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Saturday, November 4, 2006

IDF officer seriously hurt, Fighting Continues In Gaza


27 Terrorists killed in IDF Gaza raids over weekend
A 12-year-old girl was killed Saturday evening by Israel Defense Forces sniper fire in the town of Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip. The girl, Isra Nasser, died of wounds to the head. The IDF said the sniper's target had been an armed militant, and expressed regret at the mistake.
Earlier, an IDF non-commissioned officer was seriously wounded in clashes with militants the town. Initial investigations indicate that special forces operating against rocket launch sites passed over an explosives charge, and the officer was wounded in the ensuing gunfire exchange. His family has been notified.
Five Hamas militants and two civilians were killed Saturday in a series of incidents in the Strip, bringing to 42 the Palestinian death toll there since the start of an IDF operation Wednesday
More: Haaretz
JERUSALEM, Nov. 4 — Israel continued its military offensive in Gaza on Saturday, destroying a minivan containing a Hamas rocket maker and two associates and demolishing at least five homes in Beit Hanun, on the Gaza-Israel border.
The rocket maker, identified by Hamas as Louay al-Burnu, was killed Saturday in Gaza City with two other members of the militant faction. Another Hamas fighter was killed in a gun battle with Israeli forces after firing an antitank rocket near Beit Hanun, and an Israeli noncommissioned officer was badly wounded. A Palestinian civilian, Marwan Abu Harbid, 46, died when an Israeli tank shell hit his home, burying him inside, a relative told The Associated Press.
In nearby Jabaliya, a Hamas member died from wounds from an artillery shell, which wounded four other members of Hamas’s military wing. Later Saturday, two brothers, both members of Hamas, were killed in a helicopter strike, as was a 16-year-old Palestinian, according to Agence France-Presse.
Since Israel began its new campaign to halt rocket fire into Israel four days ago, more than 40 Palestinians have been killed, most of them militants, and one Israeli soldier has died. More than 200 Palestinians have been wounded, some 30 of them seriously, Palestinian health officials and doctors at local hospitals said.
The rocket fire has continued, with 28 rockets landing in Israel since the operation began Wednesday, an army spokesman said. At least three Israelis have been wounded by shrapnel. Because Beit Hanun is so close to Israel, Palestinian militants often come there to fire their short-range Qassam rockets, made in Gazan workshops, toward nearby Israeli towns like Sderot and Ashkelon.
For three hours on Saturday morning, Israeli troops stopped patrols in Beit Hanun, a town of some 25,000 people, to allow civilians to leave their homes and open shops, and to let aid groups deliver supplies.
Israeli troops have been rounding up young men suspected of being militants and questioning them. Most have been released. At least 15 men have been detained and brought to Israel for further questioning, an army spokesman said.
The houses the Israelis destroyed contained weapons, the army said, including antitank missiles, automatic rifles and grenades.
Also on Saturday, a 12-year-old girl was shot in the head and killed by an Israeli sniper in Gaza, Palestinian officials said. The Israeli military expressed regret, saying the sniper was aiming at an armed militant.
The Israeli operation is a continuation of the Gaza offensive that followed the capture of an Israeli soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, on June 25. Corporal Shalit remains a hostage, as do two Israeli soldiers captured by
Hezbollah a few weeks later.
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