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Israel launches deadly air strikes on Gaza Strip

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Israel launches deadly air strikes on Gaza Strip
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Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip have killed up to 12 Palestinians, mostly militants, in the worst flare-up of violence along the restive border in months.

The leader of a militant group is among the dead. Israel said it struck after Palestians launched rocket attacks from the territory.

Over 40 rockets were fired from Gaza into towns and cities in southern Israel, according to Israeli sources. Eight people are reported injured, one seriously.

The violence escalated after two militant leaders died when an Israeli air strike blew up a car in Gaza City.

One of them was Zohair al-Qaisi, said to head the Popular Resistance Committees armed group. Israel says he was targeted as he was planning an attack.

A spokesman for Gaza’s Hamas Islamist government held Israel responsible for what he called “a grave escalation”.