Israeli troops launch first incursion in Gaza
Four naval commandos wounded in clash with Hamas fighters inside Gaza, following deadliest night of Israeli bombing.
Last updated: 13 Jul 2014 07:09
Israeli navy commandos clashed with Hamas gunmen in what was the first reported ground incursion into the Gaza Strip, during the deadliest night of violence since the bombardment of the Palestinian territory began on Tuesday.
The Israeli army said at least four soldiers were "lightly injured" on Sunday, as they attacked a site in northern Gaza the army said was being used to launch long-range rockets.
"During the mission a gunfight broke out, started by some terrorists operating at the site, during which four Israeli soldiers were lightly wounded," said the spokesman who declined to give further details on the operation.
The Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed-wing, confirmed the exchange of gunfire "between our fighters and soldiers of the Zionist navy which tried to penetrate the zone of Sudanyia" in northwest Gaza.
Hamas said its fighters had fired at the Israeli force offshore, preventing them from landing.
The early morning incursion followed the deadliest night of Israeli bombing since it launched its campaign on Tuesday. A total of 52 Palestinians were reported killed overnight, bringing the toll to 165 in six days of attacks.
Eighteen people, many from the same family, were killed in the deadliest attack when Israeli forces targeted the home of Gaza police Chief Tayseer al-Batsh in the Toufah area of Gaza City.
Batsh was among the wounded, Palestinian officials told the AFP news agency.
Israel says its bombardment is to end rocket fire by Palestinian fighters into Israeli cities. The UN on Saturday said that three quarters of those killed in Gaza were civilians.
The Israeli army said late on Saturday that rockets fired from Gaza had hit the cities of Hebron and Bethlehem. No deaths or injuries was reported.
Palestinians in the cities rioted against Israeli troops on Sunday morning.
More than 500 missiles have struck Israel during the conflict, but none have resulted in Israeli deaths. More than 1,200 Israeli attacks have been reported since Tuesday.
An Israeli air raid on Saturday hit a centre for the disabled in Gaza, killing three patients and a nurse.
The UN Security Council called for a cessation of hostilities and top diplomats from the UK, France, Germany and the US are due to meet later on Sunday to discuss the need for a ceasefire.
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