Middle East News
Hamas militants reject ceasefire after three killed
Apr 9, 2011, 17:47 GMT
Gaza - The armed wing of Hamas on Saturday rejected the possibility of a ceasefire with Israel after an Israeli airstrike killed three of its commanders.
'We cannot talk of a ceasefire between us and the occupation (Israel) while our people are bombarded and massacres committed against them,' said Abu Obida, a spokesman for the al-Qassam Brigades.
The death of the three commanders had prompted the group to launch 68 mortar shells and rockets at communities in southern Israel, he said. An Israeli army spokesman confirmed the figure but said no injuries were reported.
Obida's comments contradicted an earlier statement by Taher al- Noono, a spokesman for Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, who said that the party was seeking a mutual ceasefire with Israel.
Israel had also said that it had recieved a ceasefire request from Hamas via foreign mediators.
The Israeli army confirmed that 18 Palestinians, including a number of civilians, have been killed in airstrikes in the Strip since Thursday.
Adham Abu Selmeya, spokesman for the Hamas government's medical services, said that at least 60 have been wounded.
'The IDF will not tolerate any harm to civilians and will act with determination against any terrorist activity from Gaza,' an army spokeswoman told the German Press Agency dpa.
She also confirmed that the Iron Dome missiles defence system deployed by Israel two weeks ago has so far intercepted seven missiles coming from Gaza into Israel.
Hamas warned Saturday against new Israeli airstrikes and said they would be met with intense attacks targeting a wider range of objectives in Israel, Israeli media reported.
Saturday's spat was the latest in a month of tit-for-tat violence between the two sides, the worst since the Gaza War of winter 2008- 09.
Another 30-year-old Palestinian man was killed and four wounded in an Israeli airstrike on eastern Gaza City on Saturday, witnesses and medical sources said.
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