GAZA CITY ø Israel's military has withdrawn ground forces from, but
renewed air attacks on Palestinian insurgency targets in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli AH-64A Apache attack helicopters fired missiles toward three
targets in the Gaza Strip on early Sunday. Two of those targets were in
Gaza City and the third was in the northern part of the strip.
Palestinian sources said the targets included a building used by the
ruling Fatah movement in Gaza City. Another target was the Hamas-aligned
weekly Al Resala. The sources said the helicopters broadcast warnings in
Arabic to stay away from targeted areas.
Israeli military sources confirmed the attacks ø the fourth round of
air strikes conducted over the weekend ø and said the buildings were being
used for the planning of operations against Israeli civilian and military
targets in the Gaza Strip. They did not elaborate.
Earlier, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, who heads Fatah,
urged Palestinians to maintain attacks against Israel. Arafat's speech on
Saturday came to mark the 56th anniversary of the Arab-Israeli war in 1948,
which resulted in the establishment of the Jewish state.
"Find what strength you have to terrorize your enemy and the enemy of
God," Arafat, quoting the Koran, said.
Over the weekend, Israeli troops were withdrawn from the the southern
Gaza town of Rafah. The troops had participated in the search for the
remains of five Israeli soldiers killed in a Palestinian rocket-propelled
grenade attack on an Israeli armored personnel carrier on May 12.
On May 14, two Israeli soldiers were killed and two others were injured
during the search operation. An Israeli military statement said one of the
soldiers was killed as he was helping an elderly Palestinian woman carry her
baggage into a home in Rafah.
On Saturday, Israeli aircraft bombed what the military termed a weapons
laboratory operated by Islamic Jihad in Rafah.
The Jihad facility was said to have produced mines and stored weapons
smuggled from Egypt.
The Israel Air Force also attacked the Al Ansar association. Military
sources said Al Ansar, funded by Iran, served as a Hizbullah front for the
recruitment and operating of insurgents.
"The research center exists under the facade of being an academic body,"
a military source said, "but in reality is used by the Islamic Jihad for its
regular operations, including sending messages and information relating to
operations of the organization, as well as coordinating between different
bodies both in and outside of the Gaza Strip."