5 Palestinians, 6 Israelis killed in Gaza

May 11, 2004 at 8:30 AM
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GAZA, May 11 (UPI) -- Six Israeli soldiers and at least five Palestinians were killed Tuesday in fighting in southern Gaza City, medical officials said.

Dozens of Palestinians were injured -- 15 seriously -- in the fighting, officials at Gaza City's Shiffa hospital said.

Palestinian reports, unconfirmed by the Israeli army, said the Israeli soldiers were killed when their armored personnel carrier drove over a bomb. Israeli media said the APC was leaving Gaza when the bomb was set off shortly after midnight.

Israeli forces sealed the area after the blast to recover the bodies of the soldiers. They split the Gaza Strip into three sections and sealed off the area near the bombing with a large number of other soldiers, tanks and helicopters.

Israeli reports said the military operation was launched against facilities manufacturing Qassam rockets, which Palestinians launch toward Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and at targets in southern Israel. Israel radio reported that five rocket workshops were destroyed Tuesday.

The attack on the APC was the deadliest against Israeli troops since November 2002, when nine solider and three security guards died in an ambushed in the West Bank.

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