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Gaza: schoolboy, two militants killed in ongoing Israeli air strikes

A Palestinian schoolboy and two militants were killed today in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, in a fourth day of cross-border violence.

Palestine militants funeralEnlarge
Palestinian mourners carry the bodies of seven Islamic Jihad militants today in Gaza City. As many as 15 Palestinian fighters died and 20 people wounded in a series of Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip that began on Friday. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel and Gaza are expected to reach a ceasefire within 48 hours, Egypt's ambassador to the Palestinian Authority said late today, according to Haaretz.

Egypt's efforts to broker an end to the violence came as it persisted, with the death toll rising to 25 militants killed by Israeli forces in Gaza since Friday, according to Reuters. A Palestinian schoolboy and two militants were killed in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, Al Jazeera reported.

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Haaretz quoted Ambassador Yasser Othman as saying: "Egypt is determined to reach a ceasefire within 48 hours" and adding that a ceasfire would be reached despite current difficulties and the refusal of Israel to stop its activities in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian faction Islamic Jihad said two of its militants were killed in separate raids, one while he was riding a motorcycle, close to Khan Yunis, in the south of the Gaza Strip CBS News reported.

The network cited a health official who said the schoolboy, 16, died near the northern town of Beit Lahiya when a group of civilians was struck in another attack.

The Israeli military confirmed that, early today, it carried out nine air attacks against rocket-launching sites and a weapons storage facility, saying Israel had been hit by at least 140 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.

The United Nations and the European Union have appealed for calm, while the US condemned Israel's rocket attacks as "cowardly," the BBC reported.

The latest cross-border fighting began on Friday when militant commander Zohair al-Qaisi was killed in an Israeli air strike on a car he was traveling in with two associates, in Gaza City.

Israel claimed that al-Qaisi, secretary general of the Popular Resistance Committees, had been planning a major attack, the BBC reported.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that military operations would "continue as long as necessary."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/120312/israel-gaza-schoolboy-palestinian-militants-air-strikes