Gaza - Israeli forces backed by tanks killed eight Palestinians including at least five militants and one soldier was also killed in one of the heaviest Israeli raids into the Gaza Strip in months. Israeli soldiers entered northern Gaza and fighting quickly erupted around the town of Beit Hanoun, followed by air strikes and tank shelling. They said the army, with air support, had surrounded the town. The operation was one of the biggest since Israel launched an offensive in Gaza to press for the release of a soldier captured by Palestinian gunmen on June 25 in a cross-border raid and to halt militant rocket fire into the Jewish state. Moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel was waging “all-out war”, and called the operation “despicable”.
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