Up to 14 Palestinians Die During Israeli Raids in Gaza

Up to 14 Palestinians were killed yesterday following what the Israeli newspaper Haaretz described as an unprecedented wave of Israeli attacks on Gaza. As many as 100 were wounded in a series of five gunship attacks. Following the raids, the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad pledged to retaliate against Israel. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat called on the international community to condemn the attacks. There was some opposition to the Israeli attacks even within Ariel Sharon’s government. National Infrastructure Minister Yosef Paritzky said Israel should apologize for the civilian casualties and compensate the victims. In the deadliest attack, helicopters fired missiles at a car owned by a senior member of Hamas inside the Nusseirat refugee camp. The initial attack is said to have killed the car’s four passengers. Haaretz reports that dozens of Palestinians including medical workers rushed to the burning vehicle. Then two more missiles were fired killed five civilians including a doctor. Some 50 people were injured in that attack alone. Haaretz reported a total of 14 Palestinians were killed on Monday. Other news agencies put the total at 11.

Human Rights Watch Criticizes U.S. Over Civilian Deaths in Iraq
Human Rights Watch has found that U.S. forces have killed at least 94 civilians in Baghdad over the past six months but the U.S. has failed to investigate all but five of the incidents. The human rights group has concluded this has encouraged soldiers to believe they can fire at civilians in Iraq with impunity.

U.S. Veterans From Iraq Complain About Hospital Conditions
The Army has begun investigating complaints that sick and wounded veterans from the Iraq invasion have been forced to be housed in makeshift hot cement barracks and have been forced to wait weeks to see a doctor. At Fort Stewart, troops have been kept in temporary barracks that lack indoor bathrooms. One veteran, Sgt. Willie Buckels, said he has been trying to find out since May the case of his abdominal pain. Buckels told UPI, "I have loved the Army. I have served the Army faithfully and I have done everything the Army has asked me to do. Now my whole idea about the U.S. Army has changed. I am treated like a third-class citizen."

U.S. Claims Syrian Banks Hold $3 Billion in Iraqi Funds
Sources within the Bush administration are now saying they have uncovered evidence that Syrian banks are holding $3 billion that once belonged to Saddam Hussein’s government. The New York Times reports Syria has so far refused to cooperate with an investigation being carried out by the Treasury Department.

Sniper Suspect Dumps Attorneys As Trial Opens
The accused mastermind in the Washington-area sniper case John Muhammad yesterday fired his lawyers yesterday and presented his own opening arguments. The New York Times described his opening argument as "rambling but at times forceful." He denied any role in the shootings.

Poll: Public Backs Universal Care System
A new ABC/Washington Post poll has found that two out of three Americans now back a universal health care system. In addition the poll found that 54 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the nation’s health system and 70 percent said Americans should be allowed to buy prescription drugs outside the U.S.

Anti-immigrant Gains Power in Swiss Elections
In Switzerland, the nationalist anti-immigrant Swiss People’s Party has won the most votes in parliamentary elections held on Sunday and now holds the most seats in the National Congress.

White House: Gov’t Faces Largest Federal Budget Deficit Ever
The White House yesterday announced the federal budget deficit for this year has grown to a record $374 billion. But White House officials attempted to put the news in a positive light by saying the original deficit project was $75 billion worse.

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