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Israel Launches Foray Into Gaza

Less than a week after endings its 17-day Operation Days of Repentance in northern Gaza, Israel this week launched a new operation in the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis, aimed at ending mortar fire on the nearby Gush Katif settlements.

Sixteen Palestinians were killed and dozens injured on the operation’s first day, October 24, including an 11-year-old boy. Most of the other fatalities were armed members of terror organizations and the Palestinian Authority’s security sector. Two Israeli soldiers were seriously injured. Despite the operation, a number of mortars and Qassam rockets were launched the first evening at Gush Katif and at Sderot in the Western Negev. No damage was reported.

Known as “King’s Court,” the military operation, followed massive Palestinian mortar fire over the weekend. The mortar fire was described as a response to the assassination the previous week of Hamas leader Adnan al-Ghoul by an air strike in Gaza City.

Military sources admitted that the operation would not end mortar fire on Gush Katif, but said it could deter the Palestinians from further widespread firings by setting a “price tag.” The sources said the operation ended in less than a day, contingent on orders from the political echelon.

A total of 107 Palestinians were killed during Operation Days of Penitence, according to a report by United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which is responsible for Palestinian refugees. Twenty-seven of those killed were below the age of 18. Some 430 Palestinians were wounded during the operation.

The agency claimed that some $2.5 million was required to rebuild the destroyed homes.

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