IAF strikes Gaza rocket launching cell; Hamas says 4 dead

IDF says it struck terrorists attempting to attack Israeli targets; hits come after Palestinians say 4 civilians, including 3 children killed during earlier attack; 2 Kassams fired at Ashkelon.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
March 22, 2011 20:45
1 minute read.
A Palestinian child is carried into Gaza hospital

Palestinian boy carried into hospital Gaza injured 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah)

An IAF strike killed four Palestinian terrorists in Gaza on Tuesday, Hamas officials said. The IDF Spokesperson Unit said that IAF aircraft attacked a rocket launching cell in Gaza that was planning to attack Israeli targets.

Earlier Tuesday, an IDF mortar strike on a Kassam rocket launching site killed four Palestinian civilians, including three children. The strike was in response to four Kassam rockets that were fired into Israeli territory. Following that strike, two more Kassams were fired towards Ashkelon. No injuries were reported.

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Palestinian medics said the dead youths were aged 12, 16 and 17. The 58-year-old owner of the house was also killed.

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The IDF spokesperson said that following the launch of Kassam rockets, that the IDF fired mortar shells at the Kassam launch site. Apparently, innocent civilians were hit in the strike.

The spokesperson stressed, however, that Hamas was responsible for firing Kassams from within densely populated civilian areas.

A short time earlier, four Kassam rockets exploded in open fields in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. No injuries or property damage was reported.

France said on Tuesday it was concerned about an escalation in violence in the Gaza Strip this week and called on both sides to show restraint.

"We are worried by the mounting rocket fire on Israeli territory -- which we have condemned -- and by the Israeli army's operations in the Gaza strip," French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Christine Fages told a press briefing.



"We have called on both sides to show the greatest restraint in order to avoid any escalation in violence which recent history has show can have disastrous consequences," she said.

Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.


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