Israel Launches Air Strike in Gaza
VOA News (Link) - Robert Berger (August 30, 2009)
Israel has launched an air strike in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. There was damage, but no reports of injuries.
The Israeli air force bombed a tunnel the army said was meant to smuggle Palestinian terrorists from Gaza into Israel. A building over the entrance to the tunnel was destroyed about a kilometer and a-half from the Israeli border fence. The military said the air raid was in response to Palestinians firing a rocket into Israel on Saturday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has adopted a new policy of deterrence since he took office five months ago. Mr. Netanyahu told Israel Radio that terror against Israeli citizens would not be tolerated. "If rockets are fired at Israel," he said, "there will be an immediate and painful response."
Palestinian rocket attacks have dropped off sharply since the Gaza War in January, when Israel launched a devastating three-week offensive against the ruling Islamic militant group Hamas. But Israel has ruled out a formal ceasefire until Hamas releases captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held for more than three years in Gaza.
Hamas is demanding the release of about a thousand Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit, including top militants, and Arab media reported last week that a deal is imminent. Mr. Netanyahu would neither confirm nor deny it.
He would only say that Israel is committed to bringing the Israeli soldier home "safe and sound."