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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 October, 2004, 18:48 GMT 19:48 UK
Seven Palestinians killed in Gaza
Relatives of policeman Emad Bader react after seeing his body in the morgue at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis
Relatives of one of the policemen react after seeing his body
Seven Palestinian men, including two policemen, are reported to have been killed in ongoing violence in Gaza.

In the latest incident, two men were killed as Israeli troops fired a tank shell in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, witnesses said.

The deaths come as Israeli forces press on with a major operation in northern Gaza, one of the biggest in four years.

Israeli officials say the operation aims at ending the threat from rockets launched by Palestinian armed groups.

It is estimated that more than 80 Palestinians have died since Israel launched the current operation nine days ago.

Suicide bomber's house

According to the Israeli army, the two Palestinians who died on Saturday evening were killed when an errant anti-tank missile that militants in the area had intended to fire at Israeli forces hit their house.

Palestinian witnesses said Israeli tank fire hit the house belonging to Mahmoud Salem, one of the suicide attackers responsible for the double bombing at the Israeli port of Ashdod in March that killed 10 Israelis.

In earlier violence, an Israeli helicopter fired a missile into the Jabaliya camp, killing one person.

Two were killed in Beit Hanoun in north Gaza in what Palestinians say was a clash between Israeli troops and Hamas militants, Reuters reports.

The two Palestinian policemen were killed in an Israeli missile attack on the refugee camp of Khan Younis, which the Israeli army said targeted a group of armed men.

Withdrawal plan

Gaza has been occupied by Israel since 1967.

About 1.4 million Palestinians live in Gaza, of which 900,000 are refugees from conflicts with Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is planning to withdraw settlers and Israeli soldiers from Gaza.

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.


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