August 30, 2006

Israelis end raid into Gaza militant stronghold

GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli forces pulled out of the Gaza
militant stronghold of Shijaiya early on Thursday after a
six-day raid, Palestinian residents said.

Soldiers killed four gunmen and four civilians in Shijaiya
on Wednesday, bringing to more than 200 the death toll from a
two-month-old offensive launched after a soldier was captured
in a cross-border raid. About half the dead are civilians.

The army did not comment on the pullout from Shijaiya.

On Wednesday, it said the raid into the neighborhood, a
stronghold of Islamist militants, uncovered a 150-meter (409
ft) tunnel being dug toward a border crossing. It believed the
tunnel would have been used to carry out an attack.

Israel launched the offensive in late June to try to
recover Corporal Gilad Shalit and to end cross-border rocket
fire. It continued throughout a war with Hizbollah in Lebanon
that followed the abduction of two soldiers by the guerrillas.