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Israel strikes government buildings across Gaza

Nov. 21, 2012 5:13 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 22, 2012 5:37 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warplanes and naval forces heavily shelled the Gaza Strip early Wednesday morning, destroying several government buildings.

The Israeli army said it hit "dozens of terror infrastructure sites throughout the Gaza Strip" including the Ministry of Internal Security, a police compound and tunnels used to transport fuel.

"Israeli Navy soldiers targeted a rocket launching site, a Hamas post and a structure used for Hamas' terror activity," the army said in a statement.

In southern Gaza, Israel bombed the al-Karama security compound, west of Rafah, and flattened the police station in Khan Younis, also damaging several buildings in its vicinity.

The Abu Khadra government building in central Gaza City was hit multiple times. The attack also damaged the offices of Al Jazeera and The Associated Press.

Shortly before midnight, an Israeli attack targeted a building housing the Gaza City office of Agence France-Presse, an AFP photographer said. He said at least three attacks appeared to have hit the sixth floor.

The Israeli military says it hit "a Hamas intelligence operations center, which was deliberately located in a media building in the Gaza Strip."

It was the fourth day in a row that Israeli airstrikes damaged buildings housing media offices. On Tuesday, airstrikes killed three journalists.

The Israeli army said the Iron Dome defense shield had intercepted two rockets fired at densely populated areas since midnight. The al-Qassam Brigades said it fired five missiles at Ofakim shortly before midnight and five grad rockets at Ashdod early Tuesday.

Talks in Cairo failed to produce a ceasefire on Tuesday, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signaled a truce could take days to achieve, after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"In the days ahead the United States will work with our partners here in Israel and across the region toward an outcome that bolsters security for the people of Israel, improves conditions for the people of Gaza and moves toward a comprehensive peace for all people of the region," Clinton said in Jerusalem.

Clinton is due to meet President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Wednesday.

Some 145 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched "Operation Pillar of Cloud" on Nov. 14 after assassinating a Hamas military leader.
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