Israel presses on with Gaza raids

Israel has invaded the Gaza Strip for a second consecutive day amid calls from Hamas for retaliation against Israel in response to its assassination of Hamas founder and spiritual leader Shaikh Ahmad Yasin.

    Yasin's killing strengthened Hamas' calls to end occupation

    An Israeli helicopter fired a missile at a police post in the town of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip early on Thursday, leaving at least one policeman injured, said Palestinian security sources and witnesses.

    A column of Israeli armoured vehicles also invaded Khan Yunis, for the second day in a row.

    The column of 12 tanks and two bulldozers opened fire in the town, said Palestinian security sources.

    Occupation forces destroyed 10 civilian homes, leaving an unspecified number of Palestinians homeless, and uprooted trees.

    Israel has stepped up invasions and attacks in Gaza since its helicopter attack on Monday left Hamas leader Shaikh Yasin dead, along with nine others.

    Hamas political bureau chief Khalid Mishaal said the resistance group would target Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in response to Yasin’s killing.

    "Your leaders, chaired by Sharon, will only bring you destruction. Blood begets blood," said Syrian-based Mishaal. 

    Mourning 
     
    Tens off thousands of Palestinians took to the streets of Gaza on Thursday, marking the third and final day of mourning for Yasin.

    Khalid Mishaal has survived an
    Israeli attempt on his life

    Hamas leader Mahmud al-Zahhar, who is also on Israel’s hit-list, called on all the Palestinian Authority to unite with resistance factions in the face of Israeli aggression.

    "We are ready to share all efforts in order to dismiss the Israeli occupation and to establish a genuine, solid, fair peace," said al-Zahhar.

    Ignoring international condemnation for its policy of assassinations, Israel has vowed to take out Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi, Hamas’ newly appointed leader in Gaza, and Mishaal.

    Israel's Mossad tried to assassinate Mishaal once before. In 1997 Israeli agents posing as Canadian tourists in Jordan injected poison into Mishaal's ear.

    He was saved after late Jordanian King Husayn demanded the Israelis hand over the antidote.

    The other part of the deal was the return to Gaza of Yasin from his exile in Jordan.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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