The Israeli army pushed into the northern Gazan town of Beit Hanoun on Sunday and stayed for several hours to try and stop rocket attacks into the Israeli town of Sderot, where two fell during the day injuring a woman. Two people were wounded in the operation, one of them a Palestinian cameraman working for Israeli television. Doctors say he was shot by Israeli soldiers. The incursion came just hours after the ending of a three-day occupation of the refugee camp of Khan Younis by the army for similar reasons.
Militant Palestinians have escalated rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli targets despite Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas telling them to stop. Abbas is into the last week of his campaign to be elected President, and he slammed the incursions saying they would interfere with the January the ninth poll.
He also promised he would not abandon the militants who he said deserved “safety and security and a dignified life”. Abbas’s honour guard of armed militants at his rally led to US Secretary of State Colin Powell saying he was disturbed by the spectacle, even if he recognised Abbas was obliged to reach out to all members of the community.