Israeli planes strike Gaza Strip 22Nov09 November 23, 2009

Aljazeera -  22 November 2009


At least seven Palestinians have been injured in a round of Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, Palestinian witnesses said.

Witnesses told Al Jazeera that the first strike hit a metal workshop in the al-Tufah district of Gaza city early on Sunday, while the second struck a workshop in al-Burij in central Gaza.

The Israeli army confirmed the strikes and said it was targeting two factories used to make weapons, as well as a smuggling tunnel under the border with Egypt.

Dozens of tunnels are said to criss-cross between southern Gaza and Egypt’s Sinai desert, providing a lifeline to Gaza residents who are starved of basic supplies due to Israel’s blockade of the territory.

Sources say there are more than 6,000 Palestinians employed in the clandestine industry.

Gaza rocket fire

An Israeli army spokesman said the strikes were in response to a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

The rocket landed near the southern Israeli city of Sderot, causing no damage or casualties.

Israel launched an offensive on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in December and January last year, in which more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed.

There has been a significant reduction in the number of Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli air raids since both sides declared unilateral ceasefires following the war.

The strikes on Sunday came just hours after Hamas said it had reached an agreement with other Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, to stop firing rockets into Israeli towns.

Fathi Hamad, the interior minister for Hamas, made the announcement on Saturday.

He said the move was aimed at preventing such retaliatory attacks to allow Gazans to rebuild the homes destroyed during Israel’s three-week war on Gaza.

“The factions have agreed that nobody should in this time, do any actions of the resistance in the framework of firing rockets.

“But if, in the framework of a clash, if there was an incursion, then the possibility is open for response.”

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