Israeli PM backs U.S. plan for UNRWA fund cuts

14 January, 2018, 00:26 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Hundreds in Gaza protest electricity cuts

Tensions between the extremist Islamic State group's branch in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and Palestinian Hamas group based in nearby Gaza, which has been building for more than a year, simmered into a fresh dispute as IS released a 22-minute-long video calling upon their followers to attack rival Hamas.

Samira Hamadeh, a mother of three who lives in Gaza City, said that it marked a "big improvement" but that residents need more. "No food, no water, no security, no border crossings, no education and no health", he told AFP.

"In response to the mortar shells fired at a military post adjacent to the northern Gaza Strip, (Israeli) tanks and (Israeli) aircraft targeted four Hamas military posts in the northern Gaza Strip", the army said in a statement.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem - now occupied by Israel - might eventually serve as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.

There was no immediate word from Israel whether it would comply. A Gaza economist said restoration of power from Israel, the enclave's main electricity supplier, could raise that figure to six hours.


The current crisis began last June after Ramallah said it would stop paying its share of Gaza's electricity bill, which amounted to about NIS 40 million a month.

The electricity payments have been a key issue in ongoing efforts at reconciliation between Hamas and Abbas's Fatah, but they have yet to take effect. The Authority's decision to resume the electricity payments could help smooth the way towards completing the accord.

On Monday, 08 January 2018, Israeli gunboats chased and opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats.

The IS branch in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula - responsible for some of the deadliest terror attacks a year ago - held Hamas responsible for the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and criticised it for "following in the footsteps of the disbelieving West", a report in The Washington Post said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said it is investigating whether the teen was holding a firearm, a claim witnesses and medics deny.

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