Weekend Wrap: June 17

Jihad leader killed in IAF airstrike in Gaza; PMO: No post-realignment concessions. [Video]

weekend wrap 88 (photo credit: )
weekend wrap 88
(photo credit: )
[For a Jerusalem Online video of events click here] Jihad leader killed in IAF strike The IAF killed two Islamic Jihad operatives wanted for launching Kassam rockets at Israel. A third person was wounded in the attack in northern Gaza on Friday night. Palestinian sources revealed that one of the dead was Imad Yassin, commander of the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Earlier in the day, MK Avigdor Lieberman (Israel Beiteinu) suggested that Israel level the homes of Hamas leaders in response to the continued launching of Kassam rockets from the Gaza Strip. He made the suggestion while visiting Sderot residents who have launched a hunger strike before the home of the defense minister in protest of the wave of rockets that have been fired at their city, especially in the last two weeks. Peres: We will soon talk to Abbas Israel will soon hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Vice Premier Shimon Peres said Friday on the eve of an international conference of heads of state and other leaders in Kazakhstan. "In a very short while, we shall start to talk with him," Peres said in an interview with foreign media. Peres said Abbas was a viable negotiating partner who was legitimately elected by his people. He said Palestinians must choose between the path of compromise that politics offers, or the "uncompromising" road of religion. Tape: Zarqawi's death 'a great loss' A major Iraqi insurgent figure says the US killing of the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq was a "great loss," but one that will strengthen the militants' determination, according to an audio tape broadcast by Al-Jazeera on Friday. The pan-Arab satellite channel said the tape bears the voice of Abu Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi, the head of the Mujahedeen Shura Council, which groups five Iraqi insurgent organizations including al-Qaida in Iraq. PMO: No post-realignment concessions Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is not willing to negotiate more territorial concessions with a prospective Palestinian partner after a unilateral Israel withdrawal from most of the West Bank, his associates said on Thursday at the conclusion of his five-day trip to Europe. Olmert raised eyebrows in a press conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street on Monday, when he talked about his willingness to evacuate "90 percent of the West Bank" and suggested that that there could be negotiations with a Palestinian partner after his realignment plan was implemented. Beirut to complain to UNSC about Israel The Lebanese government declared that it would launch a complaint to the United Nations Security Council against an Israeli spy network, which it claims has been operating in Lebanon, said Lebanese Information Minister Ghazi Aridi following a Cabinet meeting. Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr said Thursday that an Israeli aircraft detonated the car bomb that killed two Islamic Jihad officials in south Lebanon last month. IDF kills 3 Jihad operatives in Gaza Three Palestinians were killed Thursday night after they were struck by IAF-fired missiles as they tried planting an explosive device along the Gaza Strip security fence near the Kissufim crossing. The three were spotted by an IDF infantry unit that had laid an ambush on the Israeli side of the Gaza fence. The unit transmitted the coordinates of the terror cell to the IAF and an aircraft, already in the air, fired the missiles. The three were killed instantly. Israel to decide whaling's fate In a modern-day whaling drama, the Jewish state could cast the deciding ballot Friday in its first vote as a member of the International Whaling Commission. While fishing for votes this spring, the United States reeled in Israel as an ally to back whale-hunting limits. But Israel's stance will be put to the test when a series of polls are held at the IWC's annual meeting this weekend in St. Kitts and Nevis. Hamas says it will try to halt rockets The Hamas government wants to reach a cease-fire with Israel and will try to persuade other Palestinian factions to stop firing Kassam rockets, cabinet spokesman Ghazi Hamad announced on Thursday. He said this was conditional on Israel halting its attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. "This is not a new issue," he said. "We're not opposed to calm and stability in the area. The problem is with Israel, which is responsible for the latest escalation."