Conflict & Justice

Israel targets Gaza militants after Jerusalem bombing


Palestinien men inspect damaged smuggling tunnels which were targeted by Israeli air strikes overnight in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on March 24, 2011.


Said Khatib

Israel launched fresh air strikes on targets in Gaza on Thursday, a day after the first major bomb attack in Jerusalem in several years killed one person and injured 50 others at a crowded bus station.

The Jerusalem Post said Israeli forces targeted smuggling tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border and a militant training camp run by Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls Gaza.

It said the air strikes came after about a dozen rockets were fired across the Palestinian border, striking “deep into Israel.” These followed similar rocket attacks in recent days.

In a statement, the Israel Defense Force said its aircraft had “attacked a terrorist cell in the northern Gaza Strip” that had been preparing to launch a “projectile toward Israeli territory."

Hamas confirmed to Al Jazeera that smuggling tunnels and a training camp had been hit.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pledged to respond “vigorously and responsibly” to Wednesday’s attack which also drew condemnation from U.S. President Barack Obama.

The BBC identified the woman killed by the bomb as a 60-year-old British citizen.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, but it came a day after Israel expressed regret over an Israeli artillery strike on Gaza that reportedly killed five people, including at least one child.

Israeli warplanes launched air strikes in Gaza city earlier this week in response to rocket attacks from Palestinian militants.

Jerusalem has been hit by a number of terror attacks in recent years, although Wednesday’s incident was the first bombing in nearly seven years.

During the second Palestinian intifada in the 1990s, Jerusalem suffered dozens of suicide bombings that targeted buses and restaurants.