Several Palestinian militant groups, mainly Islamic Hamas armed wing al-Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility on Monday for attacking southern Israel with homemade rockets.
The armed wings of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other smaller armed groups, said in separate leaflets that their militants fired rockets at southern Israel and blew up more roadside bombs against Israeli soldiers.
Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas armed wing, said in a leaflet that its militants fired several Russian-made rockets at Israeli army bases and towns in southern Israel, causing damages and injuries.
The group also said in a statement that heavy, fierce and violent gun battles took place north of Jabalia town and in Zeitoon neighborhood in southern Gaza City, adding that several Israeli soldiers were injured.
Residents of Gaza City confirmed that heavy confrontations took place in the densely populated Zeitoon neighborhood, adding that they could hear the intensive tanks shelling and the exchange of gunfire.
Israel launched a massive offensive with aerial bombardments on Dec. 27 in a bid to stop rocket and mortar attacks from the Palestinian territory of Gaza. At least 527 Palestinians have been killed, at least a quarter of them civilians, according to a UN agency.
(Xinhua News Agency January 5, 2009)