UN Agency: Israel Destroyed 45 Buildings, Displaced 600 Palestinians in Rafah
25 May 2004, 13:55 UTC
A United Nations relief agency says Israeli forces destroyed 45 buildings and left nearly 600 Palestinians homeless during a six-day incursion the southern Gaza Strip.
More than 40 Palestinians were killed in the operation, which Israel says ended Monday. Palestinians and other observers say the Israeli raid left parts of the Gaza camp looking as if it had been hit by an earthquake.
Israel says the operation, which drew international criticism, was aimed at hunting militants and destroying tunnels used by Palestinians to smuggle weapons from nearby Egypt. The Israeli military said the raid also focused on destroying warehouses and homes used by gunmen to attack Israelis.
The U.N. Relief and Works Agency says 360 Rafah families have had their homes demolished by Israeli forces since May 1. The agency called the period one of the most destructive in Rafah since the start of the Palestinian uprising in 2000.
Monday, Rafah residents gathered near the rubble and were reported begging for food, water and other supplies.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters.
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