Hamas militant killed; Sharon gives army free hand

GAZA (Reuters) – An Israeli army sniper killed a Palestinian militant in the Gaza Strip on Sunday after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon gave a free hand to security forces to stop cross-border rocket salvoes.

Troops massed in preparation for a possible major offensive into Gaza, but Israeli political sources said that looked unlikely ahead of a visit by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to try to salvage a crumbling five-month-old ceasefire. Full Story

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