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Home >> World
UPDATED: 10:05, May 22, 2007
EU's Solana visits Israeli city as woman killed by Qassam attack
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Visiting EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, accompanied by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, visited the southern Israeli town of Sderot on Monday evening as a Qassam rocket killed a local woman and injured several others, local media reported.

At a joint press conference with Livni, Solana condemned the attacks on Israeli citizens, saying "I hope that we can create conditions that will allow us to continue the peace process as soon as possible."

For her part, Livni told reporters that "the residents of Sderot are suffering from an unbearable situation. We believe that the Palestinian (National) Authority, headed by the Hamas government, is accountable."

She noted that the Israeli government will do everything to protect its citizens, saying "so far we have shown restraint, but Israel must defend its citizens."

Earlier on Monday evening, a Qassam rocket hit a car at the commercial center of Sderot, seriously wounding a 35-year-old woman, who later died of her wounds, and moderately injuring two others.

The woman, who was standing next to the car at the time of the strike, was taken to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon. Hospital spokesperson said that she died on the way to the hospital.

Hamas, the Islamic Jihad (Holy War) and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) all have claimed responsibility for the attack.

This is the first fatality in rocket attacks launched at Sderot and the western Negev in recent days, which has caused widespread damage and left several other people wounded.

Livni rejected any possibility of a cease-fire with Hamas.

"A cease-fire is a kind of deception," she said, adding "even during periods of so-called quiet, Hamas takes advantage of the situation to smuggle arms."

"Israel left Gaza to give peace a chance. In exchange, unfortunately, we are getting nothing but terrorism. The Qassams are only part of the problem," she added.

According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), a total of 15 rockets were fired at the area on Monday.

In response to heightened rocket attacks against the southern Israeli communities from Gaza, Israeli troops in recent days intensified air strikes against the Palestinian militants in Gaza.

An Israeli airstrike targeted the car of a rocket cell in northern Gaza Strip earlier in the day, killing four members of the Islamic Jihad.

Meanwhile, eight Palestinians were killed and 13 wounded in an air attack on the house of a Hamas lawmaker in Gaza City Sunday evening, hours after the Israeli government approved targeted assassinations of Hamas and Jihad leaders involved in attacks against Israel.

Source: Xinhua

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