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December 07, 2002

Israeli hunt for suspect leaves 10 dead in camp
Two U.N. workers killed as Palestinians fight back; alleged militant not found

I am sure we will hear about the 10 killed but little about the armed Palestinians protecting the Hamas operatives.
BUREIJ REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip - The Israeli army had clear goals for its attack here yesterday: Hunt down a fugitive Palestinian militant and blow up his house. But nothing is straightforward in this camp's tangle of alleys.
Palestinians armed with machine guns and hand grenades tried for three hours to stave off the soldiers' attack, which was backed by two dozen tanks and an Apache helicopter. In the end, 10 Palestinians were killed, and the army pulled out after destroying the two-story home it had targeted but without capturing the man it sought.

It was difficult to determine how many of the dead, nine of them men and all between 20 and 35, were gunmen. The army said that most of those killed were armed and that at least five were militants with the radical Hamas group. Palestinian doctors said several civilians were among the dead, including two United Nations two United Nations school workers.

Later yesterday, a mass funeral procession wound its way along the streets of this camp of about 30,000 people. The bodies were held aloft as militants, their faces covered with black ski masks, fired guns into the air and vowed revenge.

Hardly a tear was shed, and that seemed another product of the long, violent conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Aisha Bahar, 60, sat on the cold stone floor of her one-room house, its makeshift roof a piece of corrugated tin. She last saw her 30-year-old son, Abdel Menem Bahar, as he raced outside and into the battle, where he met his death.

"I said, 'Thank God my son is a martyr,'" Bahar recalled. She said Abdel, a street vendor, was simply curious about what was happening.

The dead man's wife, Rola Bahar, 29, cradled their newborn daughter and gazed at her three young sons. "I am proud of him, and I hope that my sons will follow their father," she said.