Saturday, December 31, 2005

Palestinians blow up or seize UN drinking club.

Middle East: It all depends on which you trust, the AP or Reuters on this report.

Reuters: GAZA (Reuters) - Masked gunmen stormed into a club for United Nations workers in Gaza City on Sunday and blew up the drinking hall in a new sign of spiralling unrest ahead of a Palestinian election. It was the first such attack in Gaza on a U.N. target and came against a backdrop of growing unease among foreigners. Just over one day earlier, a group freed three British hostages that had been seized to demand foreign pressure on Israel. The bombing was another big blow for President Mahmoud Abbas, just hours after he had vowed to impose order ahead of a January 25 election and as militants announced the expiry of a de facto truce with Israel that they had followed at his behest. Gunmen burst into the U.N. club, one of the few places that alcohol is served in conservative Muslim Gaza. It had been closed for the day. The attackers tied up the security guard and struck him with gun butts. Then they set explosives in front of the bar, unrolled a detonator cable and blew up the charges, ripping up the roof and shattering the windows. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The United Nations is generally viewed with sympathy Gaza. Its agency supporting Palestinian refugees and their descendants, more than half of Gaza's 1.4 million population, is the second biggest employer after the Palestinian Authority. "The club has been there for 50 years," said one U.N. security worker. "This is the first time anything like this has happened."
AP says the club was seized with some damage done to the bar and liquor bottles and adds this interesting note that Reuters leaves out.
The U.N. club is known as the only place in Gaza City where alcohol is served, but it was closed when the attack took place around 2 a.m. local time. Only foreigners are allowed inside.
That seems rather discriminatory for the UN.

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