Protestors storm UN compound in Gaza

Hamas leader calls on members to "surprise" Israel with more attacks.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
July 31, 2006 00:24
2 minute read.
pro hizbullah rally gaza 298.88

pro hizbullah rally gaza. (photo credit: AP)

 
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Palestinians stormed a UN compound on Sunday during a protest against Israeli airstrikes and the deaths of dozens of civilians in Kana, Lebanon, and security officials fired into the air to disperse them. The protesters smashed windows of the UNSCO building with rocks after marching through Gaza City in the demonstration. At least seven people were wounded, including four policemen, officials at the Al-Quds and Shifa hospitals said. Five of the injured were hit by rocks and the other two by ricochets from the gunfire, the officials said. The protesters - who were waving Lebanese and Hizbullah flags, and burning UN flags - quickly dispersed when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered Presidential Guards and Palestinian police to close the compound. Besides the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator, the compound also includes UN headquarters, the World Bank and the presidential Guest Palace, where important guests visiting the Gaza Strip stay. UN envoy Alvaro De Soto said some local UN staffers were evacuated from the building at the time of the attack. Asked why the UN was targeted, he said in an interview: "They were venting their anger against the international community about the current situations" in Gaza and Lebanon. At least 56 people, more than half of them children, were killed Sunday following an Israeli airstrike on Kana, Lebanon, infuriating Lebanese officials and leading other countries to step up their calls for an immediate cease-fire in Israel's offensive in Lebanon. "Today is the day of rage," said a chant blasted from a loudspeaker during Sunday's anti-Israel, pro-Hizbullah march through Gaza City. "From Gaza to Kana, a flood of Arab blood is streaming," read one poster held up by young Palestinians. Protesters held empty coffins covered with pictures of young Palestinians killed in the month-long offensive in Gaza. "Yesterday in Gaza, today in Lebanon. Where is it going to be next?" asked Amer al-Sawafiri, a government employee who took part in the protest. Osama Hamdan, a Hamas leader in Lebanon, told the Arab satellite news channel Al-Jazeera that the Kana attack would be met with an escalation of militant operations against Israel. "The resistance now is interested in escalating its operations. I think this resistance is responsible to protect not only the Lebanese and Palestinian people," he said. He called on Hamas field leaders to "surprise" Israel with more attacks. Palestinian leaders on Sunday condemned Israel's attack on the Lebanese village of Kana and called for an immediate cease-fire in southern Lebanon. Abbas, on a tour of foreign countries, condemned the attack in the "strongest possible terms," said Palestinian lawmaker Saeb Erekat, an Abbas confidant. Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called the Kana attack a "horrific" war against humanity, and accused Israel of endangering regional stability. "Today we are witnessing a horrific war against humanity and all values and morals whether in Palestine or Lebanon," Haniyeh said at the start of a Cabinet meeting in Gaza City. "It is (Israel) that threatens the security of the peoples and stability of the region ... by intentionally killing civilians, and expanding the circle of war." Haniyeh called on the United Nations to impose penalties on Israel.

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