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Middle east

Israeli jets pound targets in southern Gaza Strip

Latest update : 2009-02-18

Israeli jets have hit targets in the south of the Gaza Strip, apparently in response to the firing of a mortar round by Gaza militants, while officials from Hamas and Israel are still trying to cement an Egyptian-brokered deal for a ceasefire.

REUTERS - Israeli aircraft struck two targets in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday causing some damage but no casualties, local Palestinian residents and Hamas security officials said.

 

An Israeli army spokesman confirmed that aircraft had hit targets in Gaza but had no further details.

 

Residents said one air strike targeted tunnels which run under the Egyptian border at the town of Rafah that militants use to smuggle arms into the Gaza Strip. Another hit an already bombed-out security compound in the town of Khan Younis.

 

The strikes came in an apparent response to the firing of a mortar round by Gaza militants into Israel on Tuesday evening.

 

Following Israel's 22-day offensive in the Gaza Strip that ended last month in a ceasefire, Israeli leaders said that they would respond very harshly to any firing of rockets or mortar bombs into the Jewish state.

 

The air strikes were carried out as officials from Islamist Hamas and Israel were trying to cement an Egyptian-brokered deal for an extended ceasefire, the opening of Gaza's border crossings and a prisoner swap between the parties.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will convene his security cabinet later on Wednesday to discuss the outline of such a deal and possibly vote on it.

 

 

Date created : 2009-02-18

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