[QODLink]
Middle East
Palestinians wounded in Israeli air strikes
At least 19 people, including children, injured in military attacks on Gaza Strip, witnesses say.
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2011 03:17
The Israeli army confirmed conducting the raids, saying Hamas-affiliated fighters had been targeted [AFP]

At least 19 people, including children, have been wounded in a series of Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, Palestinian emergency workers said.

Witnesses and medics said Israeli jets carried out at least six air strikes late on Monday in the northern town of Beit Lahiya and Gaza City.

Witnesses said a security compound for Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, a training camp north of the city and a brickworks and metal foundry in northern Gaza were among the targets.

An Israeli military spokesman said aircraft attacked a total of six targets, including two arms manufacturing facilities and two "terror tunnels" which he said were intended for staging attacks under the border fence into Israel.

He said that the raids were in response to a wave of 56 rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza into Israel since Saturday and that the military held Hamas "solely responsible for terrorist activity in the Gaza Strip and warns Hamas not to continue its aggression".

Cross-border fire

The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, had earlier said it would stop cross-border fire into Israel if the Israelis halted attacks on Gaza.

It said rocket fire into Israel on Saturday had been in response to an Israeli strike last week which killed two of its members, but the group said it was ready to call an end to the tit-for-tat violence if Israel also did so.

"If the enemy stops the escalation and aggression against our people we will implement the Palestinian national agreement," the AFP news agency reported, citing a statement from the group.

The statement referenced a truce reaffirmed by Gaza's main armed factions in January.

The offer, however, came with a warning attached: "The enemy will pay a heavy price if it continues its aggression and crimes against our people in the Gaza Strip."

Informal truce

In a later statement, Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu said the movement's Gaza government was committed to preserving the informal truce, with the backing of other groups, AFP reported.

"The government affirms that there is consensus among the factions regarding the security situation in the Strip," he said.

Also on Monday, Danny Ayalon, Israel's deputy foreign minister, issued a threat against Hamas leaders.

"If Hamas decides to escalate, we will put an end to it... We have several actions before putting ground forces in Gaza, including direct threats against Hamas leaders," Ayalon told public radio.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The conservative UMP party suffers from crippling internal divisions and extreme debt from mismanagement.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
join our mailing list