Missile attack comes as talks open between Palestinian and Israeli officials.
How will Israel’s incursion impact peace talks?
An Israeli army spokeswoman said troops opened fire on a group of armed Palestinians who were allegedly approaching them.
Israel said they were engaging in an operation “against terror threats”.
Taher Nunu, a Hamas spokesman, responded to the attacks by saying: “What is clear is that there is an Israeli plot to destroy the whole region.
Most of those killed in the Israeli incursion were activists of Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
He said: “We understand that Apache helicopter gunships, armoured bulldozers, tanks and ground troops are all involved in this incursion.”
|Israeli intransigence to greet Bush|
Hussam al-Zahar, son of al-Zahar, a former Hamas-appointed foreign minister, was killed in the Israeli operation.
In 2004, al-Zahar’s eldest son was killed in a failed Israeli attempt to assassinate him.
The deaths follow Monday’s missile attack by Israel near the Gaza home of Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader, which killed three Palestinians.
Tuesday’s deaths bring to 6,067 the number of people killed since the start of the second Palestinian uprising in September 2000, the vast majority of them Palestinians, according to a news agency tally.
‘Suspension of talks’
|Al-Zahar’s eldest son was also killed
by the Israelis in 2004 [AFP]
Meanwhile, al-Zahar has called for the suspension of Israeli-Palestinian talks initiated by President Bush during his visit to Israel and Palestine last week.
He said: “We believe that this Zionist escalation is the result of Bush’s visit and a natural result of the cover supplied by Bush to the Israeli occupation authorities to go forward in their escalation and aggression against our Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza Strip.”
“We will retaliate in the way they understand.”