Israeli defense minister orders military to stop missile attacks

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

GAZA CITY Israel has failed to stop the launching of Palestinian missiles into the Jewish state.

Israeli officials said that over the last month Palestinian gunners have fired nearly 60 Kassam-class short-range missiles into Israel. They said a military operation that began on June 29 to stop the Kassam launches from the northern Gaza Strip has not succeeded.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz met senior Israeli commanders over the weekend and was said to have ordered additional measures to stop Kassam attacks. Officials said Mofaz provided a green light to the military to take whatever measures were required to end the missile strikes.

[In Nablus, Fatah dissidents abducted three Western nationals who worked for a church agency, Middle East Newsline reported. The Westerners were held overnight July 30 and released unharmed on Saturday.]

On late Saturday, Israeli attack helicopters fired missiles toward a suspected bomb factory in the Gaza Strip. Israeli military sources said the factory manufactured and supplied explosives to Hamas.

The factory was said to have been owned by the El Riashi family. In January 2004, a woman in the prominent family, Rim Saleh Awad El Riashi blew herself up at the Erez border terminal in a suicide attack in which an Israeli civilian, two soldiers and a border police officer were killed.

In the West Bank, Fatah dissidents torched the offices of PA military intelligence. Palestinian sources said PA security agents were accused of helping Israeli troops capture Palestinian insurgents.

On July 30, Al Aqsa torched the headquarters of the Jenin district governor, accused of having refused to pay salaries to Al Aqsa insurgents.

Three days earlier, PA Chairman Yasser Arafat appointed Khaddour Musa to the post.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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