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Israeli planes strike Gaza tunnels and building - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Released Palestinian prisoner Manal Sabaneh is welcomed in the West Bank village of Kabatyeh, near Jenin, Oct. 2, 2009 (AP)

Released Palestinian prisoner Manal Sabaneh is welcomed in the West Bank village of Kabatyeh, near Jenin, Oct. 2, 2009 (AP)

GAZA, (Asharq Al-Awsat and Agencies) – Israeli planes carried out strikes on tunnels used for smuggling along the Gaza-Egypt border and a building east of Gaza city on Saturday, causing damage but no casualties, security forces and the Israeli military said.

An Israeli military spokesman said the operation was in response to the firing of a rocket and a mortar shell into Israel by militants late on Friday. Both landed in open ground.

“The aircraft struck two tunnels and a building that housed a munitions workshop. The air strikes are in response to what has become the daily launching of rockets and mortars into Israel,” the Israeli army spokesman said.

A Hamas security official also said two tunnels were targeted and the building that was hit was a marble factory. He said there were no casualties.

A day earlier, Israel released 20 Palestinian women from prison in exchange for a video recording of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit held by Hamas in Gaza.

The exchange with Hamas Islamists who control the Gaza Strip was seen as a step towards a broader Palestinian prisoner release and freedom for the soldier, Gilad Shalit, which are priorities for both sides since his capture in a cross-border raid in June 2006.

The youngest female prisoner freed as part of the Shalit Video Deal, Bara Malki, 15, told Asharq Al-Awsat that she longed to go back to school as soon as possible. She told Asharq Al-Awsat that she learnt Hebrew so she could understand the profanities of the prison guards.

Eighteen of the prisoners were returned to the West Bank and one female prisoner along with her child was returned to the Gaza Strip.

Shalit appeared in the video wearing a clean military uniform and holding a copy of ‘Palestine’ newspaper dated September 14, 2009.

Hamas supporters wave their movement's flags as they wait near the Israeli Erez border crossing on October 1, 2009 for the release of Palestinian prisoners currently held in Israeli jails (AFP)

Hamas supporters wave their movement’s flags as they wait near the Israeli Erez border crossing on October 1, 2009 for the release of Palestinian prisoners currently held in Israeli jails (AFP)

A grab of a video released on October 02, 2009 by Israeli authorities to media, shows captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit holding up a Gaza newspaper dated September 14, 2009 at an undisclosed location in the Gaza Strip (AFP)

A grab of a video released on October 02, 2009 by Israeli authorities to media, shows captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit holding up a Gaza newspaper dated September 14, 2009 at an undisclosed location in the Gaza Strip (AFP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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