Israeli tanks on rampage in Gaza Strip

Hisham Abu Taha, Arab News, July 29, 2009

GAZA: Israeli tanks on Tuesday afternoon rolled into an area east of the Jabaliya refugee camp, north of the Gaza Strip, where they leveled vast agricultural land, witnesses and local media sources said. The sources said that four tanks accompanied with two bulldozers crossed the border between Gaza and Israel, tens of meters in the outskirts of Jabaliya town and started to raze agricultural plots.

Two Palestinian militant groups claimed they clashed with the invading Israeli tanks to stop them. Al-Quds brigades the military wing of Islamic Jihad said in a statement send to the media that their fighters targeted the tanks by firing a rocket-propelled grenade, while Abu Ali Mustafa brigades said that their fighters sniped an Israeli soldier during the confrontation.

No one reportedly injured in the clashes.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian man was killed and another one injured early Tuesday in a new tunnel collapse incident in southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, witnesses and medical sources said.

Medical sources in Gaza said that Jamal Abu Samak, 32, was suffocated to death inside the tunnel that collapsed beneath the border with Egypt. A second worker was seriously injured. They added that five others are still missing.

Gaza factions claim two attacks on invading Israeli patrols
Ma'an News Agency, July 29, 2009

Gaza – Ma’an – Gaza militants claim two attacks on Israeli forces early Tuesday morning and another in the afternoon, allegedly injuring one.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)’s military wing the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades claimed to have shot an Israeli soldier when armored vehicles entered the Ash-Shuhada cemetery east of Gaza City Tuesday.

The brigades said in a statement that they shot at a soldier standing near a bulldozer on its way into the cemetery.

Earlier in the day the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, said they launched a rocket propelled grenade at Israeli patrols that entered into Gazan territory east of the Jabaliya Refugee Camp.

Israeli military spokespeople confirmed the launch of a mortar shell in the north-eastern Strip, noting the projectile landed "inside the fence." They were unable to confirm shots fired or reports of an injured soldier near the Gaza cemetary.

Seventh body pulled from rubble of tunnel collapse
Ma'an News Agency, July 29, 2009

Gaza - Ma'an - The death toll from Sunday's tunnel collapse in southern Gaza rose to seven on Tuesday morning when the charred corpse of another worker was pulled from the pit.

The latest victim was identified as Ayman Jamal Abu Samak, 32. Deported from the West Bank by Israel eight years earlier, he began working in the tunnels several months ago. Abu Samak lived alone in Deir Al-Balah because he was unmarried and his family lives in the West Bank.

Muawiyah Hassanein, the head of emergency and ambulance services at the Gaza Health Ministry, said Abu Samak's body was taken to Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah. Crews are still searching for five others missing since the collapse, which was caused by a fire set off by leaking fuel.

Two bodies were found in the rubble on Monday evening, identified by ambulance workers and fireman as Issa Muhammad Al-Qisy, 24, and Tamer Sayyid Saraj, 21. Earlier that morning medics found three bodies, identified as 20-year-old Yousif Mu’ammar, 23-year-old Tariq Qishta, and 36-year-old Muhammad Al-Maghari.

The first victim was identified several hours after the collapse as 33-year-old Sami Qishta.

All the victims were from Rafah, Hassanein said on Sunday. Two unnamed men who sustained moderate burns were hospitalized the same day, another medic said at the time.

The tunnel industry is notoriously dangerous, and dozens of workers are killed each year in workplace accidents. Above the regular collapse of the sandy tunnels, Israeli and Egyptian border police routinely bomb access points or flood the passages with water or fuel. More than 150 Palestinians have been killed in tunnel incidents since the siege on Gaza began in 2007.

Last Monday two young Gazans were killed and eight others injured when benzene, which was being smuggled through via long pipes, began to leak into the underground area. Four workers were injured when one of the tunnels collapsed two weeks earlier.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a near-total blockade of the Strip by land and sea since June 2007, and the quantities and types of goods allowed into Gaza are subject to tight restrictions. Exports are also prohibited, and Gaza's 1.5 million residents are banned from traveling.

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