- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 6, 2003

GAZA, March 6 (UPI) — At least 11 Palestinians are dead Thursday after an Israeli raid on the Jabalya refugee camp in apparent retaliation against the suicide bombing in Haifa.

Dozens of Israeli army tanks, armored vehicles, jeeps, bulldozers and special undercover units supported by Apache attack helicopters ended their five-hour raid on the camp in the Gaza Strip.

Moaweya Hassanein, chief of Shiffa Hospital in Gaza City, said 11 Palestinians were killed and 140 others were wounded, 35 of them seriously, in the predawn raid.

"Israel, its government and its army are escalating their aggression and committing another massacre against the Palestinians," the Palestinian Authority said in an official statement.

The raid came after Wednesday's suicide attack by a Palestinian militant in the Israeli town of Haifa in which 15 people were killed.

Palestinian security sources said 70 Israeli tanks, armored vehicles and bulldozers entered the camp from the northern borders between Israel and Gaza and rolled through the northern village of Beit Lahya. Witnesses said the raid began shortly after midnight Wednesday when several Israeli Apache attack helicopters fired six missiles at targets in Jabalya.

More than 100,000 Palestinians live in the biggest Palestinian refugee camp in the Middle East.

Residents of the camp said many explosions were heard in the area, and several houses were targeted, including the home of Suhail Zeyada, a member of the militant Hamas movement who is a rocket-maker and on an Israeli wanted list.

Jabalya Mayor Khalil Samara said special undercover Israeli army units used local cars and ambulances to break into the camp and raid Zeyada's home. Occupants were forced out and the home destroyed, he said.

Residents reported pitched gunbattles between militants and Israeli soldiers. They said the Israeli units used gunfire and tanks shells for five hours before leaving the camp.

Among those wounded were two Palestinians who work for the Reuters news agency. One of them is a photographer for the agency while the other is a cameraman.

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