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Israel, Gaza fire continues during Egypt PM visit

Nov. 16, 2012 10:40 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 16, 2012 11:54 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israel and Gaza continued to exchange fire during the visit of the Egyptian premier on Friday morning, witnesses said, with two Palestinians reported killed in northern Gaza.

A military spokesman said he was not familiar with any army operations during this time.

Israel had said it would suspend all military action during Hisham Kandil's three-hour visit, so long as Gaza militant groups also halt fire.

Israel's army said more than 50 rockets landed in south Israel over two hours on Friday morning, with no reports of injuries.

During Kandil's visit to Shifa hospital in Gaza City, the bodies of two Palestinians were brought in after an airstrike on Jabalia, a Ma'an correspondent said.

Seven people, mostly children, were injured in the strike on the home of the Abu Warda family, medics said.

In south Gaza, Hamas said the Israeli air force bombed the house of Hamas's commander for southern Gaza.

"Even though about 50 rockets have fallen in Israel over the past two hours, we chose not to attack in Gaza due to the visit of the Egyptian prime minister. Hamas is lying and reporting otherwise," the army said in a Twitter message.

In Gaza's Shifa hospital, the Egyptian premier denounced Israel's attacks. "This tragedy cannot pass in silence and the world should take responsibility in stopping this aggression," Kandil said.

But he vowed Cairo would do its utmost to secure a ceasefire to hold the fighting, which has raged since Israel's assassination of a Hamas commander on Wednesday.

"Egypt will spare no effort ... to stop the aggression and to achieve a truce," Kandil told reporters.

A Palestinian official close to Egypt's mediators told Reuters that Kandil's visit, which included members of Cairo's secret service, "was the beginning of a process to explore the possibility of reaching a truce. It is early to speak of any details or of how things will evolve."

Reuters contributed to this report
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