INDEPENDENT NEWS

Israel Helicopter Strike Kill 3 In Crowded Gaza St

Published: Tue 21 Oct 2003 12:12 PM
Second Israeli Strike Kills Three Palestinians, Wound Others in Gaza City
GAZA, Palestine -- Israeli military helicopters bombed Gaza City for the second time in three hours, targeting a Palestinian pickup truck in a crowded street.
IPC correspondent reported that the Israeli helicopters fired several missiles at a pickup truck traveling down Al Jala'a street, a crowded traffic artery in the city of Gaza. The blast destroyed the truck completely, killing three citizens, and wounding many other bystanders, including schoolchildren.
Palestinian medical sources at "Al Shifa" hospital in Gaza said that the two killed citizens were identified as Khaled Al Masri and Eyad Al Helow, while a third citizen, Marwan Al Khateeb, died shortly afterwards of wounds he sustained. Ten other citizens, including schoolchildren, were also wounded, one critically.
Schools and kindergartens in the crowded street had let their children out for the day, following the first air strike on Gaza City, which targeted the Islamic Jihad spokesman, Sheikh Abdullah Al Shami, but hit another house and destroyed it, when the second strike occurred, eyewitnesses said.
Adel Fawwaz, a taxi driver, said that he was stopping at a red traffic light in front of the targeted truck when the helicopters struck it. "I was stopping at a red light, and in front of me was a white "Peugeot" pick-up truck, and there were kids crossing the street, when suddenly I saw flame coming down from the sky and hitting it. The blast took away my car's windshield and shook my car violently. I got out of the car to see people evacuating a completely burned body, and a child was laying on the street, covered with blood."
Palestinian sources said that Al Masri and Al Helow were members of the "Ezzeddin Al Qassam Brigades", the military wing of the Islamic resistance movement (Hamas).
Earlier this morning, Israeli jetfighters fired missiles at a house adjacent to that of the Islamic Jihad movement spokesman, Sheikh Abdullah Al Shami. 14 casualties among the civilian population were reported, including two infants, aged two and three years.

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