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Airstrike Kills Three Near Gaza City, Israel Denies Responsibility

  • VOA News

Palestinian medical sources say Israeli missiles have hit a home near Gaza City in the Gaza Strip killing three Palestinians from the same family including a six-year old girl.

Hospital officials say six others were wounded.

Israel says it carried out an airstrike on gunmen in the area but has denied hitting the home.

Airstrikes are part of an ongoing Israeli offensive aimed at finding a captured Israeli soldier Corporal Gilad Shalit and putting a stop to Palestinian rocket attacks on the Jewish state.

An earlier airstrike on Saturday killed at least three Palestinians near Gaza City.

The newest strikes came after Israel withdrew from the northern Gaza Strip today and sent tanks and bulldozers into the area near Gaza City to search for tunnels used for Palestinian attacks on Israel.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called on Saturday for a ceasefire.

Israel has rejected the offer.

An Israeli official in the prime minister's office said a ceasefire is possible only after Palestinian militants release the soldier and stop firing rockets at Israel.

In almost one week of fighting, about 40 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier have died.

In other news, Turkey has called on Israel to halt its operations in the Gaza Strip. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said on Saturday he was "horrified" to see so many Palestinians killed while the international community looks on.

An Israeli Cabinet minister (Public Security Minister Avi Dichter) said on Friday his country might be willing to release Palestinian prisoners if militants first released the captured Israeli soldier. The kidnappers are demanding that Israel release some Palestinian prisoners.
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