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Israeli air strikes wound 8 Palestinians in Gaza

Written by: Staff
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GAZA, Aug 25 (Reuters) Israeli aircraft bombed the home of a Palestinian militant and what the army said was a weapons depot in the Gaza Strip today, wounding eight people, hospital officials said.

A first strike destroyed the home of a local commander from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in the Jabalya refugee camp. Five civilians near the home at the time of attack where hurt.

Three more Palestinians were wounded when Israel bombed a building in Gaza City, setting it ablaze. An Israeli military spokeswoman said a weapons depot had been targeted.

The army gave advance warning to residents to leave the buildings before both attacks, the spokeswoman said.

Residents said occupants had left after being phoned by the army.

Neighbouring buildings were also damaged, they added.

The air strikes were 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.

Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema suggested in an interview published today that international troops could be sent to Gaza if a force being deployed in Lebanon proves successful.

Deployment of the expanded UN force there follows a ceasefire between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas.

REUTERS KR KN1427

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