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Hamas fires rockets, Israel bombs Gaza despite talk of truce

Hamas fires rockets, Israel bombs Gaza despite talk of truce”

Earlier on Wednesday, before the rocket fire, a Hamas official said these negotiations were in "advanced stages".

At least 158 Palestinians have been killed in four months of weekly border protests and one Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Gaza sniper.

The gathering had raised hopes a deal for a lasting truce with Israel, with the backing of Egypt and the United Nations.

Hamas warned Israel - with which it has fought three wars since 2008 - it would pay for the attack.

As alert sirens continued to go off in southern Israel, Hamas issued a statement saying "We are delivering on our promise".

Dozens of rockets - at least 70 - were fired by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip into southern Israel on Wednesday night, as the long-simmering tensions on the Jewish state's southern border heated up yet again.

Palestinian reports said the two were killed when IDF artillery struck a graduation ceremony of al-Qassam members at a Hamas base Askelan, northern Gaza, where senior Hamas figures were in attendance.

Israeli television broadcast images of a house and cars reportedly damaged by the rockets in Sderot.

According to the IDF, the rockets were launched from the Hamas-run enclave and two were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system.

The strikes came after two fighters from the military wing of Hamas, which rules Gaza, were killed by Israeli fire on Tuesday.

It said about 150 rockets had been launched from Gaza towards Israeli territory.

Israel halted the supply of petroleum and natural gas to Gaza last week in response to incendiary kites and balloons launched from Gaza into southern Israel.

In another separate incident on Wednesday, IDF said that "terrorists fired shots at civilians" engaged in the construction of the barrier along the security fence near the northern Gaza Strip and that an engineering vehicle was hit.

At the same time Israeli aircraft struck 140 targets belonging to the Hamas Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip.

Clashes along the Gaza border since the end of March have seen at least 160 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire.

The Swedish government confirmed that all the Swedes had been sent home on Wednesday, while the Ship to Gaza activist group said shortly before midday that "most of [the activists] are already in transfer".



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