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Gaza Militants Fire Rockets at Israeli Towns

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Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired rockets at southern Israel on Thursday, prompting sirens to blare in the towns of Ashkelon and Ashdod but causing no casualties,in a second day of a cross-border flare-up.

A Palestinian official said Egypt, which has brokered previous ceasefires between Israel and militants in Gaza - ruled by the Islamist Hamas group, was trying to restore calm.

Israeli police said the rockets had landed in open areas and caused no casualties. Eye witnesses in Gaza told NBC News that the rockets rockets hit Israel's Iron Dome defensive shield and caused no causalities. There was no explanation for the discrepancy in the accounts.

On Wednesday, Israel launched intense airstrikes in the Gaza Strip after militants launched 60 rockets towards Israel, the biggest rocket attack since a November 2012 truce.

Islamic Jihad said its rocket fire had been a response to Israel's killing of three of its men a day earlier.

- NBC News' Lawahez Jabari and Reuters contributed to this report.

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