Tags: Israel | Launches | Attacks | Gaza

Israel Launches Attacks on Gaza

Wednesday, 20 June 2007 12:00 AM

GAZA -- Israel on Wednesday launched its first major attacks in the Gaza Strip since Hamas took over the territory, killing at least four Palestinian fighters.

Israel carried out air strikes against rocket launch sites in northern Gaza after militants fired at least one makeshift rocket into southern Israel.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for firing the rocket.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli troops killed four Palestinian fighters in the first such deadly skirmish in the coastal enclave since Hamas Islamist militias overran President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction and seized control of the territory a week ago.

Officials said two Hamas fighters and two other militants were killed in the clash near the Kissufim border crossing. Israeli tanks and troops had pushed into the coastal enclave in a hunt for wanted Palestinian militants, the army said.

Two other Palestinian guerrillas, one from Islamic Jihad and another from Fatah were killed in a gun battle at Jenin in the West Bank, the larger of the two Palestinian territories. Fatah remains dominant there.

Hamas, which won a parliamentary election 18 months ago but was shunned by Western powers for refusing to renounce violence and recognize Israel, was dismissed from government last week by Abbas after the Islamists routed Fatah forces in Gaza.

The result has been a schism that leaves Gaza, a 40-km (25-mile) strip of Mediterranean coast, isolated behind a dense Israeli military cordon and tightening economic blockade, while Abbas has secured promises that financial flows will be resumed to the separate, larger and Israeli-occupied West Bank inland.

U.S. President George W. Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledged in Washington on Tuesday to bolster Abbas, while Israel sought to tighten the screws on Hamas in Gaza.

Bush and Olmert reaffirmed their commitment to the vision of a Palestinian state, but offered no concrete plan to achieve a negotiated deal with Abbas.

"He is the president of all the Palestinians," Bush said of Abbas, with Olmert at his side in the Oval Office. "He has spoken out for moderation. He is a voice that is a reasonable voice amongst the extremists in your neighborhood."

The United States and European Union pledged on Monday to lift an economic and diplomatic embargo imposed on the Palestinian Authority in March 2006 after the Hamas election victory.

As an initial gesture, Olmert has promised to release Palestinian tax revenues withheld since Hamas came to power. He said after the White House talks he would ask his cabinet at its next meeting on Sunday to approve the release of the funds.

The Israeli leader said he wanted to make "every possible effort" to cooperate with Abbas, but he stopped short of bowing to the Palestinian president's push for full-scale peace talks, and Bush showed no sign of pressuring him to do so.

Fatah leaders question Olmert's willingness to negotiate with them. Abbas's national security chief, Mohammad Dahlan, told Reuters on Tuesday: "Israel is releasing money not because they are honorable but they just want to entrench the divide between the West Bank and Gaza."

Abbas was gathering the Palestine Central Council (PCC) at his administrative base at Ramallah in the West Bank.

The 129-member body is effectively a legislative council for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), of which Fatah is the leading faction. Attendees, some of whom have traveled in from other countries that host Palestinian refugees, said they would discuss the consequences of Hamas's takeover of Gaza.

Meetings will start later on Wednesday.

© reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
GAZA -- Israel on Wednesday launched its first major attacks in the Gaza Strip since Hamas took over the territory, killing at least four Palestinian fighters. Israel carried out air strikes against rocket launch sites in northern Gaza after militants fired at least one...
Israel,Launches,Attacks,Gaza
583
2007-00-20
Wednesday, 20 June 2007 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved