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IOF Invades Rafah, Kills Five and Wounds 27

IOF Invades Rafah, Kills Five Palestinians and Wound 27 Others

RAFAH, Palestine -- The Israeli occupying forces (IOF) invaded several areas in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, opening heavy gunfire at Palestinian citizens and their homes, killing five citizens and wounding 27 others.

Palestinian security sources told IPC correspondent that large Israeli forces invaded the areas of Al Qassas, Yebna refugee camp and Bloc "O", accompanied by intensive gunfire and shelling of citizens' houses.

Medics at Abu Yousif Al Najjar hospital in Rafah said that up to this moment, five Palestinian citizens were killed by IOF gunfire and shrapnel, in addition to 27 others who arrived to hospital with several wounds. The injuries were concentrated in the head and chest areas, indicating an intention to inflict as much as casualties among the local population as possible.

The same sources named the killed people ; Ayed Ibraheim Al Najar,24, His Cousin, Ali Hussein Al Najar,26, Khalil Mohammed Al Qasas, 50, , Khameis Al Rai’, 23, and Ahmed Al Najar(32).

More than 30 Israeli military vehicles and tanks invaded the city early this morning, supported by combat helicopters. The large forces advanced 500 meters inside the city, amidst heavy and indiscriminate gunfire from the ground and the air. Many of the casualties were wounded while being inside their homes, and among the 27 wounded were five children and six in critical condition.

The director of Abu Yousif Al Najjar hospital, Dr. Ali Mousa, said that the Palestinian medical crews were having difficulties in evacuating the wounded due to the intensive gunfire, and the local residents are forced to evacuate the wounded themselves. He added that the death toll and number of wounded would probably increase in the next few hours.

Local residents mentioned that IOF closed the entrance of the invaded areas, as soldiers occupied the roofs of some high buildings and took up sniping positions there. Also, Israeli D-9 military bulldozers moved into the area and started tearing down several Palestinian homes.

"It was a horrible scene to watch; citizens running out of their homes as walls and roofs collapsed under the enormous pressure of the Israeli bulldozer forks, while electricity poles were cracking with huge sparks. Some citizens might have suffered burns because of these sparks. Children were crying loudly, while mothers tried to calm them down and run fast enough in the same time to escape the massive destruction and debris that followed the fleeing residents," one of the local residents told IPC's over the phone.

Nearby, eyewitnesses told IPC's that a Palestinian security officer was shot dead with an Israeli silenced weapon on the Rafah border crossing.

The eyewitnesses added that Ahmad Al Najjar, a lieutenant in the Palestinian security forces, was organizing the incoming and outgoing traffic to the busy border crossing when he suddenly fell to the ground. Surprised of what has happened to him, bystanders and passengers gathered around him, only to find out that he has a bullet hole in his head. The eyewitnesses confirmed that no shots were heard when Al Najjar fell to the ground, indicating that he was shot with a silenced weapon.

In addition to invading the city of Rafah, the Israeli occupying forces closed the Rafah border crossing, which is considered the main and only way of Gazans to travel abroad. The Palestinian passengers, who were mostly students studying abroad, were forced to go back inside the Strip.

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