Woman and Grandson Die in Gaza Tank Fire
Hisham Abu Taha, Arab News
GAZA CITY, 25 July 2006 — A woman and an 11-year-old boy were among five Palestinians killed yesterday by Israeli tank fire in the northern Gaza Strip in two separate incidents.
A 60-year-old Palestinian woman and her 11-year-old grandson were killed in the neighborhood of Sudania, west of the town of Beit Lahiya, medical sources said.
An army spokesman told AFP that ground forces operating outside the Gaza Strip opened fire after identifying a rocket-launching cell in the northern Gaza Strip.
Earlier, three Palestinians were killed and three others wounded when an Israeli tank fired on a building in Beit Lahiya, medical sources said. A shell from the tank hit a high-rise building in the town, not far from Gaza’s border with Israel.
In other violence, two Palestinian were wounded by Israeli fire, including an airstrike on a house of a member of the Islamic Jihad movement, security sources said.
The home of Mohammed Al-Sheikh Dib of Jihad’s armed wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, in the Shatti refugee camp was destroyed when Israeli aircraft fired two missiles, the sources said. One person, who was not inside the building, was wounded in the attack.
An Israeli military source told AFP that the house was targeted because it contained stocks of weapons and rockets. The source also said that the army had ordered the residents of the house to leave minutes before the strike.
The deaths bring to 112 the number of Palestinians killed since Israel began a massive military operation in the Gaza Strip on June 28, after Palestinians seized one of its soldiers in a cross-border raid.
One Israeli soldier has also been killed in the violence from friendly fire.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called yesterday on the United States to pressure Israel to stop its nearly month-old offensive in the Gaza Strip.
“All that we ask the American administration is to take a moral stance toward the Palestinian people, and the Palestinian suffering and to bear its responsibility as a superpower in this world,” he told The Associated Press in an interview. He called on America “to restrain the Israeli aggression and stop it.”
Haniyeh spoke as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice traveled to the region to discuss Israel’s other fight with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Rice was also scheduled to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. She would not be meeting with Haniyeh because the US considers his Hamas group a terror organization.
“In Gaza, there is what resembles a real human catastrophe,” Haniyeh said.
In another development, Palestinian groups yesterday called for a general strike and demonstrations to protest against the arrival of Rice in Ramallah.
“The Islamic and national forces decided during a meeting today to organize a general strike in Ramallah… to protest the arrival of Condoleezza Rice” who is due to meet Abbas, an MP of the hard-line Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Khalida Jarar, told AFP.
— With input from agencies