Palestinian Women Shield Fighters

Palestinian mothers and wives braved Israeli helicopter gunships Friday, November 3, to rescue 15 fighters besieged in a northern Gaza mosque, using their bodies as human shields.

Palestinian Women Shield Fighters

"We risked our lives to free our sons," said Um Mohammed, a woman in her 40s, after the daring rescue that followed protests against a bloody Israeli operation in the northern Gaza Strip that has killed 24 Palestinians, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Fighters from various resistance groups, including Hamas, had been besieged in the Al-Nasr mosque since Thursday, November 2, seeking protection from Operation Autumn Clouds, one of the biggest Israeli incursions in Gaza for the past four months.

Braving gunfire and tanks, around 400 women and other demonstrators gathered to protest against the Israelis at one of the entrances to the town. Three of them, one a woman, were killed and another 25 people were wounded, medics said.

Around 200 women then left the main protest to march on and enter the mosque around 700 metres (yards) away to collect the gunmen, before walking out again, cloaking the fighters in the middle of their heavily veiled ranks.

None of the fighters could be seen amid the dozens of women, who were dressed for the most part from head to toe in black.

Throughout the rescue bid, Israeli helicopter gunships opened fire -- not specifically at the women, but intending to scare them and separate their ranks, but without success. Two women were wounded, medics said.

The women and fighters they were protecting ran as far as Izbat Beit Hanun, an area northwest of the town not being occupied by Israeli army.

"Hundreds of us entered the mosque and surrounded the resistance fighters to protect them," said one of the women, 21-year-old Nidaa Al-Radih.

Elderly Palestinians and children are still holed up inside the mosque, where the compound wall and entrance gate have been partially destroyed by Israeli shellfire and bulldozers, witnesses said.

Toll Climbing

Palestinians pay their last respect of one of their relatives killed by Israel in Beit Hanun. (Reuters)

Israel pressed ahead with its deadly Gaza offensive Friday, November 3, taking to 25 the number of people killed, including women and children.

In addition to the three killed in the women's protest, an Israeli aircraft attacked a vehicle transporting four members of Hamas' armed wing in the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiya, according to a medical source and witnesses.

Five people were also wounded in the attack on the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades members, added the medical official.

Witnesses said Omar Mushtaha, a chief of a local unit of the Hamas armed wing was among those killed.

The four men had stopped near a mosque to pray when their vehicle was hit by a missile, witnesses said.

"We will respond vigorously to these assassinations of the sons of Hamas. These assassinations will only make our resistance stronger," said Brigades spokesman Abu Obeida.

A fifth Hamas member was killed by gunfire from Israeli soldiers at Beit Hanun.

Suheib Aduane, 21, was a bodyguard for the Palestinian government's refugees minister, Hamas member Atef Aduane.

A four-year-old boy, Bara Fayyad, also died from his wounds suffered on Wednesday during the first day of the incursion in Beit Hanun, which has been completely occupied by Israeli troops.

Four other people were also wounded early Friday in an air strike on Jabaliya.

More than 70 people, including three women and 10 children, have been wounded since Israeli forces launched its offensive early Wednesday, November 1.

Palestinian security sources said around 100 Palestinians had been detained during the operation.

The Gaza assault is one of the biggest in the Palestinian territories since Israel launched an offensive in Gaza in June under the pretext of releasing an Israeli soldier taken prisoner by resistance fighters in a cross-border raid.

More than 280 Palestinians have been killed in the four-month-old offensive, about half of them civilians. Three Israeli soldiers have been killed.

Israel theoretically withdrew its army and Jewish settlers from Gaza last year after a 38-year occupation, but continuing Israeli blockade and checkpoint closures turned the tiny Strip into an open-air prison for the Palestinians.

Friday's deaths brings to 5,489 the number of people killed since the start of the second Palestinian Intifada in September 2000, the vast majority of them Palestinians, according to an AFP count.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16