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Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrike on Gaza

Israeli jets have fired rockets at a Hamas training camp in Gaza leaving two Palestinians dead. The military said the attack was in response to rockets fired by militants into Israel.

No injuries were reported at the training facility in the northern Gaza Strip but the aistrikes early Sunday caused a nearby house to collapse. A 30-year-old pregnant woman and her three-year-old daughter, who were inside sleeping, were killed, hospital officials said.

A five-year-old boy and a man were wounded and three others were possibly still trapped under the ruins, according to a hospital official.

Israel's military said it targeted two weapons sites belonging to Hamas, the Islamist militant group which controls Gaza.

Israeli rockets were deployed in retaliation for two rockets which were fired into Israel on Friday and Saturday, the military statement said.

Return to war?

The rapid escalation to the use of military force follows 12 days of bloodshed, which has seen four Israelis and 22 Palestinians killed in Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank, Gaza and Israeli cities.

No group has claimed responsibility for the latest rocket attacks in Israeli territory, one of which was intercepted near the southern town of Ashkelon. The other hit an open area.

But Israel has blamed Hamas and warned that it would not tolerate any further strikes.

Many Palestinians are concerned that Israel wants to take control of the al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem, which is home to both Islamic and Jewish shrines.

A rise in stabbings and stone throwing attacks by Palestinian youths on Jewish individuals in recent weeks has been condemned by Israel's leaders. Fears are rising of a third "Intifada" or uprising by Palestinians.

Israel and Hamas fought the 44 day Gaza War in summer 2014 after Israel accused the militant group of firing rockets into its territory. More than 2,000 Palestinians were killed and some 70 on the Israeli side.

mm/jm (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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