Gaza Strip: Israel insists on economic and military pressure
Israel launched airstrikes against Palestinians firing rockets from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday and vowed to maintain the siege of the coastal territory until its Hamas rulers stop attacks. Hamas fire moderately injured a 14-year-old girl and knocked out power in parts of the Israeli town of Sderot with a barrage of rockets fired at border communities Tuesday and early Wednesday.
Sources in the Strip said Israel responded with several airstrikes overnight. Hamas said four of its men were moderately wounded.
Israel indicated that it would not let up in its attacks on Hamas. "We need to understand there is a war in the south," Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon told Israel Radio. "The war against Hamas has to be fought on all fronts."
Israel will continue to use the "economic weapon" against the Gaza Strip, and cut supplies of fuel, electricity and some food to the territory in a bid to persuade Hamas to stop the firing, the Israeli minister said.
Meanwhile, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday condemned the rocket fire, but urged Israel to let supplies into Gaza Strip. "These rockets that are being fired at Israel must stop. It's pointless," he said at a news conference with Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik. "At the same time, Israel should not use these rockets as a pretext for collective punishment on Palestinians in Gaza. Israel must always allow humanitarian supplies and other needs to be provided to Gaza."
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