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Israeli tanks re-enter southern Gaza

An army spokesman confirms an incursion by tanks and infantry units in east Rafah.

world Updated: Jun 09, 2007 11:53 IST

Israeli tanks and troops pushed early on Saturday into the southern Gaza Strip where they traded gunfire with members of the armed wing of the Hamas movement, the army and Hamas said. An army spokesman confirmed that an incursion by tanks and infantry units was under way east of the town of Rafah.

"The military came under fire. They retaliated, hitting an armed man," the spokesman said, without elaborating. Hamas in a statement confirmed the clash but made no mention of casualties. On Monday, the Israeli army carried out an incursion deep into Palestinian territory, also at Rafah, in a one-day operation in which they questioned dozens of Palestinians and arrested four.

The incursions come after Israel on May 16 resumed air strikes on militants in Gaza after a six-month truce, in response to a sharp increase in rocket attacks from the territory. The Israeli raids have killed 16 civilians and 39 militants, mostly from Hamas, but have failed to completely halt the rockets.

First Published: Jun 09, 2007 11:50 IST