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Israelis level Gaza home; 4 children among 11 dead

| Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, 7:32 p.m.

GAZA CITY — An Israeli missile ripped through a two-story home in a residential area of Gaza City on Sunday, killing at least 11 civilians, including four young children.

The Israeli military carried out dozens of airstrikes throughout the day, and naval forces bombarded targets along Gaza's Mediterranean coast. Many of the attacks focused on homes where militant leaders or weapons were believed to be hidden.

Palestinian militants continued to barrage Israel with rockets, firing more than 100 on Sunday, and setting off air raid sirens across the southern part of the country.

About 40 rockets were intercepted by Israel's U.S.-financed “Iron Dome” rocket-defense system, including two that targeted the metropolis of Tel Aviv. At least 10 Israelis were wounded by shrapnel.

Israel's decision to step up its attacks in Gaza marked a new and risky phase of the operation, given the likelihood of civilian casualties in the densely populated territory of 1.6 million Palestinians. Israel launched the offensive on Wednesday in what it said was an effort to end months of intensifying rocket fire from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

In the day's deadliest violence, the Israeli navy fired at a home where it said a top wanted militant was hiding. The missile struck the home of the Daloo family in Gaza City, reducing the structure to rubble.

More than a dozen homes of Hamas commanders or families linked to Hamas were struck on Sunday.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said “the Israeli people will pay the price” for the killing of civilians.

Since Wednesday, 37 Palestinian and three Israeli civilians have been killed.

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