Israel Airstrikes Hit Businesses Funneling Money to Hamas

Israeli aircraft on Wednesday demolished two money exchange shops used to channel funds to Hamas militants, the military said, hours after Palestinian leaders made a new push to restore a truce with Israel that collapsed under heavy Hamas rocket fire.

Moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas met for the first time since fierce Hamas-Fatah fighting broke out two weeks ago, killing more than 50 Palestinians. The two sides reached a truce over the weekend, but tensions stayed high because a key dispute over control of security forces remained unresolved.

In a challenge to that shaky internal truce, gunmen opened fire from a passing car late Wednesday on the Gaza City home of a prominent Fatah official in Gaza who was away at the time, injuring at least two of his bodyguards. The official, Maher Miqdad, blamed Hamas.

Intensified Hamas rocket fire that accompanied the Palestinian infighting touched off a week of Israeli airstrikes that have killed more than 40 Palestinians, most of them militants.

Two air attacks just before midnight targeted money exchange shops in Gaza City that served as a conduit for millions of dollars sent from Iran, Syria and Lebanon to arm and train Hamas fighters, the military said.

Three people were slightly wounded in one of the attacks, medical officials said, and four stores were damaged in another, Palestinian security officials said. Electricity was cut off in parts of the town.

A third airstrike in the city shortly after midnight hit a car whose passengers escaped before the screeching missiles landed. The army said it targeted Hamas militants.

Earlier in the day, Israel fired missiles at suspected Hamas weapons workshops in Gaza City and the Jebaliya refugee camp. The Jebaliya strike injured six people, including a pregnant woman and a teenage boy.

Militants from various Palestinian factions claimed to have fired rockets at southern Israel throughout the day. The military said six landed in Israeli territory.

In a new tactic, Israeli troops also made a brief foray deeper into Gaza early Wednesday, searching several homes about half a mile from the border and briefly detaining seven Palestinians. Soldiers left behind handwritten notes warning that houses could be demolished if rockets are fired from the property.

The Abbas-Haniyeh meeting ended with the two sides agreeing their factions would meet again.

"We are working to recommit to the truce," Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh said.

Haniyeh aide Ghazi Hamad said in a statement that the two leaders called on the international community "to protect the Palestinians and pressure Israel to stop the attacks."

A Haniyeh aide, Ahmed Yousef, said a renewed cease-fire with Israel would have to be comprehensive, and include the West Bank in addition to Gaza. The previous truce, brokered in November, applied only to the Gaza-Israel border, and Israel rejected repeated Palestinian demands that it also halt arrest raids in the West Bank.

"If it is going to be for Gaza only, then no one will be able to convince the Palestinian resistance factions to commit to that," Yousef said.

Israeli government officials weren't immediately available for comment on the meeting because of the Jewish Shavuot holiday.