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The Mideast

Israel foils Palestinian terror group's attempt to enter Gaza from sea

Israeli defense forces exchanged gunfire Tuesday with a Palestinian terror squad, which attempted to enter an area north of Gaza to carry out a terror attack amid rocket fire, Algemeiner.com reported.

The newspaper, citing Israeli Army radio, reported that Israeli forces exchanged gunfire with the squad and killed four gunmen. It is unclear when the firefight took place, but the terror squad was reportedly attempting to enter the Kibbutz Zikim area from the sea.

"Two terrorists from Gaza infiltrate in area," Mickey Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, wrote in a tweet. "Situation under control. People told to stay inside."

The report of the gunfire exchange come as the Israeli military launched what could be a long-term offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Tuesday, striking more than 100 sites and mobilizing troops for a possible ground invasion in what Israel says is an operation aimed at stopping a heavy barrage of rocket attacks.

At least 15 Palestinians, including three children, were killed in the attacks from air and sea, Palestinian medical officials said.

The military said the open-ended operation aims to deliver a blow against the Islamic Hamas group, and end the rocket fire that has reached deeper into Israel in recent days.

"It won't end in a day and it won't end in two days. It will take time," Yitzhak Aharonovitch, the country's Cabinet minister for internal security, told Channel 2 TV, during a visit to the rocket-scarred southern city of Ashkelon.

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