Israeli troops raid rocket launching site in Gaza

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Israeli soldiers on a mobile artillery unit fire a shell towards Gaza at a position on the Israel-Gaza border, Saturday, July 12, 2014. Israeli airstrikes overnight targeting Hamas in Gaza hit a mosque its military says concealed the militant group’s weapons, in an offensive that showed no signs of slowing down. Israel launched its campaign five days ago to stop relentless rocket fire on its citizens. While there have been no fatalities in Israel, Palestinian officials said overnight attacks raised the death toll there to over 120, with more than 920 wounded. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Israeli soldiers on a mobile artillery unit fire a shell towards Gaza at a position on the Israel-Gaza border, Saturday, July 12, 2014. Israeli airstrikes overnight targeting Hamas in Gaza hit a mosque its military says concealed the militant group’s weapons, in an offensive that showed no signs of slowing down. Israel launched its campaign five days ago to stop relentless rocket fire on its citizens. While there have been no fatalities in Israel, Palestinian officials said overnight attacks raised the death toll there to over 120, with more than 920 wounded. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Palestinians walk past the ruins of the Al-Tawfeeq mosque after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in the Nuseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Saturday, July 12, 2014. Palestinian officials said Israeli airstrikes targeting Hamas in Gaza hit a mosque and a center for the disabled where two women were killed Saturday, raising the Palestinian death toll from the offensive to more than 120, that showed no signs of slowing down. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Columns of smoke rise following Israeli strikes on Gaza Strip, Saturday, July 12, 2014. Israeli airstrikes on Gaza hit a mosque and a center for the disabled where a few women were killed Saturday, raising the Palestinian death toll from the offensive to more than 130, Palestinian officials said, in an offensive that showed no signs of slowing down. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

A Palestinian searches the ruins of the Al-Tawfeeq mosque after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in the Nuseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Saturday, July 12, 2014. Palestinian officials said Israeli airstrikes in Gaza hit a mosque and a center for the disabled where two women were killed Saturday, raising the Palestinian death toll to more than 120, in an offensive that showed no signs of slowing down. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Smoke rises following an Israeli strike on Gaza, seen from the Israel-Gaza border, Saturday, July 12, 2014. Israeli airstrikes overnight targeting Hamas in Gaza hit a mosque its military says concealed the militant group’s weapons, in an offensive that showed no signs of slowing down. Israel launched its campaign five days ago to stop relentless rocket fire on its citizens. While there have been no fatalities in Israel, Palestinian officials said overnight attacks raised the death toll there to over 120, with more than 920 wounded. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Ignoring international appeals for a cease-fire, Israel widened its range of Gaza bombing targets to civilian institutions with suspected Hamas ties and deployed ground troops inside Gaza for the first time early Sunday to raid a rocket launching site in the Palestinian territory. More than 156 Palestinians have been killed in five days of bombardment.

Four Israeli soldiers were hurt in clashes during the brief incursion to destroy a rocket launching site in northern Gaza, the military said. It said they have returned to Israeli territory.

It was the first time that Israeli ground troops are known to have entered Gaza in the current offensive. But the operation was carried out by special forces and did not appear to be the beginning of a broad ground offensive.

On Saturday, Israel announced it would hit northern Gaza “with great force” to prevent rocket attacks from there on Israel.

One of the Israeli strikes hit a center for the disabled where Palestinians said two patients were killed and four people seriously hurt. In a second attack, on Saturday evening, an Israeli warplane flattened the home of Gaza’s police chief and damaged a nearby mosque as evening prayers ended, killing at least 18 people, officials said.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council called unanimously for a cease-fire, while Britain’s foreign minister said he will discuss cease-fire efforts with his American, French and German counterparts on Sunday.

So far, neither Israel nor Gaza’s Hamas rulers have signaled willingness to stop.

Israel has carried out more than 1,200 air strikes this week to try to diminish Hamas’ ability to fire rockets at Israel, and the chief military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Motti Almoz, said Saturday there would be more strikes, especially in northern Gaza near the Israeli border.

“We are going to attack there with great force in the next 24 hours due to a very large concentration of Hamas efforts in that area,” he said. Late Saturday, the military said it was ordering Palestinians in northern Gaza to evacuate “for their own safety.”

Gaza’s Interior Ministry urged residents in the area to ignore Israel’s warnings and to stay in their homes, saying the announcement was Israeli “psychological warfare” and an attempt to create confusion.

Shortly after the Israeli announcement, an Israeli warplane struck the home of the Gaza police chief, Taysir al-Batsh, killing at least 18 people and wounding 50, said Health Ministry official Ashraf al-Kidra. He said worshippers were leaving the mosque after evening prayers at the time of the strike and that some people are believed to be trapped under the rubble.

Meanwhile, Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, has fired nearly 700 rockets and mortars at Israel this week and said it wouldn’t be the first to cease fire.

In a sign that the conflict might widen, Israel fired into Lebanon late Saturday in response to two rockets fired from there at northern Israel. There were no injuries

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