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Posted: 9/30/2004 11:29:55 AM EDT
You would really think Hamas would stop annoying the Isrealis…

23 Palestinians Dead in Gaza Fighting

Thursday September 30, 2004 7:46 PM

By IBRAHIM BARZAK Associated Press Writer

JEBALIYA REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip (AP) - Israeli troops struck deep inside the largest Palestinian refugee camp Thursday, battling masked gunmen in an unprecedented campaign to stop deadly rocket fire on Israeli towns. Twenty-three Palestinians were killed, the bloodiest single-day toll in fighting in 30 months.

Three Israelis - two soldiers and an Israeli woman jogger - were killed in two Palestinian shooting attacks in northern Gaza.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called a meeting of his security Cabinet late Thursday to vote on a possible large-scale military offensive in Gaza, a response to the killing of two Israeli children, ages 2 and 4, by a Hamas rocket attack on an Israeli border town the day before.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz recommends an open-ended campaign, security officials said, and the army's push into the center of Jebaliya - a first in four years of fighting - signaled a change in military tactics.

Since fighting erupted in 2000, the military has refrained from reoccupying large areas of crowded Gaza for long periods, for fear of getting bogged down in urban combat. The army has felt less constrained in the less densely populated West Bank.

Armored vehicles rolled into squalid Jebaliya, a militant stronghold with 106,000 residents, on Thursday morning. Throughout the day, masked Palestinians taking cover in camp alleys fired assault rifles - and occasionally anti-tank missiles and grenades - at tanks, which responded with machine-guns. Militants were seen laying explosive charges and unraveling detonation wire.

In the bloodiest incident, a tank fired a shell toward a group of gunmen, killing seven Palestinians and seriously wounding 23, including gunmen and civilians. Many of the wounded lost limbs, and at least four were under age 14, doctors said.

Kamal Adwan Hospital was overwhelmed by the influx, and doctors had to treat some patients on the blood-soaked floor and on cafeteria tables.

Ahmed Salem, 10, said the shell was fired from a tank at a U.N. school near Jebaliya's market. ``I was hit and fell to the ground. The man lying next to me had no head,'' said the boy, who was wounded by shrapnel in the leg.

Maj. Gen. Dan Harel, the army commander in Gaza, said the shell was aimed at militants who had fired an anti-tank shell at an armored personnel carrier, lightly wounding three soldiers. Harel said several Palestinian children were apparently nearby. ``We are very sorry that civilians are being hurt,'' Harel said, but accused gunmen of using civilians as a shield.

Palestinian militants have fired hundreds of rockets and mortar shells at Gaza settlements and Israeli border towns since 2000. Most attacks caused damage and minor injuries. There have been two deadly strikes, including Wednesday's hit on the border town of Sderot that killed two children as they played on the sidewalk in a quiet neighborhood at the onset of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Continued rocket fire could turn public opinion against Sharon's plan to remove all settlers and soldiers from Gaza in 2005. His opponents argue a withdrawal would only encourage Palestinian militants to stage more attacks.

Palestinian militants have intensified attacks in recent months in hopes of portraying the Israeli withdrawal as a retreat under fire. Israeli troops, in turn, have stepped up military operations to pound militant groups before the pullout.

Israeli government spokesman Gideon Meir said Israel was forced to act after 11 previous operations in northern Gaza failed to stop the rockets. ``The purpose of a wider operation is to protect the Israeli civilian areas,'' he said. ``They (militants) want to show Israel is running out of Gaza under fire.''

Mohammed Dahlan, seen as a key player in running Gaza after an Israeli withdrawal, said the offensive ``will result in a bloodbath on both sides because the Palestinian people cannot remain silent in the face of this aggression.''

Israeli troops moved into northern Gaza Wednesday morning, several hours before the Sderot missile strike. By Thursday, they controlled the towns of Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun, as well as large areas of the Jebaliya camp.

Palestinian gunmen killed three Israelis - two soldiers and a woman settler - in two attacks in northern Gaza.

In one incident, two gunmen fired on an army observation post near Jebaliya, killing a soldier before being shot dead. Near the Jewish settlement of Elei Sinai, two attackers killed a woman jogger and an army medic who came to her aid. The gunmen were eventually killed by troops.

However, the heaviest fighting raged in Jebaliya. For the first time in four years of fighting, troops came close to the downtown market and set up two positions in the camp, one at a U.N. school and the second at a Palestinian police training center.

Army bulldozers demolished 22 homes along a relatively narrow road leading into the camp, U.N. aid officials said, apparently to widen it and allow more tanks to get through. Armored vehicles avoided the booby-trapped main street.

``A bulldozer entered our living room and demolished half the house,'' said Hussein al-Jamal, a resident of the camp's Block 2, adding that he and his family fled, along with many of his neighbors.

Thursday's deaths marked the highest one-day Palestinian toll since April 2002 when 35 were killed in the West Bank, during Defensive Shield, a major Israeli military operation.

A masked Hamas gunman carrying a rocket launcher said he expected Israeli soldiers to leave soon. ``Jebaliya will be a burial ground for their soldiers,'' he boasted. ``They will run away and we will stay.''

Link Posted: 9/30/2004 11:34:10 AM EDT
"I am proud to declare you the new leader of ... Hammas!" WHOOOSHH BLAMMO! "Next!" Planerench out.
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 11:34:34 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 11:37:12 AM EDT

carry on.
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 11:38:43 AM EDT
Jogger? talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 11:41:00 AM EDT
It's a start.....
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 11:45:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/30/2004 11:45:38 AM EDT by vito113]

Originally Posted By 87gn:

carry on.

But if you must… buy a value pack of Tylenol Extra Strength for the headache…

Link Posted: 9/30/2004 11:46:23 AM EDT
put a couple more zeros on that body count and we're gettin somewhere.......................
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 11:47:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ARDOC:
Jogger? talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

lol..yeah no shit. Darwin tryin to make things right.
Link Posted: 9/30/2004 12:02:26 PM EDT
Its a start.
Link Posted: 10/1/2004 7:44:48 AM EDT
Scum-bag Palestinians. Israelis leave the Gazo to them, ten the Palestinians start sniping civilians who are jogging near the Gaza.

Link Posted: 10/1/2004 7:53:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By green18:
put a couple more zeros on that body count and we're gettin somewhere.......................

During Black September, they lost 10,000+ and it didn't phase them.
Link Posted: 10/1/2004 7:59:07 AM EDT
They are de-virginating the Merkava Mk IVs in Gaza, this is their first time out.
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