At least 21 Palestinians killed by Israel

Published February 28th, 2008 - 09:10 GMT

Israeli aircraft struck a series of targets throughout the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing 21 Palestinians, including five youths Thursday, a day after Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed that Israel's response to Wednesday's deadly barrage of Qassam rockets would be particularly harsh. "We will reach out for the terrorists and we will attack and we will try to stop them," Olmert told a press conference in Tokyo.

 

On Thursday, Israel carried nearly 20 airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians said. The army said it was targeting rocket-launching areas. Officials said at least 21 Palestinians died. Six of them were civilians, including five youths under the age of 16, said Dr. Moaia Hassanain of the Palestinian Health Ministry.


An Israeli aircraft struck two targets in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday afternoon, killing at least one person and injuring two others, Palestinian medics said.

Earlier, Israel killed three Palestinian activists in air strikes in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, said Palestinian sources and hospital officials. According to Reuters, those killed in Thursday's air strikes were a fighter from Hamas movement and two from the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) armed group.

 

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the air force had mounted an attack on Palestinian gunmen. Overnight, Israeli jets blasted a government building in Gaza. Palestinian health officials said a baby was killed in the attack, and 30 people were wounded. In Gaza, Hamza al-Haya, the son of Hamas lawmaker Khalil al-Haya, was among those killed Thursday, Hamas said, according to the AP. The group said he had commanded a rocket-launching squad in northern Gaza Strip. Visiting the morgue at Gaza City's Shifa hospital Thursday, al-Haya said he was proud that his son had lost his life for the Hamas cause. "I thank God for this gift," he said. "This is the 10th member of my family to receive the honor of martyrdom."

 

Later Thursday, an Israeli helicopter attacked a police roadblock about 150 yards from the home of Hamas leader Ismaiwil Haniyeh in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City. One person was killed and four people were wounded, officials said.

 

Despite the Israeli raids, Palestinian gunners continued to lauch rockets towards Israel. Two Israelis were lightly wounded in rocket strikes on the town of Sderot.  In one incident, a woman was lightly wounded by shrapnel when a barrage of five Qassam rockets rained down on Sderot in the early afternoon. Earlier, a bodyguard of Israeli Public Security Minister Avi Dichter was lightly wounded. The bodyguard suffered minor shrapnel wounds to his leg.

 

In the West Bank city of Nablus, two Palestinian activists were killed early Thursday when Israeli forces raided Balata refugee camp. Another activist was injured. The two were identified as members of al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the military wing of Fatah movement.

 

Thursday's violence raised the death toll in two days of fighting to 32 Palestinians.

 

© 2008 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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