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Friday, August 19, 2011

ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN STRIFE: Rockets, airstrikes follow attack on Israel!


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By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press - Associated Press | AP – 27 mins ago.


JERUSALEM (AP) — Gaza militants launched barrages of rockets deep into Israel early Friday and Israeli aircraft struck targets in the Palestinian territory in the aftermath of the deadliest attack against Israelis in three years.
Gunmen who appear to have originated in Gaza and crossed into southern Israel through the Egyptian desert ambushed civilian vehicles traveling on a remote road, killing eight people. Six were civilians, and two were members of Israeli security forces responding to the incursion.

Thursday's attack signaled a new danger for Israel from its border with the Sinai Peninsula, long quiet under the rule of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. He was deposed in February, and the desert of the Sinai Peninsula — always restive and controlled largely by Bedouin tribes — has become increasingly lawless.
The sudden spike in violence threatened to upset the already frayed ties between Israel and Egypt and escalate the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

On Friday, militants in Gaza launched at least 17 rockets into Israel, the military said. One, aimed at the city of Ashkelon, was intercepted by the new Israeli anti-missile system known as Iron Dome. Another hit next to a synagogue in the port city of Ashdod and wounded six Israelis, according to Israeli emergency services.
Israel's south has been equipped with early warning systems and bomb shelters over years of rocket fire from Gaza, and those measures have helped keep casualties low.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited some of the wounded in hospital Friday afternoon. "We killed the head of the group that sent the terrorists but this is just an initial response."
The Israeli military's chief spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, said it was "too early" to say that a broad escalation in Gaza was imminent.

"If we see that Hamas is choosing to escalate, we will not hesitate to expand the scope of our actions, respond in strength and exact a price from Hamas," he told Israel Army Radio on Friday morning.

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