Da Arab News del 20/10/2006
Originale su http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=82531&d=...

Israel Searches for Tunnels in Gaza Raid

di Hisham Abu Taha

RAFAH — Israeli soldiers were plowing up the ground yesterday and destroying tunnels allegedly used to smuggle arms from Egypt in their deepest incursion into the Gaza Strip for more than a year. Hundreds of Israeli soldiers were operating up to four kilometers (2.5 miles) inside Palestinian territory to the outskirts of the southern border town of Rafah, in an offensive the army said had so far uncovered nine tunnels.

“We are going to continue our searches for as long as necessary,” a military spokesman said about the tunnels, which Israel says are dug by militants in order to smuggle weapons across the border from Egypt.

Another spokeswoman confirmed that the operation, which follows many other anti-tunnel offensives, was the deepest inside the Palestinian territory since Israel withdrew all its troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

Some people living in areas located near the borderline with Egypt have begun to leave their homes to avoid any Israeli military attacks as the Israeli tanks moved deep into the Palestinian lands. Israeli military helicopters, for three consecutive days, have opened fire on open areas, mainly the areas very near the border, as cover for the troops operating in the area.

Meanwhile, Al-Quds brigades the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad movement claimed responsibility for launching two rockets into Kissufim crossing east of the Gaza Strip, the group said in a statement. In the north of Gaza, Israeli troops opened fire on civilians, injuring a civilian, medical sources said

In other news, Israeli cabinet minister Meir Sheetrit said that Israeli should hold permanent negations with Arab states based on the Saudi Arabia initiative. The interview was published yesterday by Hareetz.

Senior Cabinet minister Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) said that Israel should hold permanent peace negotiations with Arab states based on the Saudi initiative. He also said that Israel should agree to negotiate over the Golan Heights if Syria halts its support of terrorism. On the ongoing operation in Gaza, Israel’s private Channel 10 television said that two battalions, or around 1,000 soldiers, were taking part in the operation.

Soldiers warned local residents that explosions were likely. Israel has vowed to step up a four-month operation in Gaza that began after militants captured an Israeli soldier, vowing not to allow it to become “a second Lebanon” harboring well-armed militants.

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