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Israeli Official Orders Troops to Gaza | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip, AP -The Israeli defense minister ordered ground forces to move to the Gaza border Saturday in response to Hamas rocket fire, a security official said.

Shortly afterward, witnesses reported a large explosion in Gaza City and said they saw an Israeli aircraft overhead at the time.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz gave the order to deploy troops after consulting with his security chiefs, the official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to report on the contents of the meeting.

The forces would concentrate opposite northern Gaza, from which 21 rockets were fired at Israeli border towns overnight, the official said.

Israel Radio said Mofaz also decided to continue targeting Hamas militants from the air.

In a first response Saturday, Israel fired missiles at several suspected Hamas weapons workshops in Gaza and sealed the West Bank and Gaza.

The overnight rocket barrage was the first since Israel pulled out of Gaza nearly two weeks ago. Israel has said it will display &#34zero tolerance&#34 for attacks on its towns after the withdrawal.