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Israelis battle Gaza gunmen, 2 dead: Witness

Written by: Staff

Gaza, Sep 2: Israeli forces raided a northern Gaza town today, while two Palestinians were killed inside their home by an exchange of gunfire between the troops and Palestinian militants, witnesses and residents said.

The Israeli army had no immediate comment on the report.

Witnesses said the forces, backed by helicopters, entered the town of Beit Hanoun and engaged in heavy clashes with Palestinian gunmen. Israel began a major offensive in Gaza after gunmen abducted a soldier in a cross-border raid on June 25.

Younis Abu Odah, a resident, told local media that bullets fired during the gunfight came through his house and killed his 54-year-old father and 27-year-old brother, and wounded two of his sisters. He appealed for medics to take them to hospital.

It was unclear whether the bullets were fired by Israeli forces or Palestinian militants. Medics have so far been unable to reach the area to confirm any deaths or evacuate the wounded due to the heavy gunfire.

Israeli troops have in recent years frequently carried out incursions in Beit Hanoun in a bid to stop Palestinian militants, who have often launched rockets into the Jewish state from the town's outskirts.

Israel has killed more than 200 Palestinians, about half of them civilians, during the offensive in Gaza. It pulled out of the territory last year after 38 years of military rule.


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