March 27th, 2010
03:24 PM ET

Some leave Gaza town as Israeli tanks enter area

Several residents living east of Khan Younis in Gaza were seen leaving their homes Saturday, witnesses said, following clashes a day earlier that left two Israeli soldiers and three Palestinians dead.

Meanwhile, four Israeli tanks and a bulldozer rolled in to Gaza, east of Khan Younis, early Saturday, witnesses told CNN. The military vehicles left soon after they arrived, the witnesses added.
The IDF said that "after yesterday's events, IDF continued to operate in the area and removed infrastructure used by the terrorists to carry out the attack yesterday."

The Israeli military would not confirm the report that tanks had entered and then withdrew from Gaza.

Later, Israel Defense Forces helicopters and drones were seen and heard around 7:10 p.m. (12:10 p.m. ET) Saturday above northern Gaza, Khan Younis, and off the Gazan coast, the witnesses said. The IDF would not comment when asked if the Israel's air force was carrying out an operation in the area.

Witnesses said some residents were leaving the area in fear of IDF retaliation after Friday's clashes, which the IDF said involved an exchange of fire "with terrorists who were planting explosives along the security fence in the Gaza Strip."

After seeing the "terrorists" plant explosives, IDF moved forward and fired, killing two militants, said Southern Command Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant, according to IDF's Web site.

"The soldiers advanced in a proper operational manner and when the terrorists were seen moving westward, tanks that were stationed undercover opened fire," Galant said. "One of the terrorists approached the forces point blank and opened fire."

Israeli soldier Staff Sgt. Ilan Sviatkovsky was killed when a bullet hit a hand grenade that was on his vest, IDF said. The explosion also wounded the two other soldiers. Maj. Eliraz Peretz was killed in an exchange of fire, IDF said. They are the first Israeli military personnel to be killed in combat in Gaza in more than a year.

The military wing of Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls Gaza, said at a news conference Friday that its forces clashed with Israelis near the Khan Younis area of southern Gaza. It claimed responsibility for killing and wounding Israeli soldiers. The group said one of its fighters was killed, and that it lost contact with another.

A third Palestinian, 23-year-old Haitham Arafat, died at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis from serious injuries, medical officials said. Earlier, medical sources said that eight Palestinian civilians were wounded in the clashes.

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  1. John

    Us Aid to isreal $4billion dollors. As someone else commented, why are we subsidizing isreal. we should use the $ here at home.. Isreal should stop its unjust actions and wise up to what the rest of the world is saying.

    June 7, 2010 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. PeteH

    So when exactly will CNN & other major media syndicates start discussing all the facts from both the Israeli & Trans-Jordanian perspective and then report what actually happened based solely on fact rather than bias and opinion...? Israel has every right to not only survive but also thrive as a nation. Far too long the Trans-Jordanian Palestinians have thrown their media weight around deflecting most of the blame regarding the issues in this region over to the IDF & state of Israel. Could Israel do things better and try to not kill civilians...? Sure, but the Hamas & Hezbollah soldiers also need to stop using those civilians as protective shields after each time they run their operations. This is the main reason why so many civilians get killed in Gaza. And the rocket & mortar fire into civilian areas of Southern Israel certainly enflame the situation further. It is high time we all stop sympathizing with the Palestinians till they come clean regarding their support of Hamas and the terrorist operations that their people are not only involved in but turn a blind eye towards. How can they expect the world people to think they deserve a country of their own when they kill their neighbors indiscriminately...?

    June 7, 2010 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
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