Death toll rises in Gaza as Israeli PM orders ‘massive strikes’ against Hamas

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Rockets and missiles from Gaza killed four civilians in Israel while Israeli strikes killed 19 Palestinians, more than half of them civilians, in surging cross-border fighting on Sunday, according to Gazan officials and the Israeli military.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he ordered the military to continue “massive strikes” against Gaza’s ruling Hamas group and Islamic Jihad in the most serious border clashes since a spate of fighting in November.

Israel’s military said that more than 600 rockets and other projectiles — over 150 of them intercepted by its Iron Dome anti-missile system — had been fired at southern Israeli cities and villages since Friday.

It said it attacked more than 260 targets belonging to Gaza militant groups.

Gaza officials said Israeli air strikes and artillery fire had killed 27 people, including 14 civilians, since Friday.

A rocket that hit a house in Ashkelon on Sunday killed a 58-year-old man, police said.

A woman wails as others try to carry her.

He was the first such Israeli civilian fatality since the seven-week Gaza war in 2014.

Another rocket strike killed a factory worker, a hospital official said.

The military said a civilian was killed near the border by an anti-tank missile fired at his car from Gaza, and another person died when a rocket struck the city of Ashdod.

In Gaza, militant groups identified eight fighters killed in Israeli strikes, while medical officials said that nine civilians also died, including a couple and their baby daughter.

A ball of fire hits a building in a city landscape, with sparks lighting up the night sky.
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