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Israel Attacks Gaza 'Weapons Factory' - 2001-07-28

Israel has fired missiles at a building in the Gaza Strip which it says was used as a weapons factory. The action followed a mortar bomb attack at a Jewish settlement. The Palestinian Authority has repeated its call for international monitors coming not only from the United States, but also from Europe.

Israeli helicopter gunships flew into the Palestinian-controlled area of the Gaza Strip Saturday, attacking a building Israel called a weapons factory.

Palestinian witnesses say the helicopters fired at least three missiles.

The Israeli army says the operation in the Khan Yunis refugee camp was in response to at least three Palestinian mortar attacks at the Gush Katif Jewish settlement also in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli attack inside Palestinian-controlled territory came one day after Israeli tanks destroyed three Palestinian police posts near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

One post belonged to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's elite Force 17 security unit. That action followed the fatal shooting of an Israeli teenager inside a Jewish settlement near Jerusalem.

Israeli security forces say they are on high alert for terror attacks inside Israel, especially after the discovery of an explosive device hidden in a watermelon on a bus parked next to a Jerusalem shopping mall.

Israel has renewed its demand that the Palestinian Authority rein in militants targeting Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Cabinet, which met in the Gaza Strip on Friday, repeated its call for international monitors, following the Israeli military actions inside areas under Palestinian control.

Speaking on the Voice of Palestine Radio, Palestinian Cabinet Minister Nabil Sha'ath said the Palestinians want several states, including Europe and the United States, to be represented in an observer force.

Israel had been vehemently opposed to international monitors since the beginning of the Palestinian uprising in September. But last week, Israel's defense minister said Israel might be willing to accept such a force if it is made up only of Americans.

Palestinians say monitors in the West Bank and Gaza Strip could help implement a U.S.-brokered cease fire, which so far has failed to take hold.