Thousands of Palestinians marched on Friday at funerals for 11 Palestinians killed by Israeli troops in a cross-border raid into the territory on Thursday. Among the dead was a Palestinian journalist. Nine of those killed were Hamas activists. The Israelis said that the incursion was intended to stop Palestinian rocket attacks on Sderot and to search for munitions.
The USG Open Source Center translates an article from the Bethlehem Ma`an News Agency giving the Palestinian account of the Thursday attack:
Palestinians Say IDF Raids Anew Northern Gaza Strip; PIJ Fires Rocket at Sederot
"Israeli Occupation Forces Invade Northern Gaza Strip; Resistance Responds" -- Ma'an headline
Ma'an News Agency WWW-Text
Friday, July 6, 2007
Gaza, 6 Jul (Ma'an) -- The Israeli occupation forces today invaded Bayt Hanun and Bayt Lahiyah in the northern Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses said a number of tanks and vehicles moved this morning toward the northern sector of Bayt Hanun and are now deployed in the Al-Kaff area at the southern entrance to the township, which is adjacent to Bayt Lahiyah.
The eyewitnesses said that special Israeli forces are taking part in the incursion and that they captured a number of houses in the southern and eastern sectors of Bayt Hanun and turned their rooftops into a platform for shooting at Palestinians.
This fresh incursion comes a few hours after the occupation forces withdrew from the eastern parts of Al-Mughazi and Al-Burayj refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip which they invaded at dawn yesterday. Eleven Palestinians were martyred and about 29 were injured in this incursion. In addition, the infrastructure and farming lands that were leveled were greatly damaged.
Israeli sources noted that these incursions are aimed at the establishment of a buffer zone between the Strip and Israel, which will be more than 1 kilometer wide and Palestinians will not be allowed to enter it.
In another development, the Martyr Abu-Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, announced that one of its groups clashed with a special force and that exchange of fire is under way between the resistance men and the occupation.
The Al-Quds Brigades announced that it fired a Quds-3 rocket at Sederot at 1835 (1535 GMT) tonight. The brigades said the operation is an initial response to the assassination of a key Al-Quds Brigades commander in the Gaza Strip.
(Description of Source: Bethlehem Ma'an News Agency WWW-Text in Arabic -- Independent, leading news agency; funded by the Dutch and Danish Foreign Ministries; URL: http://www.maannews.net/)