Thursday, August 18, 2011

IAF strikes numerous Hamas targets in Gaza Strip overnight

(Ynet, Maannews).Gaza under attack: The Air Force launched a wave of assaults in Gaza early Friday according to Palestinian sources, targeting numerous sites within the Strip in the wake of a terror offensive in southern Israel that left eight people dead Thursday.

Earlier, Israeli aircraft killed the terror masterminds behind the multipronged offensive that targeted a bus, civilian cars and IDF soldiers near Eilat.

The airstrike hit a home belonging to Popular Resistance Committees official Khaled Shaath, who was killed instantly. His two-year-old son Malek later died of injuries sustained in the strike.

The attacks killed four others in Rafah. Among them were PRC military wing chief Abu Awad Nayrab and PRC operatives Imad Hamad, Abu Jamil Shaath and Khaled Masri, medical officials said.

According to Palestinian reports early Friday, the Air force struck a home in Gaza City located near the former Palestinian intelligence headquarters. The attack reportedly caused a large fire in the area, leaving one boy dead and wounding up to 17 people.

Elsewhere, Israeli aircraft reportedly fired three missiles at a Hamas security forces building in Gaza City. In a third strike, at least one missile was fired at an open area in a town located in the southern part of the Strip. No casualties were reported in the strike.

According to the reports pouring in from Gaza, the Air Force also struck several targets in the northern Strip, including a Hamas military wing building.

Palestinian sources added that the Air Force bombed yet another outpost belonging to Hamas’ military wing in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis. Eyewitnesses reported loud explosions at the site of the attack,

Later at night, the Palestinians said that the Air Force struck several more targets around the Philadelphi route. The army was believed to have targeted smuggling tunnels in the strike.

The explosions in Gaza were clearly heard in southern Israel communities as well, with many local residents reporting the blasts to Ynet via the Red Email. Southern resident Shani wrote: “I just heard three explosions reminiscent of what we hear when mortar shells land here…I don’t know what’s going on.”

Senior Fatah official Saeb Erekat warned Israel Thursday night against ‘irresponsible’ retaliation in the Gaza Strip in the wake of the terror offensive in southern Israel earlier in the day.

“We are warning Israel not to launch an offensive or impose collective punishment against the civilian population,” the senior Palestinian official said.