A 12-year-old girl was killed Saturday evening by Israel Defense Forces sniper fire in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanun, bringing to 27 the Palestinian death toll in Gaza since the start of the weekend.
The IDF said that Isra Nasser, who died of head wounds, had been shot by a sniper targeting an armed militant, and expressed regret at the killing. At least 11 of the dead were civilians, and include two members of rescue crews.
IDF troops have been in Beit Hanun since Wednesday morning, in an operation aimed at halting Qassam rocket attacks on southern Israel. Nevertheless, Palestinian militants have continued to fire the homemade rockets, and seven hit the western Negev on Saturday evening. No injuries were reported, although a building in one of the local kibbutzim was lightly damaged…
Witnesses reported on Saturday morning that large military bulldozers began demolishing homes near a mosque that was the scene of a standoff on Friday. Witnesses said residents of the homes received no warning ahead of time and were seen running for safety…
By mid-morning Saturday, the army announced over loudspeakers that women were permitted to leave their homes for two hours to stock up on supplies. However, few shops were open, said resident Samia Adwan, 35, a secretary in the Palestinian Authority and a distant relative of the Hamas minister…
Iyad Nasser, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said he reached Beit Hanun on Friday evening to deliver supplies to the local hospital. “People stood at the doors [to their homes] and shouted they need water and food,” he said.
On Saturday morning, aid groups were permitted to deliver supplies to Beit Hanun, he said.
A senior Israeli military official confirmed that the Beit Hanun sweep was different from previous Israeli incursions into Gaza, which resumed after Shalit’s kidnapping by Hamas militants. In the past, he said, troops would largely stay on the outskirts of populated areas instead of operating house-to-house as in Beit Hanun.
The Palestinians appealed for international intervention to pressure Israel to halt the campaign…
Two killed in West Bank
In the West Bank, Palestinians said an elderly woman was killed during an IDF arrest raid in the town of Bethlehem on Friday morning. A Border Police officer was also wounded.
The woman, 65, was caught in a crossfire between militants holed up in a house and IDF soldiers surrounding the building, Palestinian witnesses said. Two other residents were wounded, they said.
The IDF said forces were operating in Bethlehem, but provided no other details.
Also Friday, IDF troops shot dead a Fatah militant in the West Bank who was apparently planning to detonate a car bomb.
Troops opened fire on two Palestinian men pulling barbed wire into a car at the Balata refugee camp near Nablus, killing one and wounding the other. The car was later found filled with tens of kilograms of explosives.
Israel arrested Palestinian Minister Abdel Rahman Zaidan, a Hamas official, at his home in the West Bank town of Ramallah before dawn Friday, Israel Radio quoted Israeli and Palestinian sources as saying. According to the report, Zaidan, the minister of housing and public works, is the tenth Palestinian minister to be arrested since Shalit was abducted. (full story)