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Last Updated: Friday, 28 July 2006, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Israel ends deadly Gaza operation
Palestinians in the rubble of a building destroyed early morning by an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis refugee camp,
Palestinians clear up after an air strike in Khan Younis refugee camp
The Israeli army has pulled out of the Gaza Strip after a two-day operation in which at least 29 Palestinians were killed, many of them civilians.

Air strikes overnight destroyed several buildings across the territory, killing two Palestinians, one a teenage boy.

The Israeli army says it attacked weapons facilities in four areas in a continuing campaign to weaken militant groups in Gaza.

Eyewitnesses say farmland, power lines and telephone cables were destroyed.

Among those killed in the operation were a baby, two infants, three teenagers and a 75-year-old woman, Palestinians say.

One report said that 13 militants had been killed in the operation.

Israel says it killed 25 "terrorists".

The offensive in Gaza began a month ago in response, Israel says, to the capture of its soldier Gilad Shalit by Hamas-linked militants.

Militant groups say that was motivated by Israeli bombardments that killed several civilians.

Aid from the EU

The EU has meanwhile given millions of dollars in aid to Palestinians, much of it to pay the wages of health workers.

An EU official told the AFP news agency the 40m euro ($51m) payment marked the third instalment in an aid package aimed at directly paying Palestinian public sector workers, bypassing the Hamas-led government.

EU External Affairs Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said after visiting Gaza on Thursday that the situation was of "total crisis.

"We hope that there will be immediate work to put to a stop the violence on both sides," she was quoted as saying by AFP.

The EU is the biggest aid donor to the Palestinians but suspended much of its aid earlier this year over the Hamas-led government's refusal to renounce violence and recognise Israel.

Some one million Palestinians, or a quarter of the population in the West Bank and Gaza, depend on the wages of the Palestinian Authority's 160,000 employees.

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