GAZA CITY ø Israel's military has completed a search-and-destroy
operation for Palestinian rockets and missiles in the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli operation took place in and around Gaza City, where the
Palestinian Authority and insurgency groups maintain a range of missile,
rocket and mortar facilities. Israeli and Palestinian sources said a
five-man Islamic Jihad squad opened with an anti-tank rocket attack on the
Israeli community of Netsarim on early Wednesday.
Israeli troops, backed by tanks and armored personnel carriers,
responded quickly. They entered a neighborhood south of Gaza City and raided
buildings said to have contained weapons workshops.
Palestinian insurgents and PA forces responded with mortar,
rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missile fire in the most intense
fighting in Gaza City in 2004. Palestinian sources
said nine people, most of them insurgents from the Islamic Jihad, were
Israeli military sources said the operation was meant to remove the
threat of Palestinian missiles, rockets and mortars from Israeli communities
in the Gaza Strip. Over the past two weeks, Palestinian gunners have fired
Kassam-2 short-range missile and mortars toward Israeli communities in the
northern and central part of the Gaza Strip.
More than 100 mortars were fired by Palestinian gunners toward Netsarim
since December, military sources said. The range of Palestinian mortars has
been reported at less than two kilometers.
"This time, we succeeded in striking the terrorists," a senior Israeli
On Thursday, Jihad said its gunners fired four rockets toward the
Israeli community of Neve Dekalim on late Wednesday. The Jihad statement
said its Saraya rocket hit targets in Neve Dekalim, east of Khan Yunis.
Israel's military did not confirm the attack.