Senior Israeli military officials reported on Friday that the ongoing military attacks in the Gaza Strip may diminish the firing of homemade shells at Israeli settlements adjacent to the Gaza Strip, but will not be able to stop them.

The statements of the military officials came while the army continued its air strikes, and Palestinian fighters fired more homemade shells in spite of the ongoing military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
The military officials added that the Israeli army still plans to carry several attacks “on the outskirts of built-up areas in an attempt to stop the firing of homemade shells”, Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.

Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi, commander of the Gaza Division, said Friday that the army will not take control of all the Qassam-launching sites in Gaza, adding that the main target of the offensive is resistance fighters.

Israel’s air force shelled several Palestinian areas in the northern part of the Gaza Strip on Friday morning. The attack was carried out hours after what the Israeli army described as “the heaviest day of fighting in the Gaza Strip in the past four years”. At least 24 Palestinians, and one Israeli soldier, were killed.

On Friday morning, one Palestinian was killed and three others were wounded in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Army official claimed that the incident took place after the an Israeli aircraft had opened fire at four resistance fighters.

Also on Friday morning, resistance fighters fired two Qassam homemade shells at the western Never; no injuries were reported.

At least eight homemade shells were fired on Thursday, Israeli sources reported. Also, First Lieutenant Yehuda Bassel, 21, was killed Thursday afternoon during an attack carried by the army northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia.

Resistance fighters said that a fighter shot the soldier with a sniper-rifle, while the Israeli army said that it is investigating whether he was killed by friendly fire.

In a separate incident, Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyya, called for an international intervention to stop the ongoing Israeli military offensive which he described as a “crime against humanity”.

The statements of Haniyya came as he was visiting injured residents in a hospital in Gaza.

Haniyya added that Israel is trying to undermine the Palestinian government under the pretext of searching for the missing soldier.  

The missing soldier is Corporal Gilad Shalit, who was abducted more than 10 days ago during an attack on an Israeli military post near the Gaza border; two soldiers and two fighters were killed in the attack.