IDF forces enter north Gaza in limited operation to find tunnels
Israel Defense Forces tanks and armored bulldozers moved inside the northern Gaza Strip just after dawn on Monday but a military source said the operation did not mark the start of a threatened large-scale incursion against Palestinian militants.
"This is not a massive ground entrance. This is a pin-point operation to locate tunnels and explosives near the border fence," said the army source.
The Israel Air Force resumed strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip late Sunday night, hitting a building in Gaza City and a house in Beit Hanun, Palestinian witnesses and the military said.
The IDF said the air strike in Gaza City targeted a building used by the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent offshoot of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement. There was no immediate word of casualties. Hamas has an office in the same building, witnesses said.
Palestinian security sources said four people were injured from IAF strikes during the night, three in Beit Lahia, and one in Gaza City, Israel Radio reported.
Earlier Sunday night, witnesses said a man in a house was lightly injured in a strike on Beit Hanun. The military acknowledged artillery was firing at the area.
Hamas threatens to attack Israeli schools if IDF incursion into Gaza continuesHamas' armed wing threatened on Sunday to attack Israeli schools, institutions and power plants if Israel, pursuing a military campaign to free a kidnapped soldier held in Gaza, continued its air strikes against infrastructure in Gaza.
"If they continue with these attacks we will strike similar targets in the Zionist Occupation which we have not targeted until now," Abu Ubaida, a spokesman for Hamas' Iz al-Din al-Qassam, said.
Israel has launched air strikes against Gaza's main power plant and road bridges as part of an offensive launched last week to free Corporal Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped by militants including members of Hamas in a cross-border raid.
"If the Occupation continues aggression and terrorism against our people ... it will drag the region into a sea of blood and the consequences will be terrible. We still have many options," Abu Ubaida said.
A video aired by Al-Jazeera Sunday night, but filmed a few months ago, showed the armed group holding militant drills in training camps and tunnels. On such tunnel was used to infiltrate Israel last week to attack an IDF post, resulting in the killings of two soldiers and abduction of a third.
The video also includes interviews with Iz al-Din al-Qassam men Mohammed Deif and Ahmed al-Jabri, neither of whom have sat for interviews previously. Deif has topped Israel's wanted list since 1992.
Deif has been targeted several times in IDF assassination attempts and has been reported seriously wounded, but the man identified as Deif by the TV network showed no effects of wounds. He kept his face hidden during the interview and as he was filmed walking next to the reporter.
The militant, known as a master bombmaker, called for the Arab world to push for an Israeli pullout from the West Bank.
"It's our duty and role, not only us in Palestine, but every Muslim in the world has a religious duty and role to fight to liberate this land, because it is Islamic territory," he said.
Abbas slams IAF strike on Haniyeh's officePalestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday criticized a "criminal" Israel Air Force missile strike on the Gaza offices of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
Abbas and Haniyeh met Sunday morning, and after the meeting surveyed Haniyeh's damaged office together, waving through a hole in the wall.
"The world must understand that this is a dirty, criminal act," Abbas said.
An IAF attack helicopter launched a missile before dawn Sunday striking Haniyeh's office in Gaza City. Neither Haniyeh nor any of his aides were in the vicinity at the time of the bombing, but the building itself was damaged.
Haniyeh arrived quickly to survey the damage done to his Gaza office and to condemn the attack.
"This is a policy of the jungle and of arrogance," Haniyeh told Reuters, adding that the strike "targeted a symbol of the Palestinian people."
"Nothing will affect our spirit and nothing will affect our steadfastness," said Haniyeh.
Israel Radio reported that the structure went up in flames, and firefighters rushed to the scene shortly after the attack to extinguish the fire.
Annan: IAF strike on Haniyeh's office 'inadvisable'UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Sunday called the strike on Haniyeh's officer "inadvisable", saying Palestinian institutions must be preserved as the basis of a Middle East peace.
"I remain very concerned about the need to preserve Palestinian institutions and infrastructure. They will be the basis for an eventual two-state solution, and now that's in the interests of both Israel and the Palestinians," Annan told a news conference at an African Union summit in Gambia.
"It would therefore seem inadvisable to carry out actions that would have the opposite effect," he added.
The attack was similar to Israel's strike against the offices of the Palestinian public security minister - who, like Haniyeh, is a member of Hamas - two days earlier.
The assault on Haniyeh's office indicates a desire by Israel to heighten pressure on Hamas in order to yield the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.
Vice Premier Shimon Peres said the attack on the office of Haniyeh came "in the middle of the night" on Sunday, when Israeli officials knew Haniyeh would not be present.
"It was a clear warning that he has to stop this double behavior," Peres told CNN's Late Edition. "Either it's a government with all the responsibilities of a government, or it's a terrorist organization, with all the consequences that stem from it."
More air strikesIn a separate pre-dawn strike, the IAF hit the headquarters of a Hamas-run security organization in Gaza, killing one of the group's operatives and injuring another, Israel Radio reported.
The IAF also targeted and killed one Hamas operative in the northern Gaza town of Jabalya, according to Israel Radio.
Several sites were targeted across Gaza over the weekend. There were no casualties in any of the incidents, Palestinian medical workers said.
The attacks were on what the IDF called a "terrorist training facility" in the south of the Strip, and on a building in Gaza City which Palestinians said was used by Hamas militants.
The military confirmed attacking a Hamas facility in Gaza, and in a former Israeli settlement near the town of Rafah near the Egyptian border which was abandoned in last year's Israeli withdrawal and then taken over by Palestinian militants.
Palestinians said the new occupants, activists of the Abu Rish Brigades, loosely affiliated with Fatah, recently evacuated the complex, fearing such a strike.