Israel launches air strikes on Gaza amid rocket fire


Tel Aviv : Israeli aircraft fired rockets at two buildings in the central Gaza Strip Tuesday, pushing ahead with an aerial campaign against Palestinian militant factions after a week of intense rocket fire from the Strip.

Support TwoCircles

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the two buildings in the towns of Nusseirat and Al-Bureij were used by Hamas to store weapons and by the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) as an operation room for directing the launch of rockets against Israel.

The latest air strikes, after about a 12-hour pause, came after a Gaza made Qassam rocket killed a 35-year-old Israeli woman and moderately injured a man when it hit a car in the southern Israeli town of Sderot Monday evening.

The woman's death was the first since militant factions began their rocket bombardment on May 14. According to some Palestinian observers, the militants escalated firing to restore unity and end severe internal clashes between the ruling Hamas and the rival Fatah party of President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas, the PRC and the Islamic Jihad faction claimed responsibility for launching more than two dozen rockets Monday at Israel.

The groups continued firing into Israel Tuesday, launching at least four more rockets since midnight. One of them lightly injured two people, damaged several cars and briefly cut off power when it also landed in Sderot.

The town is located about five kilometres northeast of the Gaza Strip and has born the brunt of more than 170 rockets launched at southern Israel during the past week.

Angry residents took to the streets in the evening, throwing stones at the municipality building, burning tyres and shouting insults at Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Israel Radio reported.