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Israeli Planes Strike Gaza Strip

July 14, 2002

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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) _ Israeli aircraft attacked and destroyed a building in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday, injuring about 10 Palestinians, witnesses and hospital officials said.

Three Israeli helicopters and two fighter planes were in the sky at the time of the strike on the three-story building in Qarara, near the town of Khan Younis, witnesses said. Two explosions were heard, but it was not immediately clear which aircraft fired, the witnesses added.

The Israeli military declined to comment immediately.

Residents said the building was empty at the time of the attack, but the flying debris injured about 10 people. Three were taken to the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis and seven were treated at the scene, witnesses said.

Firefighters worked to put out the ensuing blaze in the building, which was destroyed.

The reason for attacking the building was not clear, though it may have been in response to Palestinian mortar attacks Saturday night and Sunday morning at the Jewish settlement of Kfar Darom.

No one was hurt in the mortar attacks on the settlement, which is just a few miles from the scene of Sunday’s air strike.

A member of the militant Hamas movement, Ahmed Abdel Wahab, had lived in the destroyed building until his death several months ago, residents said.

The Gaza Strip has been relatively quiet compared to the West Bank. Of the more than 70 suicide bombings against Israel in the past two years, all have come from the West Bank. Palestinian militants have carried out periodic shooting and mortar attacks against Jewish settlers in Gaza.

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