Israel on the move in Northern Gaza

BEIT HANOUN, Gaza (AP) — Israeli ground troops, tanks and armored vehicles advanced on two northern Gaza towns Wednesday in pursuit of Palestinian rocket squads, besieging a well-known Hamas lawmaker’s house and engaging militants in ferocious gunbattles, Palestinian officials said.

Militants, undeterred by Israel’s military might, pressed ahead with their rocket attacks on southern Israel, at one point hitting a school just before pupils arrived.

The surge in violence coincided with a decision by the Red Cross to suspend activities in Gaza after two of its workers were briefly kidnapped.

The suspension dealt a major blow to aid efforts in the impoverished, strife-torn territory where Red Cross ambulances are a common sight.

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