Sunday, March 20, 2011

'They're out to destroy us': Israel hits back after Palestinians unleash heaviest rocket attack for two years - 20th Mar 2011

Palestinian militants in Gaza fired more than 50 rockets into Israel today, the heaviest barrage in two years, Israeli officials said.

A Hamas official was killed and four civilians were wounded when Israel hit back with tank fire and air strikes, said Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Adham Abu Salmia.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he will file a complaint at the UN after the unusually large barrage of rockets.

In a statement, he said the Palestinians' 'primary goal is destroying Israel'.

The violence comes amid increasing calls for reconciliation between Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his bitter rivals, the Islamic militant group Hamas.

Abbas is seeking UN recognition for a Palestinian state by the fall and is currently lobbying for votes worldwide. Hamas used force to disperse a reconciliation rally in Gaza. Some reporters were later beaten up, threatened and briefly detained.

Israeli police spokesman Tamir Avtabi said Gaza militants fired 54 mortar shells at Israeli border communities within 15 minutes. He said two Israeli civilians were lightly wounded by shrapnel and residents were advised to stay at home or in bomb shelters. Read More