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Death Toll Climbs as Hamas, Israel Trade Blows

Israel's bombing of the Gaza Strip has resulted in the deaths of at least 60 people, medical sources told NBC News on Wednesday. That tally includes 13 children and 9 women, the sources said. The air strikes were retaliation for rockets launched by Palestinian militants at Tel Aviv over the last few days. Israel's Iron Dome defense system has kept any of those rockets from causing much damage. More than 100 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel Wednesday; 82 landed in Israel.

The Israeli military said it had bombarded more than 600 Hamas sites, including 60 rocket launchers and 11 homes of senior Hamas members. It described those dwellings as command centers. Palestinian officials said one of the targets was a coffee shop on the Gaza beach, where people were gathered to watch the World Cup match. Earlier in the day, one journalist working for the Hamas-run Al-Alqsa TV was killed and eight other people injured when an airstrike hit a car belonging to the channel.

In an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday, Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer defended the country's attack against Gaza, saying that Hamas rockets now have the range to reach nearly all of Israel — and claimed that Hamas is deliberately targeting Israeli civilians.

"We have to defend our population," Dermer said. "What do you think America, the United States, would want their government to do if more than three quarters of the population was coming under military attack?"

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— Lawahez Jabari and Hasani Gittens