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Israel Raids Gaza Refugee Camp - 2002-08-21


Israeli troops have raided a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, killing at least one person and wounding four. Meanwhile, Israeli and Palestinian officials are preparing to discuss the implementation of a new security plan.

Palestinians say that up to 20 Israeli tanks, firing heavy machine guns, rolled into the Khan Younis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli soldiers, calling from loudspeakers, ordered residents to evacuate the area, before blowing up a building, killing one person inside.

An Israeli army statement said the operation was aimed at destroying "abandoned houses that are used as shelter or as firing positions" for Palestinian snipers.

The raid took place one day after an Israeli soldier guarding a Jewish settlement in the area was shot dead by a Palestinian gunman. Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, claimed responsibility for the killing.

Hamas is one of several Palestinian groups that have rejected a Palestinian-Israeli security plan. Another is the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which has vowed to avenge the killing of the brother of the movement's leader by Israeli troops on Tuesday.

The State Department considers Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist organizations.

These groups threaten to destroy a plan, under which Israeli troops will gradually withdraw from Palestinian self-rule areas re-occupied during 23 months of fighting. In return, Palestinian security forces must strive to ensure an end to militant attacks against Israelis.

Implementation of the plan was to be discussed by the head of the Israeli army in the West Bank, General Moshe Kaplinsky, and Palestinian security chief Haj Ismail Jabber.

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