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Posted: 4/10/2006 6:36:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/10/2006 6:36:50 PM EDT by HoustonHusker]
As ETH says: In other news, icecream tastes better than dirt.

HH

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Hamas says sees Israeli moves as declaration of war

By Nidal al-Mughrabi
Mon Apr 10, 5:32 PM ET



GAZA (Reuters) - Israel suspended formal security ties to the Palestinian government on Monday in what Hamas said amounted to "a declaration of war."

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European Union foreign ministers added to U.S. and Israeli pressure on the Islamic militant group by approving a temporary halt in direct EU aid to the new government.

Thousands of Palestinians poured onto the streets of Gaza, protesting Western aid cuts and a spike in Israeli military strikes since election victor Hamas took control of the Palestinian Authority in late March.

An Israeli shell killed a young Palestinian girl and injured 12 others, including five children, when it hit a house in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said.

Israel says the shelling in Gaza is meant to combat rocket attacks by militants.

Avi Dichter, a top adviser to interim Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, told Israel Radio that a ground assault of Gaza could not be ruled out.

"We have done it in the past and can do so in the present," said Dichter, a former secret intelligence chief who may be appointed to a senior security post in Olmert's new cabinet.

The Palestinians urged the U.N. Security Council to act against Israel for intensifying military strikes.

"The international community cannot continue to stand idly by while defenseless women, children and men continue to be killed, wounded and maimed," Palestinian U.N. Observer Riyad Mansour said in a letter to the Council.

In statements issued in quick succession on Monday, President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas denounced Israel for branding the Palestinian Authority a "hostile entity."

Mahmoud al-Zahar, foreign minister in the new Hamas government who has a reputation as a hard-liner, said in a statement that the European Union decision was "unacceptable" and "collective punishment against the Palestinian people."

Zahar added that the Palestinian people would not succumb to the international pressure and would remain committed to their goal of establishing an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement that Israel's decision to sever contacts with the Palestinian Authority constituted "a declaration of war and a failed attempt to cause internal divisions among Palestinians."

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, Abbas said Israel's position "completely violates the agreements we have signed with them and violates international law."

"We demand from this Israeli government to stop such measures," said Abbas, whose Fatah faction was crushed by Hamas in an election in January.

COOPERATION SUSPENDED

Having ruled out contacts with the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, the Israeli army moved on Monday to suspend remaining security coordination.

At a joint coordination office near the West Bank city of Jericho, Palestinian Colonel Khaled Ziyar and his men piled their belongings on to a pick-up truck and turned keys to the facility over to the Israelis.

Before they drove away, the Palestinian officers took down posters of Abbas and a Palestinian flag.

The Jericho district coordination office, located on the outskirts of the ancient town, was the last security facility to be manned by both Israelis and Palestinians. In other parts of the West Bank, cooperation was done by telephone.

As part of its new policy, Israel blocked Brigadier General Ala Hosni, who heads the Gaza police, and several other officials from moving between Gaza and the West Bank.

Many Palestinians who lined up to get travel permits at civil administration offices in the West Bank were turned away, witnesses said.

At an earlier protest, Palestinian children threw eggs at U.N. offices in Gaza.

Hamas is sworn to destroy Israel but has largely abided by a year-old ceasefire that other militant groups have ignored.

Israel and the United States have vowed not to deal with Hamas unless it recognizes the Jewish state's right to exist, renounces violence and accepts interim peace deals. Hamas says talks with Israel would be futile.

Israel has halted the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority, but it said it would allow the funds to be used to pay the authority's debts to Israeli utilities.

(Additional reporting by Wafa Amr in Ramallah; Allyn Fisher-Ilan and Adam Entous in Jerusalem)
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 6:37:02 PM EDT
IBTBTN

Link Posted: 4/10/2006 6:40:25 PM EDT
blah blah blah blah.............. some more idiots died. hmmmmmm 12 year old girl? What did mommy and daddy do? instruct her to go throw rocks at Merkavas? someone enlighten me.
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