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Hamas fires rockets, Israel bombs Gaza despite talk of truce

Hamas fires rockets, Israel bombs Gaza despite talk of truce

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Palestinians fired dozens of rockets into southern Israel and Israel launched scores of air strikes in Gaza as fighting entered a second day on Thursday despite efforts to broker a truce to end months of simmering violence.

Palestinian officials said three people were killed in the Israeli attacks: a member of the Islamist Hamas group that rules Gaza, a pregnant woman, and her 18-month-old child. At least five civilians were wounded, local medical officials said.

The Israeli military said seven people were wounded in southern Israel; one was identified by her employer as a Thai agricultural worker.

The exchanges, which began on Wednesday, have stayed within familiar parameters. The rocket fire from Gaza has not targeted Israel’s heartland and the Israeli military said its air strikes were limited to Hamas installations.

Yuval Steinitz, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inner cabinet, told Israel Radio: “We are not eager for war and are not interested in a broader confrontation but at the same time it could certainly happen because we will not make any concessions to Hamas.”

Netanyahu was due to convene the security cabinet later to assess the situation.

The flare-up came after officials on both sides had talked about potential progress in an effort by the United Nations and Egypt to broker a truce to end months of violence and alleviate deepening humanitarian and economic hardship in the Gaza Strip.

Rocket warning sirens sounded almost non-stop in the southern Israeli town of Sderot and other border communities from sunset on Wednesday. Many residents have a reinforced room in their homes where they can shelter. The military said more than 150 rockets and mortar bombs were fired from Gaza.

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