Israeli aircraft struck several targets in the Gaza strip last night, responses to what the army called Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli towns bordering the Palestinian territory. At least four died in a night raid on the eastern part of Zeitoun. The airstrikes came after several days of rocket attacks struck the Israeli town of Sderot, injuring a number of people but claiming no lives.
Ground forces also moved into Gaza, supported by tanks, and artillery has been deployed along the frontier. Prime minister Ehud Olmert visited Sderot to assure the inhabitants they would be protected, but more rockets struck the town after he left.
Observers say the strikes have resumed because Hamas wants to suck Israel into its conflict with rival, Fatah. Hamas for its part notes all of Israel’s recent air raids have hit at it and not Fatah, although on Thursday Hamas’s political leader Khaled Meshaal said the attacks were “an historic occasion” for the two factions to unite against Israel.
Wednesday’s ceasefire between the warring Palestinian groups has not held. Despite the renewed rocket strikes against Israel, the government is insisting it does not want to be drawn into the Palestinians internal conflict. However it is alleged hundreds of Fatah fighters have been allowed to cross into Gaza from the Israeli side.