Sunday, February 01, 2009

IAF strikes 6 targets in central, south Gaza

From Ynet News, 2/1/09, by Reuters:

Military confirms Israeli fighter jets target Hamas security headquarters, smuggling tunnels hours after PM Olmert vowed 'disproportionate' response to rocket, mortar fire that injured three Israelis

...Security sources confirmed the strike, citing that the Israeli Air Force struck six targets in Gaza during the evening hours.

The targets included a Hamas stronghold, and several tunnels on the Philadelphi Route. According to the sources, the fire triggered several explosions, indicating that Hamas as resumed its arms smugglings. No casualties were reported.

One attack was on a security headquarters in a village in central Gaza that residents said had been vacated after Israel telephoned warnings to Palestinians to leave buildings that housed any weapons.

About a dozen rockets and mortar bombs fired from Gaza struck Israel on Sunday. Three Israelis were wounded, including two soldiers and the first Israeli civilian hurt since a Jan. 18 truce ended Israel's 22-day offensive in the coastal enclave. They suffered shrapnel injuries, medics said.

...Israeli leaders have taken a hard line against rocket fire in the run-up to a Feb. 10 national election, which opinion polls predict right-wing leader Benjamin Netanyahu will win.

"The government's position was from the outset that if there is shooting at the residents of the south, there will be a harsh Israeli response that will be disproportionate," Olmert, who is not a candidate, said at the weekly cabinet meeting.

"We will act according to new rules which will ensure that we will not be drawn into a war of incessant shooting on the southern border, which would deprive the residents of the south of a normal life," he said, without elaborating.

Palestinians in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, not far from the village targeted, received recorded voice messages by telephone warning "everybody who is near any place used for terror or weapon storage facility or tunnels, should evacuate the area immediately."

Similar warnings have preceded Israeli attacks in the past....

...Since the truce, in addition to Sunday's injuries, an Israeli soldier was killed and three others were wounded when a bomb exploded next to their patrol. Israeli air strikes since Jan. 18 have killed three Palestinians and wounded 10....

...Netanyahu said Israel should make "a decisive and strong" response to the latest rockets. "No matter how strong the blows that Hamas received from Israel, that's not enough," he said.
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