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Israel Rules Out Large Scale Offensive in Gaza


Israeli officials say Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has authorized limited operations against Palestinian militants in Gaza following Tuesday's rocket attacks.

But the officials say Mr. Olmert decided against a large-scale military operation in the Palestinian territory when he met Wednesday with his top Cabinet ministers and military commanders.

The armed wing of the Palestinian militant group Hamas said Tuesday that a five-month truce with Israel was over. It said it fired the barrage of rockets and mortar shells from Gaza into Israel to avenge Israel's killing of nine Palestinians a few days ago.

Israel said the attacks caused no injuries or damage.

Meanwhile, Egyptian security officials plan to meet in Gaza Wednesday with leaders of Hamas's armed wing and other militant groups to try to prevent a further escalation of violence.

On Tuesday, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas blamed Israel for the escalation, but he stopped short of saying the truce is over.

Israel blames Hamas militants for the escalation, saying they have been involved in helping other militants attack the Jewish state.

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