GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – At least 40 Israeli tanks headed for Gaza City late Tuesday, accompanied by bulldozers and attack helicopters, witnesses said.
Palestinian residents said the helicopters fired machine guns, but there were no immediate reports of casualties. Calls came from mosque loudspeakers for gunmen to come out and confront the Israelis, and witnesses said armed Palestinians were taking up positions on Gaza streets.
Several tanks entered the neighborhood of Shajaiyeh, which straddles the main north-south road through the Gaza Strip (news – web sites) on the west side of the territory. Witnesses said the tanks were moving toward the neighborhood from three directions.
The Israeli military had no immediate comment.
Israeli incursions into Gaza City are relatively common. The presence of the bulldozers indicated the Israelis intended to knock down a building. Israel has been pursuing a policy of destroying houses of suspected militants.
Since the militant Islamic group Hamas took responsibility for a bomb that blew up a tank in northern Gaza on Saturday, killing four soldiers, Israel has been targeting Hamas.
Eight Hamas activists have been killed in the last three days, though six of them died in a mysterious explosion that may not have been tied to Israel.