Israeli troops kill 16 in Gaza military incursion

( dpa ) - Israeli troops rolled into northern Gaza Tuesday, sparking fierce gunbattles with local militants and killing at least 16 Palestinians in the deadliest Israeli military incursion since Hamas took control of the Strip seven months ago.

Another 45 people were injured, a number of them seriously, Gaza City's Shiffa hospital said.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian sniper from Gaza also killed a foreign volunteer in an Israeli kibbutz (agricultural commune) bordering the Strip, a spokesman for the kibbutz, Ain Ha'Shlosah, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The 20-year-old volunteer from Ecuador was shot in the back while working in a potato field near the Israel-Gaza border fence.

One of the Palestinian dead was the son of Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas hardliner.

Al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas, served as foreign minister from March 2006 to March 2007 in the Hamas-led Palestinian government formed shortly after the radical Islamic movement beat the secular Fatah party of President Mahmoud Abbas in January 2006 legislative elections.

His son Hussam, 23, was taking part in Tuesday's fighting when killed, residents said.

Hussam is Mahmoud al-Zahar's second son to die in Israeli- Palestinian violence. Another son, Khaled, was killed in a September 10, 2003 Israeli airstrike on his house. Al-Zahar and his now paralyzed wife were both moderately injured in that airstrike, which had come a day after double suicide bombings in Jerusalem and south of Tel Aviv.

"This crime is the fruit of US President George Bush's visit to the region," al-Zahar told reporters at the morgue after identifying his son's body.

Hamas will "respond to this crime in the suitable time and way," he threatened. Referring to his son's death, he said, "there is no difference between martyrs. All of them fall for the sake of the land."

Abbas too condemned the Israeli incursion. "The Palestinian people cannot remain silent to such massacres and slaughter," he told reporters in Ramallah. Such activities "do not serve the peace that we seek," he added.

Witnesses said a number of tanks and bulldozers drove some 400- 500 metres into northern Gaza around dawn, reaching up to the eastern outskirts of Gaza City. They began levelling makeshift structures and agricultural fields, from which militants have been firing rockets into Israel.

Hospital officials said nearly all the dead were militants, most of them members of Hamas' armed wing. A 67-year-old civilian bystander was also among the dead, however.

A spokeswoman in Tel Aviv said the Israeli military fired from the air and the ground at Palestinian militants who confronted the troops with mortars and semi-automatic fire.

Violence in Gaza has been steadily escalating since Hamas seized sole control of the Strip from security forces loyal to Abbas and Fatah last June.

Since then, militants have been stepping up their rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza at southern Israel, with Hamas taking responsibility for many of the mortar strikes, and other militant groups, notably the Islamic Jihad, taking the forefront in the rocket strikes.

Israel has responded with brief military incursions as well as targeted airstrikes.

The latest escalation in fighting came after Abbas' and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's negotiators met in Jerusalem Monday and for the first time in seven years began serious peace negotiations.

The negotiations were due to have started immediately after a November 27 peace conference, in Annapolis, Maryland, but were held up amid a dispute over Israel construction in Jerusalem areas it wants to keep for itself as part of a future peace deal.

But after last week's visit by US President George W. Bush, the sides announced the start of the talks on the "core issues" of their mutual conflict, including on the status of Jerusalem, the borders of the future Palestinian state and the Palestinian refugee problem, despite their ongoing argument.

Azerbaijani oil prices for March 23-27
Azerbaijani oil prices for March 23-27
SOCAR: No restrictions on fuel sale in Azerbaijan
SOCAR: No restrictions on fuel sale in Azerbaijan
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's precious metals market
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's precious metals market
Loading Bars
Latest
Turkey sees growth in number of vehicles in February
Azerbaijani parliament approves agreements signed by government with several countries
Azerbaijani oil prices for March 23-27
Minister: No problems with supply of bread in Georgia
Export of fruits, nuts from Georgia up in January-February 2020
Turkey urges int’l organizations to boycott so-called "election" in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh
China helps Uzbekistan to fight coronavirus
Kazakhstan's biggest oil transporting company eyes buying locally-made equipment
Volume of cargo transshipment via Turkish Port of Mersin disclosed
Coronavirus cases increase in Georgia
Turkey’s state water administration opens tender to rent vehicles
Azerbaijan extends benefit terms for contributions to mandatory health insurance for non-oil sector employees
Iran talks production of equipment in its oil sector
Turkey's municipality attracts foreign insurers via tender
Turkish university opens tender to attract foreign IT companies
Turkmen company masters production of nonwoven fabric
Azerbaijan extends terms for use of mandatory health insurance
Pakistan's National Commission for Human Rights condemns so-called "parliamentary and presidential elections" in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh
SOCAR: No restrictions on fuel sale in Azerbaijan
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's precious metals market
Turkey discloses cargo transshipment via Port of Zonguldak
South Korea to pay families hundreds of dollars to ease coronavirus impact
Iran's exports to African countries announced
Export volume of startup companies via Iran's Markazi Province announced
Iran announces its copper exports
Uzbekistan's total external debt increases
Georgia bans movement of buses in self-governing cities and administrative regions
Turkey discloses cargo transshipment via Port of Samsun in January-February 2020
Analyst: Forecast for oil prices depends on coronavirus spread
Azerbaijan Insurers Association: insurance community must promptly prepare plan for transition to distant operation mode
Kazakhstan’s oil & gas company opens tender to buy pumps
Scientific sphere switches to digital mode in Turkmenistan
Passenger trains operating to Kazakhstan’s Atyrau to be suspended over coronavirus fears
Charter flight to bring Georgian citizen from Bulgaria
Next plenary meeting of spring session of Azerbaijani Parliament kicks off
Iran's exports through Golestan customs announced
Review of oil, gas operations in Azerbaijan in January-February 2020
Foreign investments in Iran's Fars province increase
Uzbekneftegaz contunues to increase gas production of Uzbekistan
Georgia increases import of wood, furniture from Turkey
Fatal work accident occurs along Balkan Stream route
COVID-19 cases reach 97 in Georgia
Turkmen state concern announces tender to purchase material and technical resources
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
No direct financial loss suffered from postponing of F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
US allocates funds to Georgia amid COVID-19 pandemic
Iranian currency rates for March 30
Georgia confirms new case of coronavirus
Azerbaijan's Ministry of Internal Affairs lists facilities suspending work during quarantine
Tender to purchase material and technical resources opens in Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan sees increase in coronavirus cases
Iran's chemical, petrochemical industry increases production
More coronavirus cases detected in Kazakhstan
Production not to stop in Iran amid Coronavirus
Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 24 times
MP: Massive donations to Azerbaijan’s Fund to Support Fight against Coronavirus shows national solidarity
Number of coronavirus cases in Germany rises to 57,298
Iranian government pays loan to damaged businesses
China unexpectedly cuts reverse repo rate by most in five years to support virus-hit economy
VISA considering Azerbaijan as financial market open to innovations
Israeli PM Netanyahu’s aide tests positive for coronavirus
South Korea coronavirus cases rise steadily, more financial aid expected
Trump extends national social distancing guidelines to April 30
Vietnam PM asks major cities to prepare for lockdown to stop virus
Trudeau continues self-isolating after his wife's recovery from COVID-19
5.1-magnitude quake hits Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge
Egypt condemns Yemeni Houthis' missile attacks on Saudi cities
France reports 2,599 new coronavirus cases, 292 additional deaths
Turkey's COVID-19 cases rise to 9,217, death toll hits 131
All Moscow’s residents to stay in home self-isolation from Monday
Somali army kills 142 al-Shabab militants during operation
Syria reports 1st death case of COVID-19
Coronavirus deaths fall again in Italy
EIA decreases previously forecast oil extraction volume in Kazakhstan for 2020
Brunei reports 6 new cases of COVID-19, 126 in total
Nearly 20,000 COVID-19 cases confirmed in UK
Saudi Arabia expands lockdown as coronavirus death toll doubles
Spain’s coronavirus death toll rises by 838 overnight to 6,528
Saudi intercepts missiles in attacks claimed by Yemen's Houthis
Herbal medicine being tested for treatment of coronavirus in Iran
VISA considering Azerbaijan as financial market open to innovations
Permanent representative: PACE leadership must change approach periodically demonstrated in relation to Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan's Atyrau to close for quarantine to battle coronavirus spread
Enterprises in Iran's industrial parks restore production
Azerbaijan confirms 27 more coronavirus cases
Expert: Impact of global shocks on Azerbaijan's economy and society is minimal
Azerbaijan's Central Bank attracts funds
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from France through its ports
Azerbaijan extends deadlines for paying taxes and filing declarations
Production of some Iranian industrial products decreases
Azerbaijani company to increase disinfectant production
Iran's Ministry of Industry, Mines & Trade announces volume of foreign investments
Volume of cargo transshipment through Turkish port of Tekirdag announced
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Morocco through its ports
Management Union of Medical Territorial Units: Epidemiological situation in Azerbaijan under control
Total amount of donations to Azerbaijan’s Fund to Support Fight against Coronavirus disclosed
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Ukraine through its ports
Iran reveals volume of investments in employment loans
Coronavirus confirmed in one more Kazakh city
Support to Exports Guarantee Fund of Iran to continue
All news