Israeli forces kill 19 in Gaza


Israeli forces killed 19 Palestinians in a major raid on the Gaza Strip.

Troops backed by tanks stormed into eastern districts of Gaza City early Tuesday, touching off clashes with local gunmen.

Nineteen Palestinians, most of them armed Hamas members, were killed. Dozens more were wounded.

There were no Israeli casualties in the mission, which military officials said was  intended to put pressure on Hamas and other Gazan terrorist groups, with a view to stemming cross-border rocket fire.

During the fighting, Hamas fired around 30 rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot, wounding four people.

Among the dead Palestinian gunmen was Husan Zahar, the son of a top Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar. Another Zahar son was killed in 2003 by an Israeli airstrike that wounded his father.

Mahmoud Zahar, a hard-liner even by the standards of an Islamist movement that preaches the Jewish state’s destruction, blamed his second son’s death on President Bush and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.


Recommended from JTA