Israeli troops backed by airstrikes killed at least six Palestinians on Thursday in the Gaza Strip. Hamas officials reported heavy clashes between its men and Israeli troops east of Khan Younis and at least nine Israeli airstrikes overnight that wounded 10 people, at least three critically.
The latest fighting started after midnight when Israeli forces, including 10 tanks, raided an area east of Khan Younis, sparking exchanges of fire with Hamas and Islamic Jihad men, witnesses said, according to the AP. Two Palestinian fighters were killed and nine hurt in the airstrikes, doctors said.
Later, an Israeli tank fired a shell at a house, killing four people, including an Islamic Jihad activist, his mother and 19-year-old sister, and wounding six others, the family and doctors said. Palestinian doctors reported a total of 21 injured in the clashes.
The Israeli army said the fighting was in a residential area and troops fired at ¨gunmen who were shooting at them from houses. The forces demolished one house, a chicken coop and two greenhouses in the fighting, witnesses said.
Locals said said that during the raid the Israeli troops nabbed a number of Palestinian and took them to an unknown location.
During the clashes, a Palestinian rocket fired from Gaza Strip landed in a northern neighborhood of the Israeli city of Ashkelon, one of the longest distances the rockets have flown, the Israeli army said. Israel Radio said the distance the rocket flew was about 16.5 kilometers. About 120,000 people live in Ashkelon.
Thursday´s fighting followed a day in which Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Late Wednesday, a senior member of the Popular Resistance Committees was wounded in an Israeli airstrike against the vehicle he was riding in Gaza City.
The PRC's armed wing, the Salah a-Din Brigades, said that one of its commanders, Abu Shaaban, was moderately wounded by an Israeli missile fired at his car. Local witnesses reported that several bystanders were injured in the attack.