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New Israeli raids looming over Gaza

Press TV [1]
Tuesday, Feb 3, 2009

Israel threatens to launch new airstrikes on Gaza two days after the Israeli premier vowed a ‘disproportionate’ response to Palestinian rocket attacks.

The Israeli military said the airstrikes are to come in response to a Grad rocket which hit the Israeli town of Ashkelon on Tuesday, Israeli news website Haaretz reported on Tuesday.

Medics said the rocket caused damage but no injuries in Ashkelon, 13 kilometers (eight miles) from Gaza’s border.

Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert in his Sunday cabinet meeting said: “If there is shooting at the residents of the south, there will be a harsh Israeli response that will be disproportionate.”

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The warning came after Israel’s previous disproportionate offensive into Gaza Strip failed to stop the rockets from hitting Israeli cities.

Haaretz said local residents of the Gaza town of Rafah, have received telephone messages from the Israeli military forces warning them to leave their homes ahead of an aerial attack on the region.

Israel’s 23-day long onslaught, which ended after the two sides announced their own ceasefires on January 18, killed almost 1,400 people almost half of them women and children.

Earlier on Sunday, Israel’s Intelligence Chief Major-General Amos Yadlin told the cabinet meeting that that the rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel were being launched by individuals or groups other than Hamas fighters in the region.

He made the remarks hours after, a wing of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a group belonging to the Fatah faction of the Acting Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas claimed responsibility for launching two rockets and several mortar shells into southern Israel.

Tel Aviv however breached the fragile ceasefire last Tuesday after bombing Gaza in retaliation to the death of an Israeli soldier who was killed in an explosion at the Kissufim crossing.