Rafah: Israeli forces leave nine dead, destruction as Palestinian PM halts contacts to arrange summit with Sharon
Israeli occupation troops ended their raid in the Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza on Wednesday morning, leaving behind damaged water and power systems and piles of rubble from demolished houses. In addition, nine Palestinians were killed in this incursion.
As an immediate reaction to the raid, the Palestinian PM, Ahmed Qurei, decided to halt all contacts with senior Israeli officials regarding his first summit meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, sources said Wednesday.
An Israeli military source acknowledged the troops faced an "unusual amount of resistance" in the Rafah camp. In two separate instances, pairs of Palestinian fighters tried to plant explosives and the soldiers shot them, the source said.
In the aftermath of the raid, residents of the camp started inspecting the destruction in the camp. Water and sewage systems were damaged, residents said. Power lines lay on the road.
Dozens of people searched through the rubble of their homes for belongings. Some residents carried mattresses and blankets, broken pieces of furniture and televisions through the streets. U.N. staffers and teams of municipal workers were inspecting the damage, The AP reported.
Meanwhile, a home-made Qassam rocket fell on the town of Sderot in southern Israel overnight Tuesday, close to Israel-Gaza border. The incident occured hours after two settlers were wounded by a similar rocket which hit a residential building at the Nissanit settlement in the Gaza Strip. The wounded sustained light and moderate injuries.
The Qassam that hit Sderot landed on a road and caused light damage to a parked truck. There were no injuries, Israel Radio reported.
Early Wednesday, an Israeli soldier was shot and lightly injured by Palestinians during the course of an Israeli raid in the West Bank city of Tulkarem.
On Tuesday night in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians fired four mortar shells at an Israeli settlement, and in another incident, Palestinian fighters fired at an Israeli outpost near the settlement of Gadid. No injuries were reported in either of the attacks, Israel's Army Radio reported.
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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