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Palestinian sources: Airstrikes kill 5 in Gaza

Israeli troops enter Khan Yunis refugee camp


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GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Israeli troops moved into the Khan Yunis refugee camp in southern Gaza early Monday, backed by airstrikes that killed five people, Palestinian security sources said.

An Israeli military spokesman said the raids were aimed at stopping a string of mortar attacks launched from the refugee camp over the weekend.

Palestinian sources said Israeli troops were demolishing houses owned by members of Hamas.

Hamas is a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization labeled a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department. The group's military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, has admitted responsibility for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and the Israeli military.

At least 20 others were wounded in the airstrikes, which began late Sunday, and hospital sources said three of those suffered critical injuries.

The raids were the latest in a nearly monthlong campaign against Palestinian militants ahead of Israel's proposed withdrawal from Gaza and most of the West Bank.

The Israel Defense Forces said at least 28 mortar rounds were fired at Israeli civilian targets over the weekend.

Two Palestinian police officers were killed and six people wounded in the first of the airstrikes, which occurred about 10:30 p.m. Sunday (4:30 p.m. ET), the sources said.

The second targeted the home of Mohammad el-Snwar, a senior member of Hamas, the security sources said. El-Snwar was not there at the time, they said.

The Israeli military said one Palestinian died when Israeli troops spotted Palestinian militants setting up an explosive device and struck them before it could be used.

Another was killed in an airstrike after a group of militants was spotted moving toward Israeli troops armed with an explosive device, the spokesman said.

A fifth strike killed a 15-year-old boy, identified as a civilian by Palestinian medical officials.

Dozens of Palestinians have been killed during the Israeli campaign, which began after a rocket attack on a town in southern Israel killed two children in mid-September.

Most Israeli troops pulled back from positions around major cities and refugee camps in the northern part of the territory October 15, the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.


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