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Israeli Troops Raid Palestinian Town, Kill At Least 4

Israeli troops Sunday raided a Palestinian town in the Gaza Strip, killing at least four persons. The raid is in response to continued rocket fire by Palestinian militants into Israel.

Israeli troops, backed by tanks, entered Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza. The soldiers began searches for weapons factories and rocket launchers. The town has been used as a base to launch rockets at Sderot inside Israel in recent days. Israeli tanks also moved to the center of the town, where they fired on one house, residents said.

Soldiers also cut off all access roads to Beit Hanoun during the operation and announced through loudspeakers that a curfew had been imposed. And in a separate incident elsewhere in the Gaza Strip, one armed Palestinian was reported killed as he approached the Jewish settlement of Netzarim.

Israel has stepped up its incursions into Gaza in the past week after Hamas, destroyed a tank and killed four soldiers. In response, Israel vowed to pursue Hamas. At least 11 Palestinians were killed during an Israeli raid last week into Gaza City.

Israeli troops have also intensified their activities in the West Bank. On Saturday, Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinians in an operation in the West Bank city of Nablus. Palestinian security officials said the two were killed in the densely-populated casbah district, where the army has imposed a curfew.

Six Palestinians are reported to have been killed since the Israelis launched "Operation Root Canal" in Nablus on Thursday, sending the army into the casbah to carry out house-to-house searches.