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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Israeli strike goes bad, kills civilians; Palestinian strike on target, injures civilians

Here's the news:

Three Palestinian civilians were killed Wednesday afternoon in an Israel Air Force strike that targeted a car east of Gaza City, as Qassam rocket fire continued to pound southern Israel.
Military sources confirmed that the dead were civilians. The sources said the strike targeted a car carrying a group of militants who had fired rockets at Israel, but that for an unknown reason the missiles hit a different car in the area.
Palestinian sources identified the dead as members of the Yazji family - Amar, Mohammed, and 14-year-old Amir.
The IDF said it had opened an investigation into the incident. The IAF has successfully reduced the number of civilians killed in air strikes from roughly 50 percent in 2002-2003 to 2-3 percent in 2007.
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired at least 28 Qassam rockets at southern Israel on Wednesday, causing damage to local kibbutzim but no injuries.
The rockets struck the Sderot area and south of the port city of Ashkelon. Two woman suffered from shock and were taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.
Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for part of the barrage, saying it was in response to Wednesday's killing of the group's top West Bank commander during an Israel Defense Forces operation near Jenin.
Meanwhile, business tycoon Arcadi Gaydamak announced plans Wednesday to evacuate Sderot teens aged 13 to 20 from the town over the weekend, in order to give them a break from the rocket attacks.
The barrage came a day after at least 19 Palestinians were killed Tuesday, including 15 militants, in IDF air and ground operations in the coastal territory.
Also Tuesday, at least 10 people were hurt when Palestinian militants launched a barrage of Qassam rockets and mortar shells at Israel in a day of fierce fighting in Gaza.
'I saw my daughter drenched in blood'
The father of a 5-year-old girl hurt when a Qassam hit their neighbor's Sderot home Tuesday vowed his family will not return to the city that has been repeatedly hit by rockets and mortar shells.
The girl, Lior Ben-Shimol, was at her neighbor's house playing with their children when the attack occurred. Her father and younger brother were in their adjacent home.
"Suddenly my wife called me, telling me there was a Color Red alert and that she does not know where to take cover," the girl's father, Yaron Ben-Shimol said, referring to the siren informing residents of an incoming rocket attack. "A second later I heard an explosion and saw a Qassam had hit the neighbor's house."
At the moment of impact, the girl had been playing with the neighbors' children aged 3 and 7, one of whom was also hurt.
"I ran to the neighbor's house and saw my daughter come to me drenched in blood," Ben-Shimol recounted. He said his daughter had already been given psychological help to cope with the stress of living under constant attack.
Ben-Shimol's father, Haim, is the chief of the Magen David Adom ambulance service in Sderot.
The father of the other child hurt in the attack, Shlomi Argon, was at work when the attack took place. "They called me telling me my home was hit," he said, his voice full of emotion, while tightly holding his younger son in his hands at the Barzilai Medical Center's emergency room in Ashkelon. The child was covered with smears of blood.
Unlike his neighbor, Argon vowed to stay in Sderot despite the attack.

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