Biden: US seeks new ways to address Gaza problems

Vice President speaks from the Red Sea in Egypt

Topics: Israel Flotilla Attack, Israel, Egyptian Protests,

Vice President Joe Biden says the U.S. and its allies are looking for new ways to address a range of problems in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Biden spoke Monday at a Red Sea resort in Egypt after meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. He said the U.S. is closely consulting with Egypt and other partners on how to “address the humanitarian, economic, security, and political aspects of the situation in Gaza.”

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s navy killed four Palestinian militants in diver suits off the coast of Gaza early Monday in the first violence at sea since a deadly raid against an international flotilla last week killed nine pro-Palestinian activists and set off an international storm of criticism against Israel.

In Istanbul, a 20-member Asian security group kicked off a summit with Turkey seeking to condemn Israel for last Monday’s raid.

Israel, along with Egypt, has been enforcing a blockade of Gaza since 2007, when the Islamic militant Hamas seized the territory. Israel hoped it would weaken Hamas, prevent the entry of weapons and press for the release of an Israeli soldier captured in 2006, but the objectives have not been achieved.

The blockade has been highlighted with the Israeli interception of the Gaza-bound ships and has prompted growing calls for Israel to lift or at least ease it.

In Monday’s incident, a naval force spotted Palestinians in diving suits in the waters off Gaza and opened fire, the military said. It said its forces prevented an attack on Israeli targets, but did not provide any further details.

In a text message sent to reporters in Gaza, Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades — a violent offshoot of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction — said the four men killed were members of its marine unit who were training in Gaza’s waters.

The message said more details would be available at a press conference later Monday.

You Might Also Like

Four bodies were retrieved and taken to a hospital in central Gaza, said Moawiya Hassanain, a Palestinian health official. The Palestinian naval police said two people were still missing.

Also Monday, Palestinian officials said Israel fired a missile at Palestinian militants near the Gaza border, wounding one. The military said it targeted a group of militants preparing to fire rockets at Israel. The military said 10 rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza in the past three weeks.

“The bloody escalation today is a desperate attempt by the occupation government to divert the world attention away from the massacre committed against the flotilla,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told reporters in Gaza.

A week after the raid, its fallout continued to reverberate around the world.

Turkey, most important ally of Israel in the Muslim world, has said it will reduce military and trade ties with Israel and shelved discussions of energy projects. It has also threatened to break ties unless Israel apologizes for the raid last week.

Israel’s government has been frantically trying to counter the wave of harsh international condemnation that has left the Jewish state isolated and at odds with some of its closest allies.

Israel has sought to portray the nine killed activists — eight Turks and a 19-year-old boy who held dual Turkish-U.S. citizenship — as terrorists, saying they prepared for the fight before boarding the flotilla. The military Monday released the names of five of the activists it said have long ties to terror organizations.

The army also said that Gaza’s Hamas rulers were preventing the transfer of clothing, blankets and medical equipment from the flotilla that Israel was trying to provide.

Israel has also come under heavy pressure to agree to an international investigation of the raid on the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, the lead ship in the flotilla.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a proposal by U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon for an international commission to investigate the raid, but officials said Netanyahu was open to a probe that would look into the actions of the activists as well.

Late Sunday, Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying he discussed the international criticism with world leaders, including Vice President Joe Biden, the president of France and the premier of Canada. Netanyahu told them any country would act in self defense if it were targeted by thousands of rockets as Israel has been by Gaza militants.

Netanyahu told his Cabinet earlier Sunday that “dozens of thugs” from “an extremist, terrorism-supporting” organization had readied themselves for the arrival of the naval commandos. He said they organized and boarded the ship separately from the other activists with a clear hostile intent.

Videos released by the military have shown a crowd of men attacking several naval commandos as they landed on a ship from a helicopter, beating the soldiers with clubs and other objects and hurling one soldier overboard.

On Saturday, Israel commandeered another aid ship without incident. All 19 activists, including a Nobel Peace laureate, and crew were deported Sunday.

Israel and the West consider Hamas a terror group responsible for firing thousands of rockets at Israel and carrying out hundreds of attacks, including suicide bombings. Hamas does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, and Egypt fears the influence of Hamas radicals on its own Islamists.


Associated Press Writer Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, and Selcan Hacaoglu in Istanbul contributed to this report.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>