Palestinian sources reported that the Israeli army military offensive in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip that started on Tuesday at dawn has come to an end, leaving 17 Palestinians dead, and at least 45 injured, 12 seriously.

The offensive started when army tanks and bulldozers invaded the Al Zaytoun area near Gaza city backed by army helicopters.

Witnesses said that army tanks shelled residents’ homes and groups of resistance fighters who were trying to stop the invading forces resulting in the death of 17 Palestinians.

Al Qassam brigade, the armed wing of Hamas, announced that among those killed were 13 resistance fighters from the brigade who were clashing with the invading Israeli tanks. The brigade statement added that Hussam al Zahar, son of the prominent Hamas leader Dr Mahmoud Al Zahar, was among those killed in the attack.

Dr. Mo’awiyah Hassanein of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza stated that among those killed were Taleb Al Mughani, 21, Rami Farahat, 20, Mahmoud Abu Laban, 21, Ahed Ashour.

According to the local residents army tanks continued to shell residents’ homes and resistance fighters while army bulldozers uprooted trees and destroyed farm lands.

Medics stated that Israeli troops opened fire at them while they were evacuating the injured from the area of the invasion.

Abu Obidah the leader of al Qassam brigande in Gaza said that his brigades will continue to resist and to stop any Israeli invasions into the Gaza strip ‘invading Gaza will not be a walk in the park for the Israeli army’

Taking a last look at his son, Dr al Zahar stated that this latest Israeli attack on the coastal region comes with American blessing and that the Hamas movement will respond to these Israeli crimes.

In related news an Ecuadorian worker in an Israeli Kibbutz located near the southern Gaza Strip was killed when Palestinian resistance fighters clashed with the Israeli army stationed there. Israeli sources confirmed the death of the Ecuadorian worker and said that the gun battle lasted for several hours near the Israeli base of Kitsfom in southern Gaza Strip.