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Israeli Helicopters Strike Gaza City

Aired August 5, 2002 - 15:10   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We are getting word now that Israeli helicopters have attacked Gaza City. This is according to witnesses there, that Israeli attack helicopters have strike Gaza City. Now, you remember this is following -- this is, of course, a retaliation for what the stories we have been following all throughout the morning and in the past couple of days. Earlier today, a suicide bomber who had hitched a ride with an Israeli Arab security guard was killed, and the guard was seriously wounded when the bombers' explosive belt apparently went off prematurely at a junction near an Israeli Arab town of Umelfum (ph). That's in northern Israel. Israeli police are calling that incident a, quote, "a work accident." That's an Israeli euphemism for a terrorist bomb that goes off prematurely.

Now, that explosion came after Israel imposed tough restrictions, and we've been talking about this all day, our John Vause has been talking about these restrictions on Palestinian travel in the northern West Bank, in response to the two days of terror attacks that left 13 Israelis and at least two Palestinians dead. Also know that earlier this morning, Palestinian gunmen ambushed a family of Jewish settlers earlier, on the West Bank, killing a husband and his pregnant wife and wounding their two children. Now, this is the worst of five attacks that have been launched since Sunday morning.

Looking at live pictures from Gaza now as Israeli attack helicopters strike Gaza City. Live pictures. Once again, we are talking about the worst now in five attacks when the pregnant wife and husband and -- were killed this morning, wounding two children. Then this premature bomb attack that took place. We are talking about the five attacks launched since Sunday morning. Total of 13 Israelis killed thus far.

Now, Israeli attack helicopters striking Gaza City. We'll continue to update you as we get more information on the crisis in the Middle East.

We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Once again, breaking news we are following out of the Middle East. Right now, Israeli attack helicopters striking Gaza City. There's a map laying out of the area. We're going to go to live pictures now from Gaza as Israeli attack helicopters are said to be striking Gaza City. This comes after numerous attacks. Israeli retaliation to the deaths that have occurred in the past two days. Our John Vause live from the Middle East now with more on what's happening. John, what do you know?

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, well, Kyra, as you mentioned, this happening just within the last 20 minutes or so. Palestinian sources in Gaza City are telling CNN that as many as three rockets have been fired. They have heard the sound of helicopters above the city. They are assuming that they are, in fact, attack helicopters from the Israeli air force.

What we are being told by our sources in the city, that these rockets have landed in the east of the city, in an area known as Daitun (ph), in the southwest -- or southeast corner of Gaza City. What we are also being told is that the target could be one of the bomb-making workshops, of which there are, according to Israeli sources at least, many of those workshops in Gaza City.

That's all we have at the moment, but we are told that those helicopters are, in fact, still over the skies of Gaza City. Palestinian sources on the ground there say they can still hear the sound of their engines hovering above. So far, three rockets have been launched. You can see the glow in the distance of what is believed to be a fire, which is now burning, which came after three very loud explosions were heard, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, John Vause, the latest there from the Middle East. We'll continue to follow this breaking news story. Once again, Israeli attack helicopters striking Gaza City in retaliation, we're told, for the number of Israelis killed in the past two days, two days of intense fighting and violence.

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