Civilian killed in Israeli air strike on Gaza building
May 21, 2007 - 3:21:26 PM
Gaza City/Tel Aviv, May 21 - An Israeli air strike on a Gaza City building block factory killed a 28-year-old civilian and injured at least three other people overnight, Palestinian medical officials said Monday.
An Israeli military spokesman said the factory was used by the ruling Palestinian Hamas movement to manufacture Qassam rockets.
Three Palestinian children aged five, nine and 11 were also injured when a tank shell hit their house in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya before dawn.
The Israeli military confirmed Israeli tanks fired two shells in the direction of Beit Lahiya, targeting militants who had just launched two Qassam rockets from the area.
Israeli aircraft also targeted a weapons workshop of the smaller, radical Islamic Jihad faction in Gaza City, and another in the central Gaza town of Nusseirat.
Earlier, an Israeli airstrike late Sunday near the house of a senior Hamas lawmaker killed seven male members of Khalil al-Haiya's extended family - aged 16 to 65 - and a bodyguard.
Israel said it targeted a group of five armed Hamas militants in the street, but a Hamas statement said only two of the dead were members of its military wing.
Al-Haiya headed the Hamas faction in the Palestinian parliament until former interior minister Said Siam replaced him after the formation of the Hamas-Fatah unity government on March 17.
Despite threats by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to step up strikes against Hamas and Islamic Jihad faction in response to their rocket fire, militants of the group continued to pelt southern Israel with rockets.
At least four rockets fell around Sderot, a town located some five kilometres north-east of the Strip which has borne the brunt of more than 150 rockets launched at southern Israel during the past week.
Olmert's cabinet Sunday authorized targeted killings of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad military commanders.
The cabinet for the time being did not authorize the Israel Air Force to strike at Hamas' political leaders, but warned they should 'not feel safe.'
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