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Israel shells south Gaza amid rocket fire

Oct. 8, 2012 9:34 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 9, 2012 2:08 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces fired a barrage of artillery shells on the southern Gaza Strip early Monday injuring five Palestinians, witnesses said, as Gaza brigades fired dozens of rockets into southern Israel.

More than ten Israeli artillery shells landed near Ammar Ibn Yasser Mosque east of Khan Younis, causing damage to the minaret and a water tower, they said.

Five Palestinians were moderately injured by shelling in the nearby border town of Khuzaa, Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma’an. All are being treated in the European Hospital in Khan Younis.

Later Monday morning, residents said a missile was fired at Rafah by an Israeli military aircraft, with no reports of casualties.

Meanwhile, an ministry of education official Ahmad Najjar said that five schools in the southern Gaza Strip were evacuated for safety reasons.

Israel's military said they "targeted Hamas terror activity sites and terrorist squads responsible for the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip."

An army spokeswoman said up to 30 rockets had hit southern Israel early Monday, with no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Hamas’ military wing Izz Addin Al-Qassam Brigades and the Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Brigades claimed responsibility for the rocket fire, saying they were targeting Israeli military bases in Kerem Shalom, Kissufim, Sufa and Al-Ayn in response to an airstrike on Sunday.

Hamas has not claimed responsibility for launching rockets and mortars at Israel since June.

On Sunday evening, an Israeli airstrike on a motorbike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip injured eleven Palestinians, including five children.

Israel's army said it had targeted two jihadi militants.
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