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Gaza rocket strikes Israeli synagogue

A rocket fired from Gaza hit a synagogue in the Israeli city of Ashdod on Friday, wounding three people.

A picture taken from the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip shows smoke rising from the remains of a mortar fired by Palestinian militants into Israel on 22 August 2014. Picture: AFP.

JERUSALEM - A rocket fired from Gaza hit a synagogue in the Israeli city of Ashdod on Friday, wounding three people, police said.

"There is damage at the scene and a number of people were injured by shrapnel," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. The attack came shortly before evening prayers ahead of the Jewish Sabbath. Ashdod is around 30 km from Gaza.

Hamas and other militant groups fired more than two dozen rockets into Israel on Friday, injuring two other people, with no signs of a let up in the six-week war.

Israel carried out 25 air strikes on Gaza, killing four people, Gaza health officials said.

Israel launched an offensive on 8 July with the stated aim of putting an end to cross-border rocket fire from Gaza.

Attacks by Israeli artillery and air strikes have devastated many areas of Gaza, a densely populated enclave that is home to 1.8 million people. The United Nations says at least 425,000 people have been displaced by the fighting.

Health officials said the Palestinian death toll rose to 2,070 on Friday, mostly civilians, after a father and his son were killed in an Israeli air strike near Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel have also been killed in the conflict.

While the intensity of rocket fire has diminished somewhat this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains under heavy pressure domestically to go further to combat the threat. As well as areas close to Gaza, the rockets have targeted Israel's business centre Tel Aviv and near Ben Gurion airport, its international hub.

On Thursday, Netanyahu granted preliminary approval for the call-up of 10,000 army reservists, signally the possibility of heightened military action in Gaza. But any such move would increase the risk to Israeli troops and civilians in Gaza.

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