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Gaza Rockets Pound Southern Israel

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A trail of smoke from rockets fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza toward Israel is seen above Gaza City on Wednesday, March 12, 2014. The militant group Islamic Jihad in Gaza said it fired 20 rockets toward Israel on Wednesday, in retaliation for an Israeli airstrike that killed three of its members the day before. (AP Photo/Adel Hana) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

JERUSALEM, March 12 (Reuters) - A heavy rocket barrage from the Gaza Strip struck southern Israel on Wednesday, police said, a day after Israeli forces killed three Palestinian militants in the enclave.

Police said there were no immediate reports of casualties after "a number of waves of rockets" hit. In the Gaza Strip, the Islamic Jihad group claimed responsibility for the attack.

"It's a barrage such as we haven't seen for two years," Haim Yellin, a local municipal official in the south, said on Army Radio, which reported that some 30 rockets had been fired.

Sirens sounded in parts of southern Israel to warn residents to take shelter.

A day earlier, an Israeli air strike killed three Islamic Jihad members who the group said had fired motar bombs at Israeli troops that entered the Gaza Strip through Israel's border fence.

Israel pulled its troops and settlers out of the territory, now run by Hamas Islamists, in 2005. But it maintains a naval and air blockade and severely restricts the overland movement of people and goods across the volatile border,

(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller and Allyn Fisher-Ilan)

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