One Palestinian was killed in a pre-dawn Israel Defense Forces operation in the Gaza Strip's Khan Yunis refugee camp yesterday. Two homes were blown up; seven were partially demolished, and about 30 residences were damaged, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency, which received reports of the damage from local residents.
An official from the UN agency said two families lived in one of the residential buildings that was blown up.
According to residents, IDF reinforcements could be seen west of the camp on Tuesday night. Residents guessed the army planned a response to the killing of IDF Sergeant Kevin Cohen.
Tanks near the Jewish Neveh Dekalim settlement fired at the camp at around 10 P.M. and at 1 A.M. After the second tank attack, residents say, IDF vehicles and bulldozers entered the camp and, using loudspeakers, the army called on residents to leave their homes.
Soldiers put explosives in the two tallest buildings in a camp neighborhood which has in the past been the target of IDF fire, residents said.
A three-floor home belonging to the Abu Abaydah family was the first to be detonated. Armed Palestinians then fired at an IDF force and gun battle ensued. Residents said an IDF helicopter joined in the gunfight.
Quiet returned to the camp at around 5 A.M. and some residents returned to their homes, thinking the army raid had ended. One such resident was Adnan Daris, a neighbor of the Tabash family. At 5:30 A.M., the Tabash home was blown up. Daris died as a result of the blast.
A UNRWA team is scheduled to go to the camp to assess the damage and to decide which of the damaged buildings can be restored and which have to be demolished.
Camp residents spoke bitterly yesterday about the "Gaza-Bethlehem First" agreement. Interviewed throughout the day on Arab-language electronic media, the residents blamed the Palestinian Authority for their plight. The Gaza-Bethlehem First agreement, they said, aims merely at consolidating the Israeli conquest in the territories. Nabil Amer, a former Palestinian cabinet minister, expressed doubts in one interview about the Sharon government's intentions in the new agreement.
The IDF Spokesman said two empty houses were demolished in Khan Yunis. The houses were used by terrorists for gunfire attacks and as hiding places, the army spokesman said.
An Israeli was wounded yesterday by gunfire shot at his car, which was traveling between the Tapuah junction and Ma'aleh Efraim in the West Bank. The driver of the car continued to take his wounded friend for treatment and report on the shooting to the IDF. IDF soldiers pursued the assailants.
An IDF soldier was lightly injured early yesterday evening by gunfire in Nablus. The officer was taken to hospital for treatment.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now