Israel, Hamas disregard U.N. cease-fire resolution

Israel and Hamas ignored a United Nations cease-fire resolution yesterday as the Israeli army attacked 70 targets in the Gaza Strip and Palestinian militants fired a barrage of rockets at southern Israel from the beleaguered seaside enclave.

Fighting in Gaza continued for a 14th day with little indication that the international community or an Egyptian-backed peace initiative would bring a quick end to hostilities.


Hamas officials said they would not heed a resolution they were not consulted about. Israel, saying that the U.N. action was unworkable, vowed to continue the offensive.

"The state of Israel has never agreed that any outside body would determine its right to defend the security of its citizens," said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.


Hamas spokesman Sami abu Zuhri said the U.N. failed to consider the interests of the Palestinian people.

"This resolution doesn't mean that the war is over," he told the satellite television channel Al-Jazeera. "We call on the Palestinian fighters to mobilize ... and we urge the Arab masses to carry on with their angry protests."

Israel's air and artillery attacks thundered across Gaza yesterday, stopping only for a few hours as part of a daily truce when both sides agree to hold fire while wounded Palestinians seek medical aid and families shop for food and supplies.

In the northern town of Beit Lahia, six members of one family, including an infant, were killed when an airstrike destroyed their home, according to witnesses and medical officials.

Roads were nearly deserted around the south Gaza town of Khan Younis, where Israeli forces and militants clashed this week.

Near a badly damaged school and six flattened houses, Mohammed Smeiro and his 12-year-old son scoured dried blood off the street. They said the blood belonged to two Palestinian cousins, Maather Mohammad Zneid, 23, and Faten Abdel Aziz Zneid, 33, who were putting on niqabs, or facial veils, when a missile exploded.

"I could see what happened through my window," said Smeiro. "Their bodies were cut to pieces. ... Later, a relative found one of the mothers and she came and identified the bodies."

Not far away, the neighborhood of Qarara looked like a hill of stones and blocks. The Al Zuheir mosque was nearly wiped away, and more than 40 houses around it were destroyed.


Anger against the Israeli offensive among tens of thousands of protesters in neighboring Egypt and Jordan resulted in clashes with police. Both countries maintain diplomatic relations with Israel.

Egyptians in the Sinai region threw rocks at police, and riots broke out yesterday in the Jordanian capital, Amman, after more than 2,000 demonstrators leaving Friday prayers marched toward the Israeli Embassy, forcing their way past several checkpoints.

The Jordanian protesters cheered Venezuela, waving the flag of the nation whose president, Hugo Chavez, cut off ties with Israel over the Gaza offensive.

Jeffrey Fleishman reported from Jerusalem, and Yasser Ahmad reported from the Gaza Strip.