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14 killed in Gaza, dozens injured in series of strikes

April 8, 2011 1:28 P.M. (Updated: April 10, 2011 12:38 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli air strikes and artillery fire have hit Gaza nine times Friday, killing nine, and bringing the total number of dead since Thursday afternoon to fourteen, including civilians.

A mother and daughter, and elderly man were killed in two separate strikes near Khan Younis, a fourth - identified as an Al-Qassam Brigades fighter - was killed near Gaza City, and two unidentified men was killed when a shell hit his home east of Gaza City.

A statement from Israel's military acknowledged civilian casualties, saying that the military "regrets that the Hamas terrorist organization chooses to operate from within its civilian population, using it as a 'human shield'."

Hamas officials in Gaza released a statement accusing Israel of launching white phosphorus missiles toward civilian populations, a claim an Israeli military spokesman denied.

The military reported "heavy rocket and mortar fire," emanating from Gaza Friday afternoon. A later statement said a total of five mortars and eight projectiles had been fired from Gaza on Friday.

DFLP fighters claimed to have fired two projectiles at targets from the northern Gaza Strip. A statement said the fire was a "response to Israel’s lack of commitment to the truce [and its] continuing of shelling of our unarmed people."

In the early evening, Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades said fighters launched six projectiles and three mortars on an Israeli military post east of Rafah.

Friday attacks have been reported as follows:

6:30 Shell lands on home east of Gaza City, two civilians killed, medics said, and ten others injured.

Witnesses said three shells landed on homes in the Ash-Shuja'iyeh neighborhood. Medics said all were transferred to the Ash-Shifa Hospital.

5:30 Israeli warships fire on shoreline near Rafah, no injuries.

4:30 p.m. An Apache helicopter fired one missile on residents of Beit Lahiya, killing two Al-Qassam members, identified as Raed Shehada, 27, Ahmad Abu Ghurab. The second died in hospital of injuries he sustained during the shelling.

In the Az-Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City a resistance fighter was said to have "escaped death," a statement from resistance groups said. The strike was aimed at a metal workshop, which was damaged.

Medics confirmed that there were no injuries reported from the area.

3:00 p.m. Air strikes hit a smuggling tunnel between Egypt and Gaza. No injuries were reported, but witnesses said a large fire broke out in the area following the blast.

Witnesses said the tunnel had been used to smuggle fuel into Gaza. Since January, Gaza's power plant stopped using industrial fuel from Israel, and instead began relying on fuel imported from Egypt via the tunnels. The engineer responsible for developing the purifying mechanism for the fuel was abducted by Israeli intelligence officers while on vacation in the Ukraine. He is currently in prison on charges of assisting the resistance in Gaza.

2:00 p.m. Israeli artillery fire hits the Al-Farahin area east of Khan Younis. A mother and child were killed and another of her children injured.

Israeli media reported shortly before the strike that five projectiles launched from Gaza landed near Ashkelon, with no injuries.

Medics later confirmed that Najah Kudeih, 45, and her daughter Nidal, 21, were killed, while a second daughter, Nida, 18, was seriously injured. Three others were wounded.

1:30 p.m. A 55-year-old man was killed by an Israeli air strike which hit in the Qarara area east of the city. Medics identified the man as Talal Abu Taha, 55.

9:45 a.m. An airstrike combined with artillery hit the town of Khuza'a, east of Khan Younis, killing two.

Israel's military said in a statement that "forces identified two terrorist squads from the Hamas terrorist organization," adding that air and artillery fire were used and the military "identified hits."

Hamas' military wing, the Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, named those killed as Abdallah Al-Qarra and Muataz Abu Jamea.

8:00 a.m. An Israeli strike hit in an open area east of Rafah, no injuries were reported.

7:00 a.m. Israeli shelling on Rafah airport in southern Gaza injured three, witnesses reported.

Thursday strikes kill five

Air strikes hit what was described by the Israeli military as positions in and around Gaza City where projectiles had been fired from on Thursday, and other raids hit targets in the southern cities of Rafah and Khan Younis.

The strikes killed four, identified as resistance fighters affiliated with Hamas. A statement from the Al-Qassam Brigades identified those killed as leader Salah Tarabin, 38, Musab al-Sufi, 18, Muhammad Almanmom, 25, and Khaled Aldbari, 23.

Thursday afternoon, Artillery fire also hit the southern Gaza Strip, with witnesses saying artillery fire injured five people, including a small child, and killed Mahmoud Al-Manasra, 50, who died after shells landed near his home in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City.

In total, more than 40 people were wounded across the Gaza Strip overnight.

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