Monday 27 January 2003

Likud 'ordered raid to secure votes'

A leader of Israel’s Labour party charged last night that his country’s prime minister, Ariel Sharon, had ordered a deadly raid in the Gaza Strip in order to win votes for tomorrow’s election.

Israeli troops killed 12 Palestinian fighters yesterday during the army thrust into Gaza, after Palestinians fired rockets toward the town of Sderot, causing no injuries.

Late yesterday a Palestinian boy, aged seven, was shot dead by Israeli troops, and his brother, six, was injured, at the Rafah refugee camp. Their relatives said they had been playing near an army post. The army said it was checking the matter.

Labour politician Weizman Shiri, a former deputy defence minister, said the raid had no justification and was a "cynical" use of the army for political ends.

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