Two small Israeli forces enter Gaza - residents

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GAZA, Sep 15 (Reuters) Two small Israeli ground forces entered the Gaza Strip today and the army arrested several Palestinians in the territory, local residents said.

The army confirmed it was conducting routine activity against what it called terror threats in the coastal enclave and said it had detained several wanted Palestinians for questioning. A spokesman gave no further details.

Residents said two small groups of armoured vehicles pushed into Gaza in the north and the south of Gaza. No injuries were reported.

Palestinian militants said they fired mortars against Israeli forces from northern Gaza but no injuries were reported.

Tensions between the Jewish state and Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in June, have increased sharply after a makeshift rocket fired into Israel by militants wounded at least 35 Israeli army conscripts this week.

The army frequently carries out operations in border areas to try to curb rocket attacks by militants in Gaza. Israel has so far opted against a major offensive in the territory but this week's rocket attack rekindled calls for tougher reprisals.

REUTERS GT BST1655

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