One week before President Bush is due in the Middle East to kickstart the stalled peace process, Israeli air- and ground strikes have killed at least four Palestinian gunmen and four civilians in the Gaza Strip. The operations were launched to stop short-range rockets being fired from Gaza into Israel.
A gunman from Islamic Jihad was reported killed by an Israeli missile in central Gaza, another died in Khan Younis when a tank fired on his home. His mother, brother and sister also died.
Another suspected gunman died in a separate incident. At least 20 other people were wounded. A missile was launched from Gaza into Israel. It landed in a field outside the city of Ashkelon.
It’s thought to have been a Katyusha rocket, which has a longer range than the smaller Qassam rockets which have been used in the past.
The operation in Hamas-run Gaza coincided with Israel’s biggest military incursion into the West Bank in months. At least 28 people were arrested in Nablus.
Israel’s operation in Nablus was met by fierce resistance from Palestinian youths.
In scenes reminiscent of the height of the Intifadah, soldiers in armoured cars patrolled the streets under a hail of rocks and stones.