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Palestinian militants attack American school in Gaza

By Xinhua

Gaza : Three unidentified gunmen fired a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at an American school in Gaza before dawn Thursday, hitting the art hall on the second floor, witnesses said.

The school’s principal Ribhi Salem told reporters that the gunmen asked the school guards to leave after they broke into the school and then fired a RPG from zero range destroying the hall’s contents.

The American school that serves Palestinian school children is located west of the village of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip. Most of its American teachers left the Gaza Strip for fear of militant attacks.

The attack came hours before U.S. President George W. Bush arrived in Ramallah and held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as part of his eight-day Middle East trip.

The principal condemned the assault, saying, “The school’s staff and students are all Palestinians, and it is licensed by the Ministry of Education. Its mission is purely educational with nothing to do with politics.”

He said that the school had been targeted in the past and an American visitor to the school had been kidnapped about a year ago.

The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) seized control of the Gaza Strip in mid June after routing security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas.