Resistance labels onslaught ‘winds of change’

March 20, 2011

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — In a Sunday statement announcing the latest projectile launch from the Gaza Strip, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees named the recent barrage of projectile fire operation “Winds of Change.”

The group, known as the An-Nasser Brigades, said the campaign was “in response to the offensive on Gaza.”

According to Israeli police, 49 projectiles were fired from Gaza on Saturday, while the military said another three were fired Sunday. No distinction in the count is made between projectiles fired toward Israeli military and civilian targets.

In its statement, the An-Naser Brigades said they fired a home-made projectile toward the Israeli military post at Kissufim, east of the Gaza Strip town of Dir Al-Balah.

Earlier on Sunday Israeli tanks launched fresh attacks against targets in the central Gaza Strip, according to medics, with one man injured by shrapnel and taken to hospital. Sunday morning medics were permitted to retrieve the bodies of two 17-year-olds killed by Israeli fire the night before.

According to the Israeli military, two rounds of fire were sent from Gaza, with the first at 1:30 p.m. consisting of two projectiles, which according to the daily news site Ynet landed inside the Strip, and the second just over the border area in the Sha’ar Henegev Regional Council.

The military also reported a second launch, this time two Grad-style projectiles, which according to Ynet landed outside of Ashkelon. The report said crews had not found the projectiles.

The back and forth fire comes amid a tense escalation in violence between Gaza resistance fighters and Israel’s military.

Gaza militants have fired at Israeli forces operating in the coastal enclave, and launched dozens of mortars across the border.

During the day on Saturday, an Israeli air strike injured at least five Palestinians in Gaza City and damaged power lines, cutting electricity to neighborhoods in central and northern Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Saturday that Israel would use “all means necessary to protect its citizens.”

The Israeli news site Ynet said opposition leader Tzipi Livni called for a repeat of Israel’s devastating 2008 offensive on the Gaza Strip, Operation Cast Lead.

More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed during the 22-day attack.

In an 18 March statement following the reported launch of a projectile toward Israeli forces operating inside the Gaza Strip, the Israeli spokesperson’s office said “Terror organizations constantly attempt to harm Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for maintaining the calm in the Gaza Strip and for any terrorist activity emanating from it.

“The IDF will choose the method of response as per arising security assessments.”


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