IDF pulls out of northern Gaza Strip

IAF fighter jets hit a metal workshop in Khan Younis, wounding 9 Palestinians.

IDf gaza 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
IDf gaza 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
IDF troops and tanks pulled out of northern Gaza early Friday after a bloody two-day sweep, killing 29 Palestinians, but IAF aircraft continued to pound the area. Earlier, IAF fighter jets hit a metal workshop in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, wounding nine people, including two children, hospital officials said. Nearby buildings were also damaged, and rescue workers were searching through the rubble. The IDF said the target was a weapons storehouse. The IDF killed five Palestinians on Thursday, including a 75-year-old woman and a child, and the body of a Palestinian operative was found after the IDF pulled back. After the IDF pullout, as residents streamed outside before dawn to inspect the damage, rescue workers found the body of a Palestinian operative killed in the fighting. IDF troops tore up farmland and knocked down walls, electricity wires and telephone cables during the incursion. Palestinian operatives were removing mines and explosives they planted to try to stop the Israelis. Palestinian Authority Chairman President Mahmoud Abbas said in Algiers that the situation in the Palestinian areas and Lebanon was only likely to get worse after world leaders failed to agree on an immediate cease-fire at a summit in Rome on Wednesday. "The situation will worsen and the consequences will be very heavy, not only for the region but probably for the entire world," he told Algeria's official APS news agency. EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero Waldner and Erkki Tuomioja, Finland's foreign minister, visited Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Thursday but did not meet with Palestinian government officials. Later, at a news conference in Tel Aviv, Tuomioja said of the high casualties in Gaza, "that kind of violence must stop and is not acceptable." In Gaza on Thursday, five Palestinians were killed. A 75-year-old woman was hit by shrapnel from an IDF tank shell fired at her house near the town of Jebaliya, Palestinian security officials said. Late Thursday, a 12-year-old boy was killed by IDF gunfire as he stood on the roof of his house at the edge of the Jebaliya camp across from IDF forces, residents and hospital officials said. The army said it did not know of either incident, stating that IDF forces were trying to keep civilian casualties to a minimum and regretted loss of innocent lives. Also Thursday, the IAF fired missiles at eastern Gaza City, killing a Hamas operative and wounding 14 others. The IDF said the attack hit a group of armed men before they could fire at troops. Two Palestinians later died of their wounds - a man hit by IAF strike in eastern Gaza City and an 18-year-old who was hit when a tank shell fell near his house in northern Gaza, medics said. Also Thursday, A Palestinian youth was shot and killed by two border policemen after he attacked them on the outskirts of Jerusalem, police said. The youth opened fire on the police, wounding one of them seriously and the other slightly before they returned fire, police and rescue workers said.