Is­raeli strikes on Gaza kill three Pales­tini­ans

Egyp­tian cease-fire ef­forts fall short

The Washington Times Daily - - World - BY IBRAHIM BARZAK

GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP | Is­raeli airstrikes killed a school­boy and two other Pales­tini­ans in the Gaza Strip on Sun­day, while Gaza rocket squads fired salvos into south­ern Is­rael, deep­en­ing the worst round of vi­o­lence be­tween the sides in more than a year.

A Gaza health of­fi­cial said a 12year-old boy, a 60-year-old farm guard and a mil­i­tant were killed as the ex­changes of fire en­tered their third day.

Egyp­tian ef­forts to achieve a cease­fire fal­tered, spurned by the two fac­tions in Gaza re­spon­si­ble for the rocket fire. The Is­raeli mil­i­tary said its air­craft tar­geted rocket launch­ers.

The vi­o­lence has shat­tered a month­s­long lull. It was touched off Fri­day by an Is­raeli airstrike that killed the com­man­der of the Pop­u­lar Re­sis­tance Com­mit­tees mil­i­tant group, an ally of Gaza’s Ha­mas rulers.

Since then, Is­raeli airstrikes have killed 16 Gaza mil­i­tants and two civil­ians, and Pales­tinian mil­i­tants there have fired more than 120 rock­ets at Is­rael, se­ri­ously wound­ing two civil­ians.

Gaza health of­fi­cial Ad­ham Abu Salmia said the mil­i­tant killed Sun­day was at a rocket launch­ing site in Gaza City. The boy was hit while walk­ing with a friend to school in the north­ern town of Je­baliya and the guard died in Gaza City while walk­ing with his dog, which also was killed, he said.

Hun­dreds of Pales­tinian mourn­ers marched through the streets of two Gaza towns Sun­day, on their way to bury the day’s fa­tal­i­ties. Women wailed and men chanted slo­gans de­mand­ing re­venge for the deaths, as mil­i­tants fired guns into the air.

The boy’s body was draped in the black flag of the Is­lamic Ji­had mil­i­tant group, which was pay­ing for the fu­neral and mourn­ing ex­penses.

Is­raeli po­lice spokesman Micky Rosen­feld said the two-dozen rock­ets launched from Gaza on Sun­day caused no in­juries. The Is­raeli mil­i­tary claims ca­su­al­ties have been averted be­cause Iron Dome mis­silede­fense bat­ter­ies in­ter­cepted more than 90 per­cent of the rock­ets they tar­geted.

Is­rael ac­cused the Pop­u­lar Re­sis­tance Com­mit­tees com­man­der, Zuhair al-qaissi, of plot­ting an in­fil­tra­tion at­tack into south­ern Is­rael from Egypt’s law­less Si­nai penin­sula, sim­i­lar to the one they claim he or­ches­trated in Au­gust, which killed eight Is­raelis.

The Pop­u­lar Re­sis­tance Com­mit­tees has never taken re­spon­si­bil­ity for the Au­gust raid. The group is best known for its role in the 2006 cap­ture of Is­raeli army Sgt. Gi­lad Schalit, who was re­cently freed in a prisoner swap with Ha­mas.

“We ex­acted a heavy price and con­tinue to ex­act it,” Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu said Sun­day of the Is­raeli strikes on Gaza. “We will con­tinue to over­come these ter­ror threats.”

Mr. Ne­tanyahu said Is­rael would de­ploy more Iron Dome mis­sile-de­fense bat­ter­ies in the fu­ture.

Some 1 mil­lion Is­raelis are within range of rocket fire from Gaza.

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