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Israeli strikes kill 21 Palestinians in Gaza
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Israeli army warplanes and tanks continued on Friday for the 14th day its strikes on different targets in the Gaza Strip, killing 21 people, medics and witnesses said.

Residents in central Gaza City said they spent the whole night listening to the buzz of drones and warplanes as well as the explosions of missiles and shells all over the Gaza Strip.

Gaza emergency chief Mo'aweya Hassanein said that 21 Palestinians were killed and 60 wounded in a series of air and ground strikes on houses in central and northern Gaza Strip.

He added that two women were killed and a 12-year-old child was injured in an Israeli airstrike on their house east of Jabalia town in northern Gaza Strip.

Hassanein said that six more Palestinian civilians, including a mother and three of her children, were killed and 18 wounded in an airstrike on their house before dawn in the town of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip.

Three more Palestinians were killed and seven injured in another airstrike on a house in the town of al-Zawaida in central Gaza Strip, medical sources at al-Aqsa Hospital in the area said.

The sources added that the hospital had also received the bodies of nine Palestinians overnight, who were killed during airstrikes on several houses in central Gaza Strip.

Hamas sources said that an Israeli warplane targeted the house of a senior Hamas leader, Abu Obieda al-Jarah, who is also the deputy police chief in the Gaza Strip.

The police chief Tawfiq Jaber was killed in the first wave of airstrikes that were suddenly launched in Dec. 27 targeting police and security headquarters and installations.

Hamas said that seven houses were struck as well as two mosques all over the Gaza Strip since overnight, adding that a police station was destroyed as well as a mosque in the Khan Younis area in southern Gaza Strip.

Overnight, the official cameraman of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was killed as shrapnel of an Israeli bomb hit his mother-in-law's house in which he and his wife were staying.

Meanwhile, Hassanein announced that the death toll since the beginning of the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip on Dec. 27 had hit 779 and more than 3,200 wounded.

(Xinhua News Agency January 9, 2009)

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