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Israel Intensifies Push into Gaza Refugee Camp, At Least 28 Killed - 2004-09-30


Israeli tanks pushed into the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza a day after two Israeli children were killed by a rocket fired by Palestinian militants. Clashes have intensified in Gaza since Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reaffirmed his plan to pull out Jewish settlers from the area next year.

Israeli tanks moving into the areas largest Palestinian refugee camp early Thursday were met by masked gunmen and stone-throwing youngsters in the camps main street. It was the first Israeli military foray into the Jabalya camp since Palestinians launched an uprising four years ago.

Residents say bulldozers have demolished houses near the entrance to the camp.

Clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian fighters have intensified in Gaza since Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told his cabinet he still intends to dismantle settlements there next year. The Israeli leader has met with stiff opposition within his own party but insists he will present the withdrawal plan to the parliament by November.

An Israeli soldier was killed in a pre-dawn ambush by Palestinian militants. An Israeli woman jogging near a Jewish settlement was also shot dead early Thursday. Two Israeli children were killed the day before in a nearby border town.

Mr. Sharon also has ordered more troops into the area in an effort to stop the constant bombardment of mortars into the settlements.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank town of Jenin, Israeli police arrested a Palestinian woman suspected of planning a suicide bombing.

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