Suhaib Salem  /  Reuters
A Palestinian man runs in front of a house damaged by an Israeli helicopter missile strike in Gaza on Sunday.
updated 7/25/2004 10:29:26 AM ET 2004-07-25T14:29:26

Israeli helicopters fired two missiles Sunday at a house in a crowded residential district of Gaza City that has been the scene of heavy fighting.

Palestinian security officials said the two-story house was empty at the time. Two people, apparently bystanders, were taken to a hospital with light wounds and two others were treated on the spot.

It was the second Israeli attack in recent days in the Zeitoun neighborhood. One missile failed to explode, but the second missile caused a huge fire that sent black smoke billowing over the seaside city. Several houses nearby were damaged.

The Israeli army had no immediate comment on the attack, which was witnessed by The Associated Press. Israel often deploys helicopter gunships for precision strikes against wanted Palestinians.

Last Thursday, a missile killed two members of the Islamic Jihad militant group driving in a car in the same densely populated area.

The target was a man Israelis said was involved in the desecration of Israeli soldiers killed last May, following one of the biggest operations in Gaza City in years.

On that occasion, Israeli forces demolished several multi-story buildings, including three the army said had been used to make weapons and three others which served as cover for gunmen. Nearly 100 people were left homeless. Six Israeli soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb as the operation was ending.

Israel has staged at least three other helicopter attacks in the Gaza Strip in the last week.

On Wednesday, helicopters targeted a weapons workshop in the town of Khan Younis, and last Monday two separate raids hit a house in the Shati refugee camp near Gaza City described as a safe house used by a militant leader.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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