zondag 2 maart 2008

46 Palestijnen en 2 IDF soldaten dood in Gaza operatie

De lang verwachte grote operatie tegen de Qassam beschietingen vanuit de Gazastrook lijkt te zijn begonnen, en het aantal doden aan beide kanten zal waarschijnlijk nog verder oplopen. De vraag is wat het alternatief is als Hamas steeds geavanceerdere wapens produceert en binnen kan smokkelen, en niets in die organisatie wijst op de bereidheid Israëls bestaansrecht te accepteren.


Gaza fighting claims lives of two IDF solders; six more suffer light to moderate wounds after clash with Hamas gunmen
Hanan Greenberg YNET

Cleared for publication: Two IDF soldiers were killed Saturday during a clash with Palestinian gunmen in northern Gaza Strip.

Six other soldiers were injured in the incident - five suffering light wounds and one suffering moderate ones. They were taken to the Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba.

IDF operations in the Gaza Strip over the weekend have left 46 Palestinians dead, most affiliated with Hamas.

Givati and armor forces, aided by IAF fighter jets have been operating in the northern Gaza since Friday night. Palestinian militants fired over 40 rockets at Israel's western Negev, Sderot and Ashkelon since the military operation began; three people were injured as a result, two of them children.

Five of the soldiers were hurt during a clash with Hamas gunmen and suffered mostly shrapnel injuries to their arms and legs.

"The activity is taking place in areas which the terror organizations want to guard, including launching pads," a military source explained.

Hamas sources said the IDF soldiers were hit by an improved anti-tank missile recently introduced to Gaza. Several weeks ago, a Hamas official told Ynet that the organization has been able to have missiles similar to those used by the Hizbullah in the Second Lebanon War, smuggled into Gaza.

According to reports, the gunmen were firing mortar shells, antitank and RPG missiles at the soldiers. Over 60 Palestinians were reportedly wounded in the fighting.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who toured the area on Friday, said that "the escalations is Hamas' responsibility and it will be held accountable for it.

"The government will do everything to keep Ashkelon free of rocket fire," he added.

Ali Waked contributed to this report

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