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Israel's Ashdod Hit by Gaza Rocket for 1st Time

  • VOA News

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip have fired a rocket into the Israeli city of Ashdod for the first time, killing an Israeli woman and wounding two other people.

The rocket hit a bus stop in the city late Monday, reaching further into Israel than any previous rocket attack from Gaza. Ashdod lies about 40 kilometers north of Gaza.

Gaza militants fired more than 50 rockets and mortars into Israel during the day, killing two other Israelis -- an Israeli Arab in the city of Ashkelon and another Israeli at a communal farm (Nahal Oz) near Gaza.

Israel continued its air strikes Monday on Palestinian militant targets in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said his country is engaged in "all-out war" with Gaza's Hamas rulers.

Palestinian officials say Israeli air strikes since Saturday have killed at least 345 people, mostly Hamas militants. A United Nations aid agency (UNRWA) in Gaza says 57 civilians are among the dead.



Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni urged Palestinians who live in buildings where Hamas operates to move out to avoid being hit by Israeli forces. She says Hamas is holding Gaza's people hostage by using the territory to fire rockets at Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appealed for talks with his Hamas rivals to form a united front against what he called Israel's massive aggression in Gaza.

In attacks Monday, Israeli warplanes struck Gaza's Hamas-run Interior Ministry and Islamic University. Israel says the university housed a chemical laboratory.

Israeli aircraft also killed an Islamic Jihad militant commander and struck the home of a Hamas commander, killing several of his family members.

In another attack, Israeli warplanes hit a building in the Jabaliya refugee camp, killing five girls aged 17 and under from the same family.

Meanwhile, Egypt opened its border crossing with Gaza to allow wounded Palestinians to enter for medical treatment. Egyptian authorities also allowed food and medical supplies to be delivered into Gaza through the crossing.

Israel's military declared areas around Gaza a "closed military zone," a move that in the past has preceded Israeli ground assaults into Gaza.

A group of international peace activists set sail from Cyprus Monday to try to deliver Cypriot humanitarian supplies by boat to Gaza. The activists include a former U.S. congresswoman (Cynthia McKinney).

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