Six Palestinians die as Hamas chief says no use for talks with Israel

Published January 16th, 2008 - 06:44 GMT

An Israeli air strike killed three Palestinian civilians including a teenager in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. The victims -- a 13-year-old boy, his father and uncle -- were killed when a missile slammed into their car as it drove through Gaza City, medics said. Witnesses said that three other civilians were wounded in the raid, adding that the attack originally targeted three fighters but the missile missed them.


The Salahuddin Brigades, the armed wing of the popular resistance committees, said in a statement that the Israeli shelling targeted one of their units while returning from a Jihadi mission. The armed wing added that the unit members escaped unharmed but the Israeli missile hit the civilian car and killed the civilians.


In the evening, another Israeli air strike killed two Palestinians in the central Gaza Strip on Wednesday, Hamas said. According to Reuters, it said an Israeli missile destroyed a car, killing its two occupants.


Meanwhile, over 20 rockets were fired from the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning, landing in open areas near the nearby Israeli town of Sderot. Anumber of rockets were fired at the city of Ashkelon. There were no reports of injuries or damage, according to Ynet.


The events in Gaza Strip, came less than a day after a massive Israeli military operation which killed 19 Palestinians, including the son of Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar.


West Bank

Early Wednesday, Israeli troops have killed the West Bank leader of the Islamic Jihad military wing in a raid, the group said. Walid Obeidi was wanted by Israel for years, Islamic Jihad said, according to AFP.


Israeli troops entered the village of Qabatiya south of Jenin under cover of darkness and Obeidi was killed and two of his bodyguards injured, the group said.


Meshaal reaction

In response to the raids, Hamas' political chief in exile, Khaled Meshaal, on Wednesday said there would be no prisoner exchange involving Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was captured in a Hamas raid in June 2006.  "I tell the...enemy. What you’re committing will deprive you of anything you’re betting on," he said, at a press conference in Damascus. "There will be no exchange involving Gilad Shalit, no calm or nothing of this sort."


He stressed that the Gaza "massacre" confirmed the futility of negotiating with Israel. "This shedding of Palestinian blood will shorten the existence of Israel and will destroy it," Meshaal said, according to AFP. "No peace with the killers and no security for the criminals."


Meshaal charged that the eight-day Middle East tour by the US president that ended on Wednesday "gave cover to this massacre," and he called on Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to halt the "absurd" peace talks. "Every day you are humiliated (by the Israelis) and you emerge (from talks) empty-handed," he declared.


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