IAF strike 298.88.
(photo credit: CNN [file])
The IAF dropped notices from the air throughout northern Gaza early Saturday telling area residents that the IDF would continue to respond to Kassam launches with strikes and artillery bombardments in order to save the lives of Israeli civilians.
"There was quiet over the past few weeks as long as rockets were not launched into Israel," the notices read. "Quiet will bring quiet. Continued terror attacks and Kassam launches will lead the IDF to strengthen its responses," residents were warned.
On Friday, an IDF aircraft attacked a training camp used by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza City, killing five operatives, including three relatives of a top commander, Palestinian officials said. Two others were wounded.
The training camp was run by the Popular Resistance Committees, an umbrella group responsible for many Kassam rocket attacks against Israel. According to the IDF, the camp was used to train operatives in Kassam launchings and booby-trapping.
The airstrike hit just meters away from the home of Moumtaz Dourghmush, the top commander in the PRC. Dourghmush was not at the scene, but a brother and two cousins were among the dead, hospital officials said.
Sources in the IDF said that they had refrained from attacking targets in Gaza this past week, but the only response had been increased Kassam attacks, Israel Radio reported.
In his first action as Defense Minister, Amir Peretz authorized the airstrike.
Abu Mujahid, an official with the militant group, said at least three missiles landed on the field as members were training. "God willing, this is not going to stop our heroic battle against the Zionists, and the blood is the fuel of our resistance and our reprisal is coming soon," he said.
The army confirmed it had targeted the Popular Resistance Committees, saying that militants were training for attacks against Israel. "The army will continue to track down those who support and are involved in terror attacks," it said.
Since the Hamas-led Palestinian government took office in late March, Israel has stepped up its military activity in Gaza in response to repeated Kassam rocket fire.
The rocket attacks have not caused any serious casualties, but have been deadly in the past. While not believed to be directly involved in the rocket fire, Hamas has refused to condemn the attacks or take steps to stop them.
The Popular Resistance Committees has claimed responsibility for much of the rocket fire. In the past, the group also has blown up Israeli tanks and is widely believed to be behind the deadly bombing of a US diplomatic convoy in October 2003.