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Barak maintains Gaza closure as projectiles fired on Israeli targets

Nov. 21, 2008 9:47 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 21, 2008 9:47 A.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - Israel maintained the closure of commercial crossings into the Gaza Strip for the 17th day in a row on Friday as Palestinian resistance groups continued to launch projectiles toward Israeli targets nearby.

The head of the de facto Finance Ministry told Ma'an that the closure is causing untold human suffering on the local population.

De facto Minister Hatem Owedah told Ma'an that "the closure of these crossings is causing endless suffering to Gazans."

Israeli military sources said that Defense Minister Ehud Barak had decided to keep the borders closed Friday as a result of continued attacks on Israeli sites.

The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, a militant wing affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, claimed responsibility for launching three projectiles against Sderot, Israel on Thursday night, according to a statement sent to Ma'an.

The Brigades launched the projectiles "in response to Israeli crimes," the statement claimed.

Another group, the Eagle Brigades, attacked Kussufem with three launched projectiles on Friday morning. It called on all militias to "attack Israel and unite," according to a separate statement received by Ma'an, which also announced the strikes as "a response to Israeli attacks."

The An-Nassar Brigades, a militant wing associated with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), fired on Kissufem, Israel, launching an attack from eastern Khan Younis on Friday morning, a statement said.

An-Nassar claimed "Israeli crimes against Palestinians" as a pretext for the attack.

***Updated 12:45 Bethlehem time
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