BEIRUT

Middle East

Qassam attacks Israeli military vehicles in north Gaza

Smoke from flares rises in the sky in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

GAZA CITY, Palestine: The Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas, said its fighters attacked Israeli military vehicles stationed in the northern Gaza Strip Friday morning.

"Our mujahedeen fired 10 mortars at Israeli military vehicles in the northern Gaza Strip city of Beit Lahia," the group said in a statement.

The group announced earlier in the day that it had snipped an Israeli soldier in the eastern part of Khan Yunis.

The Israeli army, for its part, confirmed the death of its first soldier in the ongoing ground operation in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

It said its forces engaged in fierce battles with Palestinian fighters inside the Gaza Strip.

Three Israeli army units have retreated from southern and northern Gaza following clashes with Al-Qassam Brigades.

On Thursday, the Israeli army announced launching a ground operation following 11 days of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip with the ostensible aim of halting rocket fire from the coastal enclave.

At least 260 Palestinians have been killed and 1,980 injured in the Israeli attacks since July 7.

Gaza-based resistance factions, for their part, have continued to fire rockets at Israel - some of which have reached Tel Aviv.

Israel's military operation, dubbed "Operation Protective Edge," is the third major offensive against the embattled Gaza Strip - home to some 1.8 million Palestinians - in the last six years.

 

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