23 juin 2012

Medics: 1 killed, 10 injured as Israel strikes Gaza Strip
Published yesterday (updated) 23/06/2012 19:19
A wounded woman sits on a chair as another wounded man lies in a
hospital in Gaza City, following an Israeli air strike June 23, 2012.
(Reuters/Ahmed Zakot)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian man was killed, and ten others wounded on Saturday afternoon as Israel continued airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, medical officials said.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said an airstrike on a motorcycle west of Gaza City killed one person, and ten others were brought to Shifa hospital with injuries.

Eyewitnesses told Ma'an that the wall of a nearby apartment block had collapsed onto a crowd after the strike.

Medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya named the casualty as 42-year-old Osama Mahmoud Ali.

An Israeli military statement said aircraft "targeted a terrorist squad in the northern Gaza Strip, during final preparations to fire a rocket at Israel. A hit was confirmed."

Israeli airstrikes killed eight Palestinians over three days of heavy shelling that ended Wednesday night, as Hamas' military wing signed up to a truce mediated by Egypt.

However, rockets continued to fly into Israel, wounding one Israeli man on Saturday morning, amongst 21 that landed in southern Israel, the army said. Israel killed two young men in airstrikes on Friday, and another on Saturday. Medical officials said a 4-year-old boy was also killed in a Saturday airstrike but Israel's military denied involvement.

Meanwhile, Israel's military chiefs scheduled urgent consultations to weigh a "course of action", a military spokeswoman said. Israeli authorities also urged the roughly 1 million Israelis who live in the south to stay indoors or close to fortified shelters.

"Israel cannot be silent in the face of the recent days' events," Civil Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said in remarks released by his office.

"We regard Hamas as fully responsible for everything that is happening in the Gaza area. Israel is acting, and will continue to act, with a strong hand against those terrorists who want to escalate the situation in the area," Vilnai said.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the party holds Israel responsible for the latest escalation, and accused its forces of committing war crimes and targeting of civilians.

Zuhri stressed the right of the people and resistance groups to act in self-defense.

Hamas's military wing, which had not claimed responsibility for any of the rocket fire in the past few days, said it was "ready to smash the Israeli arrogance in response to its aggression."

Hamas militants had conditionally pledged to adhere to a truce brokered by Egypt on Wednesday, if Israel also withheld fire. Israel never formally commented on the deal but its officials have vowed to respond to any rocket fire from Gaza.

Reuters contributed to this report

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