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Palestinian, Israeli killed in Gaza violence

Released Palestinian prisoner Hazem Shbeir (C) is hugged by his relatives upon his arrival at his home in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, Oct. 30. Israel is due to release a third batch of prisoners next week despite recent terrorist attacks. UPI/Ismael Mohamad
Released Palestinian prisoner Hazem Shbeir (C) is hugged by his relatives upon his arrival at his home in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, Oct. 30. Israel is due to release a third batch of prisoners next week despite recent terrorist attacks. UPI/Ismael Mohamad | License Photo

JERUSALEM, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- A 3-year-old Palestinian girl was killed in Israeli air raids in Gaza shortly after an Israeli was killed by sniper fire near the Gaza border, officials said.

A Gaza health ministry spokesman told the Ma'an news agency the girl was killed and her mother and brother were injured in one of the Israeli air force strikes. Three other Palestinians were injured when Israeli tanks shelled sites east of Gaza city, the news agency said.

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Israel said its forces undertook a series of strikes against terror targets in Gaza in response to the killing of Israeli civilian worker Salah Abu Latyef, 22, by a Palestinian sniper near the border with Gaza in the afternoon.

The Israeli air force and tanks targeted a weapons manufacturing facility and other suspected terror targets in southern, northern and central Gaza, the Israeli army said.

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"The security fence is paramount in protecting the civilians of the state of Israel and preventing terrorists from reaching our towns and communities. The Israeli army will continue to operate against those who use Gaza as a safe haven ... Israel hold the Hamas terror organization accountable for all acts of terrorism originating from the Gaza Strip," army Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.

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An Israeli police officer was stabbed in the back in an apparent terrorist attack Monday near the West Bank settlement of Adam. The officer was hospitalized in Jerusalem with the knife embedded in his back.

Israeli soldiers searched a nearby Palestinian village for the perpetrator. The incident followed a bus bombing in Bat Yam Sunday that injured a police officer in what investigators described as a terror attack.

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The bus driver evacuated the passengers from the bus after they alerted him to a suspicious bag in the rear of the bus.

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