Gaza Strip: At least four Palestinians die by Israeli fire
At least four Palestinians died Thursday in two separate Israeli raids in the Gaza Strip. In the northern Gaza Strip, three people were killed in an Israeli air-strike.
Local residents and witnesses said the three were teenage shepherds, and that some of their goats were hit.
In the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, Israeli troops killed a woman and wounded seven other Palestinians, including three children, medics said. Witnesses said 35-year-old Iatimahdi Ma'amar died after Israeli forces stormed a house belonging to a Hamas member near Rafah.
meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas told US President George W. Bush that the Palestinians were in "dire need" of US help. "Mister President, we look forward to your support and your help and your aid because we are in dire need for your help and support," Abbas said as they met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
"I assure you that our government wants to work with you in order so that you're capable of delivering the vision that so many Palestinians long for," the US president said during a joint public appearance.
Bush called the two-state Middle East peace solution "one of the great objectives of my administration" and took pains to praise Abbas. "I fully understand that in order to achieve this vision there must be leaders willing to speak out and act on behalf of people who yearn for peace. And you are such a leader, Mister President," said Bush.
Later, the Quartet of international Middle East peace mediators welcomed on Wednesday efforts to create a Palestinian national unity government. The United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations said in a joint statement: "The Quartet welcomes the efforts of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to form a government of national unity, in the hope that the platform of such a government would reflect Quartet principles and allow for early engagement."
They also agreed to extend and expand a temporary international mechanism to channel aid to the Palestinians bypassing the existing Hamas-led government and encouraged Israel to hand over some $500 million in tax and customs revenues it is withholding from the Palestinians.