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Israeli Air Raid on Gaza Kills Palestinian Girl


A Palestinian teenage girl has been killed in an Israeli air raid on the Gaza Strip. The attack coincides with a report by an Israeli human rights group that condemns recent Israeli military action in Gaza.

An Israeli warplane blasted a home in the town of Rafah, identified as a haven for weapons smuggling from Egypt into Gaza. The army said it targeted a house that covered a tunnel running under the Egyptian border that was used to smuggle arms to Palestinian militants.

In an attempt to prevent civilian casualties, the army warned occupants to vacate the house before the air strike. Nevertheless, the blast caused a neighboring apartment building to collapse, killing a 14-year-old Palestinian girl.

A military statement said the raid is part of Israel's continuing war on terror. Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev.

"If there is terrorist activity from Gaza into Israel, the Israeli public will demand of the Israeli government that we defend the citizens of Israel," the spokesman said.

Israel has been launching almost daily raids in Gaza, to pressure the Hamas-led Palestinian government to free a soldier kidnapped by militants three months ago. One of the most controversial raids occurred shortly after the kidnapping, when Israel bombed a power plant, knocking out electricity to many of Gaza's 1.4 million residents.

On Wednesday, the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem published a report describing that attack as a "war crime." The report said the bombing affected hospitals and food supplies, and damaged water and sewage systems.

"Civilian casualties and attacks on civilians are considered crimes against humanity, wherever they take place," said Israeli human rights activist Anat Horowitz.

Israel says the kidnapping of the soldier at an army base on the Gaza border was an unprovoked attack on its sovereign territory But B'Tselem said the bombing of the power plant was an "act of vengeance" that is forbidden by international law.

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