At least four Palestinian militants have been killed in an Israeli airstrike as they were attempting to launch makeshift rockets from the Gaza Strip. Members of Islamic Jihad, the gunmen had earlier exchanged fire with Israeli troops. An Israeli army spokeswoman said while it was the first armed clash since Israel withdrew from the Strip last year, it was not the first time soldiers had ventured into the territory since then.
At least five civilians were injured in the fighting including two radio reporters, a cameraman and two paramedics. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Foreign Minister has rejected as a waste of money a referendum proposed by President Mahmoud Abbas on a two-state solution being the best route to peace and recognition of Israel. It is part of a programme drawn up by Palestinian leaders held in Israeli jails. The Hamas minister said his party was not afraid of such a poll but in the present financial circumstances it was not feasible.