Deadly Israeli air strikes – a cowardly crime!

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A fighter from the armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine was killed on Sunday, and another critically injured, as Israel launched an air strike on the Gaza Strip hours after a ceasefire truce was agreed upon by Gaza militants.

Medical spokesman in the Gaza Strip, Adham Abu Salmiya, said that one man was killed in the air strike on Rafah.

The victim was identified as Ahmad Jarkhoun.

Another man was critically wounded and rushed to hospital, he added.

The National Resistance Brigades, the armed wing of the DFLP, announced in a statement that Jarkhoun was one of their leaders.

They confirmed that he was killed in the Israeli air strike.

The statement called on resistance factions in Gaza to retaliate for ‘this cowardly crime’.

The Israeli army confirmed the strike, claiming that militants in the southern Gaza Strip were preparing to fire projectiles, a statement said.

The latest strike on the coastal enclave comes as the Islamic Jihad movement confirmed earlier on Sunday that it would abide by truce efforts.

The Hamas-affiliated Palestine Information Centre reported: ‘Two more Palestinian resistance fighters from the Islamic Jihad Movement were proclaimed dead at an early hour Sunday during another Israeli air raid west of Gaza city.

‘Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, said two more of its fighters were killed today when Israeli warplanes bombed a group of fighters near the abandoned airstrip west of Gaza city.

‘Earlier on Saturday, seven resistance fighters from Al-Quds Brigades were announced dead and many others, including civilians, were wounded during similar aerial attacks on Rafah border area, south of the Gaza Strip.

‘A spokesman for the Brigades told the Palestinian Information Centre (PIC) yesterday that the armed wing of Islamic Jihad would retaliate strongly to Israel’s crimes and its soldiers would pay dearly for what happened.

‘In this context, one Israeli settler was reported dead on Saturday evening and 20 others were wounded during rocket counter-attacks that were waged in retaliation to a series of Israeli deadly air strikes on Gaza.

‘The Hebrew radio said yesterday that six settlers were injured, some of them seriously, and 14 others suffered extreme panic when missiles fired from Gaza landed near them.

‘The radio added that two settlers sustained moderate to serious injuries and two others suffocated from smoke when one grad missile hit a building in Ashkelon city.

‘Another grad missile landed in a parking lot causing damage to many cars and slight injuries to one settler, a similar rocket attack was also waged on Gan Yavneh settlement leading to the injury of one settler, according to the radio.

‘The radio revealed that the anti-rocket iron dome, which was established near Gaza borderline with the Israeli occupied lands, was able to intercept one missile only heading to Beersheba.

‘Meanwhile, the Israeli police raised the state of alert to a higher level in all settlements near Gaza after a number of projectiles and grad missiles, fired from Gaza in retaliation to Israel’s deadly attacks, landed inside Israeli occupied areas.

‘Spokesman for Islamic Jihad Movement Dawoud Shihab asserted that the Palestinian resistance factions reached a truce with the Israeli occupation state after a wave of deadly air raids on the Gaza Strip and rocket counter-attacks on Israeli targets.

‘Shihab told the Palestinian Information Centre (PIC) on Sunday that the truce took place after the Israeli occupation asked Egypt to intervene with the Palestinian factions in Gaza to cease fire.

‘The Islamic Jihad refused at first Egypt’s truce efforts because it did not trust the Israeli side, but after repeated Egyptian attempts, it accepted to abide by a reciprocal calm, the spokesman noted.

‘The Islamic Jihad Movement received phone calls from the Egyptian side until the dawn of today to calm the situation, provided that the Zionist occupation has to be committed to this truce, he emphasised.’

An official in the movement said that the group would cooperate with Egyptian efforts to implement a truce, which was brokered overnight but failed to hold in the morning.

In a separate development, UN-run schools in the Gaza Strip went on strike on Sunday, with protests planned to last until Thursday, a staff union said.

‘The strike will affect all departments if the UN administration does not respond to the staff union’s demands,’ Yousef Hamdouna, secretary of the Local Staff Union said.

The strike is in protest against UNRWA’s suspension of the head of the union, Suhail al-Hindi. Hamas sources said the UN agency had accused al-Hindi of meeting with Hamas political officials.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness called for the union to stop the strike action.

‘UNRWA appeals to the staff union in Gaza not to drag some 219,000 innocent children into their escalating campaign of industrial action,’ he said in a statement.

‘The children of Gaza, living under the Israeli blockade and the constant threat of military action, have suffered enough. This industrial action compounds their collective punishment.

‘Along with the parents of Gaza and all those who believe in a dignified future for the next generation, we appeal to the union to call off the strike which is damaging the education of our children in 243 UNRWA schools.’

In early October, thousands of teachers protested at UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City over the dismissal of Suhail al-Hindi.

UNRWA was founded in 1949 to serve refugees in Gaza, the West Bank and neighbouring Arab countries after hundreds of thousands were displaced from Palestine when Israel was created. The agency’s most recent mandate extends to June 30, 2014.