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Air raids exact heavy toll on Gaza infrastructure

Aug. 21, 2011 3:31 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 22, 2011 7:21 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A physiotherapy clinic, sewerage pump, civil society organizations and government buildings have been damaged in Israeli raids on the Gaza Strip since Thursday, witnesses and officials said.

Israeli warplanes have bombarded the coastal enclave for three days in what the military says is a response to a deadly attack in southern Israel on Thursday.

Fourteen Palestinians were killed and more than 40 wounded in a series of airstrikes across the Gaza Strip.

A specialist physiotherapy clinic in Gaza City funded by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries was amongst the buildings seriously damaged in the assault, witnesses said.

The clinic was the first of its kind in Gaza and run by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.

An electricity generator and four water pumps for the sewerage system in An-Nuseirat refugee camp were destroyed on Friday, causing power cuts in central Gaza.

The offices of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation sustained damages in air raids at dawn on Friday. The Gaza City office was opened to provide humanitarian assistance to Gaza residents in the wake of Israel's Operation Cast Lead offensive in December 2008.

The same building was also bombed in July 2010. Officials said the damage would affect the organization ability to provide humanitarian services.

Israeli forces also shelled a library located in a residential area and among government buildings, the Gaza government said.

The Hamas-run Ministry of Justice, civil servants' bureau and government media office were severely damaged, the ministry said.

In a statement, the justice ministry said Israeli forces deliberately targeted civil institutions in what it described as a war crime.

Israel was bombarding Gaza in an attempt to escape its internal crisis "at the expense of Palestinian blood," the statement added.

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