Israel today bombed the empty Palestinian Foreign Ministry building for the second time in less than a week, calling it a warning to the ruling Hamas and keeping up pressure as it searched for a kidnapped soldier.
Israel launched an offensive into the Gaza Strip on June 28 after Hamas-linked militants carried out a cross-border attack on a military outpost, killing two soldiers and capturing one other. As part of its campaign to release the soldier and halt rocket fire on southern Israel, the army has bombed government buildings and targeted militants.
Last week, Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas joined the fray, attacking a military patrol in northern Israel, killing eight soldiers and capturing two others. Since then, Israel has been fighting a two-front campaign, continuing its Gaza offensive while relentlessly attacking Hezbollah, which has also fired hundreds of rockets at Israel.
In on-going fighting in the West Bank, militants killed an Israeli soldier and wounded six others today when they set off a bomb near the troops, who were carrying out an arrest raid in Nablus. Hundreds of Palestinians gathered at the scene in Nablus celebrating the attack, cheering over the soldier’s remains.
In the latest bombing of the Palestinian Foreign Ministry, a wing of the building collapsed and dozens of houses nearby were damaged, injuring nine people.
Israel refuses to have ties with the Palestinian government ruled by Hamas, an Islamic group that has carried out scores of suicide bombings and is sworn to Israel’s destruction. Israel says Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar of Hamas used his government building “to plan anti-Israel operations.”
Israeli troops also clashed with Palestinian militants in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, killing one and wounding four others, hospital officials said.