Days of Penitence Striking Hard at Terrorists.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz stated that during the six days of Operation Days of Penitence, 10 terror cells involved in firing Kassam rockets have been hit, along with many terrorists, however, Israel Radio reported that 11 Palestinians were killed and two IDF soldiers were lightly wounded Monday as an IDF raid in the northern Gaza Strip, aimed at halting Kassam strikes on Israeli targets, entered its sixth day.
The 11 Palestinians killed Monday. Included a 4-year-old boy, 13-year-old girl, and at least seven terrorists, bringing the death toll since the start of the raid to 73. PA sources reported 77 dead and many more injured, An IDF source denied any shooting by the army in the area where the boy was killed.
The boy was hit in the head when soldiers guarding IDF bulldozers clearing farmland near the Palestinian town of Khan Yunis fired warning shots apparently aimed at keeping residents away from the area, witnesses said. The army had no immediate comment on the incident.
Two IDF soldiers were hurt when an anti-tank missile struck their armored bulldozer in the teeming Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. The soldiers were taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon for treatment. This is the second time since the start of Operation "Days of Penitence," that IDF soldiers operating this type of bulldozer have been wounded by anti-tank missile fire.
Mofaz stated that a "hard hand" is required in the unyielding war against terrorism. Regarding the PA death toll figure, IDF officials stated the overwhelming number of dead were terrorists, with many belonging to Hamas.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia on Monday condemned what he called international indifference to Palestinian suffering in the face of Israel's offensive into the Gaza Strip. Qureia, speaking before a meeting of the Palestinian Cabinet in the West Bank town of Ramallah, criticized the "massive destruction" and called for heavy international pressure on Israel. "This ugly Israeli crime is taking place in full view of the world, and so far, we have not heard a strong word from the world community that can bring an end to this aggression," he said.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat vowed Monday that Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip would never surrender in their battle against IDF troops, but hinted that the "militants" should end the rocket fire, although he did not mention it directly.
"Our people have never raised the white flag, we will never raise it ... in front of the extremist Zionist aggression," Arafat said. "Our people in northern Gaza are defending strongly and victory is coming, victory is coming, whatever we suffer."
And in a possibly related item, an IDF directive has banned soldiers taking part in Operation Days of Penitence from using personal cellular telephones in the area. Soldiers entering the area around Beit Hanun and Jabalya refugee camp have been ordered to leave their cell phones at their unit's rearguard bases. The directive aims to preserve field security and make it more difficult for Palestinians to gather intelligence on plans and activities. A similar directive was issued a few months ago after an IDF operation in Gaza's Zeitun neighborhood.
A Channel 2 news crew documented how soldiers were exchanging messages with their families after reports that two Givati fighters had been killed in an attack on an armored personnel carrier. It appears the directive is not being strictly enforced and some soldiers have been taking their phones into the operational area.
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|Date:||Oct 5, 2004|
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