Israeli military invades defunct Gaza airport; widens aggression into Rafah neighbourhoods

Date: 14 / 07 / 2007 Time: 11:13

Rafah – Ma’an – The Israeli military have now widened their aggression and incursion in the southern Gaza Strip district of Rafah. At least six tanks, reinforced by military bulldozers have entered the Nahda neighbourhood, east of Rafah, under cover of heavy machine gun fire, shot toward homes and agricultural areas.

Ma’an’s correspondent stated that undercover Israeli forces were seen in the area to the north of Gaza airport, seized on Friday by Israeli troops.

Eyewitnesses said that undercover forces broke into several homes and occupied several rooftops.

On Friday, Israeli military vehicles invaded the eastern Rafah district, in the south of the Gaza Strip, taking over the now-defunct airport, and occupying it as a military base.

Eyewitnesses stated that, late on Friday night, over 15 Israeli tanks completed the operation, under the cover of intensive heavy fire from hovering Israeli helicopters.

Early on Saturday morning, the Islamic Jihad-affiliated Al Quds Brigades announced that their members had shot two Israeli soldiers in the former Gaza International Airport.

The Yasser Arafat Gaza International Airport occupies a strategic position, south east of the volatile Palestinian city of Rafah and adjacent to both the Rafah crossing and the Karem Shalom crossing points between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

Israeli forces have continued the incursion for the second successive day.

Dozens of Israeli military vehicles and tanks are reported as being deployed around the perimeter of the airport, further developing the area into an Israeli military base, amid intensive shooting. Israeli troops are preventing Palestinian farmers from reaching their farm lands, and continue to shoot at them.

The governor of Rafah, Zuhdi Al Qidra, has condemned the Israeli raid and has said that the raid has resulted in a significant loss of life, as “part of a series of criminal activities of the Israeli occupation.” He urged the international community to act responsibly towards the increasingly-frequent Israeli attacks. Al Qidra stressed the necessity to help and protect the Palestinian people.
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Updated 14:53 Sat 14th
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