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Sources: At least 13 Palestinians killed in Rafah

Israelis reported deploying in southern Gaza

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GAZA CITY (CNN) -- About 100 Israeli tanks and bulldozers early Tuesday rolled into the Rafah refugee camp near the Gaza-Egypt border, Palestinian sources said.

Tuesday's operations followed rocket strikes from Israeli Apache helicopters.

An Israel Defense Forces spokesman put the number killed in the strikes at 13, while Palestinian security and hospital sources reported 15 deaths.

The strikes wounded at least 33 others -- eight seriously, Palestinian and hospital sources said.

The latest rocket strike took place about 3:45 a.m. Tuesday (9:45 p.m. Monday ET), in the Tal Sultan neighborhood of Rafah.

Some of the missiles struck the same area where Israeli troops already had demolished Palestinian houses.

The Israel Defense Forces had no comment on the rocket attacks.

An Israeli military spokesman earlier had said an operation was under way in southern Gaza to stop Palestinian militants and weapons from moving through Rafah into the rest of the region.

Palestinian security sources said Israeli troops were isolating Rafah from the rest of Gaza.

Palestinians fled their homes in the Rafah camp Monday as Israeli tanks cut off the area from the rest of Gaza in preparation for an anticipated Israeli military offensive.

Frantic Rafah camp residents loaded belongings onto trucks and donkey carts. Women balanced mattresses on their heads while children carried blankets.

The flight of people from the camp began Sunday evening and continued Monday, with small groups of people making their way to the nearby town of Rafah through back alleys.

Municipal officials estimated that more than 2,000 camp residents had left their homes.

Israeli forces have long gone into the Rafah area to shut down tunnels used for smuggling under the Egyptian border and to destroy the buildings that provide cover.

The operation came the day after the lifting by Israel's high court of a temporary injunction cleared the way for the Israeli military to continue demolishing Palestinian homes in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern part of the territory.

The three-judge panel accepted testimony Sunday from the IDF that the house demolitions are a security measure, not a means of deterrence.

Israel has destroyed numerous buildings in Rafah over the past week as Israeli-Palestinian fighting has intensified in Gaza.

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