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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 July 2006, 21:13 GMT 22:13 UK
In pictures: Gaza offensive

An Israeli soldier recites morning prayers after a night of military action against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip

Israeli forces have stepped up their military offensive against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli tanks and armoured personnel carriers (APCs) cross the border into the Gaza Strip from the Kibbutz of Zikim at sunrise

Israeli tanks moved into the northern Gaza Strip late on Wednesday, seizing open ground near the border and continuing southwards.

A Palestinian runs for cover during armed clashes between Palestinian militants and Israeli soldiers in Beit Lahiya

The town of Beit Lahiya has borne the brunt of some of the heaviest ground fighting, and air strikes.

Hamas militant on the streets in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza strip

Large numbers of militants have been seen moving through the town's streets looking for ways to attack the tanks.

Palestinians rush with a wounded man following an Israeli air strike in the Abassan area close to Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip

Most of the dead and wounded have been militants, but ordinary Palestinians fear they will be caught in the cross-fire.

A Palestinian man carries a badly injured man after Israeli artillery shelling in Beit Lahiya

Thursday saw the worst toll so far, with at least 22 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier reported killed.

Israeli infantry soldiers prepare to enter the Gaza Strip from the Kibbutz of Zikim

Israel's operations began largely in the south in a bid to free a soldier captured by militants last week.

Israeli sappers check the remains of a shell fired from the Gaza Strip into the Israeli city of Ashkelon

But the Israeli army says it wants to create a buffer zone that will stop militants firing rockets into Israel.

Palestinian militants watch an Israeli tank in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya

The militants for their part say their missile launches are a response to Israeli army and air force attacks.




SEE ALSO
Gaza sees bloodiest day of raids
06 Jul 06 |  Middle East



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