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Israeli boy and older brother seriously injured in rocket attack from Gaza
Israeli medics evacuate a wounded man after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip hit the town of Sderot, southern Israel, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2008. The 19 year-old man and his 8 year-old brother were seriously wounded Saturday when a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip landed in the southern Israeli town, police and medics said. The rocket fell near the children on a road in the center of the town of Sderot, they said. - photo by Associated Press
    JERUSALEM — An 8-year-old boy and his older brother were seriously wounded Saturday when a rocket from Gaza slammed into the Israeli border town of Sderot, police and medics said.
    The younger boy’s legs were at least partially severed by the explosion, Israel’s Army Radio reported. His 19-year-old brother was also badly hurt. A medic, who only gave his first name as Gil, said he heard a loud explosion and rushed toward the scene.
    ‘‘I found two injured people, one boy very seriously wounded in the legs,’’ the medic told Army Radio.
    Their mother and a third brother were brought to the hospital suffering shock, medics told Channel Two TV.
    Israel threatened retaliation.
    ‘‘Israel will take resolute and decisive measures to protect our citizens,’’ government spokesman David Baker said. ‘‘We will not allow Israeli families to be victimized by Palestinian rockets in the heart of their own cities.’’
    The militant group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for firing two rockets toward Sderot around the time of the attack. Two rockets had fallen earlier in the day, but caused no damage or injuries.
    The Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip had vowed to persist in their attacks despite an Israeli cutback in power supply to the coastal territory that was meant to pressure Palestinians to stop the launchings.
    The Israeli army and government have been reluctant to launch a large military campaign in Gaza against the rocket operation for fear both soldiers and Palestinian civilians would suffer a great number of casualties. But analysts say any serious rocket attacks will put great pressure on the political echelon to approve such a broad operation.
    The rockets fall almost daily in southern Israel, occasionally causing casualties. Twelve Israelis have been killed in the past six years.
    Israeli aircraft had earlier in the day struck twice in Gaza in an effort to thwart the launchings, the army said. One militant was seriously injured, medics said.
    Seventeen Palestinians, all militants except for one, were killed this week in Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip.
    Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Saturday he was ‘‘extremely concerned’’ by Israel’s cutback in power supply to Gaza, and urged Israel to reverse the decision. Miliband also called for a cessation of the rocket fire, and condemned a Hamas suicide bombing in Israel this week that killed one woman.
    Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza after Hamas violently seized the territory last year from forces allies with moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. It has cut back on shipments including fuel and some food items but has said it would not allow a humanitarian crisis to develop.
    The Gaza rocket fire and Israeli military attacks threaten to derail efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement by the end of the year.
    Israel has warned the Abbas government — its partner in the talks — that it will not implement an agreement while serious violence continues. Abbas, however, has no effective control of Gaza, ruling from the West Bank since the Hamas takeover.

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