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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 October, 2004, 08:25 GMT 09:25 UK
Two Palestinians killed in Gaza
Israeli army tank leaves Palestinian town of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza
The Israeli incursion has entered its second week
Two Palestinian youths have been killed in the continuing Israeli offensive in northern Gaza, witnesses say.

They died when Israeli shells were fired at a crowd near the Jabaliya refugee camp, hospital sources said.

But Israeli military sources said soldiers fired at militants trying to launch a homemade rocket into Israel.

An Israeli army operation to halt such rocket attacks is in its eighth day and has claimed the lives of nearly 80 Palestinians.

Five Israelis have been killed by Palestinian militants in the same period.

Israeli army chief Moshe Yaalon has warned that the operation, codenamed Days of Penitence, will last "as long as it takes" and could go on for weeks.

Doctors told the AFP news agency that the two dead youths had been identified as Sliman Abu Ful, 12, and Raed Abu Zeid, 14.

The Israeli army confirmed that it had fired on two people who, it said, had been trying to launch a Qassam rocket.

An army spokesman told AFP they had been hit by a missile fired by a helicopter gunship.

Israeli Prime Minster Ariel Sharon is planning to withdraw from Gaza, which Israel has occupied since 1967.

Approximately 8,000 settlers from Gaza and the troops that protect them are expected to leave Gaza by the end of 2005, though Israel will maintain control of Gaza's borders, coastline and airspace.

Nearly 1.4 million Palestinians live in Gaza, about 900,000 of them refugees from previous conflicts with Israel.


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