Israel - Palestine: first missile fire since February

The Israeli army has fired a missile at a group of Hamas militants who had launched mortars at a Jewish settlement in the southern Gaza Strip.

One of the gunmen was critically wounded by the missile, which Palestinian officials say was launched from an unmanned drone hovering about the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Gush Katif Jewish settlement bloc.

An army spokesman says the army targeted a cell of two Palestinians in order to stop them from launching further mortars attacks.

It was the first time the Israeli military had fired missiles at Palestinian militants since a de facto truce was declared in February.

Early today [Wednesday], Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip shot dead a Hamas gunman near the Egyptian border. The armed wing of Hamas, the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Al Qassam brigades, carried out an attack in retaliation for the killing of the 25-year-old Hamas member, tells Xinhuanet.

Both Israel and Hamas warned of punishing responses that could degenerate into a resumption of attacks, counterattacks, invasions and bombings.

At nightfall, Palestinian police moved in to try to quell the outbreak in Khan Younis, a poverty-stricken city of 100,000, with a squalid refugee camp of 60,000.

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