Da Ha'aretz del 17/12/2004
Originale su http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/515606.html

Cinque palestinesi uccisi in un raid a Gaza

di Amos Harel, Arnon Regular

Israeli and Palestinian rescue forces were cooperating Friday in their search for three Palestinians declared missing after a weapons-smuggling tunnel collapsed along the Gaza-Egypt border overnight, killing at least five Palestinians who were trapped inside.

Elsewhere in the Gaza Strip, at least six Palestinians were killed and 24 were wounded in an Israel Defense Forces raid aimed at ending mortar and rocket attacks from the town of Khan Yunis. Four of the dead were militants and two were civilian bystanders, local medics and witnesses said.

The IDF allowed Palestinian ambulances and rescue workers to get to the scene of the tunnel collapse, which is usually off-limits to Palestinians. Rescue forces extricated the bodies of the dead Palestinians from the tunnel, the radio said.

The tunnel, which is located between an IDF base and the south Gaza area of Rafah, collapsed late Thursday, but neighborhood residents only discovered the gaping hole that remained of the tunnel on Friday.

Meanwhile, six Palestinians were killed and 24 were wounded in the Khan Yunis raid.

One soldier operating in the raid suffered light to moderate wounds from an anti-tank missile fired by militants, the Itim news agency reported. An additional soldier was treated for shock.

IDF tanks and bulldozers moved into Khan Yunis early Friday morning to knock down buildings used as cover by militants, in an operation intended to reduce the number of mortar and rocket attacks from the camp at nearby settlements, the IDF said.

Hundreds of Palestinians fled their homes for fear the army would demolish them. The families sought refuge in a nearby hospital, a stadium and at the homes of relatives who don't live on the front line of fighting.

As the troops continued their raid Friday, Palestinians fired two Qassam rockets at the western Negev. They hit open areas and caused no injuries.

Palestinians also fired anti-tank missiles at the troops and detonated an explosive device near them, causing no casualties, Israel Radio said.

IDF commander Ofer Winter said the army would stay in Khan Yunis indefinitely.

"The forces are prepared to stay in the refugee camp for as long as it takes to secure quiet in the Israeli communities," he told Israel Radio, referring to Gaza Strip settlements and the Negev town of Sderot, which have been frequent targets of mortar and rocket fire.

In the last week, Palestinians have fired 50 mortar shells at settlements and military posts in the Gaza Strip, killing a Thai laborer and wounding 15 soldiers and a civilian, Israel Radio said. Eleven of the soldiers were hurt just a few hours before the raid began.


The raid came several hours after an IAF helicopter gunship fired a missile at a Gaza Strip workshop which the army said was used by Palestinian militants to store munitions, destroying it but causing no casualties.

Palestinian witnesses said the target was a basement carpentry shop in Rafah refugee camp on Gaza's flashpoint border with Egypt. An IDF spokeswoman said the workshop contained mortar bombs stowed away by Hamas.

Troops also targeted a building hiding a tunnel in south Gaza apparently used to smuggle weapons, Israel Radio said.


Also Thursday, 11 IDF soldiers were lightly wounded when Palestinians fired four mortar shells at an outpost near the Atzmona settlement in the southern Gaza Strip.

The wounded soldiers received initial medical attention at the outpost, and then were evacuated to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva.

Earlier in the day, Palestinians fired two mortar shells that landed in the hothouses of a Gush Katif settlement and one at an IDF post, causing no casualties.

Meanwhile, IDF troops shot dead a member of the militant Islamic Jihad who was attempting to plant an explosive device near a Gaza settlement on Thursday morning, sources from the movement said.

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