At least six Israeli soldiers are reported killed and several others injured when their armored car was blown up by a roadside bomb in Gaza. The militant group Hamas has claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place during Israeli military operations in parts of Gaza City. Several Palestinians were reported killed and dozens injured in the early morning operations.
Hamas says it has a video showing the attack on the vehicle and of the military evacuating the dead and wounded.
Israeli forces moved into parts of Gaza City in the early morning hours Tuesday in what they described as a search for weapons workshops. Such sweeps in search of weapons and militants have become a frequent occurrence in the Gaza Strip as well as the West Bank.
During Tuesday pre-dawn raid fierce fighting was reported in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, between Palestinian militants and the soldiers, backed by helicopter gun ships and armored vehicles.
The situation in Gaza has been particularly tense in recent months, after Israel assassinated two top Hamas leaders. Militants have vowed revenge.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has proposed withdrawing all Jewish settlements from Gaza as part of a unilateral plan of disengagement from some Palestinian areas. The plan has run into fierce opposition from Jewish settlers and right-wing groups.