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Hamas Rocket Kills One Israeli, New Air Strikes Hit Gaza Targets


Israel has promised a harsh response to a deadly Palestinian rocket attack. Late Sunday Israel has carried out a new round of air strikes against Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip. As Robert Berger reports from VOA's Jerusalem bureau, Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip are continuing as both sides reject calls for a ceasefire.

Palestinian rockets fired from the Gaza Strip crashed into the battered Israeli border town of Sderot. The Islamic militant group Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack, in which a 36-year-old Israeli man was killed when his car took a direct hit. He was the second Israeli fatality in the past two weeks, during which time Palestinian militants have fired more than 230 rockets at Israel.

The attack brought a stern warning from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

"There is no immunity for anyone involved in terror," Mr. Olmert said, hinting that the leaders of Hamas could be targeted. "We will decide when, how and to what extent we will act," he said.

Mr. Olmert spoke hours after Israel launched a fresh wave of air strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza. About 50 Palestinians, most of them militants, have been killed in the raids which began 12 days ago.

Moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who shares power in a coalition government led by Hamas, is trying to end the violence. "The President is working hard on achieving a ceasefire, a mutual ceasefire. And we hope in the coming 48 hours we can reach results," said his spokesman Nabil Abu Redeineh.

Hamas says it is absurd to talk about a truce while Israeli air strikes continue. And in the wake of the deadly rocket attack, Israel's offensive shows no sign of letting up.