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Israeli forces kill four Palestinian fighters in Gaza incursion

Nov. 12, 2008 11:32 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 12, 2008 11:32 A.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli forces killed four Hamas-affiliated Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip near the town of Al-Qarara on Wednesday, medics on confirmed.

Witnesses said Israeli warplanes fired two missiles during fighting between the armed men and Israeli tanks who had invaded. One missile was fired at a mosque, and the other exploded near a school, where the fighters were located.

Other witnesses reported a different version of the airstrike. According this account, three missiles landed near houses belonging to two families named Aal Muhanna and An-Naja, and another landed near the Al-Islah mosque.

The four slain men were identified as Mahmoud Siyam, Rami Freinah, Muhsen Al-Qidrah and Isma'il Abu Al-Ola.

Earlier on Wednesday Israeli tanks and armored bulldozers invaded the Gaza Strip east of Al-Qarara, sparking clashes with Palestinian fighters.

Witnesses said the invading forces are approached houses approximately 300 meters away from the border line.

The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, confirmed that its forces clashed with the Israeli military in that area.

Israeli military sources claimed that they had thwarted an attempt by Palestinians to cross the border fence near the Kisufim crossing and plant a bomb. The military also said that three mortar shells and an explosive device were fired at Israeli forces in the area.

Israeli military vehicles often patrol a 150-meter "buffer zone" inside the Strip's eastern border, usually avoiding direct clashes with Palestinian fighters.

Israel and the ruling Hamas movement in Gaza agreed to a truce in June. The ceasefire was thrown into question last Tuesday night when Israeli forces killed six Palestinian armed men. Palestinian military organizations responded by firing dozens of homemade rockets into Israel, causing little damage.

***Updated at 13:31 local time

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