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Death Toll from Israel's Gaza Offensive Rises to 100
GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli air strikes killed five Palestinians in Gaza Thursday as the Palestinian death toll rose to 100 in a 16-day-old army offensive aimed at crushing militants behind rocket salvoes into Israel.
Five more Palestinians were killed Thursday in Gaza as Israel pushed on with a massive operation in the north of the territory despite criticism by officers that the offensive had become counter-productive.
Three Palestinians, including 70-year-old Ismail Assawalhi were killed in a pre-dawn air raid in the southern Gaza town of Rafah where a column of tanks also destroyed 34 homes in a brief incursion.
Two members of the radical Islamist movement Hamas were also killed in an air strike on the northern Jabaliya refugee camp, which has been the main focus of the army's so-called Operation Days of Penitence since its launch late last month.
A total of 124 Palestinians have now been killed in the Gaza Strip since the start of the offensive, which is the deadliest carried out by the Israeli military since the start of the intifada more than four years ago.
GAZA CITY - Two Palestinians were killed and another died of his wounds inflicted by Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip early Thursday, a Palestinian security source said.
The two, Ali Shaath, 19, and Ahmad Dahawi, 20, were killed when an Israeli helicopter gunship fired a rocket at Rafah refugee camp in the south of the strip, wounding another three people.
Two of them, a 65-year-old man and a 70-year-old woman, were seriously injured.
Twenty Israeli tanks entered the camp where a bulldozer levelled several houses.
At the same time, another Palestinian, Nidal Massud, an activist of radical Palestinian movement Hamas, died of his wounds inflicted earlier by another rocket fired by a helicopter at Jabaliya refugee camp further north. Another Hamas member died in that attack.
The latest deaths bring to 123 the total number of Palestinians killed in Gaza since the launch of Israel’s Operation Days of Penitence.
They also bring the overall toll since the September 2000 start of the Palestinian uprising to 4,487, including 3,459 Palestinians and 954 Israelis, according to an AFP count.