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Israeli army launched biggest military incursion into Gaza City
Sunday, January 26, 2003

Gaza City: In its biggest and deepest military incursion into Gaza City since the beginning of the current Iintifadah, Israeli army launched one of its deadliest attacks on the night of January 25th, causing deaths, injuries and destruction of homes and local industrial infrastructure.

According to eyewitnesses, about one hundred heavily armed tanks attacked the southern and eastern parts of Gaza City, coming from the Jewish settlement of Netzarim, located five KM south of Gaza City and from a crossing point on the eastern edge of Gaza City, near Karni Point.

The attack took local residents by surprise at about 10:30 PM, when columns of tanks, supported by a number of Apache Helicopters flying low over downtown Gaza City. One young Palestinian described the scene at the early stage of the incursion,・I was at home watching TV with my brothers and sisters. Everything seemed normal and peaceful. When I got up to the other room, I saw a huge tank just in front of our house. I could not believe it at first. The gun was pointing towards a line of shops mainly for car mechanic repair. Suddenly, the tanks fired at the opposite direction both shelling and firing heavy machine guns. I thought the whole world caught up in fire.・>

For the next few hours, the tanks along with the Apaches concentrated The their fire power on shelling and firing missiles at Al Zaiton neighborhood, south of the city, and Al Shijayya Market, east of the city. Palestinian young resistance fighters attempted very hard to block the advancing tanks but the Apache Helicopters opened its heavy machine guns from the sky. At times, red line of flashy bullets was seen coming from the ground attempting to reach the Apaches, but without success. At the same time, the Apaches fired back with much louder sounds causing havoc and terror on the crowed residential areas below.

The attack is considered as the biggest incursion on the city where the tanks were only about a hundred meters away from the center of Gaza City or the Municipality building.

Many mosques in the area pleaded through loud speakers to young resistance fighters to come to Al Zaiton and Shijayya areas to defend the people and to stop the advancing tanks. Normally, Israeli soldiers stay inside the tanks. Most of the young Palestinians who got killed were shot from the Apaches flying above the areas.

The following day and according to Palestinian health sources, it was announced that 13 Palestinians were killed and about 65 injured.

A large number of shops were destroyed in addition to homes and even big buildings. The owners of metal workshops and car repair garages suffered the most.

One small factory owner who makes spare parts said,・This is destruction of life, infrastructure and our economy.・In a response to Sharon痴 claim that such shops make bombs or missiles, the 45 year old owner answered,・I invite anyone to come and see in their own eyes what we make here. We are trying to make a living for our children. I have four workers who support their families as well. Where do they go now? I ask the world, ・who is the terrorist? The one who sends tanks and apaches to to destroy and kill or the one who makes a living?

Another owner looked visibly upset and sad when he sat on a stone next to what was once a small factory and a source of income. He refused to give any comment. His young son 19 years old, stood up and spoke of how he and his father arrived to work this morning to discover their shop was completely blown up to pieces. The son, named Younis, said, ・we live in a different area and as you see the shop is nothing but a pile of broken machines and stones.・The young man, angry and bitter, looked at his father and turned his head saying, ・I can not tell you what are my feelings. This is destruction to our lives and future. Sharon and Israel can say lies to the world. His (Sharon) aim is to destroy us.・

Reported by: B. Samed

Gaza City, Jan. 26th. 2003


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