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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Israel Halts Latest Incursion Into Gaza

GAZA CITY -- Israeli tanks and infantry pulled out of the southern Gaza Strip early Tuesday, halting the largest ground operation in the area in months.

The troops entered the sparsely populated area on Monday, pushing more than 1.5 kilometers into Gaza. Soldiers searched from house to house, detaining about 40 Palestinians for questioning, the Israeli army said. Four Palestinians were arrested. No major fighting was reported.

Some weapons were confiscated, and furniture and windows were broken in some of the homes, Palestinian security officials said. The troops left the area at daybreak Tuesday, the army said.

The Israeli operation was the largest inside Gaza since a cease-fire took hold in November, ending months of fighting following the capture of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian militants. The truce collapsed last month when militants from the Islamic group Hamas began firing rockets into Israel.

Since then, Israel has carried out dozens of airstrikes and several small ground incursions meant to halt rocket launchers in northern Gaza. More than 60 Palestinians, mostly militants, have been killed in the Israeli action.

There has been a drop in rocket fire in recent days, although four Israeli soldiers were wounded in a mortar attack on an army base near Gaza on Sunday, for which Hamas claimed responsibility. It also claimed responsibility for firing six more mortar shells at Israel on Monday, which caused no casualties.

Also Tuesday, in East Jerusalem, Israeli police shut down a Palestinian conference to mark the 40th anniversary of Israel's capture of the sector of the city, police and organizers said.

The gathering was banned since it was backed by the Palestinian Authority, which Israeli law prohibits from operating in East Jerusalem, police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said.