Palestinians say IDF Gaza strikes leave 5 dead

19 mortars explode across South as fighting intensifies; 2 Hamas men reportedly among dead in IAF attacks; Netanyahu: School bus attack "crossed line," perpetrators have "blood on their hands."

April 8, 2011 16:31
3 minute read.
SMOKE RISES from a security compound in Gaza

Explosion in Gaza City. (photo credit: Reuters)


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IDF strikes in Gaza on Friday left one woman, her daughter, and a third man dead in a village near Khan Younis, Palestinian sources reported. Two Hamas members were also reportedly killed during the strikes.

Mortar shell fire from the Gaza Strip also continued on Friday afternoon as four landed south of Ashkelon and three in the Eshkol Regional Council. The projectiles landed in open areas, causing no casualties or damage.

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Since Thursday night, ten Palestinians have been killed in various IDF attacks on terror cells throughout Gaza.

The IDF said that in response to rocket fire from deep inside a residential area in southern Gaza, IAF air craft struck two terror cells. According to to the Palestinian media source, an Israeli aircraft struck a group of civilians.

Since Friday morning, nineteen mortar shells exploded across southern Israel. One mortar exploded in a chicken coop in the Eshkol Regional Council.

The explosions occurred in the afternoon hours, and schools held students from returning to their homes until the attacks passed. 
The explosions caused no casualties.

Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Thursday's school bus attack "crossed the line," and adding that "the IDF acted immediately last night and would continue to act with determination."

Speaking from a meeting with the Czech president, Netanyahu commented that "whoever tries to hurt and murder children: the blood is on his hands."

Four people were also injured by IDF tanks in the area surrounding the Daaniya airport in the southern strip, Army Radio reported.

The Israel Air Force struck a building used for terror activities and three smuggling tunnels in in the Gaza Strip overnight Thursday after Hamas announced an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip in an effort to reign in growing escalations.

After consulting with various other Palestinian terrorist factions in Gaza and other international Arab officials, Hamas said that the cease-fire went into effect at 11 p.m. Thursday.

Hamas reportedly ordered all armed factions in Gaza to halt fire into Israel.

Earlier Thursday, the Hamas military wing, the Izzadin Kassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for firing a Kornet anti-tank missile at a children's schoolbus near Kibbutz Saad in the Sha'ar Hanegev regional council, which left a 16-year-old in critical condition and the driver in light condition.

The attack was "the first response to the continuing crimes of the occupation," a Hamas statement said.

In response to the attack, the IDF spokesperson said that the air force had struck nine targets in the Gaza Strip and that artillery forces had struck the area from where the anti-tank missile was fired.

Five Palestinians were killed and 33 injured in the strikes, Palestinian medical sources reported.

Speaking at the IDF's Southern Command earlier Thursday night, Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke about the school bus attack and called it a "very serious event that hit deep into Israeli territory from deep within the Gaza Strip. That is something that we cannot accept," he added.

Commenting on IDF,  IAF and artillery strikes on Gaza, the defense minister said: "The actions being taken right now are a response to [the attack] and they will continue as long as necessary in order to make clear that things like this cannot continue."

The responses by the IDF are both purposeful and effective, Barak said, adding that, "We see Hamas as responsible for everything originating in Gaza, and we expect that Hamas will understand what is allowed, and of course, what is forbidden."

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