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Monday, September 26, 2005

Israel pounds Gaza with air strikes

ISN SECURITY WATCH (Monday, 26 September: 11:30 CET) - Israeli aircraft continued to pound targets in the Gaza Strip on Monday, including several facilities that were allegedly used to manufacture and store weapons for attacks by militant groups on nearby Israeli towns.

The strikes came after Mahmoud Zahar, leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, pledged to honor a ceasefire commitment that called for an end to all rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Israeli officials said on Monday they would continue the air assaults, which started over the weekend, until they received proof that Palestinian extremist groups were committed to ending the attacks.

Over the weekend, militant groups reportedly fired three dozen home-made rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot.

In retaliation, Israeli forces killed a top Islamic Jihad commander and his deputy over the weekend. On Saturday, two members of Hamas’ military wing were killed in Israeli attacks.

Israeli troops withdrew from Gaza on 12 September. The move caused a rift in Prime Minster Ariel Sharon’s Likud Party, as hardliners denounced the withdrawal.
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