Thursday airstrike damage
Photo: AFP

IAF airstrike kills 5 Hamas members

Israeli aircraft launch missile attack on building in northeast Gaza in which tunnel was being dug towards Israel, according to suspicion; Palestinians report five Hamas members killed in strike, six more people wounded

The Israeli Air Force on Friday launched an airstrike on a building in northeast Gaza which serves as a Hamas headquarters, killing five members of the terror group, Palestinian sources said.


Palestinian medical officials noted that six more people were wounded.


The strike occurred at around 1:30 am Friday. The IDF said the building that was targeted served as a meeting place for Hamas, "and it was suspected that a tunnel was being dug there into Israeli territory."


Palestinian sources, however, claimed that the air force fired missiles at Hamas members standing in an olive grove.


Shortly after the strike the IAF hit another nearby target, Palestinian sources said. The IDF has not yet confirmed those reports.


Defense Minister Amir Peretz, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and other defense establishment officials held a meeting Thursday to evaluate the developments in Gaza. During the meeting it was decided that activity in the Strip should be expanded and that preparations for extensive, long-term activity be made.


At this point however, there were still no plans to send ground forces into Palestinian territory. "We are not going to do anything unnecessary," a military official told Ynet, "but we will certainly demand payback from those who hurt civilians."


Qassam barrages continue

The Israeli airstrike Friday was in response to a Qassam salvo which hit the Sderot area late Thursday night. One rocket hit a local synagogue just minutes after the end of a service there. A number of people suffered from shock and the building was damaged.


The barrage hit shortly after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wrapped up a visit to Sderot.


Palestinians fired some 90 rockets into the western Negev since Tuesday.


Earlier Thursday the Israeli Air Force struck a number of targets in the Gaza Strip in response to the rocket attacks. At around 7:30 pm, the IAF struck a vehicle in the Rafah area in the southern Strip. The Palestinians reported that two civilians were killed in the attack, but the IDF said the casualties were members of a Qassam cell.


Earlier, two vehicles were attacked on al-Jala Street in central Gaza. Imad Shabaneh, a commander of a Qassam rocket manufacturing team, was critically injured. At lease five more Palestinians were wounded in the strikes.


The Air Force also destroyed a Hamas security headquarters in Gaza City Thursday, killing at least one person and wounding more than 30 people. According to eyewitnesses, innocent passersby were also injured in the attack.


פרסום ראשון: 05.18.07, 07:37
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