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Friday Headlines

Courtesy of ISN Israel News

A missile fired from an Israeli helicopter killed Hamdi Kalkha, a senior Hamas member alleged to be on his way to launch Qassam rockets at Israeli targets on Friday morning. Israel Radio reported that Israeli military officials said that the army will continue to target Hamas terrorists.

Israeli forces, including tanks, have been poised to launch an operation into the Gaza Strip for more than a week. What appeared to be a lessening of tension ended on Thursday with the launch of a Qassam rocket that landed in the Israeli coastal city of Ashqelon. The Israeli army said that the new, increased range of the missile proved that terror organizations used the Hudna, or temporary cease-fire, to re-arm and plan new attacks. They said that the added range of the weapon is a “grave” development.

A possible prisoner exchange between Israel and the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist organization appears to be deadlocked. The issue is reported to be a Hizbullah demand that Palestinian prisoners be included in the deal, while Israel says it will release Palestinian prisoners only in a separate deal with the Palestinian Authority as part of a cease-fire. Hizbullah is holding an Israeli businessman who is said to be in poor health and three soldiers kidnapped two years ago. Three other soldiers and an airman remain missing since the 1980s.

Police are on high alert on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Fears of rioting have caused officials to limit access to Friday prayers to men over 45.

Austria might reverse its refusal to cooperate in an Israeli investigation into allegations against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. A more detailed request might do the trick, according to the newspaper Haaretz, which broke the story and has provided the public with the details.