May 21, 2007 in Nation/World

Israeli missile hits Gaza home; 8 killed

Sarah El Deeb Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Hamas lawmaker Khalil al-Haya, center, arrives at the morgue where family members killed in an Israeli missile strike were taken in Gaza City on Sunday.
(Full-size photo)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israel’s air force fired a missile at a house in Gaza City late Sunday, killing at least eight people, residents and hospital officials said. The strike followed a decision to step up attacks against Islamic militants in response to rocket fire from Gaza.

Israeli air attacks on militant targets earlier in the day killed three other Palestinians.

The attack on the house was the deadliest airstrike since Israel started reprisals Tuesday for the rocket barrages.

Residents said the house belonged to Hamas lawmaker Khalil al-Haya, and six of the dead were members of his family. Al-Haya was not at home and was not harmed, they said. He was one of the Hamas representatives in cease-fire talks with Fatah and attending an Egyptian-sponsored truce meeting just before the strike, residents said.

The missile hit a room used as a meeting place for the extended family, relatives said. Hospital officials said 13 people were injured.

The Israeli military said the missile hit a group of armed militants outside a house.

At Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, there was pandemonium as cars brought in the victims, some of them dismembered. Al-Haya went to the hospital to visit his wounded relatives.

“We will go ahead despite the challenges, despite the martyrs, despite the pain that I am suffering and my people are suffering,” he told reporters at the hospital.

Early today, Israeli aircraft struck twice in Gaza City, killing a Hamas militant. The military said the targets were Hamas and Islamic Jihad weapons factories. Palestinians said one was a cement factory and the other was a house.

Despite a sixth straight day of strikes, at least 12 rockets were fired at southern Israel. Several exploded in the battered town of Sderot, causing damage but no serious injuries.

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