14 Palestinians die in Israeli raids in Gaza and the West Bank
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israeli forces killed 14 Palestinians in fighting in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday as the army pressed a wide-ranging offensive against militants.The raids were the latest in a three-week operation that began after Hamas-linked militants captured an Israeli soldier. The fighting has persisted even as Israel waged a second battle with Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon after they seized two soldiers last week.”We have a forgotten war in Gaza and the West Bank,” Palestinian lawmaker Saeb Erekat said. “We urge the international community to offer direct intervention to stop this Israeli military escalation.”A U.N. report issued Wednesday said the Israeli army has carried out 168 airstrikes and fired more than 600 shells into Gaza, while Palestinian militants have fired 177 homemade rockets toward Israel.The report said 100 Palestinians have been killed since the Gaza offensive began, not counting the 14 on Wednesday. Thirty of the 100 were under age 18, the U.N. report said.Under cover of machine-gun fire early Wednesday, tanks moved into the Mughazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip and took over several rooftops as bulldozers leveled farmland.Fighting broke out and five militants were killed, Palestinians said. Another militant died in an airstrike in the camp after dawn, hospital officials said.Late Wednesday, military aircraft fired on about 20 gunmen as they approached troops in the camp near the Israeli border, the army said. One person was killed and 20 were wounded, hospital officials said.The army launched several more airstrikes throughout the night Wednesday, killing a woman and a man, Palestinian security officials said. The army confirmed carrying out several airstrikes and said it was targeting militants in the area.Nearly 80 Palestinians were wounded, hospital officials said.The military said five Israeli soldiers were also wounded, two seriously.Also Wednesday, about 50 Israeli armored vehicles, including tanks and bulldozers, rolled into Nablus and demolished a Palestinian security compound and several other government buildings in what the army said was a raid to capture militants involved with Hezbollah.Three Palestinians were killed in fighting after troops surrounded the city’s security headquarters. The army said the three men belonged to a cell that was activated by Hezbollah and was planning attacks on Israel. Another Palestinian died later Wednesday from his wounds, hospital officials said.Witnesses and security officials said army bulldozers demolished a prison and at least seven other structures housing the offices of different security branches, including military intelligence and national security forces.Some 150 Palestinian policemen were detained for questioning, witnesses said. The army said the arrests were aimed at identifying who among the detainees were operatives of local militant groups.Late Wednesday, the troops shot and killed a Palestinian during a clash with stonethrowers, Palestinian officials said. The army said it did not use live fire in the incident and had no record of any causalities.Two journalists, including Wael Tanous, a correspondent for the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera, were wounded in the clashes. Tanous was hit in the left leg with a rubber bullet. Another reporter, Faten Ilwan, was hit in the waist and left hand with rubber bullets.Al-Jazeera has accused Israel of targeting its crews, impeding their ability to cover the conflict.Gaza has suffered from a sporadic shortage of fresh food supplies and fuel since the offensive began June 28.The military said Wednesday it opened two crossings into Gaza to allow shipments of food and fuel. The statement said 145 food trucks entered Gaza through the Karni crossing, while 132,000 gallons of diesel fuel, 24,000 gallons of gasoline and 175 tons of cooking gas were sent through a pipeline.At the Rafah terminal, which connects Gaza to Egypt, European monitors had said an estimated 3,000 people were expected to pass through its gates when it opens Wednesday, but only 420 made the journey.