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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 November 2006, 17:25 GMT
Deaths mount in Gazan offensive
Palestinian mourners cry during the funeral of a policeman in Gaza
Palestinians have been burying their dead
Three Palestinians have been killed in Gaza on the fifth day of Israel's offensive in the territory.

Palestinian officials said the deaths came in separate incidents - bringing the toll since Wednesday to nearly 50.

Earlier, Israeli PM Ehud Olmert declined to say when the operation would end, but insisted Israel had no intention of reoccupying the Strip.

Israel says it is targeting militants but Palestinian officials accuse Israel of a "massacre".

Israeli forces have made regular incursions into Gaza and the West Bank following the capture of an Israeli soldier in a cross-border raid by Palestinian militants on 25 June.

'Necessary steps'

Israeli forces shot dead three Palestinians, including two gunmen, on the fifth day of an operation which has killed nearly 50 people. Many are said to be militants.

On Saturday at least seven people, including a 12-year-old girl, died in air raids and clashes.

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Israeli officials say the offensive in northern Gaza is aimed at destroying militant infrastructure and stopping Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel.

"We will take the steps necessary to significantly decrease this fire and to halt the terror activities," Mr Olmert said.

Despite the crackdown, a rocket hit the Israeli border town of Sderot, but no-one was hurt.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has called the operation a "massacre" and urged the UN Security Council to convene to discuss the issue.

At least 17 people died on Friday, including two women shot during the siege of a mosque in Beit Hanoun.

A PA employee told the BBC it was the worst Israeli incursion they had ever had into the town.

Ibrahim al-Za'anin, 55, said they had been without electricity or water since Tuesday night, and no longer felt safe in their own homes.

A senior UN official given Israeli permission to enter described the atmosphere as one of death, destruction and despair.






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