Fri, Nov 17, 2006 - Page 6 News List

Israel raids Gaza in response to killing of civilian woman

AGENCIES , GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP AND NABLUS, WEST BANK

Israeli warplanes raided the Gaza Strip overnight, hours after an Israeli woman was killed by Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza. Also yesterday, a Palestinian man was shot and killed at home in the West Bank.

Fatima Slutsker, a 57-year-old mother of two, died of wounds sustained when a rocket struck early on Wednesday in a street in the town of Sderot, 5km north of Gaza, police and medics said.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered the army to continue its lethal four-month offensive in the coastal strip following the death.

"Olmert has been updated and spoke on the phone with Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and instructed him to continue to act against Qassam rocket fire and infrastructure," Olmert's spokeswoman Miri Eisin said.

Peretz vowed that Gaza militants would "pay a heavy price" for the strike.

"We will move against those who are involved in the firing of rockets, starting from their leaders and down to the last of their terrorists," he said.

Israeli warplanes carried out five raids on the Gaza Strip late Wednesday and early yesterday, Palestinian security officials said, adding that two Palestinians were wounded when the Israelis targeted a house in Shatti refugee camp in the north of the Gaza Strip, where an official of the Palestinian militant group the Popular Resistance Committees lived.

A second air raid took place at the Jabaliya refugee camp, also in the Gaza Strip.

That attack targeted the home of a leader of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, which heads the current Palestinian government, the sources said. They gave no further details.

An army spokesman confirmed that aircraft had carried out two attacks "aimed at buildings used to store weapons."

Three later raids were aimed at houses belonging to Hamas militants at Rafah in the south of the Strip and in Jabaliya, the officials said. They could not say whether there had been victims.

The UN Human Rights Council voted to send an urgent fact-finding mission to examine the impact of the Israeli offensive.

The resolution was rejected by the Israeli ambassador in Geneva, who said chief responsibility for the situation in Gaza lay with the Palestinian failure to stop rockets being fired.

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