Israel resumes air strikes on the Gaza Strip

By Xinhua,

Gaza : Israeli warplanes Saturday night resumed bombardments on targets of the Islamic Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, including security installations and roads, witnesses and security officials said.

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Witnesses said that Israeli warplanes destroyed the main road of Sallah el-Dein in the northern Gaza Strip that leads to the towns of Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahia and Jabalia. There were, however, no immediate reports of casualties.

Hamas officials in Gaza said that an Israeli air-to-ground rocket destroyed a metal workshop in the northern Gaza City. Israel said the facility was used to manufacture crude rockets.

Israeli warplanes also bombed a building of a Hamas affiliated social organisation in the Gaza City.

Israel began a military operation named “the poured lead” on the Gaza Strip in response to the rocket attacks by Hamas-led militant groups on southern Israeli towns and cities.

Mo’aweya Hassanein, chief of emergency and ambulance services of the Palestine health ministry said that at least 225 people were killed and around 750 others wounded in the air strikes.

Residents in the Gaza City said that they still hear sounds of Israeli helicopters and warplanes hovering over the city.

Israel said the intensive airstrike was the first stage of a large-scale military operation against the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, said in a statement that the Islamic movement “will not surrender”, adding that, “the Palestinian people and Hamas movement “would keep their resistance against the Zionist enemy (Israel)”.

Earlier at a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defence Minister Ehud Barak, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that the army will continue to operate in Gaza, as the efforts to bring back normalcy in southern Israel, the target of Hamas’ rocket attacks, would take time.

“We are not eager for a fight, but we will not back down from it,” Olmert said, adding that, “Israel has done all it could to preserve the ceasefire with Hamas, but our desire for peace was met with terror.”

The prime minister tried to ease the humanitarian concerns of the international community, saying that Israel will do whatever it can to prevent a humanitarian disaster in the impoverished area.