At least 18 Palestinians, almost all Hamas militants, were killed today in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. About 50 others were injured during the Israeli raid, which came one day after Palestinians and Israelis began peace talks.
The confrontation ensued when an undercover Israeli army unit targeted a house used to launch rockets at Israel. A Palestinian gunman opened fire after spotting the Israelis.
Israeli President Shimon Peres said that if Gaza militants continue to fire rockets at Israel, his country is "left without a choice but to answer and stop it."
Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas's leadership in the Gaza Strip, lost his son in the violence. He has called for the suspension of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which were initiated by Bush during his visit to the region last week. Blaming Bush's visit and "the cover supplied by Bush to the Israeli occupation authorities," he said the Palestinians would retaliate in the way Israel understands.