Israeli warplanes strike Palestinian compound

Israeli aircraft on Tuesday fired three missiles into the presidential compound of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, wounding two people and leaving deep craters in the ground.

The Israeli air strike came in response to homemade Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel, though it was not immediately clear why Abbas’s compound was targeted. Abbas has been a strong critic of the rocket fire, and has urged the new Hamas Cabinet to accept peacemaking with Israel.

The missiles landed at Ansar 2, a largely abandoned base of the presidential guard and about 100m from Abbas’s office.

The Palestinian leader was at his main office in the West Bank at the time of the attack.

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesperson for Abbas, called for the United States and other Western powers to intervene. “This escalation will lead the area to more violence and instability,” he said.

The Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry, which oversees some of the Palestinian security forces, condemned the Israeli “aggression” and threatened to retaliate.

“For every action, there’s a reaction,” said ministry spokesperson Khaled Abu Hilal.
“The occupation must understand that our people have the ability to be steadfast in confronting acts of occupation.”

The Ansar 2 compound, formerly used by Palestinian security forces to store equipment, has been largely abandoned due to previous Israeli attacks. During five years of fighting, Israel repeatedly attacked the site, most recently in 2004.

The missiles fired on Tuesday landed on an abandoned helicopter landing pad. Israel destroyed the Palestinian presidential helicopter in December 2001.

The Israeli air strike came in response to homemade Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel. The army said it had attacked an empty building in a residential area and open fields in northern Gaza used by militants to fire rockets.

Militants fired four homemade projectiles into Israel earlier on Tuesday. There were no reports of injuries.—Sapa-AP

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