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Gaza militants fire rockets, Israel responds with airstrikes

Image:  Gaza
An Israeli airstrike rocks Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday. Copyright Said Khatab
Copyright Said Khatab
By Reuters and Associated Press with NBC News World News
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The impoverished seaside strip has been controlled by the militant group for more than a decade.

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JERUSALEM — Israeli jets struck 25 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday, the military said.

Militants had earlier fired 30 rockets and mortar shells at Israeli territory from the seaside strip, according to the Israeli military. The Iron Dome anti-missile shield intercepted seven rockets, officials said.

Gaza has been controlled by militant group Hamas for more than a decade, during which it has fought three wars against Israel.

Israeli forces have killed more than 120 Palestinians and wounded more than 3,800 during mass demonstrations along the Gaza border since March 30.

Israel says it's the only way to prevent mass breaches of the border that would include militants. But the vast majority of the Palestinian casualties have been unarmed, drawing heavy international criticism of Israel's open-fire orders. Israel blames Hamas for the bloodshed.

Palestinians say the protests are an outpouring of rage by people demanding the right to return to homes their families fled or were driven from following the founding of Israel 70 years ago.

Around two million people live in Gaza, most of them the stateless descendants of refugees from what is now Israel.

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