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Israeli raid kills 4 Palestinians in Gaza

world Updated: Oct 31, 2007 04:04 IST

AFP
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An Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip has killed four Hamas militants and wounded five, Palestinian medical sources said.

Israeli warplanes attacked a "terrorist position in response to rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip on localities in southern Israel," an Israeli military spokesman told AFP.

"The Israeli army will continue to act against these terrorists to reduce the number of rockets fired at southern Israel," the spokesman said.

The medical sources said the attack near Khan Younis was aimed at a police unit, the so-called Executive Force of the radical Islamist Hamas which rules the territory.

Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak earlier on Tuesday warned of an impending military operation in the Gaza Strip against Palestinian militants and rocket infrastructure.

"Every day that passes brings us closer to a broad operation in Gaza," Barak said in northern Israel while visiting the army's biggest exercise since last year's war in Lebanon.

"We are not happy about it and we would be happy if circumstances would prevent it, but the day is definitely nearing," Barak said.

The Israeli military carries out regular air strikes and ground operations in Gaza, which the Islamist Hamas movement has ruled since June, in an effort to curb daily rocket fire against southern Israel.

Earlier on Tuesday, a fighter from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, an armed group loosely allied to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, died after being wounded in an Israeli raid on the West Bank on October 16, medics said.