Israeli Forces Kill 3 Palestinians as Clashes Continue

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Israeli forces killed three people and wounded six in the Gaza Strip, officials said Thursday, and the army dropped leaflets on towns and villages warning that homes hiding weapons would be attacked.

During the army's second day of an operation in the Mughazi refugee camp in central Gaza, Israeli aircraft carried out two strikes against Palestinian militants, the army said. Palestinian medics said one militant was killed and at least six were wounded, one seriously. The casualties included at least two militants, but most were civilians living in nearby homes, the medics said.

Earlier Thursday, a Palestinian teenager was killed in Mughazi as militants and troops exchanged fire, medics said, and a 10-year-old Palestinian girl died who was wounded in an airstrike Wednesday, doctors said.

Nine people, eight of them militants, were killed in the area Wednesday.

Click here to view a timeline of the current conflict.

After dropping the Arabic-language leaflets warning of "dangerous consequences" for people hiding weapons, military officials told The Associated Press that the army was adopting a "new policy" of attacking homes in civilian areas where weapons such as homemade rockets are secretly stored.

In the three-week-old offensive, Israeli forces have mostly attacked government compounds and open areas that militants were using to fire rockets toward Israel.

The U.N. says more than 100 Palestinians have been killed in the offensive. Many of the victims were gunmen, but at least 16 were civilians.

The army's offensive in Gaza — launched late last month after militants carried out a cross-border raid on a military outpost, killing two soldiers and capturing one — is occurring as Israel continues its major invasion of Lebanon. The fighting in Lebanon began July 12, after Hezbollah attacked a military patrol in Israel, killing eight soldiers and capturing two.

In Gaza on Thursday, the Israeli army dropped the leaflets throughout the coastal area of the territory warning that "anyone who has, or is keeping an arsenal, ammunitions or weapons in their house must destroy it or they will face dangerous consequences."

The Israeli military often drops leaflets in Gaza and Lebanon warning of forthcoming attacks.

In Gaza City, about 400 Palestinians carrying Lebanese flags demonstrated in solidarity with Lebanon. They held children on stretchers with fake blood on their faces in mock funerals for civilians killed in the Israeli offensive.

In the West Bank city of Nablus, a standoff between troops and militants went into its second day, with troops, including two tanks, surrounding a security compound where the militants were holed up.

Tanks fired five shells at the buildings as part of attempts to destroy them and force militants inside to surrender. Israeli troops fired steel-coated rubber bullets at Palestinians who demonstrated against the troops, wounding five, one seriously, Palestinian medics said.

About 4,000 Palestinians demonstrated in Nablus in support of Hezbollah, calling on the militia's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, to attack Israel with rockets.

"Nasrallah, our dearest, strike, strike Tel Aviv!" the Palestinians shouted.

Five Palestinians were killed in the Nablus operation on Wednesday.

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