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Israel hits Palestinian Foreign Ministry building

At least 21, including 7 children, reported killed in Gaza



GAZA CITY (CNN) -- An Israeli airstrike hit the Palestinian Foreign Ministry headquarters in Gaza City early Thursday, wounding at least 10 people and destroying the fourth and fifth floors of the building, Palestinian security sources and witnesses said.

An Israel Defense Forces spokesman confirmed that Israeli aircraft targeted the foreign ministry with a missile.

A Palestinian Foreign Ministry spokesman said administrative and financial offices are housed on the fourth and fifth floors; the office of Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas member, is on the sixth floor.

The attack happened at a time when the building would be mostly empty.

About two hours later, another Israeli missile was fired in central Gaza, killing two armed Palestinian militants, an IDF spokesman said.

The attacks were part of an Israeli campaign targeting Palestinian militants in Gaza, aimed at recovering a kidnapped Israeli soldier and stopping militants from firing rockets into Israel.

Also Wednesday, Israel launched airstrikes and sent troops and tanks into southern Lebanon after Hezbollah television said its guerrillas had abducted two Israeli soldiers along the border with Lebanon, and demanded a prisoner exchange for their release. (Full story)

Israel: House used as hideout

Before the two latest airstrikes in Gaza, Palestinian sources said at least 19 people were killed Wednesday in Gaza, including a Hamas militant, his wife and seven children.

Hamas and Palestinian medical sources said the militant and his family were killed in an Israeli airstrike in the early morning in Gaza City. Hamas identified Nabil Abu Salmiya as a mid-level leader who was also a professor at Islamic University.

The Israeli army said it had targeted a house that was used as a hideout by several senior Hamas militants who were responsible for attacks.

Hamas' military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigade, denied an Israeli military report that the airstrike injured its leader, Mohammed Deif, who is at the top of Israel's most-wanted list.

The group is threatening revenge on Israeli civilians for the strike, Palestinian security sources said. The military wing has carried out attacks on Israeli civilians in the past. (Watch Hamas militants vow revenge for deadly airstrike -- 2:43)

Palestinian security sources told CNN that an Israeli helicopter struck a police station in Garara in central Gaza about 3 p.m., killing one police officer and wounding three other people.

An hour earlier, an Israeli artillery attack killed two men laying explosives in the ground at a junction called Abu Holi in southern Gaza, Palestinian security sources told CNN.

Also Wednesday, the IDF said it struck a group of armed militants in the area of the former Jewish settlement of Kfar Darom.

There were conflicting reports on the death toll. The IDF said four gunmen were killed, but Palestinian security sources said five Palestinians were killed in the 8 p.m. strike.

In addition, Fatah sources said a Palestinian accused of being a collaborator with Israel was killed by Palestinians in the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis.

Rocket attacks

Earlier in the day, Israeli forces crossed into central Gaza. Palestinian sources said one member of the Palestinian security forces was killed and another wounded during an exchange of fire in the area.

The military wing of Hamas said it fired 10 Qassam rockets from Gaza into southern Israel, but the Israeli military said none of the missiles caused injuries.

The group said the rockets were fired into an area that includes the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon.

An Israeli military spokesman said the IDF counted 13 rockets launched from Gaza, but only nine landed in Israel.

Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza have been in a state of siege since June 25, when Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit, 19, was abducted in a raid by Palestinian militants into southern Israel.

Hamas' military wing is one of three militant groups that claimed responsibility for Shalit's abduction, along with the Popular Resistance Committees and the Army of Islam.

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