January 12, 2008 / 12:42 PM / 12 years ago

Palestinian gunmen attack school in Gaza

A Palestinian inspects the damaged American International School after it was stormed and attacked with a rifle-propelled grenade by unknown Palestinian gunmen, in northern Gaza January 10, 2008. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

GAZA (Reuters) - Palestinian gunmen stormed the American International School in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Saturday, smashing windows, seizing computers and torching buses but causing no injuries, security sources said.

In a leaflet left behind after the attack, the gunmen claimed affiliation with al Qaeda and vowed to attack other symbols of “immorality” throughout the coastal territory.

There has been a series of attacks over the past year in Gaza attributed to Islamist groups that claim to be followers of al Qaeda.

The school is a private, Palestinian institution that is part of an association of “American Schools” in the Middle East. The curriculum includes English and Arabic studies. None of the teachers is American.

The school has been a frequent target for militants. Three days ago, gunmen claiming ties to al Qaeda fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the building during a visit to the region by U.S. President George W. Bush.

In 2006, two teachers were kidnapped from the school by gunmen, prompting all international workers to leave.

Hamas Islamists seized control of the Gaza Strip after routing forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last June.

Hamas’s interior ministry said in a statement: “An investigation was immediately launched into the attack and we will pursue and bring the attackers to justice regardless of their motives.”

In other violence, medical workers said they found the body of a Hamas policeman in the central Gaza Strip. Police officials said they had started an investigation.

Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Writing by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Charles Dick

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