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Israel sends tanks into ever-more isolated Gaza

Israel sends tanks into ever-more isolated Gaza
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Israeli tanks have entered Gaza near a key crossing point between the now Hamas-ruled territory and Israel.

One Israeli military source says the tanks were deployed to help evacuate Palestinians wounded in recent gunfire at the Erez crossing. Some eyewitness reports claim they were distributing water bottles.

Around 150 Palestinians are trapped in a tunnel separating Gaza and Israel at Erez. Mostly thought to be Fatah loyalists fleeing rival group Hamas, they are seeking refuge in the relative calm of the West Bank. It is there that Fatah Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has set up a new emergency cabinet.

But Israel has not yet opened the crossing, fearing armed or dangerous activists may be among the refugees.

In Gaza itself, Hamas is settling in as the sole ruling group after it seized control in violent clashes last week. The new police chief there has dismissed as ‘propaganda’ threats by the West Bank-based cabinet to freeze salaries.

But while that cabinet has been boosted with the lifting of international sanctions, Gaza appears more and more isolated, with an Israeli economic blockade on goods and funds.