled the Gaza Strip since it took over the territory in 2007, but many of its members remain in the West Bank, which is home to the Palestinian Authority, dominated by president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party.
Palestinian security officials told AFP that Israel had on Sunday night arrested 15 Hamas members in the northern West Bank cities of Tulkarem and Nablus, and the southern city of Hebron.
The officials said two of those arrested in Hebron were Palestinian MPs who had been detained several times before, but the army spokeswoman could not confirm this.
The remainder were mostly students, the Palestinian officials said.
Hamas condemned the arrests, saying they were a joint Israeli-US-Palestinian plot aimed at forcing through any agreement reached in ongoing Middle East peace talks, which the movement opposes.
"The arrest campaign waged by the (Israeli) occupation aimed to... impose upon our (Palestinian) people the results of the unpalatable and dangerous negotiations," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said in a statement.
"It comes as part of American-Israeli collusion with the Palestinian Authority" to make Fatah stronger than its rival Hamas, Fawzi added.