Israel hits Hamas politician's home

Palestinian president calls for international intervention as Israel pounds Gaza.

    The remnants of what Israel said was a rocket-manufacturing facility [GALLO/GETTY]

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    In another air strike, Israel bombed what it said was a rocket manufacturing plant of the Islamic Jihad group, wounding two people, medics said.

    Early on Monday, Palestinian medics said a Hamas member had been shot and wounded by an Israeli aircraft while riding a bicycle.
    The strikes also knocked out electricity for about 50,000 people in Nozeirat and a nearby refugee camp in central Gaza, witnesses said.
    Israeli tanks also fired several volleys at other targets in Gaza, including the home of a Hamas fighter in Beit Lahiya, wounding him and four of his children, Palestinian security sources and medics said.

    An Israeli army spokeswoman said the troops had targeted "a place from where there had been two rocket firings at Sderot".



    Eight Palestinians, including seven family members of Khalil al-Hayya, a prominent Palestinian member of parliament in Gaza, were killed in an air raid on Sunday.


    Khalil al-Hayya (C), the Hamas legislator, lost
    his wife and six other family members [AFP]

    An Israeli military spokeswoman said Israel had killed five Hamas fighters suspected of involvement in firing rockets, but denied aiming for al-Hayya's home.


    Seven members of al-Hayya's family, including his wife, were killed and 13 people were injured.


    Al-Hayya, one of Hamas's highest ranking politicians, was not at home at the time of the attack.


    At the al-Shifa hospital, where the wounded were taken, hundreds of supporters surrounded the politician as he said: "We will go ahead despite the challenges, despite the martyrs, despite the pain that I am suffering and my people are suffering."


    'Earthquake response'


    Hamas vowed its "response will be like an earthquake".


    Gaza Voices

    Palestinians ask: 'Where are we headed?'

    A top aide to Abbas condemned Israel for the strike at al-Hayya's home which was Israel's deadliest in Gaza in about a year.

    "This escalation will lead the Middle East to more violence and instability," Nabil Abu Rdainah said.


    On Sunday, Israel threatened to escalate its military operations, focusing on Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, but stopped short of approving a large-scale ground invasion.


    Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, said on Sunday: "If the measured steps we are taking, in the political and military sphere, do not bring about the desired calm, we will be forced to intensify our response."




    About a dozen Israelis have been wounded by rockets from Gaza in the past week, prompting panic and leading Israel to partly evacuate the hardest hit town of Sderot over the weekend.


    In Sderot, protesters called on the government
    to act to stop the rocket attacks [Reuters]

    In Sderot, protesters called on the government to act to stop the attacks.


    Meanwhile, Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's strategic affairs minister, threatened to pull his party out of the government unless Olmert ordered a large-scale operation against Hamas.


    "Either Hamas is going to be dismantled, or the government is going to be dismantled," Lieberman said in a statement. "This is not an ultimatum, but these are the options."


    Also on Sunday, Israel moved an undisclosed number of tanks, armoured vehicles and ground forces into areas just inside the Gaza border.




    The Israeli air raids came as a ceasefire, established late on Saturday between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, took effect after a week of fighting.


    Hamas and Fatah fighters, who controlled the streets and took over apartment buildings last week, dismantled roadblocks and scaled back their ground presence.


    Some in Gaza felt that the Israeli military action contributed to the establishment of the ceasefire.


    "No one would condone fighting one another while the Israelis are shelling Gaza," said Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman.


    More than 50 Palestinians were killed in factional fighting between Abbas's Fatah and Hamas.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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