BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Persian Pashto Turkish French
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Middle East  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Monday, 7 October, 2002, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
Gaza's 'terrifying' night
Wounded Palestinian on stretcher
Dozens were wounded in the raid
Palestinians in the Gaza town of Khan Younis have been describing Monday's incursion by Israeli tanks and helicopters and the horror of a deadly missile attack.


I heard the sound of something coming from the air and I saw the flames, then a big explosion lifted me and blew me 10 yards away

Wissam Abdeen
People in the town and neighbouring refugee camp told how they spent a "difficult and terrifying night", facing random gunfire from the ground and the air.

Eyewitnesses said that a helicopter missile attack happened as local residents emerged from their homes to inspect the damage and look for loved ones.

And doctors at the local hospital spoke of their worst day ever, as dozens of injured were rushed in and they themselves came under fire.

But the Israeli military defended the raid, saying it had been launched to destroy "terrorist infrastructure" in a known stronghold of the Islamic militant group Hamas.

They said that the missile had been fired after large numbers of armed men had been seen gathering in the streets during their withdrawal.

'Random gunfire'

Witnesses saw more than 20 Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles entering Khan Younis soon after midnight.


They fired a lot and threw grenades, there was a battle there - the helicopter aimed at this armed group and hit them

Israel Ziff
Israeli commander
"It was a difficult and terrifying night," said 22-year-old Mohammed Abu Moaamar.

"Children were crying and women were screaming. The gunfire was random from the ground and the sky.

"We stood together as if we were frozen."

Wissam Abdeen, 29, who was hit by shrapnel in the missile attack, said that as the troops withdrew residents came out of their homes.

"We heard the sound of helicopters," he said. "Two minutes later, I heard the sound of something coming from the air and I saw the flames. Then a big explosion lifted me and blew me 10 yards away."

'Blood covered everything'

People ranging in age from eight to 75 were rushed to the Nasser hospital.

Emergencies department head Dr Mohammed Abu Dallal said 27 operations were carried out, some simultaneously in the same room.

"Blood covered everything," he said.

Some time later, a reporter working for the Associated Press news agency described how he narrowly missed being shot as Israeli troops fired on a courtyard of the hospital, in what they said was a response to Palestinian mortar fire from nearby.

He said people had been gathering near the morgue to get news of friends and relatives and had to scramble for cover.

'Terrorist activity'

Israel said that the raid had been prompted by an attack on a Jewish settlement in the northern Gaza Strip using a home-made Palestinian rocket. No injuries or damage were caused during the attack.

The army said evidence had been found of terrorist activity in the area.

"The army discovered a sack containing mortars and bombs which it blew up," a statement said.

"A Palestinian wanted for terrorist activities was arrested as he was hiding a home-made bomb under his coat."

The army's commander in the area, Brigadier General Israel Ziff, told AP that his troops had met heavy resistance from Palestinian gunmen as they withdrew from Khan Younis.

"They fired a lot and threw grenades," he said. "There was a battle there. The helicopter aimed at this armed group and hit them."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Barbara Plett reports from Gaza
"Ariel Sharon warned recently he would target the Hamas leadership in Gaza"

Key stories

Profiles

FACTFILE

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

07 Oct 02 | Middle East
07 Oct 02 | Middle East
30 Sep 02 | Middle East
01 Oct 02 | Middle East
17 Sep 02 | Middle East
26 Sep 02 | Middle East
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes