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From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Israel hits another Gaza ministry
The Palestinian economy ministry and a bridge in the Gaza Strip have been targeted by Israeli air strikes, according to Palestinian officials.
The ministry building caught fire as a result of the air strike, causing severe damage. The raid followed a similar strike on the Gaza building of the foreign ministry on Thursday.
The offices of the prime minister and interior minister have also been destroyed. The second attack destroyed a bridge near the Bureij refugee camp.
Palestinian officials said there were no casualties in either raid.
The north and south of the Palestinian territory was hit by artillery fire throughout Friday as Israel tried to secure the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit and stop rocket attacks.
Ground forces in Gaza have been reduced since Israel began attacks on Lebanon after the kidnap of two more soldiers in a cross-border raid.
Tanks and armoured jeeps positioned in the centre of Gaza near the Deir al-Balah refugee camp and the town of Khan Yunis have pulled out of the area.
Ahmed al-Kurd, the Hamas mayor of Deir al-Balah, said at least 30 hectares of farmland and orchard, largely olive trees, had been devastated by the Israeli troops. He said around 20 homes had also been partially or entirely destroyed.
An army spokeswoman said the only place where Israeli ground forces remained in Gaza was Dahaniya, in the south, near the former international airport that was destroyed by the army during the second Palestinian uprising.