At least seven Palestinians were killed and 18 wounded early Monday after some 30 Israeli tanks and armored vehicles supported by Apache attack helicopters raided the Nusseirat refugee camp in central Gaza Strip, residents said.
Ali Rabah, chief of emergency at the hospital in the central Gaza Strip, said a Palestinian baby, a 13-year-old child and a resident - refusing to leave his house before the Israeli army blew it up - were among the dead. Rabah said the death toll would likely increase.
Witnesses said the tanks began to roll into the western part of the refugee camp at predawn, apparently aiming to destroy houses of Palestinian activists and to make arrests.
Witnesses said a pitched battle ensued as Palestinian fighters confronted the Israeli tanks, bulldozers and armored personnel carriers.
A Palestinian public security spokesman said tanks came from the nearby Netzarim settlements.
Several explosions were heard in the Nusseriat camp, resulting from blowing up of roadside bombs intended for Israeli tanks, residents said. They added explosions were also caused by Israeli soldiers blowing up Palestinian houses.
In a separate Israeli raid in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinians reported that two residents of Beit Lahiya were killed as hundreds were rounded up for questioning.
Later on Monday, two activists from the military wing of Fatah were killed in an explosion in a warehouse east of the West Bank city of Tulkarem. Three others were also injured in the blast.
Also Monday, Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian legislator, Hussam Khader, in the Balata refugee camp next to Nablus, residents said. Khader is the first lawmaker to be detained since April 2002, when Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti was arrested. (Albawaba.com)