oPt

oPt: Israeli forces roll in southeast Gaza Strip

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GAZA, Nov 18, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) -- Several Israeli tanks and bulldozers entered into southeast Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, sparking clashes with Palestinian gunmen, witnesses said.

The witnesses said that three tanks and two bulldozers rolled for 100 meters into the eastern territories of Rafah city in southern Gaza Strip.

Hamas militants said they fired a rocket towards the Israeli forces after they moved in at 09:00 a.m. (0700 GMT). Meanwhile, a statement by the al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas added that its fighters were engaging the Israeli troops.

The incursion is part of continued Israeli operations into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, began since Nov. 4. The violence shattered an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that was held for five months.

Israeli raids killed 14 militants since the start of the violence while the armed Palestinian groups resumed rocket attacks against Israeli border towns.

Responding to the rocket-fire, Israel extended the closure of the Gaza Strip for the 15th consecutive day.

The Palestinian fighters fired five rockets Monday night into Western Negev and three mortar shells at Israeli army posts behind the border. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine ( PFLP) and an offshoot of Fatah movement claimed responsibility for the shelling.