Gaza Strip – Israeli undercover troops hiding in a van loaded with vegetables killed a top Hamas militant in a roadside ambush Monday, and another group of soldiers blew up the house of a suspected Hamas bombmaker and fatally shot two Palestinians in a separate operation.
The military actions came as Israeli leaders pledged a crackdown on Hamas, the militant Islamic group that killed four soldiers in a weekend bombing of a tank in Gaza. Hamas has carried out many of the attacks against Israeli targets in the past 29 months of fighting, and says it will not stop despite renewed cease-fire talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
The Israeli daily Haaretz said troops were poised for a major strike in Gaza, but would stop short of reoccupying the strip where more than 1 million Palestinians and about 7,000 Jewish settlers live.
“There will be no immunity, there will be no sanctuary, not in Gaza … not in any other place,” said Raanan Gissin, an aide to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon