Sun, Jul 16, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Israel pounds Gaza anew, killing two

AFP , GAZA CITY

Israel pounded Gaza with fresh air raids yesterday, killing two people and wounding 10 others including three babies, in its campaign to retrieve an abducted soldier and stop rocket attacks.

A 25-year-old man was killed when Israeli aircraft slammed two missiles into a three-story building in Gaza City, which the Israeli army described as a weapons factory used by Hamas militants.

Three infants and three women were among 10 other people wounded in the strike, medical sources said.

Earlier, an 18-year-old Palestinian was killed by an Israeli helicopter strike in a village near Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

Firefighters were searching for bodies among the ruins of the building in Gaza City -- which was demolished, with a huge crater dug out by the blast -- according to an AFP correspondent.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said the building was being used as a rocket factory and ammunitions depot by members of Hamas, and that militants were inside at the time.

The building belonged to a Hamas member, a professor at the Islamic University in Gaza, although he did not live on the premises.

Some neighbors said the building now served as a shop selling wood for construction work, although others said it was used as a "secret meeting place."

Militants belonging to Hamas' armed wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, swarmed around the building after the attack, pushing journalists away.

"All these pictures end up immediately in Israel, where they hold up our dead as trophies," charged one of the masked men.

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