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New Gaza raid

Last updated: 2004-05-18

Destruction of homes in Gaza

Destruction of homes in Gaza

Palestinian witnesses say at least 11 people have been killed in a major Israeli military operation at the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

Witnesses say at least three Palestinian gunmen are among the dead, and that more than a dozen people have been wounded.

Israeli helicopters have carried out two missile strikes during the operation. The first strike, shortly after midnight, reportedly targeted a group of militants hiding behind a wall in the camp.

Hours later, helicopters opened fire again as ground troops backed by tanks and armored bulldozers pushed into the Tel al-Sultan neighborhood on the outskirts of the refugee camp.

Palestinians say the second attack took place near a mosque where people had gathered for early morning prayers.

Israeli military officials say the operation is aimed at destroying weapons smuggling tunnels in the area and that only homes with tunnels inside will be demolished.

Hundreds of panicked residents fled the camp ahead of the incursion, which has prompted international condemnation, including from the United Nations and the European Union. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan says the destruction of homes in Rafah is against international law.

The United States has also said it opposes the demolition. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia met with U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in Berlin Monday, and urged Washington to intervene.

Story supplied by: VOAnews