domingo, 17 de julio de 2011

Medics: Airstrike 'injures 7' in northern Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Seven people were wounded in Gaza on Sunday by what medical sources said was an Israeli airstrike, but Israel denied it had carried out any such raid.

Emergency and ambulance services official Adham Abu Salmiya said all of the victims were members of the Zaanin family. They were evacuated to Beit Hanoun Hospital.

Abu Salmiya highlighted that over the past two weeks, three people were killed and more than 20 were injured in Israeli raids on the coastal enclave. Among the injured, he added, were six children and two girls. 

But a spokeswoman for the Israeli military said "there was no IDF activity in Gaza overnight or this morning."

Israeli forces have been launching strikes on a daily basis over the past four days.

Meanwhile, three so-called Qassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip on Saturday night hit open areas in the western Negev, Israeli media reported Sunday morning. 

There were no reports of injuries or damage.

The first projectile exploded at around 1 a.m. within the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council, the Israeli news site Ynet reported. Two additional projectiles landed in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council.

On Saturday, a Palestinian man was injured by an Israeli airstrike on northern Gaza. Two days earlier, an airstrike killed one man and injured five others in the tunnel area near Egypt. 

Israeli army officials and Palestinian security sources said the most recent raid targeted a group of militants as they prepared to launch a homemade projectile toward Israel from the east of Gaza City.

The commander of Israel's army Benny Gantz held an urgent meeting Friday to discuss the situation along the border with Gaza and "practical steps" to end projectile fire, news reports said.

Israel's Hebrew-language daily Maariv said the meeting was attended by senior commanders of the Israeli army in various wings including the commander of the southern region. 

The army officials said they held Hamas "fully responsible for this situation," allegedly for deliberately failing to stop the firing of projectiles into southern Israel after a sharp decrease of several months.

The past few days of rocket fire and airstrikes represent the first significant recurrence of violence in the area since April, when airstrikes killed 19 Palestinians after a missile fired from Gaza killed a teenager.

Israel has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip since Hamas took control in 2007.

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