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GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli warplanes bombed two smuggling tunnels and a military training compound in the Gaza Strip Thursday, wounding three people, said officials in the Palestinian territory ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement.
An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed the air strikes against the smuggling tunnels and said strikes had also been carried out against what she called two weapons manufacturing facilities near the Gaza town of Khan Younis.
"The strikes are in response to continued recent rocket firing into Israel from the Gaza Strip. In the past month some 15 rockets have been fired into Israel," the spokeswoman said.
Israel carries out sporadic air strikes against smuggling tunnels that run underneath the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and are used to bring weapons and supplies into the coastal territory.
Gaza has been largely cut off since Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was abducted by Islamist gunmen in a cross-border raid into Israel in 2006.
The blockade was tightened after Hamas ousted the forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction in a brief civil war in 2007.
Thursday's air strikes occurred at a time when reports both in Israel and the Gaza Strip have suggested that a prisoner swap deal between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza could be nearing that would involve the freeing of Shalit.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Writing by Ori Lewis in Jerusalem; Editing by Ralph Gowling)

Reuters