IAF copter cool 298.88.
(photo credit: IDF [file])
Israel pushed ahead with operations aimed at stopping Kassam rocket fire on Sderot over the weekend, unleashing a wave of air strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, killing seven Palestinians, most of them terrorists, and wounding at least 30.
More than 10 Kassams were fired into Israel during the day, including one that crashed into a Sderot apartment; the residents were away.
On Friday afternoon, a Kassam rocket scored a direct hit on a home in Sderot, lightly wounding three and sending another 10 into shock. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
In all, Israel carried out 11 missile attacks on Saturday. The first in a rapid succession of strikes was on a Hamas installation in Gaza City's Zeitun neighborhood; five Palestinians were killed and the wounded were pulled from the rubble of a destroyed building. All those wounded were members of Hamas's armed wings.
Another air strike was made on a Hamas training camp on the outskirts of Shati refugee camp. There were no reports of casualties. Minutes later, a third strike hit a Hamas target in Rafah, near the Sinai border, security officials said. The area was also hit a few days ago.
A fourth attack targeted a Hamas training base built on the ruins a former settlement near the southern town of Khan Yunis.
Palestinian security officials confirmed that the IAF attacked four Hamas sites in Gaza early Saturday, two of them near the home of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
The IDF confirmed that it was behind the attacks but stressed that Haniyeh was not a target. No one was wounded in the air strikes, which left large craters, smashed surrounding windows and cut electricity in heavily crowded refugee camps.
"This is a critical stage," Haniyeh said in a statement. "The aggression will not achieve its goal, but will lead to more disturbance and will have serious consequences."
In the West Bank, meanwhile, IDF troops arrested PA Minister of State Wasfi Kabaha in a village near Jenin.
Troops also confiscated his computer and some documents. The arrest came two days after more than 30 Hamas politicians, legislators and local council members were arrested, including Education Minister Nasser Eddin Shaer.
Earlier Saturday, an air strike north of Gaza City hit a metal workshop and damaged a local resident's house, security officials said.
The army confirmed the strike. No one was wounded.
On Friday evening, the IDF bombed a Kassam rocket cell traveling in a car in Gaza City, killing two and wounding six. The IDF said that the men were affiliated with Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin Kassam.
Former chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Moshe Ya'alon said Saturday that Israel had no choice but to launch a widespread operation in the Gaza Strip.
"The problem in Gaza will not be solved and no one is going to solve it for us, neither Egypt nor any other international force," Ya'alon said in an interview on Channel 2's Meet the Press. "It means we have to get to the infrastructure of terror, to the terrorists and the camps, and strike there. One has to be blind not to see the absolute necessity of entering Gaza."
He emphasized that he didn't mean for the IDF to stay in Gaza, but only to "enter, clean it out, and leave."
AP contributed to the report.