Early morning fire on Gaza injures 1
Published Wednesday 23/03/2011 (updated) 24/03/2011 03:49
A Hamas police officer walks on rubble of the Hamas central security
headquarters and prison, known as As-Saraya, which was destroyed by
Israeli air attacks in Gaza City, January 24, 2009.
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces resumed military strikes on the Gaza Strip Wednesday morning injuring a militant, in a string of attacks that have left eight dead, including four civilians. Another 12 civilians were wounded, including three young children.
Israeli forces struck twice Wednesday, the first time with artillery fire, and the second from helicopters, both in the Ash-Shuja'iyya neighborhood east of Gaza City.
Palestinian medical sources told Ma'an that the injured militant, affiliated to the Islamic Jihad’s military wing, had his leg amputated as a result of the morning artillery strike.
The second strike hit in an agricultural area near the border. An Israeli military statement said the strike "targeted a rocket launching device in the northern Gaza Strip from which a Grad rocket was fired at Ashdod last night. A hit was confirmed."
The Al-Quds Brigades released a statement shortly after midnight Wednesday morning, saying fighters had launched a Grad-style missile toward the Israeli town of Ashdod and three mortar shells at the Israeli military base Nahal Oz east of Gaza City.
A second statement released by the group after sunrise said a second Grad had been launched at Beersheba 5:30 a.m. "in retaliation for the ongoing Israeli aggression."
Israel's military confirmed the strikes, saying at 1:30 a.m. that a fighter jet "targeted a terrorist in the northern Gaza Strip, in the same location from which a Grad missile was fired towards the city of Ashdod a number of hours ago. A hit was confirmed."
Shrapnel from the rocket, which struck the center of Beersheba, hit a man in the chest, injuring him moderately, officials said.
Gaza border tension rose significantly after March 16, after more than a week of calm, when an Israeli air strike hit a training base near the former settlement of Nitzarim, killing two Hamas militants and injuring a third.
An army spokesman said at the time that the strike was in response to a projectile that had been fired from Gaza earlier in the day, though there were no claims of fire from Gaza factions, and Israeli media did not report projectile launch.
Hamas retaliated for the deaths, sparking the current back-and-forth projectile launches and strikes.
On March 19 Hamas launched 50 projectiles toward Israel, and Israeli forces retaliated killing two teenagers, and sending artillery fire at fighters in at least two areas of the border zone.
On March 21 Hamas' armed wing said it will commit to a truce if Israel stops bombarding the Gaza Strip. The offer was ignored and Israeli jets struck sites overnight across the Strip, injuring 18.
Successive projectile launches have caused one civilian injury in Israel, while Israeli strikes on Gaza have killed 10 in the past week, including at least five civilians, who were outside playing soccer when they were hit with fire. An 11-year old and teenager were among the dead. Another 12 people were wounded, including three young children.
AFP contributed to this report