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IDF: 10 Palestinians, 1 soldier killed in Gaza operation

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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel said on Wednesday it will continue military operations it launched in Palestinian-controlled Gaza after a night of ground and aerial assaults.

Israel Defense Forces said an Israeli soldier and 10 Palestinians were killed in the operation, although Palestinian sources said six Palestinians were killed and 50 wounded in the fighting in the northern border village of Beit Hanoun.

The clashes erupted in an area Palestinian militants have been using to launch rockets into Israel, an IDF spokesman said, "on almost a daily basis." (Watch deadly attacks in Gaza -- 2:21 Video)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas characterized Israel's operation in Beit Hanoun as a massacre and a "crime against the Palestinian people. " He called for Israel to immediately stop the operation, which, according to the IDF, began about 2:15 a.m.

The IDF said that in response to rocket attacks, it placed ground troops in the area and launched three aerial attacks -- two on armed gunmen "who had advanced towards the IDF forces" and a third on a group of militants "who were planting an explosive against IDF forces operating in the area."

Israel's operation has a "military purpose" and is not just a "show operation," Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Wednesday.

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Israeli soldiers prepare to cross into Gaza early Wednesday.

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