Da The Daily Star del 05/04/2006
Originale su http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_ID=10&article_ID=2...

Israeli planes fire missiles into Abbas' Gaza compound

One dead, nine wounded in attack

Israeli warplanes Tuesday fired three missiles into the Gaza compound of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as part of a series of raids that killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded nine others, including a baby. Abbas, who was in the West Bank at the time, condemned the strikes and called on the international community to intervene to stop what he called an escalation by Israel.

The dead man, Abdullah al-Daalsa, 42, was killed in the shelling as he stood in a field in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya.

Another seven people, including a six-month-old baby, were wounded by shrapnel, security and medical sources said. Four of those injured were inside a house struck by a shell and two of them were in a critical condition.

Earlier, the Israeli aircraft fired two missiles into the helicopter pad of the Palestinian Authority headquarters by the seafront, gouging two craters out of the tarmac, an AFP reporter said. The PA owns two helicopters. Neither was on the helipad at the time, but one of them was in a nearby hangar. Two police officers were wounded by shrapnel, security sources said.

Abbas denounced the air strike and called for international intervention to stop what he called Israel's "destruction for the sake of destruction."

"Continued arbitrary shelling in Gaza is an unjustified escalation," he said.

"They (Israel) are trying to complicate the life of Palestinians and finish destroying Palestinian institutions after destroying so many in previous years.

"I address myself to Arab countries, the UN, Russia and the European Union to explain that these acts complicate the lives of Palestinians and have serious repercussions on the humanitarian, social and economic situation."

Asked about the possibility that Israel targeted a Palestinian security force that is under Hamas' authority, Abbas replied that who is in charge of the various forces is none of Israel's business. "It is internal business," he said. and Israel "doesn't have the right to interfere." Abbas controls some of the armed units, and the rest are in the purview of the new interior minister, Saeed Seyam of Hamas.

A military spokeswoman claimed Israel launched the attack to "send a message" to the Palestinians that it does not tolerate the continued firing of rockets into the Jewish state from the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli missile attack in Gaza came shortly after a Chinese envoy met Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahhar, becoming the first foreign diplomat to do so since the Hamas government was sworn in.

Zahhar announced plans to visit China and other Asian countries next month.

"We are going to go to east Asia, probably in late May, to attend an international conference. During the same month we are going to tour countries in east Asia, starting with China," he added. "I have spoken to the ambassador and they are ready to receive a Palestinian delegation any time."

At a joint news conference with Zahhar, China's representative in the West Bank and Gaza, Yang Wei Guo, said Beijing respected Hamas' election victory.

"We have explained the Chinese position that supports the Palestinian people in their just struggle to regain their national rights and to regain occupied land," the Chinese envoy said, without referring to an invitation for Zahhar to visit Beijing.

China has long supported Palestinian calls for an independent homeland, but it also has strong ties with Israel.

Zahhar also denied any contact between Hamas and French officials other than those working for aid groups.

"There was no contact with the French officials. We have not met with an official French delegation," he said.

Yet he did say that Hamas had recently met French officials from aid groups who asked him about the faction's "position," giving no other details.

In the coming days, Zahhar is to make his first foreign tour since he was sworn in as minister, with a visit to Arab countries, beginning with Egypt, where he will explain the new government's positions, his office said.

Israel immediately criticized any foreign power tempted to invite the Hamas leadership for talks before the movement changes its policies.

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