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(photo credit: AP)
An IDF soldier was seriously wounded and at least seven Palestinians were killed during clashes in the central Gaza Strip on Thursday.
Palestinians fired six Kassam rockets into Israel, including one that landed next to an elementary school in Sderot while the pupils were learning.
In amateur video of the rocket attack, taken from inside the school, the sound of the explosion is clearly heard. Children scream and cry as a teacher tries to round them up and guide them to a safe location.
No one was wounded in that attack but several children were treated for shock.
Late Wednesday night, troops from the Golani Brigade, backed by tanks and Engineering Corps units, swept into the central Gaza Strip in search of terrorists involved in planting bombs along the border fence and in Kassam rocket attacks against towns in the western Negev.
Palestinian gunmen launched mortars at the approaching troops and fired at IAF aircraft with machine guns as IDF snipers took up positions on the roofs of homes in the area, witnesses said.
Four soldiers from the Golani Brigade were wounded, including one seriously, when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the home in which the force had taken up positions. The soldiers were airlifted to Beersheba's Soroka Hospital for medical treatment.
Thursday's violence came just days after the IDF killed 12 Palestinian terrorists in a series of air strikes, including the top Islamic Jihad military leadership in Gaza.
Reuters soundman Nihad Odehtallah was shot in the leg while covering Thursday's clashes, and was taken to an Israeli hospital.
His wounds were not life-threatening. It was not clear whether Odehtallah was wounded by IDF or Palestinian fire, the news agency said.
Hamas said that four gunmen, including two of its own operatives, were killed in clashes and many more wounded at the al-Marazi refugee camp.
The IDF confirmed that soldiers had clashed with Islamic Jihad and Hamas gunmen and killed at least four of them who were spotted approaching the security fence.