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Fighting Continues on Israel-Gaza Border

Palestinians carry the body of 12-year-old boy Ayoub Assaleya during his funeral in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, March 11, 2012.

Fighting along the Israel-Gaza border continued for a third day Sunday. Sixteen Palestinian militants and two civilians have been killed since violence began on Friday, while Israel has been battered by more than 120 rockets.

Israel launched a series of air strikes on Gaza, targeting Palestinian militants firing rockets across the border. But there were also civilian casualties.

An angry crowd gathered at the scene of one air strike, in which a 12-year-old Palestinian boy was killed.

Fighting erupted on Friday when Israel assassinated Zuhair al-Qaissi, the leader of a militant Palestinian group called the Popular Resistance Committees. The Israeli army says he was planning an imminent cross-border attack from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Abu Mujahid, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, promised revenge.

He said “innocent blood will not be spilled in vain” and all armed factions would defend the Palestinian people against Israeli aggression.

At the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made some threats of his own.

He said terrorists in Gaza will continue to pay a heavy price. Netanyahu praised Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system which intercepted many of the rockets fired from Gaza. He said Israel will take both offensive and defensive measures to restore calm to its southern border.

The rocket fire has paralyzed southern Israel, where schools and many businesses are closed. Egypt is trying to broker a cease-fire, but for now, both sides have vowed to keep on fighting.

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