GAZA STRIP, April 9, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Continued Israeli air strikes on Friday overnight killed a Hamas commander in the southern Gaza Strip and two of his bodyguards while they were in their vehicle, Palestinian medics said, The Jerusalem Post reported on Saturday.
The IDF attacks on Gaza throughout Friday came in retaliation for earlier rockets fired by Hamas into Ashkelon.
Earlier Friday, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that “Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip will not be able to break the will of the Palestinian people.”
He also called for the cessation of IDF attacks in Gaza.
The IDF air strikes and shelling killed nine Palestinians, with Reuters reporting earlier that three Hamas members and three Palestinian civilians were killed.
Palestinians sources also reported that another 10 people were wounded by gunfire in the neighborhood of Sajaiya.
In a day when over 22 mortars had already landed in the South, Palestinians launched another two mortar shells on Friday evening which landed in the grounds of a kibbutz in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. No one was injured, but damage was caused to one of the buildings on the kibbutz. Less than an hour later, three mortar shells landed in the Eshkol Regional Council. Two further mortar shells landed on Friday night in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. Over 50 mortars and rockets landed in Israel on Friday according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Friday evening praised the successful interception by the Iron Dome missile defense system of Kassam rockets fired towards Ashkelon and Beersheba.
Since Thursday night, 17 Palestinians were killed in various IDF attacks on terror cells throughout Gaza, according to Reuters.
The IDF said that in response to rockets fired from deep inside a residential area in southern Gaza, IAF air craft struck two terror cells.
The explosions occurred in the afternoon hours, and schools held students from returning to their homes until the attacks passed. The explosions caused no casualties.
Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Thursday’s school bus attack “crossed the line,” and adding that “the IDF acted immediately last night and would continue to act with determination.” (*)