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Israeli air strike wounds 3 Palestinians in Gaza

Written by: Staff
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GAZA, Aug 25 (Reuters) Three Palestinian civilians were wounded when an Israeli aircraft bombed a house owned by a militant leader in the Gaza Strip, witnesses said.

They said the strike around midnight yesterday destroyed the home of a local commander from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in the Jabalya refugee camp. The three civilians were near the home at the time of the attack and were wounded, witnesses said.

The Israeli army said it had given advance warning to the occupants of the house ahead of the air raid, which a spokeswoman said targeted a ''weapons storage facility''.

The occupants had evacuated after being phoned by the army and told to leave, residents said. Neighbouring buildings were also damaged, they added.

In a second air strike, an Israeli aircraft fired two missiles at a house in Gaza City setting it ablaze, according to witnesses.

The operation was the latest in a nearly two month offensive by Israel against militants in Gaza which followed the seizure of an Israeli soldier by gunmen, including members of the governing Hamas movement, on June 25.

Hamas, which took power in the Palestinian territories after winning parliamentary elections in January, is dedicated to Israel's destruction.

Gaza, home to 1.4 million Palestinians, was occupied by Israeli troops until August last year, when soldiers and some 8,000 Jewish settlers pulled out after 38 years of occupation.

REUTERS VJ BST0442

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