Israel steps up attacks on Gaza Strip
Israeli missiles hit the Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza before dawn on Wednesday, causing extensive damage and wounding at least three people. The Israeli air strike was launched hours after Palestinian gunners from Hamas movement fired a rocket into the heart of the Israeli city of Ashkelon for the first time.
In response to the rocket attack, Israel's Defense Minister Amir Peretz called on the Israeli army to step up its operation in Gaza Strip, which started after fighters from three factions captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in a cross-border raid.
The Israeli raid on the Interior Ministry largely destroyed the building and damaged adjacent apartments.
Another Israeli air strike targeted an empty school in northern Gaza Strip. Israel also attacked a training base used by Hamas members in the Gaza Strip. Six missiles struck the camp, which witnesses said had been abandoned ahead of the attack.