Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Democratic congress will of course wait to condemn Hamas
The leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas called on his fighters yesterday to "activate resistance" hours after an Israeli artillery strike killed 18 civilians, mostly women and children, from a single family in Gaza.
Khaled Meshaal, who lives in exile in Damascus, promised retaliation after a wave of artillery shells landed before dawn on a residential street in Beit Hanoun. Several homes were hit, all belonging to one family.

The attack sparked international condemnation and came a day after the Israeli military ended a six-day operation in Beit Hanoun that claimed more than 50 lives. More than 350 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by the Israeli military in the past five months. "Our condemnation will not be in words but in deeds," Mr Meshaal said. "All Palestinian groups are urged to activate resistance ."

Hamas agreed a truce that began 18 months ago, but it expired at the end of last year. Hamas militants have since fired rockets into Israel, but the call to arms risks a return to suicide bombings.

Israel's military halted all artillery strikes into Gaza yesterday and said it had appointed a general to investigate the shelling. The military admitted that it had fired "preventative artillery" into Gaza yesterday aimed at "launch sites" from which rockets had been fired the day before. The military suggested there had been a targeting mistake. "Initial information shows the artillery fire was directed at a location distant from the one reportedly hit," it said in a statement.

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