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Israel - Palestinian - 2003-03-06


Israeli troops stormed the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip today, hunting for Islamic militants. As Larry James reports from Jerusalem, the raid left 11 Palestinians dead and more than 100 hurt.

Witnesses in the camp said the Israeli incursion began shortly after midnight, as helicopter gunships fired rockets into the area. That was followed by a force of some 50 tanks and bulldozers, which began demolishing homes of suspected Palestinian militants.

Palestinian witnesses and medics said most of the deaths resulted when a tank shell hit, as people were trying to remove furniture from a wood shop set ablaze during fighting between Palestinian militants and Israeli troops.

But Israeli officials say the majority of the casualties resulted from an explosive device that went off inside the building, and that it was after that blast that the tank fired at a man preparing to shoot an anti-tank grenade at them.

The Israeli military described the raid as part of its ongoing war against terror. Officials said a senior member of the militant Islamic group Hamas had been arrested in the raid, and a large cache of weapons and explosives was seized.

Hamas vowed revenge for Thursday's Gaza raid.

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