Disabled Gaza man killed by IDF during house demolition

Arnon Regular

Haaretz

July 13, 2004

A disabled Palestinian man was killed early yesterday morning when the Israel Defense Forces bulldozed a dozen houses in Gaza's Khan Yunis refugee camp, Palestinian sources said.

The IDF claims that the houses were uninhabited and used by gunmen to fire at the neighboring Gush Katif settlement bloc.

The Palestinians said that large numbers of IDF troops entered the west side of the camp with bulldozers, tanks and armored personnel carriers. At about 4 A.M., they said, the tractors destroyed a house in which Mahmoud Halfalla, 70, resided, and the man in a wheelchair did not manage to escape from the house. After the IDF left the area, Halfalla's body was found in the wreckage, the sources said.

Over the last few days, the IDF has entered the Khan Yunis region several times to destroy houses near Gush Katif. While some of the houses were indeed used for terror attacks, Palestinians said, the IDF destroyed dozens of houses, some of them far from the areas where attacks were carried out.

Yesterday evening, a car exploded in Gaza City when locally made hand grenades detonated prematurely, Palestinian security sources said. There were no immediate reports of casualties in the explosion, which eyewitnesses initially attributed to an Israeli helicopter missile strike.

In the West Bank, Palestinians opened fire on an IDF force near Qabatiyah and, in a separate incident, on Israeli troops in Ramallah. No injuries or damage were reported in either incident.

On Sunday night, the IDF destroyed the house of Islamic Jihad activist Nasser Hazimia in Qabatiyah, south of Jenin, who carried out a 2001 shooting attack in which an Israeli woman was killed. Hazimia planned and sent gunmen to carry out several other shooting attacks against IDF soldiers in the West Bank.

IDF troops also arrested four wanted Palestinians overnight on Sunday. Two men were arrested in Hebron, one was nabbed in Doha, east of Bethlehem, and a Hamas operative was arrested near Ramallah.