Gaza flares as Israel hits back killing five

Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:50pm EST
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By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli tank fire killed four Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Saturday after militants blew up an Israeli army jeep with an anti-tank missile, wounding four soldiers.

Palestinian fighters retaliated by firing rockets into southern Israel and an Israeli air strike targeted a rocket crew, killing a Palestinian militant, the Israeli army said.

The flareup carried the risk of further escalation. Explosions were audible and projectiles lit up the sky over Gaza shortly before midnight, but no further details were immediately available.

Palestinian militants vowed to take revenge for the deaths of the four civilians and the 25 wounded. Israel warned residents of communities near the Gaza border to stay within 15 seconds of their blast shelters in case of a rocket salvo.

Saturday's casualty toll was one of the highest in a single incident in Gaza in recent months.

Palestinians said a crowded mourning tent in the Shijaia neighborhood was full of people paying respects to a bereaved family man when the tank shell exploded.

Ambulances, private vehicles and motorbikes rushed the wounded to hospital, eyewitnesses said. Among those killed was an 18-year-old youth.

"The occupation's targeting of civilians was a grave escalation that must not pass in silence," said Fawzi Barhoum of the Islamic movement Hamas which rules Gaza. "Resistance must be reinforced in order to block the aggression."   Continued...

A Palestinian man is reflected in a hospital morgue as he reacts upon the death of his relative in Israeli shelling in Gaza City November 10, 2012. REUTERS/Ahmed Zakot