GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Israeli helicopters and tanks fired on the main Palestinian security compound in Gaza City early yesterday, demolishing several buildings. Police, meanwhile, searched the family home of an Israeli Arab accused of trying to hijack a plane to Turkey.
In the West Bank, Israeli forces imposed a curfew yesterday in a Ramallah neighborhood and searched for a wanted Palestinian, while Israeli officials reportedly considered a proposal to link Jewish enclaves in Hebron following an ambush Friday that killed 12 soldiers and security guards.
Later, a Palestinian attacker shot at motorists, seriously wounding an Israeli woman near the settlement of Rimmonim, about 10 miles northeast of Jerusalem, the military said.
Despite the violence and a bitter Israeli election campaign, negotiations continued over a U.S.-European plan to end the Mideast conflict, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.
In Gaza City, Israeli helicopters fired missiles at the headquarters of Preventive Security, the main official Palestinian force, and tanks and soldiers moved in. Two Palestinian security officers and a TV cameraman working for Reuters news agency were lightly injured, doctors said. No other casualties were reported.
The army said the offices were used to make weapons. Dozens of mortar shells and grenades, three rocket propelled grenades, several anti-tank missiles and a Qassem missile were found, along with welding equipment and intelligence materials, said a Gaza commander, Brig. Gen. Israel Ziv.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said the raid showed the “tight connection between the security forces of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian terror groups.”
Palestinians fired on the troops and shot missiles against tanks but no soldiers were injured, the army said.
A few hours after the Israeli attack, two missiles were shot toward a Jewish settlement near Gaza City but caused no damage or injuries, the army said. The Israeli forces pulled out after more than three hours, leaving several of the 11 buildings in the security compound in ruins. At the main administration building, targeted for the first time in two years of fighting, furniture was smashed and computers destroyed.
Mustafa Mughrabi, who lives nearby, said by telephone that he hid under a bed with his children after gunfire hit his house. Outside, he said he heard “the sound of explosions mixed with screams of children.”