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Israeli Military Kills 4 Palestinian Gunmen in Gaza

Palestinian medical officials say at least four gunmen were killed and 20 other people wounded during an Israeli military operation in the central Gaza Strip Thursday.

The officials say the Palestinian gunmen were killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli forces near the Maghazi refugee camp close to the Israeli border.

The Israeli military said its forces killed seven Palestinians in what it described as "a routine operation against terrorist threats." The death toll could not be independently verified.

The Islamic Jihad militant group and the armed wing of Hamas each said at least one of their members was killed in the clash.

Hours later, militants in Gaza launched a rocket attack into the southern Israeli town of Sderot. There were no immediate reports of casualties, but Israeli officials said several students were treated for shock after a rocket landed near their school.

In other news, Israel's housing ministry said it has dropped plans to construct a new Jewish settlement in the Atarot area of east Jerusalem. Palestinian officials had criticized the plan, which was designed to help ease a housing shortage for Jews in Jerusalem.

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, while Israel claims the whole city as its capital.

On Wednesday, Israeli officials rejected an offer by the Hamas militant group to discuss a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh proposed holding truce talks after Israeli air strikes killed 13 Palestinian militants in Gaza earlier this week.

Israeli coalition lawmaker Ephraim Sneh says the truce Hamas is proposing is a trap and would allow the group to receive more arms and money.

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

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