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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 September, 2004, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
Israeli tanks enter north Gaza
File photo of Israeli tanks in Gaza Strip
Israel's army has tried to stop rockets attacks from Gaza
At least 20 Israeli tanks accompanied by bulldozers and attack helicopters have sealed off parts of northern Gaza.

The armour took up position overnight outside the towns of Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahiya and the Jabaliya refugee camp.

The move targeted Palestinians who have been sending rockets into Jewish areas - more than 20 were fired in the last day, the BBC's Alan Johnston reports.

Heavy gunfire was used to stop crowds gathering, injuring six Palestinians, medical officials and witnesses say.

The latest rockets to hit Israel were fired on Wednesday morning. They landed in the Negev desert, causing no injuries, an army spokesman said.

Hamas arrest

Earlier, Palestinian militants fired mortars and rockets at the Israeli border town of Sderot. The Israeli tanks were seen moving into northern Gaza at just before dawn.

The operation is to "stop and prevent the firing of more rockets at Israeli towns", Reuters quoted the Israeli military source as saying.

However, our correspondent says Israel is finding it hard to counter Hamas' strategy of randomly rocketing civilian areas - a recent occupation of northern Gaza failed to stop the flurry of rockets.

Meanwhile, two Israeli soldiers were hurt during an operation to arrest a Hamas militant in the West Bank town of Hebron, the Israeli army said.

Revenge

On Tuesday, Hamas vowed vengeance for 14 of its members who were killed in an overnight strike in Gaza City.

Mourners in Gaza
Marchers in Gaza mourned the Hamas militants on Tuesday

Tens of thousands of people thronged the streets of the city for the funerals of the militants.

Israel said it launched missiles on a Hamas training exercise being carried out around midnight at a sports ground in the east of the city.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei denounced the attack, and said a Palestinian response would be justified.

Israel has itself vowed to take action against Hamas, after the group claimed responsibility for the 31 August suicide bombings of two buses in Beersheba, that killed 16 people.

But Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said the air strike on Hamas members was not in revenge for Beersheba, but rather "part of our continuous war against terrorism".




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Palestinian women sit on a roof top of the home of a Palestinian family in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on 20 November 2006. Human shields
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