Israel strikes at Gaza City and cancels summit

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The Independent Online

Israeli helicopters destroyed two suspected Hamas weapons workshops in Gaza City yesterday as the Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, called off a summit with his Palestinian counterpart in response to a double suicide bombing that killed 10 Israelis at the weekend.

Israeli helicopters destroyed two suspected Hamas weapons workshops in Gaza City yesterday as the Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, called off a summit with his Palestinian counterpart in response to a double suicide bombing that killed 10 Israelis at the weekend.

A senior official said Israel would retaliate for the bombing of Ashdod port on Sunday, the first fatal attack on a strategic target in Israel for more than three years. A militant leader in Gaza said the bombers had intended to blow up fuel storage tanks, heightening Israeli concerns that militants are planning a "mega attack".

The Islamic militant group Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a group with ties to Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, admitted joint responsibility. One al-Aqsa leader said: "This is a message to the Israelis that all their walls and fences cannot prevent us from infiltrating Israel and doing whatever we want."

Mr Sharon cancelled a summit, scheduled for today, with the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ahmed Qureia.

Nobody was thought to be seriously injured in the missile attacks on suspected weapons workshops in Gaza City. Police stepped up security atseaports, airports and rail stations.

The Palestinian minister Saeb Erekat condemned Sunday's attack and expressed regret that the summit was cancelled.

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