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Israel kills Hamas fighter in south Gaza

Oct. 28, 2012 9:38 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 29, 2012 9:29 P.M.)
GAZA (Reuters) -- Israel killed a Hamas gunman it accused of preparing to fire a rocket from the Gaza Strip on Sunday and a separate Palestinian salvo struck a southern Israeli city, causing no damage.

The incidents followed a three-day lull since an upsurge in violence last week in which Israel killed at least seven Palestinians, and dozens of rockets were fired at Israeli towns, damaging some homes and wounding several agricultural workers.

An Israeli air strike before dawn on Sunday struck two gunmen from Hamas' military wing as they rode a motorcycle near the central town of Khan Younis, local officials said.

The Al-Qassam Brigades said Suleiman Qarra, 27, from Bani Suheila, was killed, and another fighter wounded.

An Israeli military spokesman said the air force had targeted a squad preparing to fire a rocket into Israel.

Hamas said its gunmen had fired mortar rounds at Israeli ground forces who had penetrated the coastal territory nearby. The military said those soldiers, who were unhurt, had been carrying out "routine work along the boundary fence."

Separately, two Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza struck Beersheba, a city 40 km away, causing no damage, the military spokesman said. Beersheba sounded air raid sirens and shuttered its schools as a precaution against further attacks.

The Popular Resistance Committees, one of several smaller Palestinian factions in Gaza that often operate independently of Hamas, said it had launched one of the Beersheba rockets. There was no immediate claim for the second.

PRC's military wing, the Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, said its fire was in response to Israel's "breach of the 'calm' and targeting of fighters in south Gaza."

Egypt brokered an unofficial truce between Israel and Hamas late Wednesday, after three days of airstrikes on the coastal enclave.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report
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