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In brief: Israel retaliates over rocket attack

Jerusalem – Israeli warplanes hit Hamas targets in Gaza early today, retaliating for rocket attacks on Israeli cities, as tension peaked over the first deadly bombing targeting Israelis in Jerusalem in several years.

A blast Israel quickly blamed on Palestinian militants ripped through a bus stop in Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing a woman, wounding two dozen other people and intensifying fears that a period of relative calm could be ending as hopes for a negotiated peace fade.

Violence has been on the rise, with the knife slaying this month of a Jewish settler family as they slept and the deaths of civilians in Gaza by Israeli strikes Tuesday in retaliation for rocket fire from the Hamas-ruled strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned militants not to test Israel’s “iron will,” and vowed a tough response to the bombing.

Retaliating, Israeli warplanes attacked several Hamas facilities and smuggling tunnels in Gaza, Hamas said. No one was hurt.

Portugal parties reject austerity measures

Lisbon, Portugal – Portugal’s prime minister quit Wednesday after opposition parties overwhelmingly rejected his last-ditch round of austerity measures aimed at preventing the eurozone’s weakest economy from plunging into chaos. The move turned the dept-plagued nation into the prime candidate for the continent’s next bailout package.

All opposition parties united to defeat Prime Minister Jose Socrates’ proposals in a parliamentary vote, saying the belt-tightening went too far.

But their decision means that Portugal is much more likely to be forced to seek a bailout like those accepted by Greece and Ireland last year, and puts Spain squarely into the crosshairs of nervous investors concerned about which European nation might be next.

Socrates followed through on a pledge that he would resign if the measures were not approved.


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