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Clashes in Gaza leave at least 25 Palestinians dead

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    Last update - 11:38 01/03/2008 Clashes in Gaza leave at least 25 Palestinians dead By Avi Issacharoff, Amos Harel, Mijal Grinberg, and Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2008
       Last update - 11:38 01/03/2008       
      Clashes in Gaza leave at least 25 Palestinians dead
      By Avi Issacharoff, Amos Harel, Mijal Grinberg, and Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondents, Haaretz Service and Agencies
      At least 25 Palestinians were killed, among them six civilians - including a father and his son, as well as two children - during an Israel Defense Forces ground incursion near the northern Gaza Strip town of Jabaliya before dawn Saturday.
      The remaining Palestinians killed were members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
      Five IDF soldiers were wounded during the fighting - three of them lightly and two others who suffered light to moderate injuries. The soldiers were evacuated to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheba for treatment.
      Sources in Gaza report that IDF soldiers exchanged heavy gunfire with Palestinian gunmen on the eastern outskirts of Jabaliya, situated 2-3 kilometers from the fence which lies on the Israel-Gaza border.
      The ground forces, which included units from Givati Brigades, the Armored Corps, and the Engineering Corps, received air support from the Israel Air Force.
      IAF planes launched missiles at groups of armed Palestinians during the fighting.
      Two of the dead Palestinian children have been identified as Jaqueline Abu-Shbak, 12, and her brother Iyad Abu-Shbak. The name of the third child has yet to be released.
      The IDF said the incursion has become routine in recent months, and is not indicative of any change in the army's policies in the territories. The IDF added that troops have entered the strip on an average of twice a week.
      Senior officials said Saturday that the increasing number of Qassams fired at the western Negev has no bearing on the continued military raids into Gaza.
      Rather than making due with pinpoint strikes against rocket launchers, the army is recommending a series of steps against Hamas targets in Gaza.
      Witnesses said one clash erupted early Saturday when Hamas gunmen engaged an IDF troops backed by helicopters that had entered the Gaza Strip.
      IDF troops have been operating on the outskirts of Beit Hanun in the northern Strip since Thursday night.
      At least 49 Palestinians have been killed in four days of IDF raids and air strikes in the coastal territory, launched in the wake of a massive Qassam rocket barrage on the western Negev that killed an Israeli civilian.
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