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ARABS-ISRAEL - May 22 - If Rockets Don't Stop We Will Not Stop, Says Israel.

In a radio interview Deputy Defence Minister Ephraim Sneh says Israel could kill Palestinian PM Esmail Haniya of Hamas as part of a military campaign to halt rocket salvoes by the ruling Islamist group in the Gaza Strip. Asked if Haniya was on Israel's hit-list, Ephraim Sneh said: I'll put it like this - there is no one who is in the circle of commanders and leaders in Hamas who is immune from a strike. "For what does political Hamas do? It gives the operational approval to those who are doing the fighting", Sneh told Israel Radio. He issued the threat a day after an Israeli woman was killed by a rocket in the southern town of Sderot, the first fatality in a Palestinian rocket attack since November. Israeli air strikes over the past week have so far killed at least 34 Palestinians, medical officials in Gaza said, including four Islamic Jihad militants on May 21 who the group described as a rocket-launching squad. The Israeli army said about 150 rockets have been fired from Gaza in the current wave of violence. Test for diplomacy "If the rockets don't stop, we will not stop", Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz told reporters. He said Israel was "biting its lip" and refraining, for now, from launching a wide-scale ground offensive in Gaza. Meeting Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, Peretz called for immediate international diplomatic intervention to avoid "anarchy in which the Palestinian National Authority collapses completely". "This is a test for European diplomacy. It is a test for US diplomacy. It is a test for the diplomacy of the free world", Peretz said. Hamas's armed wing said it fired two rockets at Sderot early May 21. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas official, said Israel must first stop all its attacks on Palestinians before the group and other factions could consider halting their own strikes. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is to go to Gaza later to speak to leaders about maintaining law and order after weeks of fighting between his Fatah faction and Hamas, and perhaps about resuming a Gaza truce with Israel, FM Ziad Abu Asaid. The latest Israeli air strikes in Gaza destroyed a metal foundry, which the military said produced weapons, and a building that it described as a "command centre" used by militants. There were no reports of casualties. PM Ehud Olmert was quoted by the YNet news website as telling Sderot residents: There is no immediate solution to the Qassam rockets".
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Date:May 26, 2007
Words:414
Previous Article:ARABS-ISRAEL - May 20 - Israel Vows To Increase Gaza Raids On Hamas.
Next Article:ARABS-ISRAEL - May 25 - Palestinian Pm 'Was Not Air Strike Target'.
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