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Last Updated: Monday, 12 July, 2004, 07:19 GMT 08:19 UK
Disabled man dies in Gaza rubble
Palestinians search through rubble after demolitions
Palestinians sifted through the rubble after the buildings were demolished
A disabled man in his 70s died when Israeli troops demolished a building where he was living in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical sources say.

They say the death occurred when tanks and bulldozers began removing buildings near the town of Khan Yunis at the southern end of the strip.

The Israeli army said it was removing flimsy shacks and unfinished buildings.

Palestinian witnesses said it was possible that the troops were unaware that the man was inside the building.

'No warning'

The man, named as 70-year-old Mohammed Khallas, apparently did not hear calls to evacuate and was found dead in rubble shortly after the demolition.

His daughter, Mona, told the BBC that she rushed out into the darkness to plead for more time to get her father out of the house but the soldiers did not listen to her.

An Israeli military spokesman said the army was investigating the reports.

Israel has demolished the homes of thousands of people in the West Bank and Gaza since it began the policy of destroying the homes of Palestinian militants in August 2002.

Often those who lived in the houses say they were given just minutes to gather their families and flee.

Sometimes they say there was no warning at all before the house was hit by the first blow from one of the army's huge, heavily armoured bulldozers.

The buildings destroyed in the current operation were used as cover by militants who had launched attacks on Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers in the area and most had been "abandoned", the Israeli army said.

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