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Israeli offensive continues in Gaza, 11 Palestinians killed
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09:51, July 06, 2007

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At least 11 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli offensive since early Thursday morning, which occurred around two refugee camps in central Gaza Strip.

Six of the dead were members of Hamas' military wing, Izz el- Deen al-Qassam Brigades, and another three dead were members of Hamas' police force, known as the Executive Forces, the two groups said in separate statements.

The tenth dead was a militant with the Islamic Jihad (Holy War) movement, which vowed to continue armed resistance against Israel until "forcing the invaders to retreat."

The other dead was a Palestinian civilian, according to Palestinian medical sources.

Paramedics said that 25 others were also wounded in the Israeli airstrikes, which the Israeli military launched to back its invading tanks in al-Burij and al-Maghazi refugee camps, both in central Gaza Strip.

According to the paramedics, a cameraman working for a Hamas- linked television was seriously wounded in the morning, with two of his legs amputated in the end.

The invading Israeli forces were encountered by Palestinian militants and both sides have been engaged in fierce fighting around the two camps, according to local residents.

Militants from Hamas, Jihad movement and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), all said they had fired a number of rocket- propelled grenades at Israeli tanks and bulldozers.

Deposed Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haneya of Hamas has slammed "the Israeli army crimes in central Gaza Strip," accusing the Israeli government of "embittering Gaza atmospheres of peace and calmness."

Hamas has promised to give the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip a safe and quiet environment after the group seized the Strip on June 14.

"The continuation of the military escalation against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip aims at tightening the siege and spreading fears among the citizens," added Haneya.

The Israeli army radio reported that Gaza operation may end in the evening. But in northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, local residents said the Israeli army were calling in more troops and tanks, expressing fears of an Israeli incursion in the area.

Source: Xinhua

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