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Hamas sticks to truce demand; Gaza toll 96

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published November 19, 2012 at 7:03 a.m. Updated November 19, 2012 at 9:23 a.m.

smoke-rises-after-an-israeli-attack-on-smuggling-tunnels-on-the-border-between-egypt-and-rafah-southern-gaza-strip-on-monday-nov-19-2012

Smoke rises after an Israeli attack on smuggling tunnels on the border between Egypt and Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012.

Israel says it's targeting Hamas militants

Israel said Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, that it's targeting Hamas militants in Gaza. An overnight Israeli airstrike killed four Palestinians as Israel and Hamas traded missile and rocket fire.
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— Israeli aircraft struck crowded areas in the Gaza Strip and killed a senior militant with a missile strike on a media center Monday, driving up the Palestinian death toll to 96, as Israel broadened its targets in the 6-day-old offensive meant to quell Hamas rocket fire on Israel.

Escalating its bombing campaign over the weekend, Israel began attacking homes of activists in Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza. These attacks have led to a sharp spike in civilian casualties, killing 24 civilians in just under two days and doubling the number of civilians killed in the conflict, a Gaza health official said.

The rising toll came as Egyptian-led efforts to mediate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas got into gear.

With the two sides far apart, the leader of Hamas took a tough stance, rejecting Israel’s demands that the militant group stop its rocket fire. Instead, Khaled Mashaal said, Israel must meet Hamas’ demands for a lifting of the blockade of Gaza.

“We don’t accept Israeli conditions because it is the aggressor,” he said in Egypt. “We want a cease-fire along with meeting our demands.”

Hamas fighters have fired hundreds of rockets into Israel in the current round of fighting, including 75 on Monday, among them one that hit an empty school. Twenty rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile battery, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Rockets landed in open areas of Beersheva, Ashdod, Asheklon. Schools in southern Israel have been closed since the start of the offensive Wednesday.

Overall, the offensive that began Wednesday killed 96 Palestinians, including 50 civilians, and wounded some 720 people, Gaza heath official Ashraf al-Kidra said. Among the wounded were 225 children, he said.

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lilith2u says... November 19, 2012 at 9:08 a.m.

Hopefully the rest of the western allies will come to Israel's aid since they cannot rely on Obama. Islamic extremists feel emboldened knowing there is an empty suit in White House that has no appreciation of the danger there. Lying about our embassy being overrun by Al-Qaeda terrorists is the tip of the iceberg.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... November 19, 2012 at 4:38 p.m.

Stop the rocket attack and Israel will stop the bombing attack. How simple is that?

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