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Toddler Dead as Israeli Air and Ground Assaults Pounds Gaza

Israel says attacks are retaliation for deadly shooting of Israeli laborer

- Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Airstrikes and ground assaults pounded Gaza Tuesday (Photo: Reuters)Israel slammed Gaza with a wave of air and ground military assaults on Tuesday, killing 3-year-old Palestinian girl Hala Abu Sabikha and wounding at least nine in what appears to be the most severe attack on this besieged home to 1.7 million people since an 8-day Israeli offensive in November 2012.

Hala’s mother, her 3-year-old brother Bilal, and 6-year-old brother Mohammad were injured in the attacks. The family was reportedly struck in Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza.

The Israeli Army said airstrikes and tank and infantry attacks were in retaliation for the killing of an Israeli laborer identified as 22-year-old Saleh Abu Latif from the majority Bedouin city of Rahat.

"Palestinian officials reported at least 16 Israeli attacks, causing a causing a series of loud explosions across the territory in rapid succession," Associated Press reports. Witnesses say shells were fired at Gaza City, Reuters reports.