WORLD / Middle East

Israeli tanks roll into northern Gaza Strip
Updated: 2006-07-16 08:41

GAZA, July 15 -- At least 40 Israeli tanks and armored vehicles rolled at around midnight Saturday into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, Palestinian witnesses and security sources said.

Witnesses said that the tanks and armored vehicles began to roll into the Palestinian-controlled area, backed by helicopters and amid intensive gunfire.

Palestinian security sources said that the tanks and armored vehicles seized locations in northern and eastern Beit Hanoun to prevent Palestinian militants from launching homemade rockets at southern Israel.

But the incursion could not be confirmed by the Israeli army.

Israel has launched a major offensive against the Gaza Strip since June 28 to rescue an abducted soldier and stop Palestinian rocket fire.

More than 85 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in the Israeli attacks.