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Palestinian Rockets Hit Israel; Israeli Troops Raid Gaza - 2004-06-29

Palestinian militants fired rockets into Israel for the second day in a row Tuesday, while Israeli forces launched an incursion into the northern Gaza Strip. One Israeli is reported injured in the rocket attack and at least one Palestinian has been killed in the Israeli raid in Gaza.

The Israeli town of Sderot came under attack for the second straight day Tuesday when Palestinian militants fired Qassam rockets into the town.

On Monday, a rocket landed near a school in Sderot, killing a 49-year old man and a young boy.

Sderot lies near the Gaza Strip and is thus an easy target for militants, who often fire the homemade Qassams from there. The rockets seldom cause casualties because they're very inaccurate.

Overnight Israeli troops, backed by armored vehicles, tanks and bulldozers moved into the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip and sealed it off. The area is often used as a base by militants to launch rocket attacks into Israel.

Israeli helicopter gun ships also carried out air strikes in Gaza City. The military says it targeted a media center linked to the Islamic militant group Hamas. Clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip last month left more than 40 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers dead.

Hamas has been behind numerous attacks and suicide bombings against Israelis in nearly four years of violence, and even before. The group has also vowed revenge for Israel's assassinations earlier this year of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin and his successor, Abdelaziz Rantisi.

Israeli officials continue to say that the violence will not change the government's plan to dismantle all Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip by the end of next year.

Public opinion polls show that most Israelis support the idea, but some say an Israeli pullout will be seen as a reward for the militants.

Meanwhile, an Israeli man has been found shot dead in a truck near the West Bank city of Ramallah. A militant branch of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, claimed responsibility. The group said the shooting was revenge for the killing by Israeli troops of senior Palestinian militants in the West Bank town of Nablus a several days ago.