Israel condemned for Gaza raid

13 October 2003
The UN on 12 October condemned Israel's latest incursion into the Gaza Strip on 9-12 October in which the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) destroyed as many as 120 homes. A senior UN official said the damage caused by the raid resembled that of an earthquake, and may have left as many as 1,500 people homeless. 'Many, many houses - maybe as many as 120 - have been completely demolished,' said commissioner general of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Peter Hansen. He added that the agency would set up temporary shelter for the homeless. An Israeli spokesman said that not all damage to Palestinian property had been caused by the IDF. 'It could be that Palestinian fire also caused the structural damage,' he said. Local doctors working in the Gaza Strip said that eight Palestinians were killed during the operation, aimed at destroying tunnels used to smuggle weapons over the Egyptian border. Israeli forces announced that soldiers had discovered three tunnels, but no weapons had been found (MEED 10:10:03).

The UN condemnation came a day after senior US and Israeli officials confirmed that Israel has modified American-supplied cruise missiles, which can carry nuclear warheads, on three of its submarines. Israel and the US have been particularly vocal in condemning Iran's nuclear programme and the confirmation of Israel's nuclear capability is being seen as a means to deter any regional threat.

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