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Friday, 6 December, 2002, 12:28 GMT
Gaza's Palestinians defiant amid rubble
A man standing on the ruins of a house at al-Bureij
People are trying to salvage what they can

I am at the al-Bureij refugee camp at what was the home of Ayman Sheshnya, a Palestinian fighter on Israel's wanted list.

The house is now a big heap of cinder blocks and broken cement.

Toys, clothes and bits of furniture lie amongst the rubble, and people are trying to salvage what they can.
Palestinian men at the destroyed house in al-Bureij
Palestinian resistance in Gaza often is quite significant

Ayman lived here with most of his extended family.

He was not in the building when the soldiers came but his parents, his brothers and their wives and children were, and they are now homeless.

One of Ayman's brothers, who was in the house at the time says: "I just opened the door and I found a gun in my face.

They asked me to work with them as a collaborator and they tried to give me money.

Of course I refused because I that would be treason for my country, for my brother, for my family, for my people"

Casualties

Ten Palestinians died in the attack - one woman and nine young men. People here say all but two of the dead were civilians but it's difficult to say exactly.

Israel says they were mostly militants who opened fire on the tanks.

It is determined to crush the militias that breed in these densely populated refugee camps.

Army spokeswoman Sharon Feingold says: "This was one of many operations we conduct in the Gaza strip in order to target these terrorists who are hiding in the Gaza strip behind civilian population and using the civilian population to conduct their terrorist activities from within".

Resistance

The funeral for the dead was held after Friday prayers and looked more like a political rally.

This is a close-knit community burying ten more of its own - civilian and combatant alike.

The fighters are not separate from the people, they come from the people.

They are seen as defenders of the camp and their death is seen as its loss.


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06 Dec 02 | Middle East
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