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Israeli air raid on Gaza offices of Hamas chief

Israeli warplanes early on Sunday attacks the offices of Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City.

world Updated: Mar 02, 2008 09:46 IST

Israeli warplanes early on Sunday attacked the offices of Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City, destroying the empty offices and wounding several people in neighbouring buildings, witnesses said.

Haniyeh's government in the Gaza Strip is not recognised by the international community since he was sacked as premier by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

The latest attack came after Israeli forces killed 61 Palestinians in a land and air blitz in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, medics said, amid warnings that the violence had "buried" the peace process.

It was the deadliest day since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in September 2005 and one of the most lethal Israeli operations since the Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000.

Two Israeli soldiers were also killed yesterday in Gaza, and another seven soldiers wounded, including one officer, the army said, as it battled to halt Palestinian rocket attacks on towns in southern Israel.

Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said the Middle East peace talks formally revived in November at a US conference had been "buried" under the rubble of the Israeli incursion.

"The negotiations are buried under the houses that were destroyed in Gaza," Erakat told AFP. "The peace process has been destroyed because of the aggressions and the crimes that have been committed."

A member of the office of Abbas told AFP that the talks were now suspended.