Israeli missile strike kills three in Gaza

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Gaza, Nov 4: A missile fired from an Israeli aircraft killed three Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip today, local medical officials said.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed that an aircraft had fired at three men who had just launched rockets into southern Israel. He said militants have launched over 1,000 rockets at Israel in the past four months.

An official from Gaza's ruling Islamist Hamas faction said the missile hit a container at a factory near the town of Beit Hanoun. He said the three men, including a father and his son, had not been involved in the firing of the rockets.

The northern Gaza Strip is an area which militants often use to launch rockets into southern Israel. The rockets are rarely deadly, but cause widespread panic and a disruption to daily life for the local residents.

The attack came as United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is visiting the region, was to meet Israeli officials and Palestinian leaders from Fatah, Hamas's rival faction, to discuss a planned peace conference later this year.

Reuters>

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