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Last Updated: Friday, 17 December 2004, 23:45 GMT
Eight killed in Gaza incursion
The body of a Palestinian is carried into a hospital in the southern Gaza Strip refugee camp of Khan Yunis
Casualties from the raid were ferried to hospital
Eight Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli army raid in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials have said.

Israeli bulldozers, supported by tanks, infantry and helicopter gunships, moved into the Khan Yunis refugee camp and demolished several Palestinian houses.

At least 25 people were injured and 300 Palestinian families fled the area.

The army said the operation, intended to reduce the number of mortar and rocket attacks on nearby Jewish settlements, could last several days.

"The forces are prepared to stay in the refugee camp for as long as it takes to secure quiet in the Israeli communities," Lt Col Ofer Vinter said on army radio.

In a separate development, six Palestinians were rescued from a collapsed tunnel under an Israel-controlled corridor in the Egypt-Gaza border area.

Witnesses said they were in good health after more than 12 hours in the tunnel, suspected to be used for smuggling.


Four people were wounded, one of them seriously, when an Israeli helicopter gunship fired a rocket into the refugee camp, Palestinian security officials were quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

Palestinians sheltering at a Khan Yunis hospital
Families who fled their homes shelter in public buildings
The Palestinians who fled the raid were sheltering in a nearby hospital, a stadium and with relatives away from the area.

Israeli troops and armoured vehicles were attacked by anti-tank rockets and bombs, although no Israelis were injured, the Israeli army said.

The army said at least 30 rockets and mortar bombs were fired at settlements in the Gaza Strip this week.

Earlier, an Israeli helicopter fired a missile at a workshop in the Rafah camp, on Gaza's border with Egypt.

The military said it suspected Hamas militants had been making mortars there.

There were also reports of an Israeli helicopter strike on a target in Gaza City late on Friday. There were no immediate details.

Israel has occupied the Gaza Strip since 1967, but is planning to pull out settlers and the troops who protect them as part of a disengagement plan to enhance its security. Its troops will maintain control of the territories' borders, coastline and airspace.

Details about the Palestinian casualties

Israel and the Palestinians



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