The Israeli military attacked what it described as a “weapons manufacturing facility” in Rafah today, and continued to strike tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border, in what it said was retaliation for an apparent Qassam launch by militants in the Gaza Strip.
The Qassam launch was likewise claimed to be in retaliation for Israeli attacks on Hamas targets, which were themselves claimed to be retaliation for a bombing by a group which was unrelated to Hamas. The authenticity of the attack was put somewhat in doubt by Israeli military officials saying they had not found the location which the rocket was supposed to have hit.
Visiting US envoy George Mitchell has urged both sides to continue the ceasefire, though Israel insisted that its assorted attacks did not constitute a violation of the ceasefire, and the military insisted Hamas was entirely to blame for every Israeli attack.
Mitchell also urged Israel to reopen the border crossings into Gaza, but was reportedly rebuffed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Olmert has said that the border will not reopen until Gilad Shalit, a soldier captured in 2006, is returned. Hamas has ruled out making such a deal.
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