Israel Continues Air Strikes On Gaza

Palestinians look at the damage of the Al-Masri home after it was hit by a shell fired by an Israeli tank in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, early Monday, May 21, 2007.
AP
Palestinian rockets slammed into southern Israel on Monday morning after an Israeli air strike hit a Hamas lawmaker's house and killed eight people in the deadliest attack of a renewed Israeli campaign against incessant rocket fire.

The Israeli air strike Sunday night, which followed a government decision to step up operations against Islamic militants, hit the house of lawmaker Khalil al-Haya, who was not at home and was unharmed.

At least 13 people were wounded. All the dead and wounded were relatives and neighbors, his wife said. Hamas said two of the dead were militants.

An Israeli aircraft attacked a car in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday, killing five Palestinian militants, Palestinian security and medical officials said.

Islamic Jihad, a militant group that has fired numerous rockets into Israel, said four of its members were killed in the attack.

The army confirmed the air strike in the Jebaliya refugee camp, and that Islamic Jihad was the target.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the air strikes would continue until the rocket fire stops, reports CBS News correspondent Robert Berger. Israeli cabinet minister Gideon Ezra said Hamas political leaders have been ordering attacks, so they're legitimate targets.

  • Hamas and the rival Fatah faction have cemented a cease-fire aimed at ending gun battles that killed 50 Palestinians dead over the past 10 days, reports Berger. Palestinian Information Minister Moustafa Barghouti said the agreement is bittersweet. "I never felt so shameful in my life like when we had to use the word 'cease-fire' between Palestinians." With Israel stepping up air strikes on Gaza, the Palestinians have put aside their differences — for now.
  • The Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday condemned the Palestinian militants battling Lebanese government troops in a refugee camp in Lebanon, saying it has nothing to do with the group.

    Army spokeswoman Capt. Noa Meir said Sunday's air strike was not aimed at al-Haya, but at a group of five armed Hamas men, including a senior militant, near the home.

    "They, and only they, were the target, and they were hit," Meir said. Any civilian casualties, she said, "were the result of the terrorists' use of civilians as human shields."

    Israel resumed its air strikes in Gaza last week in response to increased Palestinian rocket fire at southern Israeli towns. The air strikes have killed 36 Palestinians, most of them Hamas militants.

    Early Monday, Israeli aircraft struck four more times in Gaza, the army said, killing a Hamas militant. The military said two of the targets were weapons factories. Palestinians said one was a cement factory and the other was a house.