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Gaza Militants, Israeli Army Exchange Fire

Violence between Israel and militants of the Islamist Hamas movement flared today after nearly 50 mortar shells from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israeli communities.

Israeli warplanes and tanks responded, firing missiles and tank shells at four targets belonging to Hamas in the eastern Gaza Strip.

A Hamas official was killed and four civilians were wounded when Israel hit back with tank fire and air strikes, said Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Adham Abu Salmia, while Israel Radio reported two Israelis injured.

The two main Israelis towns hit in the attack were Sdot Negev and Eshkol.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he would file a complaint at the United Nations, claiming the Palestinians' "primary goal is destroying Israel."

compiled from agency reports