Israeli forces raid Gaza

10 October 2003
Six Palestinians were killed and as many as 50 wounded when Israeli tanks raided the Rafah refugee camp on 10 October. As many as forty tanks and armoured personnel carriers, backed up by helicopter gunships, mounted the operation on the southern Gaza camp in a raid intended to destroy tunnels which enable arms to be smuggled in from Egypt. Residents of the camp said that the Israeli military bulldozed a number of houses during the incursion, claiming that shots were being fired from the buildings.

The raid came as senior members of the Palestinian Authority faced a crisis after Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) threatened to resign two days after being sworn in by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Sources close to Abu Ala said that he was angry with Arafat for interfering in security issues and criticising the appointment of Nasser Yousef as Interior Minister. Other reports suggest that Qurei was indignant with Arafat after members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC - parliament) put off a vote on 9 October on the appointment of the emergency cabinet appointed by Arafat. Many Palestinians are angry that they were not consulted about the cabinet's make up. Qurei's predecessor, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), resigned after a power struggle with Arafat.

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