Israeli peace activist: Hamas leader Jabari killed amid talks on long-term truce
Hours before Hamas strongman Ahmed Jabari was assassinated, he received the draft of a permanent truce agreement with Israel, which included mechanisms for maintaining the cease-fire in the case of a flare-up between Israel and the factions in the Gaza Strip. This, according to Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, who helped mediate between Israel and Hamas in the deal to release Gilad Shalit and has since then maintained a relationship with Hamas leaders.
Baskin told Haaretz on Thursday that senior officials in Israel knew about his contacts with Hamas and Egyptian intelligence aimed at formulating the permanent truce, but nevertheless approved the assassination.
“I think that they have made a strategic mistake," Baskin said, an error "which will cost the lives of quite a number of innocent people on both sides."
"This blood could have been spared. Those who made the decision must be judged by the voters, but to my regret they will get more votes because of this,” he added.
The story behind the photo: Journalist’s 11-month-old son killed in Gaza strikes
The front page photo on Thursday’s Washington Post tells, in a single frame, a very personal story from Wednesday’s Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. Jihad Misharawi, a BBC Arabic journalist who lives in Gaza, carries the body of his 11-month old son, Omar, through al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.
An Israeli round hit Misharawi’s four-room home in Gaza Wednesday, killing his son, according to BBC Middle East bureau chief Paul Danahar, who arrived in Gaza earlier Thursday. Misharawi’s sister-in-law was also killed, and his brother wounded. Misharawi told Danahar that, when the round landed, there was no fighting in his residential neighborhood.
“We’re all one team in Gaza,” Danahar told me, saying that Misharawi is a BBC video and photo editor. After spending a “few hours” with his grieving colleague, he wrote on Twitter, ”Questioned asked here is: if Israel can kill a man riding on a moving motorbike (as they did last month) how did Jihad’s son get killed.”
War looms over Gaza as death toll rises
A Hamas rocket killed three Israelis north of the Gaza Strip on Thursday, drawing the first blood from Israel as the Palestinian death toll rose to 15 in a military showdown lurching closer to all-out war and an invasion of the enclave.
On the second day of an assault Israel said might last many days and culminate in a ground attack, its warplanes bombed targets in and around Gaza city, where tall buildings trembled.
Plumes of smoke and dust furled into a sky laced with the vapor trails of outgoing rockets.
The sudden conflict, launched by Israel with the killing of Hamas's military chief, pours oil on the fire of a Middle East already ablaze with two years of revolution and an out-of-control civil war in Syria. Palestinian allies, led by Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, denounced the Israeli offensive.
Egyptian authorities open Rafah crossing for Palestinian injured
BBC in Gaza understands that egypt is actively trying to mediate between Israel & Hamas over fighting
Reports that Hisham Qandil, the Egyptian PM visiting Gaza tomorrow
https://twitter.com/BreakingNewsA rocket fired from Gaza struck Israel's largest city, Tel Aviv, no casualties but not even Hezbollah reached so far in 2006
Rocket did not strike Tel Aviv, Israeli military spokesperson says; security source says it landed in sea - @Reuters
Huge explosion near our bureau in Gaza few moments ago not sure what got hit
And missile just took off not far from our bureau in Gaza going in other direction