Four Hamas militants killed in eastern Gaza

Four Hamas militants killed in eastern GazaGaza City - Four Hamas militants were killed and five wounded in predawn clashes with Israeli soldiers Wednesday near the Gaza-Israel border, the movement's armed wing al-Qassam Brigades said in e-mailed messages to reporters.

The movement's armed wing said that its militants fired around 57 mortar shells at the Israeli army forces that invaded the eastern part of the neighborhood in eastern Gaza City.

Palestinian residents in the Sheja'eya neighborhood said several Israeli army tanks, armoured vehicles and bulldozers backed by helicopters stormed the eastern sector amid intensive gunfire.

They said that Israeli operation began at midnight, where explosions and heavy gunfire was heard all night, adding that the Israeli forcers pulled back across the border in the morning.

Witnesses said Israeli special forces stormed several houses and detained a senior Hamas member, who is the brother of Khalil el-Hayya, a Hamas leader in parliament.

They said dozens of Hamas militants clashed with Israeli soldiers, launching rocket-propelled grenades and mortars at the Israeli army tanks and vehicles.

Israeli Radio quoted an army spokesman as saying that one soldier was injured during the operation, which aimed at cracking down on Gaza militants who carry out daily attacks at Israel from the area.

Overnight, an Islamic Jihad militant was killed and two bystanders wounded when an Israeli air-fired missile as he drove his motorcycle in Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. (dpa)

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