Seven Palestinians killed in Israeli raid in northern Gaza
Israeli troops rolled into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, sparking heavy fighting with local militants.28 April 2008
GAZA CITY - Israeli troops rolled into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun early Monday, sparking heavy fighting with local militants and killing at least seven Palestinians, most of them when a tank shell hit a house, medical officials said.
A mother and her four children - aged seven, six, four and a one- year-old baby - were killed when the tank shell hit the house, an official at the Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry said.
Witnesses said the shell was aimed at an Islamic Jihad militant, who had just launched an anti-tank missile at the Israel troops and was killed too.
The mother of the Abu Mo'tiq family was initially critically injured and in a state of clinical death, but died of her wounds in hospital shortly afterwards.
A Hamas gunman was also killed by a missile fired by an Israeli helicopter gunship providing cover for the ground troops.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said the army entered the town, near Gaza's northern border with Israel, because it was a "very central rocket launching area".
Hundreds of locally-made Qassam, al-Quds and Nasser rockets have been fired from Beit Hanoun and its surroundings at Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip.
Militants from the area also launched attacks at Israeli soldiers patrolling the border, and snipers have opened fire at Israeli farmers working on the Israeli side of the border fence, she said.
The military said it was checking the reports that civilians were killed in the tank shelling.
But the spokeswoman said that "when militants are acting from within a populated area, they take on themselves the risk that civilians will be hurt too. We of course do not aim at civilians."
She said the operation in Beit Hanoun was continuing.
[dpa / Expatica]