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Israeli Forces Leave Gaza Strip After Deadly Raid

Israeli forces pulled out of the Gaza Strip Friday after one of the deadliest days of fighting there since Hamas militants seized control of the territory in mid-June.

At least 11 Palestinian militants died in fighting Thursday between Israeli troops and gunmen from Hamas and Islamic Jihad in central Gaza.

Israel says its forces were targeting militants firing rockets at the Jewish state and looking for tunnels used to smuggle weapons.

In Washington Friday, the U.S. State Department announced officials from the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators will meet in London next week.

Officials from the United States, United Nations, European Union, and Russia will Tuesday discuss events in the region and the role of the group's new envoy - former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Mr. Blair will not attend Tuesday's meeting. State Department spokesman Tom Casey also said he is not aware of any plans for Mr. Blair in his new role as Mideast envoy to meet with Hamas.

Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in fighting with the rival group Fatah led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Afterwards, Mr. Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led unity government and formed another administration based in the West Bank.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.