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Israel intensifies airstrikes on Gaza in retaliation for rockets attacks
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16:14, February 28, 2008

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Israeli warplanes and aircrafts overnight and Thursday morning intensified airstrikes on the Gaza Strip in retaliation for Gaza militants' homemade attacks on southern Israel, Hamas police said.

Mo'aweya Hassanein, chief of emergency and ambulance service in the ministry of health said that since Wednesday morning, the Israeli army killed 17 Palestinians, including 14 in the Gaza Strip and three in the West Bank.

Early on Thursday morning, an Israeli army force stormed Balata refugee camp near the city of Nablus in northern West Bank and had shot dead two al-Aqsa Brigades militants, medics and witnesses in Nablus said.

Hassanein said that 14 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip in a series of intensive airstrikes on militants, blacksmith workshops and buildings belonging to the deposed government of Hamas-led movement.

He said that among the 14 killed, four were children, and the youngest was a 5-month-old infant. The rest ten were militants, seven of them are from Hamas, two from the Popular Resistance Committees and one from Islamic Jihad.

Israel vowed heavy and tough retaliation after homemade rockets killed an Israeli citizen in the town of Sderot on Wednesday. Gaza militant groups fired dozens of rockets at southern Israeli towns and communities.

The deposed interior ministry of Hamas condemned in a leaflet sent to reporters what it termed "the barbarian Israeli war on Palestinians," while calling on President Mahmoud Abbas and the Arab world to take prompt action.

"President Abbas should decide whether he supports this war against his people or he condemns it. The Arab and Islamic worlds should also move to prevent the Israeli aggression," said the interior ministry statement.

A 5-month-old infant was killed and three civilians wounded on Wednesday night in an Israeli airstrike on a building belonging to deposed Hamas government in Gaza, medics and witnesses said.

Israeli Apache attack helicopter gunship destroyed by three air-to-ground missiles the building of the interior ministry in the deposed Hamas government in Gaza City, witnesses said.

Palestinian witnesses in Gaza City said that Israeli drones and aircrafts hovered over Gaza City, where several explosions were heard, adding that a blacksmith workshop was destroyed by one Israeli missile.

Source: Xinhua

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