Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kassam hits Sderot home; number injured still unknown

Two Kassam rockets fell in Sderot Wednesday afternoon, one of them scoring a direct hit on a private residence in the city's Neveh Eshkol neighborhood.

Rescue forces were on their way to the scene and there were still no reports as to whether or not there were any casualties.

Barely an hour earlier, a barrage of 11 rockets slammed into the western Negev town, sending four people into shock and inflicting serious damage on a factory.

Over 11 Kassam rockets were launched into Israel from the Gaza Strip Wednesday afternoon. Most of the rockets fell in open areas, but a few fell inside the city. One hit a factory in the city's industrial zone, and Magen David Adom reported four people were in shock.

Earlier, an IAF air strike targeting a minivan in southern Gaza killed five Hamas gunmen, including a senior rocket engineer and a regional rocket squad commander, the group said.

Two other gunmen were wounded in the attack, Hamas said, as the vehicle drove on Gaza's coastal road near Khan Yunis, on its way to a Hamas training base.

Minutes after the first explosion, another missile struck a car nearby. Witnesses said the gunmen had abandoned that vehicle for the minivan shortly before the strike. There were no casualties in the second attack.

The IDF confirmed the attack, saying it had been conducted in cooperation with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and was targeting gunmen. It gave no further details.

Meanwhile in the West Bank, a Palestinian fugitive was killed, another was critically wounded and two others were lightly wounded when special police forces fired at them in Nablus.

Security forces said they had fired at five Tanzim operatives after they tried to escape arrest. The four who were wounded were evacuated to hospital by the forces, while the fifth was arrested. The army said the group was planning an attack against Israeli targets, Israel Radio reported.

In an earlier incident, Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip claimed that an Islamic Jihad operative was killed by the IAF Tuesday overnight. According to the report, the man was killed when aircraft fired at a group of Islamic Jihad men at an observation post.

The army denied involvement, saying a man had approached the Gaza-Israel border fence late Wednesday and that soldiers had seen an explosion, likely caused by explosives he was carrying.

Two other men were reportedly injured in that incident.

The army said it had arrested 17 Palestinian fugitives in the West Bank Tuesday overnight. The suspects were being interrogated by security forces. Soldiers also confiscated three Molotov cocktails from Palestinians near Jericho.

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