Palestinians and Israelis in Fierce Battles
Israel's armed forces briefly reoccupied part of the Gaza Strip — from which fighters of the Muslim militant organization Hamas had been targeting Israeli positions — before pulling back less than a day later after rare U.S. criticism. Secretary of State Colin Powell termed the offensive an "excessive and disproportionate" retaliation to Palestinian attacks, but also criticized the Palestinians for precipitating violence. In tougher language, the E.U. denounced the bungled land grab — in which orchards were bulldozed, dozens of homes were destroyed and one man was killed — as an "illegal"...

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