Victims of Hamas

Hamas' military wing, al-Qassam Brigades, vowed Tuesday to avenge the killing of 14 militants in an Israeli air strike on a Gaza camp. Hamas vowed revenge in a statement published on its Web site. At least 14 Palestinians were killed and more than 25 were injured around midnight Monday in an airstrike carried out by Israeli Apache helicopters in eastern Gaza City. Palestinian witnesses and security sources said Israeli Apache helicopters hovered over Gaza City and fired at least five missiles at a summer training camp belonging to Hamas in the Tufah neighborhood. The strike came in retaliation for a twin suicide bombing attack on Israeli buses in Beersheba, which killed 16 Israelis and injured 100 others. In another incident, Israeli troops raided houses in the town of Khadra, south of Bethlehem in the West Bank Tuesday and rounded up eight Palestinians, the Palestinian News agency, WAFA, said. According to the NYTimes, Israeli tanks, helicopters and warplanes pounded a Hamas training camp on Tuesday, killing 14 Palestinians in the deadliest strike in Gaza in nearly four months, as Israel struck back after a double suicide bombing. A barrage of tank shells and helicopter-fired missiles hit the outskirts of the town of Shijaia, a stronghold of Hamas, the Palestinian faction that claimed responsibility for simultaneous attacks that killed 16 people on two Israeli buses in Beersheba last Tuesday. Gaza's main hospital was overwhelmed by casualties. More than 20 people, including militants and bystanders, were wounded, medical officials said. Israeli leaders had pledged harsh reprisals, including the resumption of a campaign to assassinate Hamas leaders, in response to the Beersheba bombings. The suicide attacks were the first in Israel in nearly six months. Just past midnight on Monday, tanks stationed at the Nahal Oz border crossing between Israel and Gaza fired on Shijaia while warplanes and helicopters launched missiles from overhead, witnesses said. The Israeli Army said in a statement that it had "targeted a training field during training of Hamas terrorists." Israel's threats had raised the spectre of an air raid similar to the one carried out deep inside Syria last October against a suspected Palestinian militant training camp following a bombing at a Haifa restaurant that killed 23 people. Israeli officials had said Syria bore some responsibility for the bombings last week in Beersheba, by allowing Hamas to maintain what they called a "terror headquarters" in Damascus. A statement by the Hamas military wing said the Israeli military struck a "scouts camp where a group of fighters was training" and pledged revenge. With smoke rising from the field in the Shajaiyeh section of Gaza City, a known Hamas stronghold, Palestinians were seen searching the blacked-out area with candles and flashlights, looking for victims. The Israeli statement said training at the site "was led by senior Hamas terrorists who were involved in the carrying out of deadly terror attacks and attempted attacks." The military said the suicide bomb prepared at the site was discovered last Tuesday in the underwear of a Palestinian at the Erez checkpoint between Gaza and Israel. The air strike was the bloodiest incident in Gaza City since May. In a week of heavy fighting in the city then, 31 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed, informs Herald Tribune.

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