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Rockets launched in Gaza

The Israeli military has said it downed a drone launched by Gaza militants on Monday, the first time it encountered an unmanned aircraft since the start of its offensive last week, as new airstrikes pushed the death toll from Israeli airstrikes to at least 175.

Israel began its campaign against militants in the Hamas-controlled Gaza last Tuesday, saying it was responding to heavy rocket fire from the densely populated territory. The military says it has launched more than 1,300 airstrikes since then, while Palestinian militants have launched nearly 1,000 rockets at Israel.

The outbreak of violence followed the kidnappings and killings of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank last month, as well as the subsequent kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager in an apparent revenge attack, along with Israeli raids against Hamas militants and infrastructure in the West Bank.

Three Jews were charged Monday in the killing of the Palestinian teen, whose death set off days of violent protests in Arab areas of Jerusalem and northern Israel.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says the three appeared before a court on Monday. He said the suspects admitted to abducting 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir and setting him on fire. Rosenfeld said they also re-enacted the murder.

Abu Khdeir was taken on July 2 near his home in east Jerusalem and his charred body was later found in a forest. An autopsy found that he was burned to death.

Israel's Shin Bet security service said the suspects, whose names were not released, were motivated by revenge after the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers.

Police are investigating three other suspects who remain under house arrest for involvement in the killing.

Meanwhile, two Israeli airstrikes struck the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, killing four Palestinians, according to officials from the city's European Hospital.

The officials said Saddam Moamar, his wife Hanadai, and his father Mousa were killed by an airstrike that hit their house. Their neighbour, Maher Abu Mor, was killed in another airstrike while standing on the rooftop of his home, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.

It was not immediately clear why their homes were targeted.

In all, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has said that at least 175 people have been killed in Israeli air attacks, including dozens of civilians.

No Israelis have been killed as a result of Hamas rocket launches, in large part thanks to the success of Israeli military's 'Iron Dome' air defence system in intercepting the missiles. Several people have been wounded, however, including a teenage boy who was seriously injured by rocket shrapnel on Sunday.

The Canadian Press

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