Fighting flares in Gaza, shattering lull
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA (Reuters) - Fighting flared in Gaza on Thursday after a Palestinian anti-tank missile hit an Israeli school bus, wounding two, and Israeli forces retaliated with planes and artillery, killing five Palestinians.
Palestinian medics said at least 30 people were injured in three hours of attacks by Israeli forces. Firing tapered off after nightfall.
A 50-year old Palestinian in east Gaza was killed by shelling in the afternoon and four others were killed by air attacks in the south near the border with Egypt.
A teenage Israel boy on the bus was seriously wounded and its driver was injured and a 4-year-old Palestinian girl was injured in the densely populated Gaza Strip.
Armed Islamist movement Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, took responsibility for the attack on the bus, saying it was retaliating for Israel's killing of three Palestinian militants in an air strike on Saturday.
An Israeli F-16 warplane bombed a major Hamas security compound, rocking Gaza City with a big explosion and wounding at least one person there.
"We hope this situation will be contained, but we will not shy away from taking all the necessary action, offensive and defensive, to protect our country and to protect our citizens," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a news conference during a visit to Prague.
The Israeli military said 45 rockets and mortars were launched into Israeli territory from Gaza in the space of three hours, the heaviest fire in two weeks. There were no immediate reports of further Israeli casualties as a result. Continued...