Israel has struck at targets in the northern Gaza Strip for the first time since a truce with Palestinian factions went into effect in November 2006. The target was a terrorist cell said to be in the process of launching Qassam rockets into Israel. It was destroyed before the rockets were fired. Palestinian sources claim the four persons wounded in the attack were civilians. One is in critical condition. The attack took place on Wednesday afternoon after seven Qassams had already been fired into Israeli territory. One landed near a strategic facility in the coastal city of Ashkelon, but caused no damage. A group associated with Islamic Jihad has taken responsibility for the missiles. The Israeli military said that the attack was not a departure from standing orders, which allow the army to strike preemptively at imminent launches.
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