Blair named Mideast envoy, Israel kills 12 in Gaza
Wed Jun 27, 2007 5:41PM EDT
By Adam Entous
Well, let's see what about Blair's appointment caused Israelis to kill a dozen Palestinians in Gaza.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - World powers named Tony Blair as their Middle East peace envoy on Wednesday, handing the outgoing British prime minister a daunting new challenge on a day Israeli forces killed 12 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The Quartet of international mediators -- the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia -- made the announcement shortly after Blair handed power to party colleague Gordon Brown. Last-minute Russian hesitation was overcome.
Blair, who led Britain for 10 years, has strong backing from U.S. President George W. Bush. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the appointment as an opportunity to revive stalled peace efforts.
But the Islamist Hamas movement that routed Abbas's secular forces in Gaza two weeks ago, complicating efforts to found a Palestinian state in both the coastal enclave and the inland West Bank, derided Blair as pro-Israeli....
Oh, wait... turns out the Israelis weren't rampaging against the Blair appointment, they were fighting terrorists.
Israeli forces killed at least 12 Palestinians, mostly gunmen but also a 12-year-old boy and other civilians, on Wednesday in the deadliest raid in the Gaza Strip since Hamas seized the territory, medical workers said.
Israel's operation in Gaza City and the southern town of Khan Younis appeared to signal it intended to keep strong military pressure on Hamas along with efforts to isolate the movement financially and politically.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the Israeli incursion was part of a "conspiracy in which Abbas is a participant and which is aimed at pressuring Hamas and the people of Gaza".
Four of the nine militants killed in the Israeli operation belonged to Hamas. Gaza residents said gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades and detonated explosive devices in confrontations with Israeli infantry and armour.
Medical workers and residents said a shell fired by an Israeli tank exploded near a house in Gaza City, causing the deaths of the 12-year-old boy and two men. Their bodies were shredded by shrapnel. Residents said the men were civilians.
An Israeli military spokesman said a tank shell fired in Gaza City's Shejaia neighborhood was aimed at a gunman, and he had no information about a house being hit. Residents said tanks in the area later withdrew towards the Israeli frontier.
Two Israeli soldiers were wounded by an anti-tank missile.
Those crazy Reuters headline writers! They're almost as funny as the Reuters photo stringers, aren't they?