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Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 03:33 GMT
Israel launches fresh Gaza strike
Palestinians inspect damaged security headquarters
Israel has targeted the Palestinian security service
Israeli forces have raided Gaza City for the second night running, according to Palestinian sources.

The BBC's James Rodgers in Gaza says 10 explosions could be heard from the east of the city shortly before midnight.


Rather than preventing terrorism, the preventive security in the Gaza Strip is involved in terrorism

Brigadier General Israel Ziv, Israeli army
Reports from the area say that Israeli tanks targeted a group of Palestinian fighters who were preparing to fire rockets at the armoured column.

It came hours after Israeli forces attacked the headquarters of the Palestinian security forces in Gaza, which Israel claimed was operating a weapons factory for Palestinian militants.

It is the sixth consecutive night that Israeli forces have been active inside the Gaza Strip, which has so far been spared the type of large-scale military offensives seen in the West Bank.

Tank fire

In the latest raid, the Israeli tanks shelled the men before they could launch their rockets, Palestinian sources said.

At least three people are reported to have been injured by the tank fire.

Ambulances raced through the streets to bring the wounded to Gaza's main hospital.

Earlier, Israeli fighter planes and reconnaissance aircraft were heard in the skies over Gaza City.

In the West Bank, an Israeli woman was shot and killed by Palestinian gunmen near a Jewish settlement on Monday night, Israeli sources said.

Esther Galia, a 48-year-old mother of seven from the Kochav Hashachar settlement near Ramallah, was shot dead as she drove in her car, the army said.

'Weapons factory'

The latest shelling in Gaza followed a pre-dawn Israeli assault on Monday on the headquarters of the Palestinian Preventive Security force in Gaza City.

Palestinian security official inspects damaged Gaza headquarters
Israel accuses the Palestinian security service of colluding with militants

It was the first time the complex had been targeted since the Israeli-Palestinian violence erupted 26 months ago.

The Israeli army said it found anti-tank grenades, a Qassam missile, bomb-making equipment and other weaponry after troops moved in to search the complex.

Israeli officials said the discovery proved a close link between the Palestinian security forces and Palestinian militants.

"Rather than preventing terrorism, the preventive security in the Gaza Strip is involved in terrorism," said Brigadier General Israel Ziv.

The three-hour raid left only a few of the 11 buildings which comprised the headquarters standing.

The Palestinians denied the charges, saying the base had an innocent purpose.

"Every Palestinian security [compound] has its own garage to fix cars and if they [the Israelis] consider this garage a factory to produce weapons, this is nothing new," said Rashid Abu Shabak, head of preventive security in Gaza.

Israeli forces have targeted a number of alleged weapons workshops in a series of raids in the Gaza Strip over the past week.


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18 Nov 02 | Middle East
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