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Israel Launches Deadly Air Strikes on Gaza


At least seven Palestinian militants have been killed in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip. As Robert Berger reports from VOA's Jerusalem bureau, neither side is backing down.

Israel launched a series of air strikes targeting fighters from Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza. The raids came in retaliation for a daring Hamas attack Saturday on an Israeli cargo crossing on the Gaza border. Hamas militants rammed two car bombs into the crossing, but were repelled by Israeli troops. Four of the Palestinian assailants were killed and 13 Israeli soldiers wounded.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev says Hamas will bear the consequences.

"The Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza continues to try to kill Israelis and they continue with their military buildup. The Israeli defense forces are acting to protect our people," Regev said.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri says the group will continue to target Israeli border crossings in an attempt to break a crippling blockade.

Abu Zuhri said Saturday's attack is the beginning of an explosion, and he urged Arab and western states to force Israel to end the siege of Gaza.

Israel has reduced food and fuel supplies to Gaza in response to daily Palestinian rocket attacks. Israeli officials say the Hamas attacks on the border crossings are aimed at forcing Israel to cut off supplies altogether. They say Hamas wants to spark a humanitarian crisis in Gaza to win international sympathy and bring condemnation on the Jewish state.