Hamas renews Kassam missile attacks on Israeli communities

Special to World
Thursday, February 20, 2003

TEL AVIV The Islamic movement Hamas has renewed missile attacks against Israel.

Hamas gunners fired four Kassam-3 short-range missiles toward Israel on Wednesday. One missile slammed into the southern Israeli city of Sderot and three people were injured.

Israeli officials said the missile struck the industrial zone of Sderot. They said the Kassam missiles were fired from the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun.

It was the first Kassam rocket attack on Sderot in nearly three weeks. The attack came days after Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders announced they would end rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli communities.

[On Thursday, Hamas gunners fired a Kassam missile from the northern Gaza Strip toward Israel. The missile was said to have landed in an unidentified Israeli community.]

On Wednesday evening, Palestinian gunners fired mortars toward Israeli communities in the central Gaza Strip. Israeli sources said one of the mortars damaged a factory in the Gush Katif settlement bloc.

In response, Israel's military said it was dividing the Gaza Strip into three regions. Palestinians would have to undergo checks before moving from one region to the other.

Overnight Thursday, Israeli forces demolished a building in the central Gaza City of Khan Yunis that served as a warehouse for Kassam missiles and mortars. Israeli military sources said the military cancelled a major operation in Beit Hanoun for technical reasons.

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