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Gaza mourns four slain fighters; armed groups launch rockets

Nov. 13, 2008 10:22 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 13, 2008 10:22 A.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - Palestinians in the Gaza Strip mourned on Thursday four men who were killed in a battle with Israeli forces on Wednesday.

The funeral began at a local mosque in the town of Al-Qarara, where the men were killed. Ahmad Bahar, a member of the Palestinian Parliament and a Hamas leader, joined the prayer.

From there a somber funeral mach proceeded a local cemetery.

The mourners called for revenge the deaths of Mahmoud Siyam, Rami Freinah, Muhsen Al-Qidrah and Isma'il Abu Al-Ola, who were killed in a truce-violating Israeli incursion.

Fighters react

Separately armed Palestinian groups unleashed a barrage of homemade rockets and mortar shells at Israeli areas bordering the Gaza Strip overnight in response to Israel's killings of the four.

No one was injured by the rockets, which are likely to further strain a five-month old truce between Israel and the Hamas-controlled government in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli warplanes killed the four Hamas-affiliated fighters during an Israeli incursion in Gaza, near the border line on Wednesday.

In total, Palestinian groups claimed to have fired 12 homemade projectiles by mid afternoon on Thursday. Israeli media said that 14 projectiles and mortar shells landed in areas near Gaza since the killings of the four men on Wednesday.

Just before noon, the National Resistance Brigades, the military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) said it launched five homemade projectiles at Israeli military installation at Sufa, south of the city of Rafah.

Earlier, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, an armed group affiliated to Fatah, claimed responsibility for attacking the Israeli city of Ashkelon, between 10 and 15 kilometers north of the Gaza Strip on Thursday morning.

In a statement the group referred to the city by the name of the Arab city that stood until 1948 where Ashkelon is now built. The brigades announced:"We were able to create a new homemade projectile that can reach beyond Al-Majdal."

"This attack comes for the sake of the memory of late Yasser Arafat and a response to the Israeli crimes," the group added.

In a separate statement the Al-Aqsa Brigades also said they attacked the Israeli town of Sderot, which borders Gaza to the northeast.

The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military wing for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said they launched one projectile at Ashkelon.

The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades later claimed responsibility for firing another projectile at Sderot and a third at the Western Negev.

The brigades said that they would "treat Israel the same way they are treating Palestinians."

The An-Nasser Brigades the military wing for the Popular Resistance Committee sclaimed to have attacked Nahal Oz, west of the Strip, with three projectiles.

***Updated at 16:21 local time
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