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Air Force Bombs Seven Tunnels following Mortar Attack

The Air Force bombed weapons smuggling tunnels and a Hamas compound shortly after midnight, several hours after a mortar attack on the Negev.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 2/18/2009, 2:18 AM

Israel News Photo: Flash 90

The Israeli Air Force bombed seven weapons smuggling tunnels in southern Gaza and a previously strafed Hamas compound in south central Gaza shortly after midnight, several hours after a mortar attack on the Negev.

No one was wounded, but the targets were damaged, according to the IDF. The Hamas compound near Khan Yunis previously had been destroyed except for a mosque, which was damaged in the latest bombing. Hamas and allied terrorist groups frequently use mosques and schools as weapons depots and often stage attacks from the locations.

The smuggling tunnels run underneath Rafiah, which straddles both the Gazan and Egyptian side of the border.

Gaza terrorists attacked the western Negev with a mortar shell several hours earlier, causing no injuries but prompting an IDF response in keeping with government policy to retaliate after every attack.

The shelling and military response occurred as both Hamas and the Olmert administration try to solidify their positions on Egyptian mediated proposals for a long-term ceasefire and the return of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.