Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says a Palestinian state is within reach, as he marked the 40th anniversary of the Arab defeat to Israel in the 1967 Middle East War.

Mr. Abbas said Palestinians have paid a heavy price following the war, which saw Israel capture the West Bank, Gaza Strip and parts of Jerusalem, and defeat the armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan.

But Mr. Abbas added the current factional fighting that has left the Palestinians on the verge of civil war is equal to, or even worse, than Israeli occupation.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces left the Gaza Strip Tuesday after a day-long operation targeting Palestinian militants who have been firing rockets into Israel. 

It was the Israeli army's largest ground operation in Gaza since November.

Israeli soldiers questioned dozens of Palestinians and detained four.  They also searched houses while bulldozers cleared areas allegedly used for hiding by rocket-launching militants.

Since mid-May, Palestinian militants have fired nearly 300 rockets into or near the Israeli town of Sderot, killing two Israelis and wounding others.

Israel responded with air strikes and limited incursions in Gaza that killed more than 50 Palestinians, most of them militants.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.