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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

U.S. and international news media are falsely portraying an Israeli air strike against a Hamas-run university in the Gaza Strip. They are reporting that a “woman’s wing” was targeted, when, according to the Israeli military, the target was a weapons lab in the school’s chemistry department.

In the past, senior Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, speaking on the record, told this column that the Islamic University’s chemistry department is used to manufacture explosives for use against Israel.

In a series of Israeli air raids on Sunday, one precision strike hit a building of Gaza’s Islamic University. A widely circulated Associated Press report claimed, “One strike destroyed a five-story building in the women’s wing at Islamic University, one of the most prominent Hamas symbols in Gaza.”

Similar reports were released by CNN, BBC, the UK’s Independent, Reuters, and a host of other agencies, resulting in at least 1,200 English-language articles making the claim.

Avital Lebovich, a spokeswoman for the Israel Defense Forces, told WorldNetDaily that Israel only targeted one chemical laboratory at Islamic University, which she said was used for the manufacturing of Hamas explosives. The building targeted doesn’t even have a women’s wing, she said.

Officials from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party claimed in February 2007 that they captured seven Iranian military trainers – including a general of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards – inside Islamic University, which they said was being utilized as a Hamas military training ground. According to the officials, they also found about 1,000 Kassam rockets and equipment to manufacture rockets. Kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit may also have been held on the university’s grounds for a period of time, they said.

In a 2007 interview, Muhammad Abel-Al, a leader and spokesman of the Popular Resistance Committees, a Hamas-affiliated terror group, told this column that members of his group study chemistry at the university to aid in the manufacturing of explosives and suicide belts.

Also falsely reported by the media were initial casualty counts in the first day of Israel’s operation. At first, much of the Western news media parroted Hamas claims that 205 people were killed Saturday and that two-thirds of the casualties were civilian. However, Hamas later admitted that at least 180 Hamas operatives were killed, prompting the media to changed their tune. Israel says the vast majority of casualties were Hamas operatives.

Palestinian Girl Blames Hamas
For Sister’s Death

A Palestinian girl who said she lost a four-year-old sister during Israel’s air strikes in the Gaza Strip placed the blame for the violence squarely on Hamas, making her statements live on the terrorist group’s official television network.

“We were sleeping, seven girls in the room. My four-year-old sister next to me was dead,” the girl said, talking to Hamas’s Al Aqsa TV. “I say Hamas is the cause, in the first place, of all wars,” she declared.

The interview was translated from Arabic by the Israeli-based Palestinian Media Watch organization.

The IDF has been careful to minimize civilian casualties. It has carried out precision strikes during specific times when it believes collateral damage will be limited. Several times the IDF sent out Arabic text messages to Gaza residents warning civilians who are in Hamas militant zones to immediately vacate.

Hamas operates from densely populated civilian areas. At least two of the terror group’s main training headquarters in the central Gaza Strip border girls’ schools. Multiple other Hamas military centers abut mosques, civilian apartment complexes and health clinics, according to Israeli defense sources.

Abbas Lobbied For
Israeli Gaza Operation?

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his office on Saturday slammed as “barbaric” and “unnecessary” Israel’s air strikes in Gaza, but according to top diplomatic sources in Jerusalem, Abbas for months now has been petitioning Israel to launch a massive military raid against his Hamas rivals in Gaza.

The sources, speaking to WND on condition of anonymity, said Abbas and his top representatives have waged a quiet campaign for months asking the Israeli government to target Hamas in Gaza just before his term in office is scheduled to expire on Jan. 9.

Hamas leaders have repeatedly warned they will not recognize Abbas after the 9th, and that they will launch a major campaign to delegitimize the PA president and install their own figures to lead the Palestinian government. Abbas apparently hopes that a large-scale Israeli military campaign in Gaza will distract Hamas from attempting to undermine his rule and will weaken the group so that it will desire to form a unity government, diplomatic sources told WND.

Hamas Leaders
Warn Of ‘Surprises’

During exclusive interviews with this column, leaders of Hamas and an allied terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip claimed they have “surprises” in store for Israel as the Jewish state continues its aerial bombardment of Hamas targets in Gaza.

The threats come as information from Israeli defense officials indicates Gaza-based terrorists have long-range rockets capable of reaching just outside Tel Aviv if launched from the northern Gaza Strip.

A Grad rocket fired on Sunday landed near Gan Yavne in south Israel, an area that is just a 15-minute highway ride from Tel Aviv. The IDF issued a statement claiming the rocket was launched from northern Gaza. This column, though, has obtained specific information indicating that the rocket was actually fired from just outside the Egyptian embassy in central Gaza, meaning that if the same rocket had been launched from northern Gaza it could have reached outside Bat Yam, a satellite town of Tel Aviv.

When asked whether Gaza rockets have the capability of reaching Tel Aviv, IDF spokeswoman Avital Lebovich said, “Hamas can have a variety of capabilities.”

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading U.S. radio programs and is the author of the book “Schmoozing with Terrorists.” 

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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