Abbas pledges to do 'utmost' to stop Palestinian rocket attacks
2 Israelis moderately wounded in Neveh Dekalim shelling; IDF makes failed assassination attempt in Gaza.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas pledged Sunday to do all he can to stop rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian militants against Israeli settlements in Gaza and towns just outside.
Talking to Palestinian reporters at his Gaza City office, Abbas said, "We are determined to stop the launching of the homemade rockets, whatever the price. We are going to do our utmost to stop these rockets. I cannot promise how much time it will take me".
Militants have fired more than 100 rockets and mortars at Gaza settlements and the western Negev town of Sderot in the last four days, part of an escalation in violence that has endangered a five-month truce.
Abbas said he has "confirmation" that Israel wants to invade Gaza. "The Americans told us that there is an Israeli intention," he said, warning, "If this happens, this will sabotage everything."
The Palestinian leader spoke after Israel threatened to invade Gaza if he doesn't control the militants.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said at a cabinet meeting Sunday that thousands of Israeli troops have massed along the Gaza border and all restraints are off.
Two Israelis moderately wounded in Neveh Dekalim shellingA mortar shell struck a house in the Gaza Strip settlement of Neveh Dekalim Sunday, moderately wounding two Israelis and lightly injuring another four, hours after an Israel Defense Forces sniper shot dead a Hamas commander in the southern Strip.
A sapper was lightly wounded by another mortar shell that hit Neveh Dekalim as he was defusing a mortar shell that landed earlier in the community.
Late Sunday afternoon Palestinians reported an Israel Air Force attack on a car in the northern Gaza Strip.
Witnesses said two men in the car escaped but a bystander was seriously wounded.
The strike took place in Beit Lahiya, near the Green Line dividing Gaza and Israel, one of the launching areas for Palestinian militants firing rockets and mortars at Gaza settlements and Israeli towns and villages within pre-1967 Israel.
IDF sources admitted that an attempt to assassinate a Hamas man in the Gaza Strip had failed.
Earlier on Sunday, an Israeli sniper killed Saeed Seyam, a Hamas commander in the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis. He was hit in the neck while sitting on the roof of his home in a western neighborhood of the city.
The army sniper fired a single shot at Seyam from an IDF outpost in the nearby settlement of Ganei Tal. Following the killing, Gush Katif residents were instructed to remain in shelters.
Also Sunday, IDF soldiers killed a Palestinian militant as he tried to enter the Gaza Strip settlement of Netzarim with another militant.
Mofaz: PA must do more to fight terrorSpeaking at the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday on the resumption of targeted killings, Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin said that the number of terror attacks carried out in the past week matches statistics from before the cease-fire was declared several months ago. Since Friday, when Israel resumed targeted killings, eight militants have been killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the cabinet meeting that lately the Palestinian Authority has been acting against Hamas and other terror organizations, but it must do more.
"We will evaluate the situation in the coming hours and days and then decide on our next steps," Mofaz said. According to the defense minister, Israel will not accept a situation in which the PA does not take control, and will launch an extensive and complex operation to stop terror so that Israel can prepare for the disengagement without the threat of Palestinian fire.
"Over the weekend, the IDF arested hundreds of Islamic Jihad and Hamas militants, and we will doing so, while also attacking terror leaders, in all areas that we find them," Mofaz told those in attendance.
Earlier on Sunday Israel warned PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that should he not immediately stop militants from firing mortar shells and rockets in the Gaza Strip, the IDF would launch a large-scale ground operation to halt all shelling until the disengagement takes place.
Meanwhile, three Qassam rockets were fired at Israeli communities Sunday morning. Two of them hit an industrial zone in the western Negev and one hit a nearby road. Several people were treated for shock and no damage was reported.
Two mortar shells also hit a settlement in the northern Gaza Strip. No casualties or damage were reported in this incident.
On Saturday evening one person sustained light wounds and 13 others were treated for shock when a mortar shell hit a house in the northern Gaza Strip settlement of Nissanit.
Throughout the day Palestinian militants fired ten Qassam rockets towards the western Negev. Four rockets were fired in the morning, one of which landed in the yard of a private home in Sderot. Residents were treated for shock and there was damage to property, but there were no injuries.
Six more rockets were fired Saturday afternoon and evening. One landed in a cemetery and five landed in open areas.
PA clashes with Hamas over weekendTwo Palestinians were killed and 30 others were wounded, at least half of them security personnel, in clashes over the weekend in the Gaza Strip between PA security services and operatives of Hamas' military wing, Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and thousands of Hamas supporters.
Lieutenant Ra'ad Abu Halub was severely injured after being shot by Hamas militants Saturday night near Beit Lahiya.
A series of shooting incidents between the parties occurred over the weekend after an incident on Thursday evening, in which Palestinian policemen from the National Security Service fired at a group of Hamas operatives returning from launching rockets at Israel from the northern part of the Strip.
A security official in Gaza explained Saturday that many of the policemen wore masks during the clashes because, in the current state of chaos in Gaza, they are afraid to be identified. On numerous previous occasions, major clans from Gaza recognized policemen who had shot and killed their sons in Hamas clashes with Fatah or the PA and later carried out vendettas against them, with Hamas' cooperation. In one well-known case, a Palestinian police officer, Rajah Abu Lahiyeh, was executed 18 months ago by Hamas operatives and relatives of a man in whose killing he had been involved.
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