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Israeli tanks withdraw from Beit Lahiya after clashes with Hamas

July 18, 2014 5:19 P.M. (Updated: July 19, 2014 5:19 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli tanks withdrew from Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip after intense clashes with Hamas, only a day after they penetrated hundreds of meters into the area at the beginning of the ground invasion Thursday night.

Eyewitnesses told Ma'an that violent clashes took place in the "Ashkelon" area of Beit Lahiya on Friday afternoon, and that the tanks withdrew in response to positions behind the Israeli border.

Hamas' military wing the al-Qassam Brigades has claimed responsibility for hitting multiple Israeli military vehicles in the area, confirming direct hits with mortar shells and 107 rockets.

The al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for targeting an Israeli tank in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, saying its fighters targeted a tank near Bayaret Abu Rahma with P29 shells, and confirmed a direct hit.

Al-Qassam also claimed responsibility for shooting an Israeli soldier with a sniper shot in northern Gaza.

The Al-Quds Brigades affiliated with Islamic Jihad also claimed responsibility for the targeting of the military site Dugit, which is on the site of a former Israeli settlement in the Gaza Strip, and two wells with four 107 missiles and the Mighen military site north of Beit Lahiya with three mortars.

For its part, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, claimed responsibility for the targeting of Eshkol with three rockets.

Israel has admitted that it is facing tough resistance in areas that it has penetrated in northern and southern regions of the Gaza Strip.

One Israeli soldier died early Friday and two were injured in fighting.
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