Israeli Plane Bombs Gaza Facility

An Israeli warplane bombed a Gaza metalworks Wednesday night, and Israel said the factory was used to make weapons for the militant Islamic group Hamas.

There were no injuries but the bomb did considerable damage, Palestinian residents said.

The factory was at the entrance to the Mughazi refugee camp in central Gaza. Resident Hassan Jabber said several Israeli F-16 warplanes circled over the area, and one dropped a bomb on the factory, causing a huge explosion.

In a statement, the Israeli military said the factory was used to make mortar bombs and rockets for Hamas. "Because of the increase in firing mortars in recent days, the factory was bombed as part of the war against terrorist infrastructure," the statement said.

Palestinians have been firing mortars at Jewish settlements in Gaza almost nightly for more than a week, but no one has been hurt. Settlers say that a few days ago, a mortar shell landed next to a woman and her baby, but it did not explode.

Palestinians said that the bombed factory is one of the largest metal works facilities in the Gaza Strip and is owned by businessman Omar Namruti.

The bombing of the factory came a day after Palestinian attackers killed eight Israelis in an attack on a bus near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. An Israeli soldier and a Palestinian died Wednesday during a gunbattle that broke out as the Israeli military searched for the militants who attacked the bus.