Seven dead as Israeli attack targets Hamas leader's car

 

Seven people have been killed, including a three-year-old girl and five-year-old boy, and 25 more were injured when Israeli helicopter gunships launched a missile attack in a northern suburb of Gaza City today.

Palestinians inspect the wreckage of a destroyed car after Israeli helicopters gunships fired missiles in Gaza City Photo: Getty Images

Palestinian gunmen shot and killed an Israeli near the West Bank city of Jenin this evening, military sources said. The sources said the Israeli was shot and killed while inside his car near the village of Yabed in the West Bank.

A total of 33 people have been killed in violent incidents since yesterday.

Israel has launched two rocket attacks on targets from the the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the city in the past 24 hours, killing 11 people.

The Israeli army has been ordered to "completely wipe out" Hamas, according to army radio, after a suicide bomber yesterday killed 16 people on a Jerusalem bus.

Earlier, Hamas vowed to carry out further attacks inside Israel and has warned all foreigners to leave the country for their own safety.

"The Jerusalem attack is the beginning of a new series of revenge attacks . . . in which we will target every Zionist occupying our land," Hamas said in a statement.

"We call on international citizens to leave the Zionist entity immediately to preserve their lives".

Hamas claimed responsibility for the bombing near the city's largest open-air market, saying it was to avenge an Israeli assassination attempt against one of the Islamic faction's leaders.

The Israeli order to wipe out Hamas, which directs the military to use "whatever means necessary," was issued following a meeting of Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz with the army's top command shortly after yesterday's attack.

Prime minister Mr Ariel Sharon convened a meeting of his cabinet this morning to discuss the current wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence. The Israeli response to the Jerusalem attack was swift - eight people died when rockets were fired into Gaza yesterday afternoon.

Mr Sharon "made it clear that insofar as terror is concerned, there will be no concessions," his office said in a statement issued before the Jerusalem bombing.

Mr Sharon vowed last night to "continue to fight relentlessly against terrorism, against those who finance, plan and perpetrate attacks against Jews".

Agencies