Palestinians retaliate for Israeli killings

Palestinian resistance fighters have fired rockets at an Israeli settlement in the occupied Gaza Strip, leaving two people dead in retaliation for a spate of Israeli strikes that have left a resistance leader and activists killed.

    Civilians were forced to flee their homes during the Israeli strike

    Another nine people were reported injured in the strike on the Sderot Jewish settlement-illegal under international law- on Monday, launched hours after Israeli helicopters pounded Gaza City.

    Occupation forces fired 10 missiles at two metal workshops, setting off fire and causing damage but no major injuries. Israeli occupation soldiers also shot dead a Palestinian truck driver and wounded a second in southern Gaza.

    Tensions have been running high across the occupied Palestinian territories after a deadly Israeli raid left a top leader from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades dead in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus on Saturday.

    Another six Palestinian activists were killed in the same attack. Palestinian resistance fighters have vowed to retaliate for the killings.

    Some Israeli soldiers were hurt
    under the rubble

    Late on Sunday Palestinian resistance fighters detonated explosives in a tunnel they dug underneath an occupation army checkpoint, leaving at least one Israeli soldier dead and five others wounded.

    The resistance movement Hamas claimed responsibility for the operation in a phone call to Aljazeera. It took place at the illegal Gush Katif junction near Gaza's biggest bloc of settlements.

    The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades also claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement saying it came in retaliation for the assassination of Hamas leaders Shaikh Ahamd Yasin and Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi and the activists killed in Nablus.

    Shortly after the army post was blown up Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinians, including a 15-year-old boy, in the Gaza town of Khan Yunis.

    Israel also slapped a travel restriction in Gaza again, slicing the strip into three parts and preventing travel between the northern and southern areas.

    Mourners vow revenge

    Some 30,000 Palestinians took to the streets of Nablus on Sunday to bury Nayif Abu Sharikh, the senior commander in the West Bank of al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades; Fadi al-Bahti, a local leader of Islamic Jihad; and Jafar al-Masri, a commander of the armed wing of Hamas.

    The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades is the armed wing of Palestinian President Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement.

    The burst of violence came as Palestinian resistance groups held talks on their role if Israel goes ahead with its plan for a unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

    It seems unlikely that a spike in fighting will prevent the pullback. More resistance attacks are expected ahead of the withdrawal, to be completed by the end of 2005.

    Resistance groups want to step up strikes to portray the withdrawal as a hasty pullback while Israel hopes to crush the groups to weaken their ability to attack Israel.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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