GAZA CITY - Pre-dawn clashes erupted in Gaza yesterday, leaving three militants wounded according to the Palestinians, as Israel said it was keeping all border crossings with impoverished territory sealed.

"Following mortar and rocket fire, the border crossings we had expected to open will remain closed," defense ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror said. Israeli Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz, who is also a deputy PM, called for tough measures against the Gaza ruler Hamas but no reoccupation of the territory where 1.5 million people live.

"I have always opposed occupation of the Gaza Strip. What we need to do is to strike the leadership (of Hamas), strike the infrastructure and halt all deliveries of fuel and other goods," Mofaz told public radio.

Meanwhile, thousands of Israeli Arabs demonstrated in the northern town of Nazareth on Saturday to protest against the crippling Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Israel has allowed food into the Gaza Strip on only three days since a flare-up of violence on the border on Nov. 4.

hurriyet