Mosque, homes destroyed in Rafah

Israeli bulldozers have demolished a mosque and 13 Palestinian homes in a raid on the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

    Families struggle to gather belongings before homes are hit

    Families struggled to gather their belongings before their homes were destroyed by at least three bulldozers and several tanks which rolled into the camp during the early hours of Tuesday morning.

    Witnesses said some families raised white flags to avoid being hit by bullets from Israeli troops who opened fire on the residents.

    The mosque which was demolished had already been damaged in previous raids by troops. On Tuesday morning, the place of worship was razed by Israeli bulldozers.

    The Israeli army had no comment on the raid in the camp near the border with Egypt, according to an Israeli newspaper.

    The Israeli army routinely demolishes Palestinian homes as a form of collective punishment for the families of those who are suspected of being resistance fighters against Israeli military occupation.

    Last month, Palestinians postponed talks with Israel aimed at bringing about a Middle East peace summit after Israeli forces killed nine people in a raid on the Rafah refugee camp.

    The raids also left 42 people injured, including nine children.

    Several arrests

    Israeli troops operating in the West Bank have arrested 34 Palestinians suspected of involvement in resistance activity, a military spokesman said.

    A Palestinian youth runs away
    from a home being bulldozed

    The spokesman said 24 Palestinians, all of them either members of Hamas, or Fatah, were arrested in the West Bank city of Ram Allah on Monday night.

    Another seven, all of whom belonged to the Islamic Jihad group, were detained near the southern town of Bethlehem.

    Two more Fatah members were arrested in the northern city of Nablus and another in the Janin area, also in the north.

    Palestinian workers teargassed

    Israeli troops on Tuesday used tear gas grenades to disperse a crowd of Palestinian workers who were trying to cross from Gaza into Israel via the Erez border crossing, Palestinian witnesses told AFP.

    Workers crossing the border 
    show they are unarmed

    Twenty workers suffering from tear-gas inhalation were briefly treated in hospital along with two others who sustained a broken limb each during the incident, medical sources said.

    The incident occurred when the workers, all of whom were trying to cross into Israel before the terminal closed at 8:30 am (0630 GMT), started rushing towards the terminal building where the army carries out routine identity checks.
    The soldiers threw tear gas grenades towards the crowd to break it up.

    After last Wednesday's attack, Israel sealed off the Gaza Strip, preventing about 15,000 Palestinian workers from reaching their jobs, but reopened the terminal on Sunday morning.

    But the stringent new security procedures dramatically slowed down the process, with fewer than 3000 workers able to cross.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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