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Israeli aircraft strike Gaza as leaders convene

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By Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) — Militants launched mortar shells into Israel and Israeli jets bombed targets in Gaza on Wednesday, just as Israeli and Palestinian leaders held peace talks in Jerusalem with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Gaza militants opposed to peace with Israel have threatened to derail the fledgling negotiations, and the Israeli military said eight mortars and one rocket hit Israel by mid-afternoon on the day of the talks — the highest daily total since March 2009. There were no injuries.

Israeli warplanes responded by bombing a smuggling tunnel along the Gaza-Egypt border, the military said. Hamas officials said one person was killed and four wounded.

In Jerusalem, little more than an hour's drive from Gaza, Clinton said Israeli and Palestinian leaders were "getting down to business" on the major issues dividing them, though there was no sign they were any closer to resolving a looming crisis over Israeli West Bank settlements.

The American secretary of state was in Jerusalem for a second day of talks aimed in part at ending the impasse, a day after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at a summit hosted by Egypt.


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