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Death toll rises amid fresh Israeli air attacks in Gaza

Death toll rises amid fresh Israeli air attacks in Gaza
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Israel had warned it would escalate its military action in Gaza and today fresh air strikes left at least five people dead. Among them are four members of the militant Palestinian group Islamic Jihad, killed when their car was destroyed in the northern part of the Strip.

Israel’s military maintains it is targeting only those involved in cross-border rocket fire. But civilians are among the more than 30 people to have been killed over recent days in the Israeli attacks. Mourning the dead, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told a funeral in Gaza City: “We will keep to the same path until we win one of two goals: victory or martyrdom.”

The service followed an Israeli air strike on Sunday on the home of a Hamas politician. He was not hurt. The militant group says only two of the eight people killed were gunmen.

As Israeli tanks gather on the border with Gaza, Israel’s Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter said Hamas’s leader-in-exile Khaled Meshaal would not be immune to attack. He also warned that the Palestinian premier could be targeted should he become involved in ordering rocket fire against Israel.

The constant rocket attacks from Gaza have put political pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to act. Despite the Israeli air strikes, more Palestinian rockets were fired into Israel today. No injuries were reported.