Thousands of Israeli troops and soldiers have stopped opponents of the Gaza withdrawal from marching into the Palestinian territory.

The massive Israeli force prevented the demonstrators from marching south of the Israeli town of Ofakim.  Witnesses say many protesters sat on the street when they were stopped from advancing.

Israel closed the Gaza Strip to all Israelis but settler residents last month, as it sought to minimize right-wing resistance to its mid-August withdrawal. 

In other developments, the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad says it has ordered its gunmen in Gaza to stop firing rockets at Israeli targets while Israel moves to complete the pullout.  The group issued a statement after errant rocket fire targeting southern Israel killed a Palestinian child and wounded eight other Palestinians.  The Jihad statement denied responsibility.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.