Two Palestinians killed along Gaza border
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- As an international committee report was being released calling for a halt to Israeli-Palestinian violence, Israel sent tanks into a Palestinian-controlled area of Gaza near Qarara on Monday, Palestinian officials said.
Five Palestinians, they said, were injured.
The Israel Defense Forces said the tanks went into the area after two mortar bombs were fired at a Jewish settlement near Gush Katif.
The IDF said it entered the area to pinpoint the source of the fire and withdrew as soon as its mission was accomplished.
"Fear, hate, anger and trust have risen on both sides," said committee chairman George Mitchell, who on Monday released the international panel's report on the Mideast fighting. "The greatest danger of all is that the culture of peace nurtured over the previous decade is being shattered." (More on the report)
Meanwhile, fresh clashes on Monday in Gaza left two Palestinians dead.
The Israel Defense Forces said it had destroyed a factory in northern Gaza that produced mortar shells, but Palestinian witnesses said the building contained a mechanics shop, a marble factory and a library. Palestinian officials said civilian targets were hit, but no casualties were reported.
The IDF said combat helicopters were used to hit the northern Gaza installation. Mortar shells were produced there to be fired at Israeli settlements and villages in Gaza and Israel, the Israeli army said.
Since the beginning of the Palestinian uprising last year, the IDF said, 160 mortar shells have been fired at Israeli targets, both military and civilian, and one soldier and 12 civilians have been wounded as a result.
The IDF's helicopter attack came less than a day after Israeli tank shells hit the house of a Palestinian security chief in the West Bank.
Five of Col. Jibril Rajoub's bodyguards were wounded in the Sunday evening attack, according to the Palestinian Media Center. Rajoub was unhurt.
An Israeli officer told Reuters that shots had been fired from the house and that his troops had responded with tank fire. Israeli spokesman Raanan Gissin told Reuters that Rajoub had not been targeted in the attack. "I'm not sure even if the soldiers knew this was the house of Mr. Rajoub," Gissin said.
Palestinians denied that any gunfire was coming from Rajoub's house.
Along the Gaza-Israeli border, the Israeli army said Monday it shot two Palestinian men who were attempting to plant an explosive device. Palestinian security sources said the men died in "an exchange of fire."
CNN Jerusalem Bureau Chief Mike Hanna contributed to this report.
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