Friday, March 31, 2006

Israeli Planes Target Rocket Sites In Gaza

Israel carried out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip early on Friday morning, hitting roads and a bridge believed to be used by militants for firing rockets into Israel, the army said. An army spokesman said planes had launched two airstrikes on targets. Separately, in the worst spike in violence recently, a Palestinian suicide bomber killed at least three Israelis near a settlement in the West Bank on Thursday in an attack that a new Hamas-led government called a "natural response to Israeli crimes".
The violence comes in the week that Hamas took office and Israeli leader Ehud Olmert's party won elections with a platform of imposing a border in the occupied West Bank if peacemaking remains frozen. The new Hamas-led government is sworn to Israel's destruction. Hamas sources in Gaza had said earlier that Israeli aircraft had fired a missile at an empty training camp belonging to the Islamist group. The army said it had not targeted any Hamas sites in its airstrikes. Palestinian emergency services said the airstrike on the bridge had burst the main water pipe in the area causing flooding. There were no reports of casualties. The emergency services added that Hamas and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, part of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement, both had training bases close to the bridge. Earlier, Israeli planes carried out a further airstrike on a launch site used by militants to fire rockets into Israel. No casualties were reported. Artillery gunners also shelled open areas in the northern Gaza strip in response to recent rocket fire, which killed two Israelis earlier this week.