Sun, Sep 03, 2006 - Page 6 News List

Three Palestinians killed in Gaza

UPRISING In the strip, more than 5,000 people have died in the fighting between Israel's army and militants since 2000

AFP , GAZA CITY

Palestinians look for salvageable items amid the rubble of a destroyed house in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip yesterday. Israeli special forces backed by tanks and helicopter gunships moved into the town under the cover of darkness, and two Palestinians were shot and killed during a raid yesterday morning.

PHOTO: AFP

Two Palestinians were killed during an exchange of fire between Israeli forces and gunmen yesterday, while a third Palestinian was shot dead by troops near a Gaza border crossing, the army and witnesses said.

In the first incident, witnesses said Israeli troops backed by helicopters entered the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun and engaged in heavy clashes with Palestinian gunmen there.

Residents said the operation targeted the house of a member of Hamas. Two Palestinians, a father and son, were killed and at least four others wounded, medics said.

The victims were named as Mohammed Abu Oda, 60, and his son Ismail, 28.

An Israeli army spokesman said initial reports suggested that two gunmen opened fire on Israeli troops from the building, prompting the troops to return fire, killing them both.

At least seven other Palestinians were wounded by sporadic exchanges of gunfire during the overnight operation in Beit Hanoun, and the armed wing of Hamas claimed in a statement to have fired two anti-tank rockets.

In the second incident, a Palestinian man was killed at the Kissufim border crossing in the central Gaza Strip. The victim's identity was not immediately known.

The Israeli army confirmed the incident.

"A unit noticed a suspect near the security barrier at the Kissufim crossing point between Israel and the Gaza Strip, and opened fire in his direction. He was hit," a spokesman said.

On June 28, Israel launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip to recover an Israeli soldier seized by Palestinian groups and attempt to end the firing of makeshift rockets.

The latest deaths brought to 5,376 the number killed since the start of the Palestinian intifada (uprising) in September 2000.

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