Gaza pounded after Israeli killed

Israel carries out more air raids after Qassam rocket kills Israeli woman in Sderot.

    Israel struck two Gaza targets and
    Palestinian rockets hit Sderot [Reuters]
    The air raids came after the Israeli woman and at least five Palestinians were killed on Monday.
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    In yet another attack, an Israeli fighter jet fired two missiles at a post that Hamas's Executive Force had evacuated in the northern Gaza Strip, slightly wounding a passer-by, Hamas and local residents said.
    Hamas's armed wing said it fired two rockets at Sderot early on Tuesday.
    Israel, in turn, threatened to kill Hamas leaders and launch a ground offensive in Gaza unless international pressure was brought on the  group to halt cross-border rocket attacks.

    On Tuesday, asked if Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian prime minister, was on Israel's hit-list, Ephraim Sneh, Israel's deputy defence minister, said: "I'll put it like this - there is no one who is in the circle of commanders and leaders in Hamas who is immune from a strike."
    Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas official, said in response in Gaza: "Any harm to Prime Minister Haniya or any Hamas leader would mean a change in the rules of the game and the occupation (Israel) must be ready to pay an unprecedented price."

    No distinction
    Eariler, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Israel's national infrastructure minister, told Israel Radio: "I don't distinguish between those who carry out the [rocket] attacks and those who give the orders. I say we have to put them all in the crosshairs."

    The Sderot woman was the first Israeli fatality
    from a Palestinian missile in six months [AFP]

    Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, said: "It is our obligation to harm the rocket launchers and our obligation is to continue to harm Hamas."
    Islamic Jihad and Hamas both claimed responsibility for the Sderot attack.
    On Monday, an Israeli air strike killed at least four members of Islamic Jihad who Israel said were involved in launching rockets.
    One man was killed in an earlier Israeli air strike on what it called a rocket-manufacturing facility and Palestinians described as a stonemason's shop.
    Internal conflict
    At the same time, Fatah and Hamas leaders have struggled to maintain calm among their own fighters following weeks of internal conflict.

    Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader and Palestinian president, predicted that Israel's attacks would have "grave consequences for the entire region".
    He urged Palestinian fighters to stop their rocket fire "so as not to give the Israelis the excuse they use to justify their attacks that have killed innocent victims", Nabil Amr, his spokesman, said.
    Abbas planned to go to Gaza later on Tuesday to speak to leaders about maintaining law and order, Ziad Abu Amr, the Palestinian foreign minister, said.

    Invasion fears
    Palestinians fear Israel may soon launch a ground incursion into Gaza should the violence continue.

    Palestinians inspect a workshop in Gaza
    destroyed by an Israeli air raid [Reuters] 

    Several vehicles and artillery batteries have been stationed near the northern border for days but the Israeli security cabinet has so far ruled out a ground war.
    In Gaza, Palestinian women dressed in black, donning masks with the words "al-Aqsa Brigades", which is part of Fatah, and clutching rifles told reporters they were ready to commit suicide bombings against any Israeli troops who entered Gaza.
    A day after an Israeli air strike on the home of Hamas politician Khalil al-Hayya, thousands of Hamas supporters took to the streets of Gaza City and fighters fired into the air, vowing revenge.
    Haniya said at the funeral service: "We will keep to the same path until we win one of two goals: victory or martyrdom."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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