Israeli killed, 3 wounded in mortar shell attack

Thursday, June 05, 2008 |  staff writer

One Israeli was killed and three injured on Thursday when a barrage of mortar shells was launched into Israel by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, dealing a blow to cease-fire talks between the two sides.

The attack raises the likelihood of a strong military response by Israel, which has held back during continuous but nonfatal attacks in the past few months. Egypt has been trying for months to negotiate a truce. But Israelis fear that a cease-fire would only give Hamas time to rearm.

The shell landed near a factory at Nir Oz, a communal farm. One of the wounded was in serious condition. one person was in serious condition and two others were moderately wounded.

Israeli government spokesman David Baker said Hamas "will be held accountable."

"Israeli towns and cities are being hit by Palestinian rockets on daily basis. Israel cannot and will not allow this situation to continue," he said.

In addition to halting rocket attacks, Israel also wants Hamas to release an Israeli soldier who has been held captive in Gaza for nearly two years.

Palestinians have fired thousands of rockets and mortar shells into Israel since Hamas violently took control of Gaza last year. The attacks have killed 16 people in Israel since late 2001.

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