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Israeli Forces Kill 9 Hamas Militants in Gaza

Gaza militants launched over 15 rockets today, wounding at least five Israelis in town of Sderot

Israeli forces have killed nine Palestinian Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, a day after the group purportedly carried out a suicide bombing in Israel.

An Israeli air strike on a Hamas police post in southern Gaza killed seven members of the group Tuesday. Hours later, another Israeli air raid in northern Gaza wounded three Palestinians.

Israel says the raids were in response to rocket attacks on southern Israel. Gaza militants launched more than 15 rockets today, wounding at least five Israelis in the town of Sderot.

Earlier, Israeli troops operating in southern Gaza shot and killed two Hamas militants.

Hamas claimed "full responsibility" for Monday's suicide bombing that killed an Israeli woman in the southern Israeli town of Dimona. It is the first time since 2004 that Hamas has asserted it was behind a suicide attack inside Israel.

Hamas says the two attackers came from the West Bank city of Hebron, refuting another militant group's claim that the bombers were from Gaza and crossed into Egypt before entering Israel.

Members of Hamas blasted open parts of the Gaza-Egypt border barrier last month, allowing Gazans to enter Egypt freely, until Egyptian authorities sealed the boundary on Sunday.

Egypt's foreign minister called on Hamas today to return control of the main border crossing to EU observers and the government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israeli security forces increased patrols in public areas following the Dimona bombing, the first inside Israel in a year, while officials considered other steps.

One Israeli ruling party lawmaker recommended assassinating Hamas political leaders to deter the group from future attacks. An Israeli cabinet minister said Israel should fence off its 250-kilometer desert border with Egypt.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.