New raids launched on Rafah

14 October 2003
The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) on 14 October launched new raids in Rafah refugee camp two days after a similar incursions into the southern Gaza camp left eight Palestinians dead and as many as 1,200 homeless. IDF officials say that the raids are intended to eradicate tunnels used by Palestinians to smuggle weapons from Egypt. In the latest attack, dozens of tanks and armoured personnel carriers filed into an area of the camp that had not been searched in the previous raid (MEED 13:10:03). Israeli officials expect the operation to last a 'few days'. Local press reports suggest that at least six Palestinians have been injured in the early stages of the operation, and four houses have been bulldozed.

Israel has received heavy criticism from the international community for its actions for the raids, which the IDF has code-named Operation Root Canal, which has left as many as 1,500 Palestinians homeless and at least eight dead. An IDF spokesman said the operation was needed to stop the flow of small and medium sized weapons from Egypt. At present, no weapons have been found by the IDF.

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