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Israeli forces and Gaza militants exchange fire

Associated Press Modified: October 8, 2012 at 9:19 am •  Published: October 8, 2012

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli forces and Palestinian militants exchanged fire on Monday in the most serious flare-up in months along the border with the Gaza Strip, officials said.

The latest exchange came after Israel targeted two men in an airstrike into southern Gaza on Sunday night, killing one and wounding the other. Israel said they were militant jihadists responsible for attacks.

Then, militants of the Islamic group Hamas that rules Gaza and a smaller hardline offshoot, Islamic Jihad, fired some 30 rockets toward Israel's southern border on Monday morning, causing some property damage but no casualties, said an Israeli military spokeswoman. She spoke on condition of anonymity, citing military rules.

Gaza's interior ministry said Israel's military launched around 20 tank shells and an airstrike, mostly toward targets around the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis.

Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra said five people were injured after a strike near a mosque. Another mosque was targeted nearby and a factory was targeted in east of Gaza City, according to the interior ministry.

The Israeli military spokeswoman said the houses of worship were used as "Hamas posts" but did not offer more information.

Fearing further attacks, Hamas security officials evacuated their compounds, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the group's movements.

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