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Second day of violence may trigger Israel-Hamas escalation

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Israel's deadly attacks on Gaza came the same day that Palestinian militants launched a barrage of long-range rockets at the city of Ashkelon, reports The New York Times. Noting that the rocket attack was the largest Ashkelon has ever suffered, The Times writes that the Israeli government considers it a sign of an escalation in hostilities by Hamas, which controls Gaza.

No one was hurt in the attacks on Ashkelon, a city of 120,000 whose center lies about 10 miles north of the Gaza Strip, but there was significant damage to the building that was hit, said Micky Rosenfeld, an Israeli police spokesman. Six of the rockets hit central areas and residential neighborhoods, he said, while the others landed in open fields outside the city. ...
David Baker, an Israeli government spokesman, said the attacks constituted "a definite escalation, and one that we will not tolerate." He said Israel was "well aware of the steps it must take to halt the rocket fire," but did not elaborate on any additional Israeli response.
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