Olmert vows to continue Gaza Strip operation as Palestinian death toll rises
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday refused to say exactly when the offensive in the Gaza Strip would end, confirming only that the operation would continue until Palestinian rocket attacks significantly diminish.
"We have declared that we will never accept the ongoing Qassam fire and that we would take any steps needed to considerably reduce the fire and prevent terror activity," Olmert told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, according to Haaretz. "The operation is limited in time but we have no intention of announcing when it will end."
"When we reach the conclusion that the effectiveness of the operation is bringing us closer to reaching the goals, we will definitely pull our forces out of Gaza," he added. "We have no intention to occupy Gaza."
On the ground, Israeli occupation forces killed on Sunday two Palestinians and wounded four others in the Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, medics said, according to WAFA. They added that Mahdi al-Hamadeen died of wounds he sustained in 'Ezbet Beit Hanoun. He was seriously wounded and evacuated to Kamal 'Edwan hospital where he died.
Earlier, Israeli snipers killed Mazen Shabat 21, and injured two others near 'Ezbet Beit Hanoun, medical sources in Kamal 'Edwan hospital said. They added that Israeli forces opened random fire at two unidentified Palestinians in Ezbet Beit Hanoun and wounded them. One of causalities reported to be critical.
Later, one more Palestinian was killed, and another wounded by Israeli fire north of Gaza, medical and security sources said. They said that Hosam Ubaid 26, was killed on the spot after having been shot in the heart in the town of Beit Hanoun.
Security sources told WAFA that Ubaid is a member of the Palestinian National Security.
By these latest deaths the toll in Beit Hanoun amounted to 48 victims and up to 264 wounded since Wednesday.