Factional Fighting, Israeli Air Strikes Rock Gaza Fighting flared again Sunday in Gaza after Palestinians slipped across the border and attempted to kidnap an Israeli soldier. The attempt failed, but Israel retaliated with air raids. Meanwhile, new, deadly gun battles broke out between Palestinian factions.
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Factional Fighting, Israeli Air Strikes Rock Gaza

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Factional Fighting, Israeli Air Strikes Rock Gaza

Factional Fighting, Israeli Air Strikes Rock Gaza

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen.

It was a year ago that Palestinian militants entered Israel from the Gaza strip. They killed two Israeli soldiers and captured a third. Not until this weekend did Palestinian gunmen managed to get back into Israel. Their goal was to capture another Israeli soldier, the mission failed. And Israeli aircraft retaliated early this morning at the same time. Clashes between the Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah are heating up again in Gaza.

We got the latest from NPR's Linda Gradstein in Jerusalem.

LINDA GRADSTEIN: Israel is keeping up the pressure on Gaza militant groups. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert today said Israeli forces will continue to operate in Gaza. Israeli officials say they're concerned by yesterday's attempt to capture an Israeli soldier. Four gunmen from Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades managed to infiltrate into Israel. Israeli troops opened fired on the men. One militant was killed, the other three got away.

A spokesman for Islamic Jihad says the militants try to capture an Israeli soldier and take him into Gaza. The Israeli soldier Hamas captured last year is still being held. Hamas is demanding the release of 1,400 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in exchange for him.

Meanwhile, Palestinian officials say the weekend's clashes in the southern Gaza town of Rafa have left at least three Palestine dead. It's been the worse internal fighting in Gaza since the ceasefire was declared almost a month ago. Hamas and Fatah blamed each other for starting the fighting. A leading Palestinian human rights group says more than 600 Palestinians have been killed in factional fighting since Hamas defeated Fatah in elections a year and a half ago.

Linda Gradstein, NPR News, Jerusalem.

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