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12 wounded in Israeli strikes on Gaza

March 20, 2010 12:15 A.M. (Updated: March 21, 2010 9:09 P.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - At least 12 Palestinians were wounded as Israeli warplanes struck the southern Gaza Strip on Friday night.

Locals said Israeli F16s launched three attacks near the ruins of the Yasser Arafat International Airport.

Medics said 12 wounded persons were transported to Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah. Three were moderately injured while the rest were lightly hurt, they added.

Israeli warplanes were still flying over the Gaza Strip at press time.

An Israeli military spokesman told Ma'an that the strikes targeted a "terrorist target" in southern Gaza.

He said the strikes came in response to Thursday's deadly projectile attack and another that caused no injury or damage on Monday, itself the fifth such attack in less than a week.

"The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization responsible for maintaining the calm in southern Israel," the official said, adding that the military would "respond harshly to any attempt to disrupt the calm."

The bombing was the second aerial attack in less than 24 hours. Early on Friday morning, Israel’s air force bombed six targets across the strip, including open areas near Khan Younis, a tunnel along the Gaza-Egypt border, and a factory. No one was reported injured. Palestinian military groups also said they clashed with Israeli forces east of Gaza City on Thursday evening.

Those clashes came after a homemade projectile fired from Gaza killed a Thai agricultural worker in an Israeli area near the city of Ashkelon. It was the first fatality from a Gaza projectile since the end of Israel’s three-week assault on Gaza in 2008 and 2009 that killed some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack, stressing that all acts of violence are "totally unacceptable."

The attack was claimed by two groups: the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah, and Jund Ansar As-Sunna, a little-known hardline Islamist organization. Both groups are at odds with Gaza's Hamas-run government, which has successfully enforced a ceasefire with Israel since the end of the war in 2009.
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