Israel Raids Gaza Again Saturday, Says in Response to Mortar Attacks
Israel launched Saturday a rocket attack that destroyed Palestinian security buildings in the southern Gaza Strip, claiming the new raids came in retaliation to 11 mortar bombs fired at the Jewish settlement bloc of Gush Katif, said AFP.
The Tel Aviv-based daily, Haaretz, said that helicopter gunships hit buildings belonging to Palestinian Intelligence and the elite presidential guard, Force 17, in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.
The attack came only 24 hours after US-made F16s bombarded two buildings in the Gaza city, wounding 18 Palestinian policemen and two civilians, an old man and his son who were heading to the mosque for dawn prayers.
"Despite Israeli demands to curtail mortar attacks, several mortar bombs were fired overnight at the Gush Katif settlement bloc," an army statement said. "Therefore, the army attacked Force 17 and Palestinian intelligence buildings in Rafah.
"These organizations are directly responsible for mortar attacks," the statement said.
Two Apache attack helicopters fired nine missiles into three buildings in one compound in Rafah overnight, on the border with Egypt.
There were no casualties, as the buildings had been evacuated, but Haaretz reported that the electric supply to Rafah had been cut off after a transformer was damaged in the attack.
The Palestinian official news agency (WAFA) said that civilian houses in the neighborhood were damaged.
A total of 11 mortars were fired at the Jewish settlement bloc in the southern Gaza Strip since Thursday, the army said. No damage was reported, said the agency.
On Friday afternoon, two armed Palestinian resistance fighters were killed by the Israeli occupation troops close to the West Bank settlement of Ariel, in an area under Israeli security control. Haaretz said that soldiers spotted the two men, one of whom was armed with a Kalachnikov rifle, as they were en route to a road close to the settlement of Peduel. The two were apparently on their way to carry out shooting attacks on Israeli vehicles – Albawaba.com