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Israel troops destroy structures near Gaza crossing

April 21, 2011 7:18 P.M. (Updated: April 24, 2011 1:43 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Israeli troops made a brief incursion into Gaza early on Thursday to demolish several buildings which the army said were being used by "terrorist organizations".

Palestinians said the buildings were warehouses holding goods which had been transferred to the Gaza Strip via the nearby Karni crossing, which Israel shut down earlier this year.

Witnesses said the buildings contained assorted equipment, children's diapers, scrap metal and cleaning detergent. The goods were damaged during the destruction of the warehouses.

The operation also damaged a room holding the electrical generators for the industrial zone near the Karni crossing, they said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the operation was intended to raze buildings being used by "terrorist organizations" in the Gaza Strip.

"Israel Defense Forces dismantled structures that previously were a part of the Karni crossing, which were used by terrorist organizations to execute terrorist activities against IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians," she said.

"In light of security assessments and alerts of terrorist activity from the area, (the region's commander) Major-General Tal Russo ordered the closure and the dismantling of the Karni crossing approximately two months ago," she added.

Goods that had previously been transferred into Gaza through Karni, which sits adjacent to Gaza City on the coastal territory's eastern border with Israel, are now transferred through the Kerem Shalom crossing in the south.

Palestinian merchants and truck drivers have complained that the southern crossing is inconvenient, as it lies further than Karni from Gaza's main population center, Gaza City.
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