GAZA CITY, March 4, 2009 – Israeli warplanes bombed smuggling tunnels linking the Gaza Strip to Egypt on Tuesday, wounding four people, in response to rocket fire from the Hamas-ruled territory.
Residents said aircraft carried out several strikes along Gaza’s southern border, where dozens of tunnels are used for trafficking people, goods and arms into the impoverished territory.
Four people were wounded in the raids, Palestinian medics said.
An army spokeswoman told AFP that the air force carried out six strikes against smuggling tunnels near the southern Gaza town of Rafah “in response to barrages of rockets fired over the past week.”
Outgoing Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had earlier warned that Israel would not shy away from striking Gaza in response to persistent rocket fire.
“If it turns out that Hamas has not got the message, it will be hit again,” Livni told public radio hours before meeting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her first official visit to the Jewish state.
As many as 120 rockets fired from the Palestinian coastal strip have been tallied since twin ceasefires came into force on January 18 following a three-week Israeli offensive which claimed more than 1,300 lives.