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Archive for Sunday, July 29, 2001

Fighting continues in Gaza Strip

July 29, 2001

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— Armed clashes between Israelis and Palestinians followed an Israeli helicopter attack Saturday in the Gaza Strip. The two sides gave different accounts of the airstrike.

The Israeli army said it destroyed a workshop making munitions, including mortar shells, east of the city of Khan Younis. The attack was in retaliation for the firing of three mortar shells Friday night at the nearby Jewish settlement of Gadid, an army spokesman said.

Palestinian officials confirmed that a metal workshop was hit but did not say what it manufactured and made no mention of munitions.

The Palestinians said an electric generator also was hit, plunging the neighborhood into darkness. Nobody was hurt and the power supply was restored in two hours.

In recent months Israel has accused the Palestinian Authority of being responsible for mortar attacks, most aimed at settlements in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority has denied responsibility.

In other fighting, Palestinians in the village of Salfit in the northern West Bank fired machine guns at the nearby settlement of Ariel, damaging two houses but causing no injuries, the Israeli army said.

Israeli tanks then destroyed two Palestinian police positions, lightly injuring two policemen and six civilians, Palestinian police said.

A Palestinian policeman was seriously wounded Saturday in an exchange of fire with Israeli soldiers at Bani Naim in the southern West Bank. Each side accused the other of firing first.

Palestinians and Israeli soldiers also exchanged fire in the divided West Bank city of Hebron, but no injuries were reported.

Palestinians fired on an Israeli army vehicle near Tulkarem in the West Bank, and the soldiers returned fire, the army said.

Since the fighting began on Sept. 28, 533 people have been killed on the Palestinian side and 133 on the Israeli side.

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