Israeli raid in Rafah kills seven Palestinians, PA calls it '\'war crime'\'
Seven Palestinians, including one woman and two children, were reported killed and one Israeli soldier was wounded as occupation troops advanced deep into the Rafah refugee camp in the sourthern Gaza Strip on Friday. Some 50 Palestinians were reported injured. Sources in Rafah said most of the casualties came when an attack helicopter fired a missile at the camp.
Israel said the operation meant to seal tunnels used by Palestinian groups to smuggle arms from Egypt into the Strip.
Witnesses said a large number of tanks and other armored vehicles entered Rafah from two directions. They were joined by other forces.
A gun battle erupted between soldiers and Palestinian fighters. Israeli forces were encountering strong resistance from Palestinians using dozens of home-made bombs, rocket-propelled and other grenades and automatic weapons, an Israeli officer said.
Locals said the Israeli army razed three houses near the border and fired machine guns to drive families away from others.
Israeli sources said the Palestinians were trying to smuggle Katyusha rockets, which would have the range to hit Israeli cities near Gaza Strip.
The raid was condemned by the Palestinian Authority, with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's top adviser calling it a "war crime".
"We strongly condemn these Israeli war crimes which are causing a human tragedy," Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP. "We ask the international community, the (Mideast) quartet and the UN Security Council to take immediate steps to stop the Israeli escalation ... especially in Rafah," he said. (Albawaba.com)
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