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Israeli Forces Kill 7 Palestinians in Gaza Raid


Israeli troops have killed at least six Palestinian militants and a schoolteacher in the northern Gaza Strip. VOA's Jim Teeple has details from our Jerusalem bureau.

The fighting started after Israeli tanks backed by aircraft moved into the town of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza to confront militants firing rockets at southern Israel.

A Palestinian schoolteacher was killed and two of his colleagues were wounded when an Israeli missile struck their agricultural school during the operation.

Israeli military authorities say they are investigating the incident, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio on Thursday military operations in Gaza will continue as long as the rockets keep striking southern Israel.

Barak says the Israeli strikes could increase and will continue, along with the blockade of the Gaza Strip, until the problem with Qassam rockets stop.

Rocket attacks against southern Israel have intensified over the past few days and they are causing more injuries among Israelis.

Hamas militants are claiming responsibility for most of the attacks. Until recently, militants belonging to Islamic Jihad and the so-called Popular Resistance Committees had taken credit for a majority of the rocket attacks. Hamas also claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing earlier this week that killed an elderly Israeli woman. The attack had previously been claimed by two other militant groups.

It was the first suicide bombing claimed by Hamas in three years. Israeli security officials say the bombing was a new attempt by Hamas to derail peace talks between Israel and the moderate West Bank government of Mahmoud Abbas.

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