Situation in the Gaza Strip becomes more and more heated. No one expected the withdrawal to be smooth, but Israeli authorities still seem to unprepaired to the escalating tension.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered police to crack down on Jewish extremists after they were filmed violently attacking a Palestinian youth in the Gaza Strip.
"This bothers me exceptionally. This is an act of savagery, ," Sharon told the Haaretz daily in an interview published Thursday. "The country's citizens must understand this danger, and every measure must be taken to end this rampaging."
Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra said police were doing all they could to apprehend those behind the incident, which he called a "lynch" attempt. "We are obligated to find those who were behind this," he told Israel Radio.
According to International Press Center, Palestine, Israeli soldiers and settlers wounded four children in Khanyounis and Bethlehem.
As Pravda earlier reported, on Wednesday began Israeli authorities expelling a group of young Jewish settlers from an abandoned house where they set up an outpost near this Gaza settlement. A crowd of Jewish young radical nationalists started a fight with soldiers and, after being repulsed, the crowd headed toward the nearby Palestinian area of al-Mawasi, throwing stones, destroying houses.
During the violence a Palestinian youth was seriously wounded when some of the Jewish youths cornered him, throwing stones at him and beating him unconscious. The incident was caught on film and sparked widespread condemnation across Israel, reports AP.
According to CNN, also on Wednesday, an Israeli airstrike destroyed a Gaza warehouse, which the Israeli military said was used to store mortar rounds and rockets. A military spokesman added the strike came after Palestinian militants fired mortars at Israeli settlements in the territory.
A Thai worker at one settlement suffered minor injuries, the spokesman said. There were no reported casualties from the airstrike in the Palestinian town of Beit Hanoun.
The raid was the first to target suspected Palestinian weapons shops in several weeks. A June 21 raid targeted and missed an Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza.
The Israeli military plans to declare the Gaza Strip settlements a closed military area in the near future, possibly on Thursday, a defense official said on condition of anonymity, says AP. The army wants to close off the area to prevent Jewish extremists from entering the area, because the timing has not been determined. In Israel Sharon’s reaction to the clashes in the Gaza Strip was taken rather negatively. Israeli Arutz Sheva wonders, why Ariel Sharon “risks igniting a civil war among his own people.”