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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, for Thursday December 9th 2010.

Israeli airstrikes in Gaza Strip hit a school and an alleged Hamas training facility as Israel is widely criticized for refusing to renew the settlement freeze, these stories in details are coming up, stay tuned.

Israeli airforce carried out a number of airstrikes at the Gaza Strip Thursday at dawn, according to Palestinian sources causing damage to property but no human losses.

The airstrikes hit Tunis School east of Al-Zeitoun neighbourhood in Gaza city, a source at the Palestinian Ministry of Education reported and added that they asked all students not to come to school Thursday fearing more strikes.

Palestinian security sources said some shells did not explode and sappers managed to defuse them with no injuries.

Another strike hit a location believed to be used as a training facility that reportedly belongs to the al-Qassam brigades, the armed wing of Hamas. The target is located north of al-Nusseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

The Israeli military said these attacks are in response to mortar shells reportedly fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli targets earlier Wednesday night, wounding an Israeli security officer in the Negev area in southern Israel.

The Salah ad-Din Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, claimed responsibility for the attack, and stated that its fighters fired 10 mortars at Israeli forces invading Gaza from an area close to the Karem Abu Salem crossing, in southern Gaza.

On the political level, Israel’s refusal to freeze settlement drew international rebuke, as the European Union, United Nations and Arab League criticized Israel’s failure to renew freeze on West Bank settlement construction, which expired in late September.

In December of 2009, Israel announced a 10-month settlement freeze in the West Bank, however, this freeze did not include Jerusalem. The Israeli leftist movement Peace Now reported 492 violations of this claimed freeze in a report published few months ago.

On his part, Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon, “noted with regret that Israel will not heed the united call of the international community” and freeze illegal settlement construction in the West Bank, one day after American negotiators dropped their attempts to make Israel adopt a new freeze.

Ban reiterated calls to Israel to commit to the Road Map obligations and freeze all illegal settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.

In the meantime, British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Thursday said he was ‘disappointed’ with Israel’s decision not to renew its moratorium on West Bank settlement construction.

Hague added that his government will continue working closely with both the Palestinians and Israelis, as well as with international mediators, to find a solution to the impasse.

On his part, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated the Palestinian Authorities position to freeze negotiations until settlement activities in the West Bank are frozen.

“We will not negotiate as long as settlement activities continue, we hope this is clear to everyone and we have made that clear to the US administration,” Abbas said in a press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Husni Mubarak in Cairo.

By this we come to the end of our news for today, thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem; you have been listening to Palestine Today from the International Middle East Media Center. For constant updates, please visit our website at This reports has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and George Rishmawi