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Gaza death toll hits 135

Gaza City, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Israel is defending its airstrike against a Gaza mosque, saying Hamas was hiding rockets there, right next to another religious site and civilian homes.

Releasing an aerial photo of the mosque, the Israeli military said Gaza militant groups deliberately endanger civilians by using religious sites to conceal weapons and establish underground tunnel networks.

The Israeli military says militants have fired nearly 700 rockets toward Israel over the past five days. It says the airstrikes will continue until the rocket fire ceases.

Israel has also demolished dozens of homes it says are used by Hamas for military purposes.

Palestinians say 135 people have been killed in five days of Israeli airstrikes, many of them civilians. Hamas officials say one of those killed was a nephew of a top Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh.

A handful of Israelis have been wounded by rockets but no deaths have been reported. That is attributed to Israel's "Iron Dome" rocket defense system, which has intercepted more than 130 incoming rockets.

 
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