Palestinians: Man killed by shelling

Six Palestinians died in strikes on Kassam launch sites over the weekend.

pflp members dead (photo credit: AP)
pflp members dead
(photo credit: AP)
Palestinian hospital officials reported that a 55-year-old Palestinian civilian was killed in Beit Lahia on Sunday morning by IDF shelling. The IDF denied it had fired at Beit Lahia. Over the weekend, army artillery kept up a steady barrage on Kassam rocket launch sites in the Gaza Strip in response to a number of Kassams that were fired at Israel on Friday. At least six other Palestinians were killed in IDF strikes on rocket launch sites and a terrorist training camp in the northern Gaza Strip over the weekend, and the Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) threatened that "reprisal is coming soon." Five Palestinians were killed on Friday evening when IAF-fired missiles struck a training camp used by the PRC, which has close ties with the ruling Hamas movement. The missile strike, which was the first action authorized by new defense minister Amir Peretz, followed a Kassam barrage on Friday during which six of the homemade rockets were fired at Israeli targets in the western Negev. One military official said it was a clear message that Peretz was ready to flex his muscles and order tough action against terror. PRC terrorists, the army said, were in the camp at the time of the strike and were in the midst of training for planned attacks against Israel. The base, the army said, was used to train operatives in Kassam rocket fire and bomb making. "We will continue targeting anyone involved in terror against Israel," the army said. On Saturday, Palestinian officials said that a 60-year-old farmer was killed and three others wounded after an IDF-fired tank shell landed near their home in the northern Gaza Strip. The farmer was killed outside his home by shrapnel, Palestinian medical officials said. The other wounded included two farmers whose tractor was hit, they said. A security officer manning a roadblock in the area also was wounded. Earlier Saturday, the IAF dropped leaflets throughout northern Gaza warning residents that it planned to fire artillery shells at Kassam launch sites and urged the civilians to avoid the areas. The army said it fired close to 300 shells over the weekend. The army confirmed artillery fire was going on at the time of the farmer's death. It was investigating the incident and declined further comment. "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 intensify its responses." Friday's airstrike scattered body parts and left pools of blood in a field just meters away from the home of Moumtaz Dourghmush, a top PRC commander. Dourghmush was not at the scene, but a brother and three cousins were among the dead, hospital officials said. Dourghmush is known to have close ties with Hamas's military wing and according to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) was involved in last month's thwarted attack on the Karni crossing into the Gaza Strip. The attempted attack, the Shin Bet revealed last week, was funded by the Hamas. Abu Mujahid, an official with the Resistance Committees, said at least three missiles landed in 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 group pledged to respond with more than 100 homemade Kassam rockets. In addition to firing rockets, the Popular Resistance Committees has in the past blown up Israeli tanks and is widely believed to be behind the deadly bombing of a US diplomatic convoy in October 2003. Last month, Hamas appointed the head of the PRC, Jamal Abu Samhadana, to head a new security force. The appointment infuriated Israel and was vetoed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. In West Bank violence, a bomb was discovered on Friday next to a hitchhiking post at the Gush Etzion Junction. Earlier Friday, IDF troops shot and killed a Palestinian after he threw a Molotov cocktail at the force in Nablus. The troops encountered a stone-throwing crowd during an arrest raid they conducted in the city, the army said. AP contributed to this report.