Israel begins withdrawing from Gaza town
Israeli armoured vehicles began withdrawing from the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanun on Tuesday, after a six-day incursion.india Updated: Nov 07, 2006 11:11 IST
Israeli armoured vehicles began withdrawing from the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanun on Tuesday, after a six-day incursion to stop rocket attacks that left at least 55 Palestinians dead.
"Twenty-four tanks were posted around the hospital. Now I can't see a single one," said Ali Uda, a doctor at a hospital in the centre of the town.
A spokesman for the Israeli military declined to comment.
Another Beit Hanun resident, Abed, said that the tanks that had been positioned around his house had left.
"Several tanks had been stationed around my house (in the centre of the town) and now there aren't any," he said.
According to a third resident, Abdel Halim, about 60 armoured vehicles and tractors had pulled back to the north of the town, close to the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Israel launched its latest blitz on Wednesday, claiming Beit Hanun had become a haven for Palestinian militants launching rockets into its territory.
Israeli forces completely occupied the town, trapping residents inside their homes, but Palestinian militants still managed to launch 36 such rockets into the Jewish state since last Wednesday, lightly wounding three people.
The latest operation, following four months of Israeli activity in Gaza, where more than 300 Palestinians have been killed since a serviceman was captured in late June, has been condemned by the international community.
Israeli air strikes and clashes left at least 55 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier dead.