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5 dead in day of Gaza Strikes; brigades injure 2 in Israel
Published Thursday 07/04/2011 (updated) 09/04/2011 10:39
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GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Four militants were killed in a series of strikes in and around Gaza City as well as the southern Strip, following the launch of an anti-tank missile toward Beersheba, which hit a schoolbus and injured two.

Thursday afternoon, Artillery fire also hit the southern Gaza Strip, with witnesses saying artillery fire injured five people, including a small child, and killed Mahmoud Al-Manasra, 50, who died after shells landed near his home in the Ash-Shuja'iyeh neighborhood of Gaza City.

"An anti-tank missile was fired directly at the bus," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said shortly after the attack on the school bus which was passing in front of kibbutz Nahal Oz, just across the border from Gaza City's eastern flank.

Hamas' armed wing claimed the attack, saying it was an "initial response" to Israel's assassination of three of the group's leaders on Saturday, when an airstrike hit their car in southern Gaza.

An Israeli military spokesman said the assassinations were a preemptive strike against militants planning to attack Israelis on holiday in the Sinai Peninsula during the coming Jewish festival of Passover.

Those injured in Thursday strikes brought to hospital [MaanImages]

Thursday night, the Hamas government said most of the militant groups in Gaza had agreed to a truce.

"We are in contact with the Palestinian factions to stop the Zionist escalation," the Hamas interior ministry said in a statement.

"We received a positive response from most of the factions," he added, without saying who had not signed up to the deal.

An Islamic Jihad official said the truce would go into effect from late Thursday night and indicated "other Arab countries" had been involved in the talks.

Man injured in Thursday strikes [MaanImages]

The truce announcement came after militants lobbed at least 45 mortar rounds into southern Israel, hitting a house, and the army responded by staging multiple raids across the enclave, one of which hit an ambulance, Palestinian medics said.

One projectile landed 700 meters inside Egyptian territory and caused a deep hole in the ground, an Egyptian security official said, adding that the army opened an inquiry to determine its origin.

As rockets flew over the border, Israel's Iron Dome short-range missile defense system intercepted a projectile heading for the southern port city of Ashkelon, in what was the first time the system has ever been successfully used in a combat situation.

The bus attack was the first time an anti-tank missile had hit a civilian target in Israel, prompting Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to order the army "to act swiftly" in response.

Over the past month, dozens of rockets have hit southern Israel, some reaching cities as far as 25 miles away, prompting a series of air strikes and raids.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently en route to Prague after talks in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said he would deal with the surge in violence when he returned to Israel on Friday.

"I'm not going to manage things from Berlin airport ... when I get to Israel tomorrow, we shall, of course, continue the necessary actions to ensure the safety of the citizens of Israel," he said in comments broadcast on Israel's Channel 10 television.

Netanyahu told Voice of Israel radio on Thursday evening that "all necessary force" would be used to stop Gaza fire and harm to Israeli civilians.

Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, said Israel was committed to its truce with Hamas and did not seek to escalate the situation along the border.

"However, Hamas launched 16 mortar rounds in addition to targeting an Israeli bus in southern Israel that left two wounded," Gendelman told Ma'an, saying he held Hamas responsible.

Asked if that meant Israel was considering a new Gaza assault, he responded, "I don't rule this out."

PLO executive committee member Saeb Erekat urged Israel to end its attacks: “For years, our people have suffered the devastating consequences of an illegal and inhumane siege," Erekat said.

"It is now time for the international community to intervene and prevent another round of merciless and illegitimate military escalation against Palestinian civilians.”

Erekat also urged Palestinian factions not to give Israel any pretext for further attacks.

AFP contributed to this report.
1 ) stephanie / usa
07/04/2011 16:48
So according to all the khamas and anti israel people here, if that bus was filled with children israel would be justified in swift retaliation. But since only a 13 year old boy was injured israel should do nothing I guess

2 ) Colin Wright / United States
07/04/2011 19:29
I take it the school bus came within one thousand meters of the border. Well, the Israelis have laid down the rules. They can hardly object if others follow them. Somehow, I think they'll manage to anyway.

3 ) Tobias / USA
07/04/2011 20:52
I think the bus entered the buffer zone and ignored warnings to move away from the fence.

4 ) Colin Wright / USA
07/04/2011 21:49
You need to start keeping a conveniently accessible log. Believe it or not, the New York Times, for example, is describing the days preceding this as 'quiet.' Weren't they marked by repeated attacks by Israel upon Gaza, in which several people were killed? That may well be the definition of 'quiet' in the context of Israel -- Israel contentedly killing without consequence -- but that this is so should be made clear.

5 ) fadel / nablus
07/04/2011 22:46
don't zionist as you kill our people, our people will reciprocate you with bombs and fedayeen operations.

6 ) suzy / isr
07/04/2011 22:57
we must clean gazza

7 ) billal / usa
08/04/2011 00:38
this blood thirsty liar wants aid to the arab awakening , what about the Palestinian liberation? Shimon can go to hell and meet the rotting pile of zionists that have gone before him. this european zionist scum bag will soon see the Palestinian awakening and he will learn a lesson that history should have taught this beast. That you CANNOT stop the free aspirations of A people with a just cause. the liberation of Palestine in coming and you will soon join your blood sucking fellow murders

8 ) Arnold / Canada
08/04/2011 02:57
Mr. Erekat does not want a military escalation but does not condemn Hamas for "escalating" the conflict by firing a missile at a SCHOOL BUS. Purposely shooting at a school bus is pure evil.

9 ) Julie / USA
08/04/2011 05:02
let's look at some statistics, shall we??? hmmm???? killing ANY innocent person is pure evil....BUT....that said, israel kills 100 palestinian civilians for every 1 israeli civilian killed by hamas. SO, with a kill ratio of 100:1, israel is BY FAR the greater terrorist. israel will pay for their crimes at the ICC, and the world will definitely make sure of it!!!!

10 ) Boris / U.S.A.
08/04/2011 06:02
Will Palestinian Hamas fanatics ever learn a lesson never to mess with Israel? Now you have another 5 young terrorists dead. Do you still want to
come back for more?? I hope not!!

11 ) elias / palestine
08/04/2011 07:13
hamas /fateh reconciliation?
a 3rd intifada?

12 ) Jerrold Cohen / USA
08/04/2011 07:16
We must clean suzy / isr.

13 ) Abban / America
08/04/2011 08:42
Don't any of you have a sense of decency? Shooting rockets at a bus meant for SCHOOL CHILDREN IS MORALLY UNACCEPTABLE and DOWNRIGHT EVIL. I have no sympathy for Palestinians who support these types of behaviors. Just disgusting and ugly, undeserving of statehood.

14 ) Robert Haymond / Israel/Canada
08/04/2011 09:13
billal: How many times do we have to defeat you in war before people like you realize that Israel will not be overcome? Even Egypt and Jordan learned. How about you?

15 ) Robert Haymond / Israel/Canada
08/04/2011 09:19
During the six-months "truce" ending in December 2008, 361 rockets and 303 mortar shells were launched from Gaza into civilian areas of Israel (statistics Shin Bet). Do you think we ought to believe in this socalled "ceasefire"? Furthermore, this is an obvious Hamas strategy: Launch forty-five missiles into Israel, murder a boy in a school bus, propose a one-sided "ceasefire" and, when Israel "breaks" it, call on the international community to critique Israel. Pretty obvious. Won't work!

16 ) BEV / South Africa
08/04/2011 09:30
We have all forgotten or lost the memory, the smell, the desire, the vision of thePeace / our Peace. Everybody loves and wants this little piece of prime porperty. With all the wisdom and good intention, there surely exists a way to overcome the obsessive compulsion to ruthlessly annihilate human beings. Bring it on!!!!

17 ) Mark of Lewiston / USA
08/04/2011 11:38
Shooting at a school bus is not only criminal, but dumb. It demonstrates a disregard for humanity on a scale that would even shock Gadhafi. The New York Times, Colin, would of course describe the preceding days as calm, only Palestinians died and were wounded. They don't count in Jerusalem so why would they count to the Times. Well the US will be distracted for a while now, so whatever happens will not be noticed. The US is closing its government for a while. This week's body counts?

18 ) Hetty / Netherlands
08/04/2011 12:05
@ Colin. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reports every week the violations of the Israeli Occupation Force. Its a detailed and endless list and very impressive. We all don't know that so much is happening, every day every hour...:(
@ Arnold: i think you need to read these reports and then see if you are able to say the same again. Don't forget Israel is an occupying force, the 4th military power on earth, with the help of US.

19 ) Victor / USA
08/04/2011 12:25
What a joke. The zionists capture Palestinian women and the men are jokers.!!!! what a shame arabs cant protect their women - %$#@%$@%$#

20 ) clive may / ZA
08/04/2011 13:25
I pray to God,that everyone concerned can find it within themselves to find away to end all this violence and hostilities from both sides.In Jesus name Amen.
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