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Rockets from Lebanon fired at Israel

 Palestinians react during a funeral of four men killed in Israeli military operations, at the mosque in Beit Lahiya northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, J...
 Palestinians pray over a dead body during the funerals of four people at the mosque in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009. Is...
 A shell fired from an Israeli army tank explodes over a building in Gaza, as seen from the Israeli-Gaza border, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009. Egypt and H...
 Palestinian mourners chant Islamic slogans as they carry the body of Hamas militant Mohammed Ketnani during his funeral in Gaza City, Wednesday, Jan....
   An explosion from an Israeli airstrike is seen on the outskirts of Gaza City, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009. Israel showed no signs of slowing its bruis...

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS

Palestinians react during a funeral of four men killed in Israeli military operations, at the mosque in Beit Lahiya northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, J...

APTOPIX MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS

Palestinians pray over a dead body during the funerals of four people at the mosque in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009. Is...

APTOPIX MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS

A shell fired from an Israeli army tank explodes over a building in Gaza, as seen from the Israeli-Gaza border, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009. Egypt and H...

APTOPIX MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS

Palestinian mourners chant Islamic slogans as they carry the body of Hamas militant Mohammed Ketnani during his funeral in Gaza City, Wednesday, Jan....

ADDITION ADDITION APTOPIX MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS

An explosion from an Israeli airstrike is seen on the outskirts of Gaza City, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009. Israel showed no signs of slowing its bruis...

Militants in Lebanon rocketed northern Israel on Wednesday for the second time in a week, drawing Israeli artillery fire as diplomatic efforts to broker a truce in Gaza intensified.
In Egypt, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon appealed for an immediate end to the fighting. Egypt and Hamas were negotiating a proposal for a 10-day cease-fire in Gaza, officials said Wednesday. The proposal would then be presented to Israel for approval.
Israel, which began its offensive on Dec. 27, struck some 85 targets in the strip bordering southern Israel. One airstrike hit an overcrowded cemetery, spreading body parts and rotting flesh over a wide area. The army said the airstrike targeted a nearby weapons cache.
A U.N. official said an Israeli shell hit a clearly marked U.N. car emblazoned with U.N. initials and carrying a U.S. flag lit with a spotlight in Gaza City, wounding the driver.
"I'm sure it was an Israeli shell targeting the vehicle. I'm not saying it was deliberate targeting," U.N. official Chris Gunness said, adding that the incident reinforces the U.N. call for a cease-fire.
Only the driver was in the vehicle, which is used to transport senior U.N. officials in Gaza.
Israel is conducting a fierce ground and air military campaign in Gaza meant to crush the violent Islamic. But tensions have developed between the U.N. and Israel over incidents of shelling near U.N. installations, killing civilians.
Israel launched the onslaught in Gaza to punish the ruling Hamas militant group for years of rocket attacks on southern Israel.
The offensive has killed at least 1,018 Palestinians, about half of them civilians, including 300 children and teenagers, said Dr. Moaiya Hassanain, a Gaza health ministry official. The toll included 68 Palestinians who were killed or died of wounds Wednesday.
Thirteen Israelis have been killed since the offensive began, four by rocket fire from Gaza.
The rocket fire from Lebanon caused no injuries, and there was no immediate claim of responsibility. Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed group that fought a monthlong war with Israel in 2006, denied involvement in last week's attack, and speculation focused on small Palestinian groups.
Lebanese officials said Israeli artillery fired at least eight shells on south Lebanon in response. There were no reports of injuries.
The Israeli military said the Lebanese government was responsible for preventing attacks on Israel. Lebanon condemned the attack.
Maj. Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, downplayed the rocket attack from Lebanon.
"This is a minor event and I suggest that we treat it as such," she said.
The Muslim world has expressed outrage over Israel's Gaza offensive, and in a new condemnation Wednesday, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden urged Muslims to launch a holy war against Israel.
Israeli military officials have said talks in Cairo will determine whether Israel moves closer to a truce with Hamas or widens its offensive to send thousands of reservists into urban areas where casualties on both sides would likely mount.
Israel wants an end to rocket attacks from Gaza and guarantees of a halt in the smuggling of weapons into Gaza through the porous Egyptian border. Hamas has called for an immediate Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.
Seventeen rockets were fired at Israel on Wednesday, the military said, down from as many as 80 a day early in the war.
Overnight, Israeli warplanes and helicopter gunships pounded a police court in Gaza City, rocket-launching sites, gunmen, weapons-production and storage facilities and about 35 weapons smuggling tunnels, the military said. Later, witnesses in southern Gaza reported air strikes on the house of a rocket squad leader and a militant's car.
Aircraft also struck the Sheikh Radwan cemetery in Gaza City, destroying about 30 graves and scattering bits of flesh and body parts, residents said.
"There was flesh on the roofs, there were small bits of intestines. My neighbor found a hand of a woman who died a long time ago, we put it all into a plastic bag," said resident Ahmad Abu Jarbou.
Two firefighters were killed in an airstrike as they tried to extinguish a fire in a residential building in northern Gaza City late Wednesday, Palestinian medics said. A shell had been fired at the apartment, causing the blaze.
Leibovich, the Israeli military spokeswoman, said the army targeted a weapons cache next to the cemetery and a nearby rocket-launching site.
She said Israel has destroyed 60 percent to 70 percent of the weapons smuggling tunnels along the Gaza-Egyptian border.
Israel has repeatedly accused Hamas of using mosques, schools and other civilian areas to stage attacks or store weapons. Aid groups have said Israeli forces must be more careful to prevent civilian casualties.
In other fighting, artillery units fired shells that spread white smoke above the city center, witnesses said. Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of unlawfully using white phosphorous shells against populated areas. The weapon that can burn anything it touches and is used to illuminate targets at night or create a smoke screen for day attacks.
The Israeli military has said only that it uses munitions in accordance with international law.
Israeli police said Hamas militants fired a phosphorus shell from the Gaza Strip into Israel for the first time. Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, said the mortar shell exploded in a field near the border town of Sderot Wednesday evening. There were no casualties.
Jakob Kellenberger, head of the international Red Cross, welcomed the three-hour daily lulls in the fighting set by Israelis to let aid groups funnel aid and assist the wounded in Gaza, but he said more time was needed.
"You must have access at any time to people who are wounded," he said.
Also, nine Israeli human rights groups accused the army of endangering Gazan civilians and called for a war crimes investigation. The groups said in a letter to Israeli leaders that the Gaza campaign has left civilians with nowhere to flee.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel supports freedom of expression, even if an opinion "is not based on any solid evidence and even if it is tainted with political bias."
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Teibel reported from Jerusalem. AP correspondent Karen Zolka contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-05-14 01:16 GMT+08:00