Eight killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza Strip

Civilians among victims, including three from the same family

Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem
Palestinians mourn
A palestinian mourns a family member killed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza. Israel claimed it had targeted militants. Photograph: Mohammed Salem/Reuters

At least eight people have been killed and dozens injured after Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.
The dead included four civilians who were killed when a tank shell was fired at a Gaza City suburb. It is believed three members of the same family were killed. There were unconfirmed reports of a fifth victim.
Four people were killed when an Israeli aircraft fired at a car in another suburb of Gaza City. It was claimed the passengers were Islamic Jihad militants. Within an hour, a rocket was fired at the Israeli city of Ashkelon.

Tension has been mounting in the area since two members of Hamas were killed in an airstrike last week, after sporadic firing from Gaza into Israel. On Saturday, 50 mortar shells were fired from Gaza into Israel causing several injuries.
On Monday evening, an airstrike injured 18 people. The Israeli army said it had been an attack on a tunnel that could be used to smuggle terrorists into Israel. Attacks on Gaza continued from tanks and the air throughout Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said that she regretted the civilian deaths but the army had been targeting mortar fire coming from a residential area.
Since the end of the 2009 war, Hamas and Israel have maintained an uneasy ceasefire, characterised by sporadic airstrikes and rocket fire claimed by smaller militant groups.
Saturday was the first time that Hamas claimed responsibility for an attack on Israel from Gaza.
After the killing in Gaza City, Ismail Radwan, a spokesman for Hamas, said: “The brutal crime of today will not pass without a response by the resistance.”

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