Israeli tanks have rolled into the eastern parts of Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip, leaving one resistance fighter injured.
Witnesses in the area said that at least five Israeli tanks invaded the vicinity of Gaza International Airport, an area which has suffered frequent Israeli attacks since the outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada ['uprising'] in September 2000.

Witnesses added that today's incursion directly followed last night's incursion, which lasted just a few hours.

The National Resistance Brigades of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed that one of their fighters was shot and wounded during a clash with the invading Israeli troops.

Meanwhile, the Izzeddin Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the ruling Hamas movement declared that their fighters shot a barrage of mortar shells towards the incoming tanks.

The comparatively small-scale Israeli invasion comes just hours after Israeli officials, including the defense minister, Ehud Barak, threatened to wage a large-scale ground offensive against the coastal territory.

Israel says its actions against Gaza are meant to stop the shooting of homemade shells, launched by Palestinian resistance groups into nearby Israeli areas. Resistance groups say that their attacks are a 'natural response' to the continued Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip and occupation of the West Bank.