Israeli airstrike leaves three wounded in Gaza

Friday, December 24, 2010

GAZA - Israeli warplanes carried out three airstrikes late Friday against targets in the Gaza Strip, medical staff and witnesses said.

Israeli F-16s flying over the coastal enclave fired two missiles at susepcted smuggling tunnels on the border between southern Gaza and Egypt. No injuries were reported, witnesses said.

Israel said the tunnels are used for smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip for attacks against Israeli targets. The Palestinians said the tunnels are used to smuggle goods in defiance of the now-three-year Israeli blockade against Gaza, which is controlled by the Islamic Hamas movement.

The witnesses said that a second airstrike targeted another smuggling tunnel in the town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, against without reported casualties.

Medical sources said that three Palestinians were wounded in a third airstrike against a military training post belonging to al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas.

An Israeli army spokesman confirmed the three air raids, saying the strikes were in response to a homemade rocket fired earlier Friday by Gaza militant groups toward southern Israel.

The territory has recently seen significant escalation between Gaza militants and the Israeli army, after an increase in rocket attacks out of Gaza toward Israeli targets.

Meanwhile, a senior Hamas leader in Gaza said earlier Friday that his movement is still committed to a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip with Israel.

“Our movement will be committed to the truce as long as the Israeli occupation is committed to it,” Mahmoud al-Zahar told a rally in support of Hamas members imprisoned in the West Bank.

Hamas said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ security forces are detaining hundreds of the movement’s members and leaders in its jails in the West Bank.

Hamas seized control of Gaza by force in June 2007.

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