Hamas claims Friday's rocket attacks

IDF uncovers eight Kassam launchers; army wraps up anti-terror ops in Gaza.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
July 7, 2007 08:05
1 minute read.
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Hours after the IDF finished operations targeting Kassam launch sites inside the Gaza Strip, rockets were launched yet again toward the western Negev late Friday evening. Hamas claimed responsibility for the rocket launches - the first time that they have done so since their violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last month. In a statement, the group described the attack as a response to "the crimes of occupation in Gaza and the West Bank" and a "warning to the enemy." Both rockets landed in open territory, and no wounded or damage were reported. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon condemned the Kassam attack, but also criticized Israel's recent anti-terror activity in Gaza. Operating around Bet Hanun earlier Friday, Givati Brigade reconnaissance units found seven Kassam launching devices that were connected to stopwatches. An eighth launcher was recovered already prepared for use, with a Kassam locked and loaded inside. Givati troops also conducted comprehensive searches in the fields and orchards from which rockets have been launched into Israel. On Friday afternoon, the army wrapped up anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip that left 11 Palestinians dead and more than 20 wounded. Security forces detained 109 Palestinians, nine of whom were transferred to Israel for further questioning. The operation, which also involved IAF aerial support, as well as troops from armored and engineering units, penetrated one kilometer west of the Gaza security fence. In addition to reducing Kassam-launch capabilities, the IDF was targeting the terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Elsewhere Friday, a soldier was lightly wounded in the West Bank after an IDF patrol near Ramallah came under a hail of stones. The soldier suffered a broken arm and was taken to a Jerusalem hospital for treatment. A day later, 51 M-16 bullets and a fake explosive device were discovered by IDF soldiers at the Hawara checkpoint outside of Nablus. The soldiers found the bullets and the device while performing a routine check on two Palestinians at the busy crossing.

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