Saturday, January 16, 2010

Witnesses: Israeli tanks shell Beit Hanoun

Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli tanks operating near the northern Gaza border near Beit Hanoun targeted civilian properties with heavy artillery fire, witnesses said late Friday night.

Eyewitnesses said tanks were spotted at the border, and noted a heavier than usual weaponry used by the forces. They said the fire hit civilian homes on the outskirts of the town, causing material damages but no injuries.

Families said the louder than usual tank fire terrified their children.

An Israeli military spokesman said he was unfamiliar with any military activity in the area overnight, but said he would look into the incident.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs' weekly Protection of Civilians Report, last week saw a steep escalation in violence in Gaza. It counted seven Palestinians in Gaza killed by Israeli airstrikes, and called the deaths a "serious escalation."