Israeli warplanes, gunboats take turns in hitting targets in battered Gaza

GAZA, Jan 2 (KUNA) -- An Israeli-manned F-16 fighter jet raided a house in Sheikh Radwan region north of Gaza city on Friday destroying it and wounding seven occupants, witnesses and medical sources reported.

Medical sources said among the wounded was a two-year-old baby girl and driver of an ambulance.

Several F-16s raided the site of the long-abandoned Gaza airport site, east of the border town of Rafah, and two houses in Al-Shujaiah district in eastern Gaza city were attacked, but no casualties were reported.

The roaring aircraft also bombed a police station in Al-Meghraqa in the center of the strip and the Marriot Hotel in the western half of the city, causing extensive damage.

Meanwhile, Israeli gunboats cruising off shore hit buildings used by Izz-Eddine Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic group Hamas in Gaza city. Other sites were also pounded with rockets fired from the cruising vessels.

Israeli fighter jets and gunship helicopters, engaged in a massive air operation on Gaza Strip since a week ago, carried out a new wave of attacks throughout the day, adding to wide-scale damage in the bomb-battered strip.

Earlier, witnesses said an Israeli Apache gunship helicopter fired a pair of rockets in the direction of a courtyard of a house in the town of Al-Qarrarah, north of Khan Youness, in the south of Gaza Strip.

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The rockets' blast killed three children who were playing outside their house, they said.

Hammad Mesbeh, 15, died in an Israeli air strike on a house in the district of Al-Shujaiah eastern Gaza city, medical sources said. Fadi Wuhaib Sehbat, 20, died in another air assault on a house in Beit Hanoun, in the north of the strip.

Sources at Al-Shifaa Hospital said a 6-year-old girl, who was wounded in an air strike two days ago, succumbed to her injuries today at the hospital.

At the refugee camp of Al-Nusairat, located in the center of the strip, fighter jets fired rockets in the direction of the house of a leading member of Izz-Eddine Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic movement, Hamas, rendering the house into a heap of smouldering rubble. But no casualties were reported. The aircraft hit another house in the camp leaving three people wounded.

Sources at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al-Balah said four wounded people were admitted today.

In Khan Youness in the south of the strip, the aircraft attacked and demolished a house and wounded several people.

With this, the number of Palestinians killed in the Israeli attacks on Gaza so far came to 427, with more than 2,240 injured. Zakaria Al-Tilimis @KUNA

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