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Israel kills 7 Palestinians in Gaza Strip

Written by: Staff

GAZA, Aug 30 (Reuters) Israeli forces killed three Palestinian gunmen and four civilians today, pressing on with an offensive in an Islamic militant stronghold in Gaza City, medics and witnesses said.

The latest casualties in the Shijaia neighbourhood raised to 13 the number of Palestinians killed over the past 24 hours in Israeli attacks on militants in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said soldiers shot four gunmen in Shijaia, including two who had fired anti-tank missiles at them.

Medics said three militants and four civilians were killed by Israeli fire in the district, including a 14-year-old Palestinian youth who they said was shot in the head.

A 28-year-old man, who residents said was a civilian, was also shot in the head, doctors said.

In response to the report of the youth who was killed, an Israeli military source said troops operating in the area identified a Palestinian on the ground tampering with wires and fired at him.

They had no immediate information on the 28-year-old.

In other violence a senior leader of Islamic Jihad, Hosam Jaradat, died in a Jordanian hospital on Wednesday from wounds suffered during a raid by an Israeli undercover unit in the West Bank city of Jenin last week, the militant group said.

The Israeli army has killed at least 200 Palestinians, about half of them civilians, in the Gaza Strip since starting an offensive in the territory after gunmen abducted a soldier in a cross-border raid on June 25.

Israel pulled troops and settlers out of Gaza last year after 38 years of occupation.

In a statement, the army said it had uncovered a 150-metre (490 ft)-long tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip towards the Karni commercial goods terminal on the border with Israel.

''The tunnel was intended to be used (for) a large-scale terror attack, apparently against the crossing itself,'' the statement said, noting that Israel has closed Karni intermittently over the past few months ''as part of activity to thwart such attempts''.

Aid groups say the closures at Karni -- most recently the crossing has been shut since Aug. 15 -- have worsened humanitarian conditions in densely populated Gaza, home to 1.4 million people.

The army said the tunnel entrance was found inside a house in Shijaia.


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