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18 Aug, 2011 16:44

Israel retaliates: Gaza pounded after deadly Sinai attacks

Israeli military officials confirmed an air strike on southern Gaza following deadly attacks on Israel earlier Thursday. The Israeli government has blamed Gaza militants for the series of attacks that killed seven Israelis and injured at least 30.

Gaza militants said five Palestinians were killed in air strikes that hit the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, but no official confirmation was immediately available, the Associated Press reported.Meanwhile, Palestinian medics said that at least seven Palestinians, including one child, were killed as a result of Israel’s air strikes, the Interfax news agency reported.Local media reported that the air strike targeted a group of militants from the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a coalition of faction that often operates independently from Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers. According to reports, a leader of the group and one of its field commanders were among those killed. The PRC has identified their dead commander as Kamal al-Nairab, Reuters reported.The Israeli drones are still flying over the city of Rafah, RT’s Paula Slier reported.At least seven Israelis, including two children, were killed and more than 30 injured in a series of terrorist attacks on vehicles in southern Israel on Thursday, which targeted a passenger bus, a private car and a military vehicle.Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said that the violence that erupted on Thursday afternoon is not over and that gunfire is continuing from both sides of the Israeli-Egyptian border.Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting with defense officials to map out a way forward. Earlier he said that there was “an attack on a sovereign state” and Israel would “retaliate and act accordingly.”Israel strongly believes that the origin of these attacks is in Gaza, and the Israeli Defense Force issued a statement saying it will pursue at all costs those responsible for the attack.