Two Palestinian followers of Fatah’s al-Aqsa Brigades were killed Feb. 28 in clashes at Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus on the West Bank. Sources within the al-Aqsa Brigades told Ma’an News Agency that al-Aqsa fighters responded to the targeted assassination of militant Ibrahim al-Masimi by undercover Israeli forces. Eyewitnesses said that a large Israeli force invaded Balata camp early in the morning after an undercover force infiltrated into the camp. Fierce clashes erupted between the invading forces and Palestinian resistance fighters. (Ma’an News Agency, Feb. 28)
Israel launched nearly a dozen air-strikes on Gaza Feb. 28, killing 20 Palestinians, after rockets fell on the Israeli town of Ashkelon. The dead included purported members of rocket squads—as well as five children, ranging in age from 8 to 12, who relatives said were playing soccer when they were killed in by an Israeli missile. The attacks included a missile strike on a guard post outside the home of Gaza’s Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Hamas leaders have been in hiding in recent weeks. (AP, Feb. 28)
On Feb. 27 Israeli aircraft blasted Hamas government offices and metal shops, killing a baby and wounding more than 30 people in a retaliatory strike after a militant rocket killed an Israeli college student. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack on the college in the southern Israeli town of Sderot, which came a few hours after two Israeli airstrikes killed seven people in Gaza, including two senior Hamas commanders. After nightfall, a third Israeli strike aimed at a rocket squad in northern Gaza killed two youngsters leaving a mosque, residents said. Israeli planes then attacked the office of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and the nearby Interior Ministry, both of which were empty. (Newsday, Feb. 28)
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