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Israeli missiles target Gaza weapons factory


Posted: Jul 28, 2001 at 1845 hrs IST

Israeli helicopter gunships fired missiles at a building in the Gaza Strip on Saturday which the Jewish state's army said was used by Palestinians to produce arms, including mortar bombs. The army said it attacked near Khan Younis refugee camp in southern Gaza to retaliate for three mortars bombs fired at a Jewish settlement in the coastal strip, and that pilots returned to base after direct hits. No casualties were reported.

"Following the firing of mortar bombs this evening (Friday) at the Gadid settlement, air force helicopters attacked a structure used to manufacture weapons," an army statement said. Palestinian witnesses said they saw a helicopter gunship fire three missiles near Khan Younis but could not locate the impacts of the projectiles.

The attack was the latest round of tit-for-tat violence in a 10-month-old Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinian security sources said Israeli troops closed the main road linking Nablus to other West Bank areas and Jerusalem on Saturday, while lifting an overnight curfew imposed on two nearby villages after Israeli-Palestinian clashes.

Witnesses said the army placed two tanks at different junctions on the Nablus road, preventing taxis, buses and other vehicles from passing. An Israeli army spokeswoman would only confirm the closure of one of the roads leading northeast from Nablus into the Jordan Valley.

"The army blocked these areas...north of Nablus to prevent passage of terrorists into Israel. These actions were carried out in Israeli security-controlled areas," the spokeswoman said.

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