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MIDEAST > Ten civilians killed in Israeli strike on house: medics

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Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets at Tel Aviv on Sunday which were shot down by Israel's Iron Dome air shield, witnesses and police said, Reuters reported.

Gaza's Hamas militants said they launched two Iranian-designed Fajr-5 rockets at Israel's commercial capital, which has come under several such salvoes since cross-border fighting with the Palestinian enclave erupted on Wednesday.

Hamas armed wing says it launched rocket, Reuters witness in Tel Aviv says Iron Dome battery fired at projectile. 

Ten civilians killed in Israeli strike on house, medics say

Ten Palestinian civilians were killed on Sunday in an Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza, Palestinian medics said, the highest civilian death toll in a single incident during five days of fighting, Reuters reported.

An Israeli military spokesman said he was checking the report.

Medics said three women, six children and one man were killed in the attack on the three-storey building. Rescue workers were still at the site searching for people who might be buried under the rubble.

Israel prepared to widen Gaza offensive, Israeli PM says

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday Israel was prepared to widen its Gaza offensive significantly, Reuters reported.

"We are exacting a heavy price from Hamas and the terrorist organisations and the Israel Defence Forces are prepared for a significant expansion of the operation," he told his cabinet, in broadcast remarks.

He gave no specifics and made no mention of the possibility of a ground offensive.

'We are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself’, Obama says

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday he fully supported Israel's right to defend itself and called for an end to the firing of missiles into Israel by militants inside Gaza in order for a peace process to go ahead, Reuters reported.

"There's no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders," he said. "We are fully supportive of Israel's right to defend itself."

Israeli forces struck Gaza militants for a fifth straight day on Sunday and its military prepared for a possible ground invasion, although Egypt, which is trying to mediate, held out hopes that a ceasefire could be reached.

Obama was speaking at a news conference in Thailand during a Southeast Asian tour.

Gaza invasion would cost Israel international support: Britain

A ground invasion of the Gaza Strip would lose Israel much international sympathy and support, British Foreign Secretary William Hague warned today, AFP reported.

Hague told Sky News television it was much more difficult to limit civilian casualties in a ground assault and it would threaten to prolong the conflict.

"A ground invasion of Gaza would lose Israel a lot of the international support and sympathy that they have in this situation," Hague said.

Iran expects region to arm Palestinians against Israel

Iran expects regional countries to send weapons to the Palestinians to help them fight Israel, parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani said on Sunday, AFP reported.

"Although political measures taken by the regional countries are admirable, they are definitely not sufficient," Larijani said in remarks reported by the official IRNA news agency.

"It is expected of them that they send serious military aid to the Palestinians... why should Islamic countries not send weapons to Palestine?" he asked, saying Israel receives such aid from the US and Western countries.

Larijani also said regional states sending weapons to Syrian rebels should redirect that aid, without naming any countries.

Iran, a staunch ally of the Damascus regime, is also a key backer of Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel's arch-foe.

Arab League says delegation to visit Gaza on Tuesday

An Arab League delegation headed by the bloc's chief Nabil al-Arabi will visit Gaza on Tuesday in a show of support for the territory in the face of Israeli air strikes, a league official said.

"The Arab ministerial delegation formed by the Arab foreign ministerial council will visit Gaza on Tuesday, headed by Nabil al-Arabi," the official said in a statement received by AFP on Sunday.

Gaza truce possible 'today, tomorrow': Palestinian official

Talks on the possibility of a truce to end five days of violence in and around Gaza are under way, and a deal could be reached "today or tomorrow," a Palestinian official told AFP on Sunday.

"There are serious talks to reach a truce, and it is possible that understandings will be reached today or tomorrow," the senior official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

November/18/2012

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