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1 Dead in New Israeli Missile Strike in Gaza

Voice of America

VOA News
13 Jun 2003, 19:23 UTC

Israeli helicopter gunships have killed a Hamas militant in Gaza after reports that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered the army to "wipe out" the Palestinian militant group.

Earlier reports said two Palestinians were killed in the missile attack Friday night, but Palestinian medical sources revised that to one. More than 22 people were injured, including at least seven children, when gunships fired on a car in the al-Sabra district in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army said that the occupants of the car were planning a rocket attack on a near-by Israeli town. Israel targeted Hamas leaders and members of the Islamic group's military wing in five other missile attacks this week.

At a meeting of his cabinet Thursday, Mr. Sharon is reported to have said that Israel must strike hard against the terrorists because Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas has not yet been able to rein in the militants.

Thursday, an Israeli missile strike in Gaza killed senior Hamas official Yasser Taha, as well as his wife and young daughter. Thousands of angry Palestinians attended their funerals Friday, in Gaza. Meanwhile, another Palestinian died from wounds sustained in Thursday's attack, bringing to eight the number of Palestinians killed. And in the West Bank, an Israeli was shot and killed Friday evening near Jenin.

Hamas officials have vowed retaliation for Israeli attacks, saying every Israeli has become a target and warning foreigners to leave Israel. More than 50 people have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian violence this week. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell Friday dismissed a suggestion by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan that an international peacekeeping force is needed to stem the spiraling cycle of violence. Mr. Powell urged restraint on both the Palestinian and Israeli sides and said the United States is committed to seeing the internationally-backed "road map" peace plan implemented.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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