Monday, December 26, 2005

Israeli Helicopters fire on Gaza City

I guess shelling open fields wasn't having the desired result. Shocking.

From Reuters:

GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli helicopter gunships fired three missiles at targets in Gaza City and in the northern Gaza Strip early on Tuesday as Israel began enforcing a buffer zone to prevent rocket fire into its territory, witnesses said.

Palestinian witnesses said one missile hit an unknown target in Gaza City and another slammed into an office belonging to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction in northern Gaza. The third hit an empty field, they said.

There were no reports of casualties.

The Israeli army said it fired two missiles at buildings used by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed militia within Abbas's Fatah faction, which were used to recruit members and to host meetings by leaders of the armed group.

Israel has said it would intensify air strikes in the Gaza Strip to enforce a buffer zone meant to stop Palestinian militants from firing rockets into Israel.

The decision was taken several days ago but bad weather in recent days had limited activity by the Israeli air force.

Palestinians reported that warplanes and helicopter gunships took to the skies over Gaza early on Tuesday and were breaking the sound barrier.

Hours earlier, militants fired two rockets into the Jewish state. Both hitting near Israeli farming communities with one landing adjacent to a kindergarten. Nobody was hurt in the strikes.
The makeshift missiles rarely cause casualties, but could have big political fallout as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon campaigns for re-election on the strength of a Gaza pullout this year that he said would boost Israel's security.

Rocket fire has not stopped despite Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in September after a 38-year occupation. Militants say the rocket fire avenges Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank as well as its strikes into the Gaza Strip.