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Israel has carried out two air strikes on positions in the southern Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military said the attack early on Monday was “in response to the rocket that hit Israeli territory on Saturday night” and vowed to “continue to operate against those who use terror”.

Monday’s attack, in which no casualties were reported, came just hours after Israelis and Palestinians began indirect talks towards direct peace negotiations.

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, made the announcement after a meeting on Sunday between George Mitchell, the US Middle East envoy, and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, in the occupied Palestinian territory of Ramallah in the West Bank.

Mitchell is to mediate the planned four-month indirect talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Negotiations have stalled since Israel’s three-week assault on the Gaza Strip in December 2008.

One of the targets Israel hit on Monday was reported to be a tunnel in Rafah.

Israel accuses Palestinians of using a vast network of tunnels to smuggle weapons into the territory; Palestinians say the tunnels are a lifeline for bringing in essential supplies because Israel has blockaded the territory since June 2007, when Hamas seized control from Abbas’s Fatah faction. Aljazeera

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