Gaza militant group vows revenge for deadly Israeli raid

GAZA CITY, Sakher Abu El Oun - Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets of Gaza on Saturday, firing guns into the air and vowing revenge at the funeral of three fighters killed in an Israeli air raid.
The brandishing of weapons in Gaza City was a rare show of force by the Islamic Jihad movement and came despite strict rules against the public display of arms enforced by the Islamist movement Hamas which rules the territory.

Gaza militant group vows revenge for deadly Israeli raid
"Take Revenge, take revenge, Sarayat al-Quds!" the crowds chanted, referring to Islamic Jihad's armed wing. "Respond, respond in Tel Aviv."
"We call on all Palestinian resistance factions to resume martyrdom operations inside the Zionist entity," one protest leader yelled through a megaphone, referring to suicide bombings.
It was the first time guns have been fired into the air during a protest since the end of Israel's offensive on Gaza at the turn of the year that killed more than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.
The protest erupted at the funerals of three Islamic Jihad fighters killed on Friday by Israeli aircraft in a strike that severely wounded three others.
Islamic Jihad, meanwhile, issued a statement blaming Israel for what it said was a "cowardly crime" and calling on all Palestinian armed groups to confront it.
Earlier in the day a rocket was fired from Gaza into Israel without wounding anyone, according to the Israeli military.
The military, which has only carried out a handful of deadly strikes since the end of the war, said the fighters were killed as they prepared to fire rockets.
Hamas, which has banned the bearing of weapons in public since it seized power in Gaza in June 2007, allowed the protest to proceed, while a spokesman linked the raid to US-led efforts to restart the peace process.
"What happened in Washington (sic) with the talks between (Palestinian president) Mahmud Abbas and (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu has merely beautified the ugly face of the occupation," Fawzi Barhum said.
"This crime makes clear the danger of any cooperation or negotiation or normalisation with the Zionist enemy," he added in a statement.
Netanyahu and Abbas held three-way talks this week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York with US President Barack Obama, who has been pressing them to relaunch peace negotiations.
The meeting, the first between Abbas and Netanyahu since the hawkish premier was sworn into office in late March, was inconclusive, and Abbas has said he will not hold talks with Israel until it halts all settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem.
Hamas, which drove Abbas's loyalists from Gaza in June 2007, is sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state.

Saturday, September 26th 2009
Sakher Abu El Oun

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