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Israeli troops kill 11, withdraw from central Gaza

Israeli troops withdrew from the central Gaza Strip, ending a one-day operation in which at least 11 Palestinians were killed.
None | By DPA, Gaza City
UPDATED ON JUL 06, 2007 11:54 AM IST

Israeli troops withdrew from the central Gaza Strip early on Friday, ending a one-day operation in which at least 11 Palestinians, most of them Hamas militants, were killed, a military spokesman said.

The troops arrested nine suspected militants after having rounded up and questioned dozens of Palestinians during the incursion into the eastern outskirts of the central Gaza refugee camps of al-Maghazi and al-Bureij.

The spokesman said they were suspected in involvement in attacks against Israel, including rocket-fire from the Strip.

The forces had also levelled large swathes of land in the area, but did not find any tunnels - another stated aim of the incursion. Militants have used such tunnels in the past to attack Israeli army outposts on the Israel side of the Gaza border.

Some 20 Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers had also been injured in heavy fighting during the operation, in which local militants confronted the troops with rocket-propelled grenades and semi-automatic fire. The Israeli army shelled from tanks and fired from helicopter gunships.

The incursion was the second deadliest since Hamas seized full control of the Gaza Strip three weeks ago. At least 12 Palestinians were killed in a similar incursion 10 days ago.

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