Palestinians declare state of emergency in Gaza after missile strikes
From Mike Hanna
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The Palestinian Authority declared a state of emergency in Gaza Thursday after missiles struck several Palestinian targets in Gaza City, in what Israeli military sources said was a response to two civilian deaths earlier in the day.
Missiles struck a police station and a compound containing a prison, police station and Palestinian intelligence offices, Palestinian sources said.
Missiles also struck the offices of the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, the sources said.
Ten people were injured, Palestinian hospital sources said. The sources said the rockets appeared to be surface-to-surface missiles.
The two Romanian contract workers were killed and another was injured when a roadside bomb exploded at Kissufim frontier crossing, a crossing point from Israel into Gaza.
There was no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces about the missile strikes, but Israeli military sources said the strikes into Gaza City were in response to the blast that killed the two workers.
In the wake of the explosion, Israeli troops used bulldozers to demolish a number of Palestinian houses near Kissufim crossing, marking the fifth Israeli incursion into Palestinian-controlled territory in the past two days. Israeli officials have said each was in response to Palestinian actions.
Gunfire exchanged overnight
The mid-morning incident at Kissufim followed violence overnight in southern Gaza in which Israelis and Palestinians exchanged fire.
Palestinian security officials said the fighting broke out while Israeli bulldozers, escorted by tanks, demolished a number of Palestinian homes and police posts near the town of Rafah.
"This is a war of aggression. This is Israeli terrorism," said Palestinian Cabinet Minister Nabil Sha'ath. "There is a rape of Rafah. And this Israeli rape of Rafah is something that the world should not keep a closed eye on."
Israeli security sources said the tanks and bulldozers went into the region to destroy buildings from which Palestinians had launched strikes on Israelis.
At least six Palestinians were wounded, and one Israeli soldier was slightly injured.
"We don't have a retaliatory policy, one must understand," said Raanan Gissin, an aide to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "And we make that very clear. This is a preventative policy, and we will take any necessary action persistently and consistently to prevent terrorist activity and the killing or shooting against our citizens."
Israeli police, meanwhile, arrested a number of Palestinians in connection with the killing of two 14-year-old boys a day earlier. Their bodies were found battered and disfigured in a cave near the West Bank settlement where they lived, provoking a storm of public anger.
Israeli police said it appeared the boys were beaten to death with stones.
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