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Israel’s airforce has launched an attack on the home of a Hamas commander, despite a temporary halting of military action due to a visit to Gaza by Egypt’s prime minister Hisham Qandil.

The strike is retaliation for rockets being fired at southern Israel.

Tel Aviv had announced that it would suspend its military operation during the visit, but there are reports of an Israeli air strike on a house in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza.

An Interior Ministry building belonging to Hamas has also been hit by a missile, reducing a large part of it to rubble.

The death toll has risen by two, making it 21 Palestinians who have lost their lives since Wednesday.

In addition to militants, those killed include children and a pregnant woman.

Sixteen thousand reservists have been called up by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and there is speculation of a possible ground assault, with reports of a build-up of troops near the border.

Three Israelis have been killed by rockets fired from Gaza, 70 kilometres to the south, which have hit Ashdod in southern Israel and also Tel Aviv. Palestinian militants claim to have launched hundreds.

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is blaming the failed ceasefire on Hamas and the message is that the military offensive, called the ‘Pillar of Defence’, will continue.

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