Tanks and troops of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) invaded the central Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank city of Nablus early Wednesday killing at least nine Palestinians, flattening a building of the Palestinian Preventive Security forces and detaining more than 150 security men.
The IOF invaded the Mughazi refugee camp and entered about one kilometre deep in central Gaza Strip, as warplanes began shooting heavily and indiscriminately overhead.
Palestinian eyewitnesses said thirty IOF armoured vehicles were in the camp at sunrise.
Soldiers took over several rooftops as bulldozers levelled farmland.
Six Palestinians were killed – three Hamas fighters, one al-Aqsa Brigades fighter and two civilians including a 16-year-old boy.
Fifty-two Palestinians were wounded in the clashes, including four hurt by a missile fired from an Israeli drone aircraft.
At least ten of those hurt were children.
Some of the wounded were in a critical condition, medics said.
The camp, with 22,000 residents, is near the Gaza-Israel fence and across from the Palestinian town of Dir al-Balah.
Around 100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in the Israeli offensive launched at midnight on June 27.
Israeli planes have also bombarded to rubble, buildings of the government of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), including the buildings of the premiership and foreign and interior ministries and destroying power grids and electricity distribution network, water pipelines, highways and bridges.
Six Palestinians were killed in the northern Gaza Strip during a two-day military incursion on Monday.
Meanwhile more than 100 IOF military vehicles stormed into Nablus in the West Bank early Wednesday, flattened a PNA Preventive Security building, killed three Palestinians, and detained at least 150 Palestinian security personnel.
An Israeli military spokesman said troops on an arrest raid had opened fire at fighters in Nablus.
Witnesses said a group of Palestinians threw stones at Israeli forces, who responded with rubber bullets.
Wail Tannus, an Al jazeera broadcast technician, was shot in the legs.
He was transferred to a hospital and is in a stable condition.
Palestinian witnesses said troops backed by armoured vehicles had surrounded a compound in Nablus where fighters were hiding.
Medics said three were killed in the battle.
They were members of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
The invading IOF forces surrounded the Mukata’a compound in the city and the IOF bulldozers began to level part of the compound, including the Preventive Security Service headquarters.
More than 150 policemen and security personnel were also strip-searched and detained by the IOF troops.
Last Monday, IOF First Sergeant Osher Damari, of the Haruv Brigade, was killed by an explosives device during a routine operation to detain wanted suspects in Nablus; six other soldiers were wounded in the incident.
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas received in Gaza city on Tuesday a United Nations team.
‘We hope the present crisis engulfing Gaza is to be overcome and we can come back to the situation where it is possible to pursue the objective of peace,’ UN envoy Alvaro De Soto said after the meeting.
Palestinian officials said the UN team brought no offers of a deal to end the fighting to Abbas, who called for an immediate cease-fire.
‘The only issue that President Abbas focused on was to find a way to stop this Israeli escalation on the ground,’ Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaynah said.
‘This is the main topic, this is what we are looking for, apart from the humanitarian crisis which we suffer from.’
The United States vetoed last week a UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to the Israeli war on Palestinians.
Separately the Central Committee of the former ruling Fatah movement urged the UN Security Council to take a resolution on the spot for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and Lebanon.
A statement issued Tuesday following a meeting chaired by President Abbas also called for an international conference for peace in the Middle East to prevent a further escalation of the violence that is threatening the sweep the whole volatile region.
‘We urge an international peace conference on the basis of the Arab peace initiative endorsed at the Beirut Arab summit and on the Roadmap,’ the statement said, holding the international community fully responsible for curbing the collapse of the peace process.
The statement also pleaded with Arab leaders to act quickly to end ‘the dangerous Israeli offensive’ against the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples.
It also demanded that Arabs ‘draw a unified strategy for recovering our land and prisoners and the creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital’.
The PNA has joined Lebanon, Djibouti, Algeria, Egypt, Qatar and Sudan in supporting a Yemeni proposal of an emergency Arab League summit, but the number remains short of the necessary majority of two thirds of the 22 league members.
Meanwhile, Abbas Zaki, member of the Fatah Central Committee and the PLO representative in Lebanon, said that the G8 summit and the endeavours of the international envoys in the region merely meet Israel’s demand to release its soldier unconditionally, without making any reference to the thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners.
In a statement, Zaki stressed the importance of having the international community come up with balanced ideas to end the state of war imposed by the ‘Israeli madness’, which is destroying public facilities and infrastructure and is killing Palestinian and Lebanese civilians.
Zaki criticised the international community’s policy of selecting certain international resolutions, whereas it calls for the implementation of UN Resolution 1559, but pretends to have forgotten hundreds of other resolutions regarding the Palestinian cause, which have become mere ink on paper.
Zaki predicted that the Israeli public will turn its back on the government should the war in Lebanon be prolonged, as Israelis cannot tolerate a long war.