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Palestinian Officials: Israeli Strikes Kill 8 in Gaza

Palestinians wheel one of four dead bodies following an Israeli strike at a house east of Gaza City, to the morgue of Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Palestinian officials say Israeli military strikes in the Gaza Strip have killed eight people, including four civilians, as tensions continue to rise on the Israel-Gaza border.

Medical sources say Israeli shelling on a house Tuesday in Gaza City killed three children and an adult. Twelve people were wounded in the attack.

The Israeli military confirmed the strike but said it was aimed at Palestinian militants who fired mortar rounds into Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced regret about the loss of innocent life. But he said it is unfortunate that Hamas continues to fire rockets at Israeli civilians.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the killing of the four Palestinian civilians, and reiterated his condemnation of rocket fire by Gaza-based militants. Mr. Ban said he is very concerned about the rising violence in Gaza and southern Israel.

Also Tuesday, Palestinian sources said an Israeli airstrike near Gaza City killed four Islamic Jihad militants. Israel said its warplanes fired on militants about to launch rockets at Israel.

Hamas threatened to retaliate for the deaths of the Gazans.

Israel has increased its strikes against Gaza militants in response to a barrage of mortar attacks from the Palestinian territory in recent days.